It really was the ultimate test today riding the dirt road to Marathon, a short cut, and since nothing has fallen off and "old Faithful" purred all the way back, this only means all is well. It seems as the road is getting worse every year, not as much the ‘rocky’ aspect of it, but deep… deeper sand. I know I would have been flat on the ground with two wheels, no doubt about it. 3 wheels saved us… barely. It was long stretches of the deep sand, up on the foot pegs, feeling the fat tire spinning faster than the speedometer and the voice telling me "don’t slow down, keep it going, keep the grip". Being on three wheels the front one in deep terrain has a mind of its own and the hand grip was tight, there was no way I wanted to get off the road… my "come along" and anchor, well, they were forgotten today. Spirit did not remind me!
I came across a receipt today. The one for the tractor rental. Yesterday had been a month! At the same time, earlier, planning our route, I had come to the realization that our fashion throughout our outings has been different these past few weeks. For reasons yet unknown, I felt as I have been in a rush. Much has changed since we have been here and I am slowly only now regaining, for lack of better word, my composure upon Life and our Journey. Land being "ours"? Winter coming up? Shorter days? Missing the vagabonding with no real set destination? I think a little bit of it all. Water under the bridge as they say, we will live for "now" filled with great past memories and the good fortune to be here with what we have in front of us, which is "much" for sure.
I keep thinking, as I look back through our own Archives, we had a good run this summer. We witnessed such incredible sights, we felt such natural wonders upon us and I think from all the reasons above, the change in weather and shorter days, winter, does change the travel end of it. There is no way around it but to enjoy the beauty and the rest that lays upon us here. I feel a bit like a deflated balloon when this time of the year arrives. There has been so much energy spend these past months as suddenly I fall a bit on a path of sleep, much reading and much cooking. I cannot even plan where we will go in May of 2009, maybe sooner. Riding the East calls me a bit. Familiar surroundings, many Friends… at the same time the West has had a permanent imprint on me. There is one place in particular I would like to go back and that is "The Lost Coast of California", that magical beach we camped on a few days and particularly one sunset that one evening I will never forget.
Regardless of the some tense moments yesterday, the ride was better than good. Vast empty spaces, we stopped only on hard ground and did not see a single vehicle traveling either way. We took our time, I felt as I was back in the saddle, the rig being just a tool enabling us to go and ourselves blend in with Nature, stop and listen, feel the winds within its constant changes of temperatures, just "be" in the middle of this nowhere as it is also the same here at "The Oasis". Amazingly the new wheel and tire performed really well, better than I thought being just a street tire. It might be because of its larger surface, its grip was never totally lost.
23 miles later we rejoined the black top. It is always a choice at this intersection to turn right toward the center of the Park or left to Marathon. We had a late start, I do carry extra fuel, a right turn through the Park would have to wait for another day as I had in mind to do a little sightseeing in Marathon, even if the Bakery was closed!
As soon as we stopped at the local grocery store for a cup of coffee, a local pointed out that she had seen us earlier some time in Alpine, and if we would like to join her for a get together at the house they were building. A "papecrete" house. I had seen pictures of them, have been reading about them since knowing we would be here in need of at least a storage structure, and here it was! Amazing. We end up following her, bypassing downtown Marathon to a real interesting evening.
The process, which varies from builder to builder is totally amazing! Cement, paper and here they were using "perlite" instead of sand. They are a tight group, friendly people, eager to share their knowledge as Juan gave me a tour of a bigger house they are putting together. They do not have a web site yet and I do have many more pictures I will post next time with a better explanation of its process.
Another quick recipe. I have to say that I am having fun also taking the photos besides cooking and also eating the results, under the vigilant eyes of Spirit! Rice Salad… it is the only way I will eat canned tuna, or bagged as they are sold in that fashion now. Rice Salad is not very popular but I like it, room temperature or cold, even better the next day giving enough time for the flavors to mingle. Two cups of water, half a cup of olive oil, a few drops of hot sauce and bring it to a boil. The oil will make the rice less dry making a better salad. Throw in a cup of rice, bring to a boil again, down to simmer, cover and wait for the steam to subside. In a separate bowl, the one the salad will be made in, start with the dressing. One cup again of olive oil, one third of a cup of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of Dijon Mustard with while whipping it a tablespoon of warm water which will hold it together.
I added a chopped tomato, half a red bell pepper, quartered black olives, coarsely chopped parsley and some sliced green onions. Kalamati olives would be better than from the can, but… not here.
When the rice has cooled off a bit mix in all the ingredients including the tuna, tuna in oil or water doesn’t really matter. Refrigerate.
Just another day at "The Oasis".
Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", in "States", some labeled "first year" and second year", now also "Texas the third year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.
Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.
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Be well, always. Ara & Spirit