“Oh, I went on vacation.”
Back to the cane and the vacation, naturally there is a story about why I’m limping. And it is connected to our vacation. I fell. It could happen to anyone. But the rest of the story is so much more fun than that, like a vacation all in itself.
“I’m down here,” I sighed, camera in hand and a battalion of sticky, scratchy things now attached to the back of my knit shirt. I didn’t think much of the fall at the time.
We had a great time poking through the debris in Candelaria, discovering that the road approaching from the west was hardscrabble washboard rough, about an hour’s drive at 10 miles per hour, while just on the other side of “town” the same road was suddenly paved and striped, a convenience not noted on the AAA map. In our reservationless trek, we stayed places not found on Travelocity or AAA, like The Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada, $34.95, pets OK. Bikers welcome. And free secured WiFi. The ice machine was broken but it was otherwise a pleasant stay. I particularly loved the Virgin River Casino and Hotel in Mesquite, Nevada, $24.95 weekday off-season price, again pets OK. We didn’t win big, but they really did have prime rib for $6.99 and the room was sparkling.
One of my favorite AAA maps, which we hear is soon to go out of print, is the Indian Country Map and we made good use of that. We wound through the Carnelian Cliffs through Navajo Country, marveling at the painted ponies and unusual sheep. We stopped for a moment at the Navajo National Monument, snapping photos of the dramatic landscape, and landed at the Ancient Puebloan site of Canyon de Chelly and The Thunderbird Lodge. Pets were OK there too, but the price was considerably more, $150 with the dog. And I slept poorly although the room was spotless and comfortable. We toured the south rim sites, made the acquaintance of several of the Navajo vendors including a 6 year old toothy animal lover named Randy who showed us his beading work and was fascinated with the dog and cat. We pressed on through back roads to Shiprock, New Mexico, and landed at the Tomahawk Motel in Cortez, Colorado. We took a little rest from driving and nosed around Cortez which included fine dining at Nero’s, shopping at the various trading posts and a short trip over to Mancos to view the hot air balloon evening display at the end of their Art and Balloon Festival.
|Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park "Genesis Wall"|
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From Cortez, we drove to my sister’s house on Vallecito Lake near Durango, somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation, just to remind me how out of shape I am. The weather was perfect, sun-splattered and golden-aspened, and we walked the new handicap-accessible trail my sister was instrumental in building. (I am just a bit proud of her, I admit.) We were treated to a Durango stroll with her women’s barbershop group and balcony seats at the Diamond Belle for lunch in the Strater Hotel.
Too soon it was time to head back to California, which had been deathly hot while we had been away, 108 in our town while we guiltily had enjoyed 83 degrees in the desert that day. My husband was treated to one of his favorites, a rip-roaring thunderstorm with a huge dust storm first act in Nevada. The kitten and the dog and I huddled together in the passenger seat while he drove through the dust and lightning with delight.
And then we were home and slept soundly in our own bed, soundly and late. I luxuriated and finally, on getting up, realized my bad knee wanted to bend in all directions again, not just knee-like. The only event was the Candelaria fall almost two weeks earlier. And so I found a cane to use. Our beloved chiropractor Dr Miller says, “Ice.” And I’ll be checking in with my Primary Care Physician.
I love our fall vacations! They give me a chance to pause along the road of my life and rest, to view the long road behind us and look forward to the long road ahead. Like the 9 of Wands, a little reflection of history helps us do better in the future and let us know that we can continue with our journey, even after a tumble or two.