Saturday, February 2, 2013

Revealed Truth on the Road to Raton III

Federal Highway Stripe Yellow

Another of those long empty stretches of highway on the road to Raton. Though if you look very closely there is another vehicle up there heading the same way. And even though there were no buffalo out I made myself stop and take a picture or two. I had told myself I was going to practice on taking pictures of vast open spaces and trying to capture that feeling. Today when I was editing my pictures I played around with the panoramic effect that can be achieved by cropping your photos. Below is what the picture looked like before.


Okay so I upped the saturation some too but I will argue that the top picture is how the particular sunglasses I was wearing made the road look.

It was one of those warm afternoons for the 1st of February and I actually turned off the heater in the car and toyed with the idea of putting on the air conditioner. The warmth of the car was making me sleepy and I was playing my father's mile marker game. He would make us kids guess what the next mileage sign would say about our destination. I have been to Raton enough lately I have them memorized. And so did he. Took me a while to figure that one out. My brother was really slow on Hide, Hide, the cow's outside and I confess to being rather obtuse about Railroad crossing look out for the cars. How do you spell that without any cars? Those memories made me all teary eyed about my dad so I got out and took another picture.

There be antelope

I didn't realize until I got back to the computer to post process that it was not just a picture of a wide vista but there are antelope in the foreground. You can click to make the picture bigger and see them dotted in the grass.

Life is like that. Sometimes you do not see what you are looking right at. It is some event later that taps you on the shoulder and reminds you of what you missed. I think that is why I have to keep driving to Raton. So many memories with this stretch of highway, the town of Raton, and the road from Raton to Denver. Dad used to hunt antelope somewhere along this highway. And my first vacation from college I took the Greyhound bus from Albuquerque to Denver. Raton pass was closed and I and my fellow passengers were stranded in the Raton bus station for hours. I had one dime to make a collect call to my parents and, all my cold weather clothes (it was spring break) were in my suitcase in the bowels of the bus. Along with the book I was reading. Changed forever my travel check list.

And I went back and forth to district court six times three years ago this March to fight against the contractor from hell. It was like this driving out and snowing driving back with my ex-husband in the car. He and a friend in the car following had been my witnesses that day. I was prepared with extra clothes, a heavy coat,  a book, and my laptop. The men weren't. We were trying to get through Cimarron Canyon before they closed it. It was looking good until friends from Eagle Nest and Angel Fire started calling me to see if I was okay. Three inches of snow on our side of the canyon and 12 inches on their side. My mind started working on alternatives.

When we got to Cimarron we were told the pass was closed because of wrecks (plural). We hung around the lobby of the St. James Hotel with other stranded travelers until the closure of the road behind us meant the reserved rooms at the St. James would not be used. The hotel waived limits on number per each haunted room and passed out blankets so we could also sleep on the floors. I didn't sleep because of the snoring and maybe a ghost in the hall.

In the morning the canyon was still closed so we enjoyed a buffet breakfast while we waited. My focus was on calls from my friends, who were still worried, and my fur kids alone in my house, all the things for the day I had scheduled. And the 18 inches in Moreno Valley caused me to worry about getting to my house once I could get through the canyon. It was the last time before Marc was admitted to the hospital to die that I would see my ex-husband. Of course I did not know that. There is so much we do not see until we have the time to post process.


  1. Another interesting read thank you Jacqui. I have the feeling you were writing the same way you speak? That is what I tend to do.

  2. I already admired the picture on FB. Loved the read. In a way, it serves us right to be confronted with the power of the landscapes we think we have tamed some times. I get really annoyed when people get upset by a bus being an hour late on the route between Calgary and Vancouver. That's the Rocky Mountains, not nearly as high as your part but plenty wild. Snow, avalanches, rock slides are common. So? Think of what the pioneers had to do to get from here to there!

    1. This road is part of the Santa Fe Trail which was a major path for settlers in the west. Wagon trains made 10 to 20 miles a day at a max. And I complain that it takes me two hours to get to Raton.

  3. These posts of yours with their ponderings and reminiscences always fascinate me. You tell it so well, it's like reading a book that you don't want to put down. I remember this event very well and what a trial it was for you. As far as the road is concerned, you will never be able to travel it without thinking of your father and of Marc. Memories are good for the soul and not just the good ones.


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