Tuesday, October 30, 2007

From Taos to Colorado City

To me this photo says so much about America. Something almost beautiful that has turned into an unsustainable nightmare. Something so romantic, that now only lives on in the American mind. Once there was such excitement as the huge spaces and opportunities opened up before the people. But the American Dream is over folks. You can feel and see the evidence of that dream but it has gone. Now the people are living in huge soul-less estates, or in trailer parks, or vast barren reservations. They are a million miles from their ancestors who must have felt so close to life as they fought to survive in this whole new world.

We left our RV park early and had coffee in a little 'peace' cafe. Then we popped out and checked out a few gift shops - we've had it with gift shops. We just get overwhelmed by the endless bits of junk that make it all so meaningless. What's that saying - something along the lines of 'the more you have the less it is worth'. In the 60s Taos was a huge centre for the 'hippy scene', and there is still evidence in the form of old hippies round the place.
Sarah bought me a book about the Taos hippy commune scene in the 60s. The forward is written by Ed Sanders who used to be a hero of mine when he was in The Fugs. Pretty much since I arrived in the US I have been singing (out of tune of course) my favourite Fugs song, 'Belle of Avenue A'. It is about a 'Big Mack' truck driver who picks up a hippy chic only to get his mind blown when she reads in the cards that they are destined to fuck each other. So when I found the forward in the book I got very excited indeed - Ed Sanders is a cool dude, as were many of the people around at that time.
So here are two pics of Taos, famous for its Adobe buildings. The whole place is done in this stuff - it is really pretty special. I just love the care and the artistic approach that has gone into these buildings, and it's not just one or two, it's 100s - they are everywhere and getting Sarah to stop photographing them was quite a job.

We left Taos and headed out to the bridge over the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande is the third longest river in the USA, rising in the Rockies in Colorado and in its latter stages forming the border between the US and Mexico.
We arrive at the bridge just as a few old hippies set up their stalls selling touristy stuff - makes a change from Native Americans I guess - same old stuff though.
Neither of us had really thought this through, but as soon as we saw the bridge we both realised at the same time that we were in trouble - vertigo big time was on us before we even stepped out there. We got to the middle, God knows how, and I took a couple of 'poor' photos, from about a metre away from the rail, and we scooted back as fast as we could go. But then a truck came along and as soon as it hit the bridge it sent this huge shock wave that I swear rocked the whole thing like an electronic wave. Before we got back a couple more vehicles, including the obligatory 'Big Mack' stormed over, and to be honest all I could think about was that awful bit of film where that bridge goes into major vibration and collapses.
When we got back to 'safety' one of the old hippies assured me that the bridge is designed to withstand 6" of vibration - phew, that made me feel so much better I'm sure!
That's me on the bridge, and below that, is my 'poor' photo of the river. I'd say it was considerably deeper than Cliften suspension bridge, but I'm not sure - I didn't stay long enough to find out.

And so on and on towards our goal. We drove along yet another scenic route through Cimarron Canyon state park. After lunch we dropped down into Cimarron and there I found the one thing I needed to complete my set - a great big scrap yard.

I told Sarah to pull over pronto and off I went to get the shots I needed. After I had taken a few pics this guy drove up and jumped out of his car. Uhoh, I thought as I gave him my friendliest greeting. I saw the smile come on his face and I knew I was on a good one.
'Nice collection of trucks you've got here' I said.
'Now if you're into trucks you'd better come down the yard and look at my best ones' he said.
So that's how we ended up in this shed taking this photo of his 1957 Big Mack truck, all restored down to the last detail - it was a beaut!

While I was in the yard I sneaked a couple more shots. Below is a 1947 Chevvy Rescue truck, still in use.

and a 1963 Big Mack awaiting restoration.

And then we drove on and there was this herd of bison. For God's sake will we ever get to Denver.


  1. I am only guessing here but where we live must be somewhere between a huge soul-less estate and the trailer park? :)

    Great post!

  2. He isn't very gracious is he, kindness? But then if you spent your life worried about the effects of six inches of vibration, then your concentration may not be on politeness either.

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