Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day 2: Albuquerque to Quemado to The Lightning Field

Day 2:  Albuquerque to Quemado to Lightning Field

Weather: Pleasant in Albuquerque, raining at times (sometimes hard) on way to Quemado, then perfect for our purposes at Lightning Field

QOTD: We’re conducting a research survey and would like you to answer a few questions…

The Fitness Center comes with a huge bonus: Comcast all channels. THB has a choice of any Wimbledon match and Tour de France! Damn, a fitness center with more channels than at home. Oh, and my new fitness outfit hadn’t dried out so I went back to my standard version.

And for breakfast, DB finds an excellent small menu spot a few blocks from the Artichoke Café: the Hartford Square Café. Dining al fresco! A breakfast burrito of scrambled eggs, jack cheese, and barely cooked greens, salsa (muy bueno!) for THB, scrambled eggs and bacon (shared with THB) for DB, with coffee $21.

By prior arrangement, we have a travel companion with us on the ride to Quemado: RTM. It makes sense to carpool from Albuquerque, it’s 2.5 hours each way.  She’s a delight: on-time, well versed on many a topic, easy, and a younger brain.

Off we go, and Grants is perfectly situated for lunch: it’s the last “big” city before we turn off 40 and head south to Quemado. We search the town for the First Street Café, of course it isn’t on First Street. Not even close. Oh, and it’s closed!

We give up and go back to El Cafecito. It’s mobbed: everybody who lives in Grants must be here! And, it’s the owner’s birthday; cakes with candles. Chile rellenos for THB (not bad), grilled chicken salad for DB, tacos for RTM, one iced tea, $32.

Near El Maipais

Off the highway to Quemado, past El Malpais (where THB and LB made a stop 13 or 14 years ago…recommended) for around 1.5 hours to meet up with the other couple (A&Z) for the last carpool to Lightning Field. It’s been raining here, there are some huge puddles on the gravel/dirt/mud road to the cabin.

The dead restaurant next to the office in Quemado

The Lightning Field stats:

Fortunately there are mud boots as the recent rain has turned the area around the cabin into a treacherous boot-eating quagmire. Treading carefully to stay above the mud table, walking amidst the poles is fascinating.

More pics of the cabin and surroundings:

More pics of prepping to walk:

A&Z and a friend

Pics of The LF:

RTM in selfie pose

RTM not in selfie pose

THB poses with his favorite pole

Selfie without a narcissitstick

Even more powerful is sunset: all the poles are illuminated and visible where before you (for sure weak-eyed THB) could only see about 25 nearby poles. It's a magic act!

Movie magic: the poles pop out!

Even more amazing: THB took these pics in morning and is pretending they were taken the previous night

Dinner is cheese enchiladas and flan, and DB has brought tuna to go with olives, carrots, and seed crackers. And, in the middle of dinner, the house phone rings (there’s no cell reception, we are in the middle of the middle of nowhere). THB gets up to answer and is immediately transposed back to E-ville: Hello, we’re calling to conduct a survey…..ARGHHH!!!! Even here, yes YOU, can have your dinner interrupted by tele-marketers “doing research.”

And then the magic moment all you blog fans are waiting for: the most amazing sunset ever (hyperbole? NOPE!), where a sheet of light rain is illuminated in shades of red: AWESOME!!

As night descends, the cabin is surrounded by periodic flashes of lightning, seen in all directions approximately every 30 seconds, while the cabin remains under clear skies. A-maze-ing…best art installation ever? $250pp in high season...priceless?

For those of you considering a trip here, time to mark in bold font the day they start taking reservations for next year (or try and squeeze in on a cancellation this year). THB’s annual calendar is starting to fill up with return trips to Paris and Quemado.

Pics of wildlife and flowers:

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