On the Road Again:
We are feeling refreshed from our dip in the natural bathtub. We are comfortably barefoot, head to toe, road ready. We leave Dog Canyon, passing through Alamogordo, New Mexico, continuing our journey.
I’ve used the word “carnude”, or “carnuding” several times lately. Just to do some housekeeping, it is a contraction of “car” and “nude” that several of us came up with several years ago. It was a takeoff of the contraction “canuding” meaning canoeing nude. It simply means traveling by car without clothing. Here is a complete Carnuding Handbook, which explains the how to’s that we employ to safely carnude:
We slow through the quiet town of Tularosa. I have been through here numerous times over my lifetime, but never have taken true notice. I spot a large neighborhood of dressed up older homes. They are what I’d call New Mexico styles. They have much in common with the popular Santa Fe style, but are less restricted to the boxy pueblo look.
The trees are old and the grass lawns green. At home, I have a blank canvas that must become a peaceful meditative garden and a screened in porch to be enclosed to augment my future clothing optional AirB&B. This style with its creative use of what is laying around and rustic charm, is my southwestern decor of choice. I’m excited and ask DF if she minds taking the time to cruise this place for ideas.
She is behind this side excursion, of course. We pull off of highway 54, slowly looking and snapping off pictures of the homes. I think to myself, that if I could choose what my neighborhood looked like, this would be it. The old adobe walls, the flow of earthen architecture, the creativity that people find and the unpretentious expression appeal to me.
This cruising a neighborhood, snapping pictures could be considered suspicious activity to many. We are doing this naked, so we don’t want to be stopped to explain ourselves. No one seems to notice our presence on a week day. We don’t repeat any streets. It works out fine. I’m already dreaming up strawbale buttressing on my porch, inspired by what I see.
“Hey, let’s just go down one more street…”
…”How about checking out that street across the highway?”
I could spend a while here, doing this, but DF reminds me, “We gotta go.”
The highway to Ruidoso is one of those roads on the map with the line of black dots beside it, which mark a scenic route, although I have yet to see one of these dots off of the road on a scenic highway…. The hills are lined with pine and the vistas are very western.
When we reach Hondo, we turn on to a two lane highway. It is the old road to Lincoln and history rich Billy the Kid territory. You can get a tour of the old jail house that he escaped from, including the outhouse where the escape gun was hidden. It is a museum.
On the way to the town of Capitan, we pull over to get our pictures taken with Smokey the Bear. He stands in front of Capitan Mountain where he was found, as a cub up a tree after a forest fire in 1950. I try to read Smokey’s expression as DF hugs him. It’s either, “Holy …” or “It’s good to be Smokey,” I can’t be sure.
When we reach the Smokey the Bear Museum, it’s mid-afternoon and we’re hungry. There is a cute restaurant next door called El Paisano. We get dressed in the car to give it a try.
Homemade chips come out with a bowl of unique and truly exceptional salsa. The lady chef takes our order. I’m of course going to try her chili relleno. She apologizes, telling us that it will take a little time to do from scratch.
“Scratch!” This is a special clue. Sooner, not later, she arrives with a plate of once again unique chili relleno, black beans and buttered rice. I’m grinning from ear to ear, as my fork tells me that it is so delicious. She has been here for many years using the recipes passed down from her family tree. I walk around reviewing the family history and photos on the walls, when she brings out a three berry cobbler, ice-cream and cinnamon. I resolve, that if I am within 100 miles of that place again, I’ll find a way to stop in!
After epicurean delights, we walk into Smoke the Bear’s museum. I don’t expect much, just a curiosity, but before long I’m reviewing my youth. I soon realize what a tremendous influence Smokey had on me. The character is probably the foundation of much of my sense of nature, and my relationship to it as a human being. Nature is a home, filled with worthy beings, something loved and respected. He was a huge iconic creature to children in that age.
There is a wall filled with a collection of Smokey teddy bears, probably 30 variations. I don’t find my ‘ol Smokey pal, but I do see a picture of Lassie and Timmy with one.
Looking back, I remember that TV was filled with public service messages,” Only you can prevent forest fires.”
We take a walk, as I tell DF about the time that I was taken to the Washington DC zoo as a child, to see Smokey the Bear. I was crushed, when before me was a brown bear. Not the icon. Smokey was just a bear. He wore no pants and just stood naked on all fours. He didn’t wave back.
After a profound refection, we come across Smokey’s grave under a pair of trees along a grassy path on the grounds. You know what? I shed a tear….
Quickly undressed in the parking lot and we are off to Roswell:
We no longer have the time for the UFO museum, today. We’ve been having too much fun, but we’ll need a place to stay near Roswell. I had planned to stay at some sand dunes and maybe a hike there in the morning, but nasty clouds and showers are showing up across the vast view.
When we get internet reception on a cell phone again, it looks like rain.
Further away, I have found a camping area around some sinkholes. The rain will probably bypass this, there is water in those holes. Our hope is to work something out and perhaps have a late night skinny dip. We pass through Roswell and after a long drive into the boondocks, the bottomless lake is surrounded by RV campers. They are parked together tight. This isn’t the best atmosphere for naked people.
Determined, we try for a more remote spot at one of the other bottomless rings of water.
I get out, inspecting one potential campsite, appropriately bottomless myself. However, the “Devil’s Inkwell” is not pretty, the wind is chilling, the chance of rain is still iffy. Staying here would be something to just endure.
We reconsider. We’ll save time in the morning, by getting a motel in Roswell, a matter of blocks from the museum. Back in Roswell, we sit on a bed after a shower, nibbling away like a picnic. There are something like 400 channels and nothing’s on!
Coming Soon! “Green Aliens Everywhere!”
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