MelodyLand by libralight
Author of The Maria Sebastian Mysteries
Oct 29, 2013 | 65981 views | 0 0 comments | 293 293 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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SONG OF TRAHLYTA
by libralight
Jun 10, 2014 | 14628 views | 0 0 comments | 730 730 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Many who live in North Georgia, may still not be aware of the Legend of Trahlyta.    Trahlyta was a Cherokee woman whose tragic tale is told in this poem translated to English.  She lived above Lumpkin County in the mountains. 

 

At the crossroads of Highway 19 and Highway 60, called “Stone Pile Gap”, people still place stones to signify remembrance of her story.   You can read more here and even see one man’s tribute on YouTube.

 

SONG OF TRAHLYTA

 

Trahlyta was a Georgia girl in a goldmine

bathing in a brown river under a bleak grey sky

it rained outside and babies cried

as the fog rolled through the mountains like a drum

Wahsega cried

Trahlyta, my Trahlyta



pass not by, stranger

leave a stone on me

for those who desire everlasting beauty

for those who desire truth and faith and beauty

in the hills and the valleys and the rivers (cedars) of her home

travel in her name

remember her name



Tallulah, you didn't Reed the River right

there's nothing Fancy about this Gap

nothing Blue about this Ridge

just gold in the water

just gold in the spring that'll make me young again

just gold in the spring that'll set things real again



Trahlyta will live again



pass not by, stranger



Trahlyta,

may you find your spring



Wahsega,

come back



Trahlyta

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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Silver Strutter Dead Preview - Maria Sebastian Mystery Series
by libralight
May 29, 2014 | 15723 views | 0 0 comments | 695 695 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
While I am still working on the book, here's a taste of what's to come in the third installment of the Maria Sebastian Mysteries.   You can find the first two in the series, Auraria Dead and Chattahoochee Dead, for sale on Amazon.com, or contact me for an autographed copy.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Maria Sebastian couldn’t get the horse to stop kicking and stomping long enough to see if the man was still alive.

 

The day had started normally for a real estate agent.

 

Standing gnarly and tall, newly budding red Japanese Maples overhung the driveway to the barn, a hopeful smattering of sunlight dappling its packed surface.  Crisp air pled to be breathed, so Maria opened the Cherokee’s windows and sacrificed her freshly cut blonde hair to the great Georgian outdoors.  She thought for the fiftieth time of having, Maria Sebastian, Garrison Realty, Your Forsyth County Agent, painted on the side of her truck.  With the economy still screwed, she needed all the help she could get.

 

Black four-rail fence lined the carpet of rolling pastures dotted with clumps of tree bones in gully areas.  The more Maria thought about Silver Strutter, a glistening black Tennessee Walking Horse with a silver mane and tail, the more she wanted to see him in person.  She’d dreamt about him ever since the listing broker gave her show ring pictures.  Silver Strutter...son of Colorado Strutter, both had taken championships at the annual Shelbyville, Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.  Mr. Ambling Man, son of Amber Ambler, a slick liver chestnut with gold highlights whose pictures she’d also seen, wasn’t bad either.  These magnificent animals, born with an extra gait, making them look like photoshopped one-thousand pound ice skaters, excited the show ring.  When she finally saw the horses, however, they would not be in flashy show condition.  It was impossible to keep horses spruced up twenty-four-seven; even if they did live on grass. For the big shows they’re trained to strike out with their front feet as if doing a German Goose Step, lifting front hooves high to strut around a show ring.  They are born with a natural running walk, making for a delightful ride, but that gait has proven not fancy enough for the Celebration.  Maria, a lowly realtor, didn’t need to know more than the condition of the rails, the feeders and water tanks of the horse farms she sold.

 

Three hundred acres of perfect permanent pasture, a five thousand square foot neo-classical style home, a complete commercial barn and several outbuildings made a tight little package for a breeder.  She looked around for her client.  Donna Kelly, said she’d meet Maria at the barn to talk with Dixon Whitmire, the farm’s owner.

 

Maria’s bad fairy accused her of jealousy.  She would love to have owned this farm at one time which resembled Kentucky’s miles of bluegrass horse parks.  Lexington reached a hallowed place in her mind fifteen years ago when she’d driven north in awe of free rolling hills, now deep pastureland, now mini rainforests.   Brought up in Phoenix, where farm owners hoarded precious, waterless pasturelands, paddocks of decomposed granite looked neat, but lush had been only a word until Maria saw what the south provided;  sixty five inches of rain each year.

 

Crepe Myrtles lined up at attention from the barn to the house. She took the left fork to the barn and drove slowly hoping to get a good look at a horse.  The top half of doors trimmed in white paint lay open against the red barn.  It looked like the typical barns you see in pictures; fifty feet long, huge doors at each end, a peaked roof which was probably a hayloft.  Washracks peeked out from the back, twenty feet to her left.  A hotwalker opposite her right. A showplace.

 

She stepped out of the Jeep into nostalgia when her nose hit the mesh of clean straw, horse manure, fly spray and horseflesh.  Heaven.

 

With a sigh and flick of her hand across her cheek, she headed toward the open barn doors that always stand open just like her heart felt when she anticipated horseflesh.  She stepped out of her Jeep Cherokee and strode just inside.  Stalls stood on both sides of a runway shot-gunned through the middle. The top half of the stall doors were open, the solid bottoms remained closed. Some farm owners didn’t want people entering their barns, to quell possible disease from shoes that had been in other barns.  “Hello!” she called.

 

Nobody answered.

 

A small head she took for a pony appeared from the first stall on her right.   The little animal reached out as far as its top-half open door would allow.  It wore an oversize horse blanket.  She stroked its neck.  The filly, as it turned out, shoved her nose against Maria’s hand, jacket, neck, on a search for goodies.  Maria regretted not loading pockets with carrots or apple pieces for these babies.  She saw no sign of a snack nearby--no hay or feeder with crumbs lurking at its bottom.  No answering hello to her calls.  The further into the barn she went, the more agitated the horses seemed.  They paced and whinnied, shaking their heads, pawing the ground.

 

Wrong.  Something seemed very wrong.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

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(Cavalier) King Charles Spaniels
by libralight
Apr 24, 2014 | 16239 views | 0 0 comments | 694 694 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink


I got my dog several years ago, and people kept telling me that my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was really a King Charles Spaniel (without the Cavalier part).  I did not know the difference between these supposedly two separate breeds.  Since then, I have learned the difference isn't very much except in size and to the breeders.



The English Toy Spaniel , also called "King Charles Spaniel", are identical.  It is a gentle, happy and playful loving breed that is naturally well-behaved and intelligent.  They are good family companions and play well with children. Their small size makes them ideal for an apartment.  All varieties of the English Toy Spaniel are easy-to-groom, and require regular twice-weekly combing and brushing.

 

In the late 1600s the King Charles Spaniels were interbred with Pugs, which resulted in a smaller dog with flatter noses, upturned faces, rounded heads and protruding eyes.  It was developed in the British Isles and was a favorite of British Royalty. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1886.



If you are looking for one of the most charming companions in the canine community, consider the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavaliers are the largest breed in the Toy Dog category and make wonderful pets for people with many different lifestyles.

Cavalier Spaniels are indoor dogs that were traditionally bred as lap dogs. They become quite attached to their "people companions" and do not tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time well.  If your pet will be alone often, particularly as a puppy, consider choosing a breed that has less separation anxiety than a Cavalier.

 

My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is named Abby.

 

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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Cowboys & Indians - Melody D Scott.
by libralight
Apr 17, 2014 | 14305 views | 0 0 comments | 707 707 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I was in a movie one time.  All our neighbors had horses for their only form of recreation, as we did.  One of the guys had a brother in law who lived in Hollywood and knew a lot of people who had access to film, cameras, projectors, and sound implements.  This was at a time before digital cameras, so all of this equipment was rare to the average person.

 

One day the brother in law decided we who lived in this neighborhood (about 20 of us counting the kids) should make a cowboy movie.  Anybody who could ride was dubbed either a “cowboy” or an “Indian.”  I was an Indian, so we donned warpaint, took our saddles off the horses and rode on blankets like the real movies.  Counting about three families per hill and there being four hills, we had people on all of the unpopulated hills running back and forth on rabbit trails with their scripts, and being filmed with a huge shoulder-held camera.  Others threw on anything they thought resembled their “part” and there were very few lines.  Like, a lot of “head them off at the pass,” “wash-da,” and “Um, kemosabe.”

 

I don’t know the plot, if there was one.  I just know all the Indians, on signal, came tearing up the hill on our horses and were filmed bursting out from a ravine, in our Indian stampede.

 

I was 27 years old and both of my small children had their parts on their ponies as well.

 

The “movie” was shown on a regular 76 millimeter pull down movie screen from Hollywood that was propped in the bed of a pickup truck at night in an arena we’d made by removing the sagebrush from a flat area.  We called it “the arena.”  Somebody made a huge pile of popcorn and we had cokes as well for that movie.  All the houses which were pretty far apart had people walking back and forth in the night with flashlights to use the facilities or avoid the insanity for a little while.

 

A lot more people than the actors attended the movie out of neighborly curiosity.

 

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

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Dahlonega Gold Coin History
by libralight
Apr 07, 2014 | 14195 views | 1 1 comments | 577 577 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The Maria Sebastian mysteries are based in North Georgia.  I just wanted to provide a little history on the area.    Pictured, you can see what a Dahlonega Gold coin that was minted in 1855 looks like. 

 

"By law, gold coinage during the operation of the Dahlonega Mint (1838-1861) was 0.900 fine, meaning 900 parts per thousand (by weight) pure gold.  The remaining 100 parts constituted the alloy (pure gold being too soft and malleable to produce coins that would stand up to the rigors of circulation).  By law for that time period, the alloy for gold coins was copper and silver, provided that the silver did not exceed one-half the alloy.  Thus, the silver content could be up to 50 parts per thousand.  It was, therefore, lawfully possible to have coins with varying concentrations of silver, about which we can today make observations relative to the coloration differences.  Generally speaking, a gold coin with 100 parts per thousand copper alloy is distinctly orange in color.  Gold coins with silver and copper tend to be less orange, and if the silver content is high enough, the coins do not look orange at all, possessing a light ‘green gold’ color.  As a consequence of this imprecise specification for the alloy, the mints at Dahlonega and Charlotte had the flexibility to have a higher silver content than the parent institution, the Philadelphia Mint."  Carl N. Lester, GOLD RUSH GALLERY, INC.



Remember that when gold was discovered in Auraria, Georgia, in 1829 the subsequent gold miners had no place to put their accrued gold in a safe place.  There were no nearby banks.  No way to create their gold into coins.  If the miner traveled to a bank, then he might return to find someone else working his plot of land, i.e. stealing his gold.  Land with possible gold could only be obtained by lottery.  No choices of land parcels were available.  It was pretty critical that a mint be established in Dahlonega, about eight miles from Auraria.  The owner of a parcel won in a lottery could sell his parcel, often for an exorbitant price.  The owner would have to hide his gold, or possibly have it stolen or himself killed for it.  Auraria is actually quite small and there were some 5000 miners working to strike it rich at the peak of the gold rush in this area.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA – A Melody D. Scott Serial Story (Part 9)
by libralight
Mar 31, 2014 | 14095 views | 0 0 comments | 684 684 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Wednesday, Sept. 29.

 

We arrived in Carson City last night.  It was dusk, so we hastily parked in Michaeleleah’s driveway and all went to Mexican dinner.

 

Since her husband’s death a few years ago, she’s responsible for the whole ranch.  Fences, corrals, garden, dogs, horseback riding into the mountains by reservation, handling the horse trailer, the truck, the house and its contents, and let’s not forget she’s a competitive distance horse rider.  That means she spends most weekends adding more miles to it on horseback.

 

Carson has become a megalopolis and the traffic is shocking since our last trip through here.  New freeways under construction add to the clutter.  While Mike goes to work the next day, we did housekeeping, shopping and car washing.

 

And today Abby met a real dog.  Shorty is an Australian Shepherd.  Abby made the mistake of assuming all dishes on floors are her domain.  But alas, Shorty had to straighten her out about that.  Abby ran to the trailer and didn’t want to come out for the rest of her life.

 

After dinner, it had become dark, naturally, and when we turned in we opened the door to the trailer.  We hadn’t realized the closest corral fence was about 18 inches from our open door.  As I said, there wasn’t much room.  Darrel jumped a foot when Rascal, Mike’s half Arabian pinto whuffed in his ear then nickered at him.  Inches behind his head.

 

We celebrated my birthday again with more cake on Tuesday, then Mike made us breakfast--an amazing steak dinner on the front porch, where the stove lives.  We were instructed to go out to the garden and do a little digging to gather our potatoes, which was something I’d never done.  Then I was presented with my birthday present--a sure-to-kill-them fly swatter.  I didn’t know there were flies large enough to justify it.  But it will not get lost.

 

The next day we took Rascal out of his corral to have a good talk with him without all the mules stampeding us while we discussed the weather.  Rascal is extremely social and had taking up staring in our windows asking us to come put and play.  We brushed him and took some pictures, fed him carrots.  He’s not very big as horses go, but he’s an endurance horse with a documented 50 miles ride on his resume.  He’s 18 years old, born where he stands, five gaited and darling.  If it hadn’t been so much work to get him brushed, saddled, bridled, stirrups adjusted, we would have taken him out for a little ride.

 

Thursday, Sept. 30.

We got on the way north to Cedarville, a little place located right in the corners of Oregon, California and Nevada.  You can stand in the middle of the old volcano valley and see all those states at the same time.  We’ve got 200 miles to go up I-395.

 

Passing old desert homes, we preferred the front door, so to speak.  Gerlach is all we’ll miss, and there is so little traffic this way we’d already gone 100 miles by 11:00.  The temperature is a lovely 74 degrees. There are truck weigh-ins from time to time.  Darrel thinks there should be people weigh ins too.

 

The valley near Susanville spreads flat and golden all horse farms.  Alfalfa farms, great squares patch the whole valley in farmland.  Dotted for shade around the houses, are glorious clusters of trees.  Which, of course, makes me homesick for the used-to-be.

 

Just before Alturas the land is volcanic rocks, soft gold grass, short pines and sagebrush.  We were climbing--8000 ft and 82 degrees.  The old train track that used to run beside the road has been removed--at least the greenie Californians have taken the asphalt away.

But its old track bed is still there.  It’s probably a wonderful horse path.  I don’t know who “Lardass” is, but he’s apparently responsible for a store that’s too close to the road, according to the sign out front.

 

With 35 miles left to Alturas the trees are dense and taller.  We got over the edge and started down into Alturas’ volcano valley.  The town of Likely boasts a population of 200 and is straight ahead at 5000 feet elevation.  All that’s needed for a perfect picture is a tribe of Modoc Indians riding by on their pintos.

 

I ate my peanuts and watched the circling hawks shopping for lunch.  Ha!  Now we passed the “Most Likely” Cafe.  I love fun words.  We passed the school with two cars in the parking lot at 12:20.  A volcanic rim surrounds as, as I already mentioned.  But to see it seems kind of moon-walkish.  We saw a radio tower but no radio station beneath it.  The pond covered with ducks was more interesting to watch.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA – A Melody D. Scott Serial Story (Part 8)
by libralight
Mar 20, 2014 | 14094 views | 0 0 comments | 642 642 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
 

Ely has a Shoshone Indian Reservation and “Jail House” Casino.  We’re out at 8:00 a.m. toward Carson City, Nevada, 325 miles west.  I called Michaeleleah and she sounded great.  I went to High School with her 100 years ago.  We had art classes together.  She’s a year younger than I.  I haven’t seen her for five years.

 

Nevada looks like Nevada, like Southern California without people.  We passed a shepherd’s trailer out in the mesquite that’s about the size of our Coyote.  The shepherd had parked a huge water truck next to his trailer, which we had not seen before.  The sheep get thirsty and they aren’t likely to find water on the ground in this location.  A little further up the road we found his sheep--about 500 of them.

 

Mike said she’d be at work today.  The house, the gates, the barn, were all unlocked so we just helped ourselves.  She’d be back at 4:00.  I think today she was training somebody else’s horses.  It must be nice to live that way--her house is 500 square feet.

 

This road has zero litter or junk--there’s a posted $2000 fine for littering.  Next comes the Illepah Reservation.  Through high rolling hills we travel to Eureka, at 51* it’s mostly a ghost town.   A beautiful desert drive today--nobody out here but us climbing Little Antelope Summit, 7738 feet.  We see lots of deer crossing warning signs and no road fencing through the passes.  The peaks are over two miles high.  20 miles later, at 72*.  The radio tells us the west coast is having record 112* heat--more than 20 degrees above normal. 

My uncle Carlos--actually my mother’s twin brother, had TB in 1948 and thought he was dying in the hospital. So he took himself to the desert and moved into an old miner shack.  I think he lived out there for a year or two.  How he managed water, food, and heat, I don’t know.  But he got over the tuberculosis, moved to San Diego and got a job as a mailman so he could walk every day to keep healthy.  In those days, mailmen walked.

 

We visited him a few times in the desert.  I thought it was odd he’d live in a see-through shack when I was 5 years old.

 

Police have pulled us off the road for an extra-wide oncoming truck to pass.  Static electricity has attacked our shirts, noses and dog.  I’d almost forgotten that stuff.  Eureka is unfortunately under construction so we aren’t taking pictures.  It was a silver mining town as I recall and this road is called “The Loneliest Road In America.”  A huge backhoe blocks the opera house.  Eek.

 

Abby’s ears are sticking straight up with static electricity.  We’re laughing at her as I mop her down with “Bounce” Sheets.

 

Austin, Nevada, 7200 feet, is a Pony Express Station. We ate at the Toiabe Cafe and had a wonderful lunch.  This time we’re taking a few pictures--at least it’s not under construction.  Silver mines dot the hills by hand diggers.  An ancient town is nestled in a canyon halfway up a mountain.  It has a boot hill cemetery and Pony Express Roping Arena.  The Pony Express was only in operation from 1860 to 1861 and was outdated by steam locomotives.  The riders used to ride full tilt on a horse for 20 miles to the next station.  Then they would rope another horse from the herd at each station then run another 20 miles as fast as the horse would go.

 

We’ve now traveled 300 miles, straight as a string, and I’ve counted 18 cars besides us.  We’re grumpy.  We see the Piute Shoshone Reservation at Fallon, and keep on going.

 

Fallon looks like where I was raised in southern California--rolling barren hills--except for Springtime when the hills were covered in flowers and grass.  But not in September.

 

Fallon looks like an efficiency only dirt laden town.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA – A Melody D. Scott Serial Story (Part 7)
by libralight
Mar 13, 2014 | 14293 views | 0 0 comments | 595 595 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Happy Birthday to Meeee!

 

We’re on I-70 West, right through the middle of a red rock mountain in Utah. Gas cost is $3.05 today.  Cliffs are fenced so the rocks won’t fall on the highway.  Dramatic nothingness plateaus with alluvial fans at their bottoms, bald mountains and rocks every shade of whites, taupes, creams, reds, greys, browns, yellows, and greens.  Within 20 miles around Salina, we’re back to wheatstraw fields and sage wilderness with sage mountains all around us.

 

The valley at Salina looks just like Cedarville (a town we know at the Nevada, California, Oregon border), except the shallow lake at Salina is fresh water and Cedarville’s is saline.

 

Now at Delta, UT, we jumped over to I-50.   There are hay farms all the way to the mountains--alfalfa fields as far as the eye can see.  We stopped in town for a birthday cake, and other provisions we still hadn’t known we’d need.

 

 

Darrel needs donuts for tonight.  Abby isn’t adapting well to no grass.  Utah’s grass is so valuable that all the parks have “no dog” signs.  She can’t get used to peeing on rocks, gets bullthorns in her feet from the weeds and is too much of an elitist to “use” asphalt.  So she waits, which is scary for us.  None of the RV parks has grass available.  I hope she’s still housetrained by time we get home.

 

Utah & the Ouray Reservation--pretty godforsaken land.  We climbed over the Confusion Mountain Range into Nevada.  The height is 6280 feet.  On its other side, our truck laughs as it whips over those impossible mountains.  Before we arrive at the Pacific coast we will have gone over eight massive mountain ranges.  Most of the time we don’t have cell service for our phones and we go over a hundred miles without seeing anything but dirt.  Even cars are scarce.

 

Yay for golden Nevada!  It looks alive as western Utah was just dead.  The road is so flat and straight there are water- and snake- mirages before us to the horizon, a trick of nature that caused heart ache and death for pioneers.  We thought about dry camping but the temperature went up to 90* and we may need some air conditioning an RV park’s electric hookups can provide.  Maybe we’ll stop at Baker, at the UT/NE border.  If it’s a dive we’ll go 40 more miles into Ely, which we’ve been to before.

 

Next we go over Sacramento Pass at 7154 feet, a scenic drive on my map.  Back to the beauty of fall’s high desert with golds, yellows and browns (and a little green!).  Then down again to the desert floor.  Next up again over Donner’s Pass, 7722 feet high.  We’ve been in Nevada for 50 miles.  Sort of a rollercoaster ride.  The mountains are massive--13063 feet--chain pullouts tell me it’s gonna get cold.  I’m thinking about painting a coyote on the Coyote.  No self-respecting coyote should be without a head.

 

The ground has become shale.  What?  The shrubs remain the same and will apparently grow on anything.  Now colored shale, white/pink/black--hard to believe.  Hey! Trees!  I might have to kiss a couple of them when we stop.

 

We have a trailer brake problem which has been hard on the truck coming down the mountain passes.  Darrel thinks a wire tore loose on the washboard Utah Highway 70.  We’re okay through to Carson City where my friend Michaeleleah lives.  She’s doing my books’ covers because she’s an artist.  I’m anxious to see what she’s drawn for the latest, Chattahoochee Dead.  “Mike” raises horses, takes people on camp rides into the Rose Mountains and paints.  We plan to stay next to her barn.  That will be tomorrow night.

 

Ohmigosh, the Ely KOA has grass!  Abby will celebrate.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

 

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA – A Melody D. Scott Serial Story (Part 6)
by libralight
Feb 27, 2014 | 14167 views | 0 0 comments | 619 619 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Sunday, Sept. 26

With regret, we leave Chama, (which means “group”).  It’s 44 degrees, and gold leaves are all over the Coyote and truck.  A flock of blackbirds with about four inches of white tipped wings and breasts and a white “V” at the shoulders flurry to get out of our path at the exit gate.  Darrel says he remembers those from Alaska, but I of course, just fell off the turnip truck, and have no memory of them.

 

On to Pagosa Springs, Colorado--upward about 10,000 feet into the San Juan Mountains.  After ten miles the temperature has dropped to 35 degrees.  We stopped to take pictures of the monument-type mountains all around us.  A real estate sign says we could buy 43 acres for $69,000.  What a good idea!  A Colorado horse ranch... I’m green with envy as we pass these farms.  Aspens look like Eucalyptus trees except for the yellow leaves no self-respecting Eucalyptus would don.

 

Monster mountain views at Pagosa Springs with alluvial fans of black dirt below them.  We pass the Red Rider Rodeo Fairgrounds.  It’s pretty steep this morning at 9:00 a.m.  A plume of steam curls off the sulfur springs in the center of town.  I bet that looks eerie at night.  Hmmm.  The huge lumber yard is empty and closed.  I can’t tell if that’s due to the economy or EPA.  Gas is $3.20 (diesel).  The air is so still that several giant balloons are getting ready to take off.  Pretty spectacular up close; very user unfriendly for RVs.

 

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival starts next week.  I guess these guys are just practicing, not wanting to waste a perfect day for ballooning.  Thousands of people are in town.

 

We’re looking for lunch in Durango, but can’t take the Coyote down the narrow street to town.  And we’re really disgusted about that.  The big mountains have huge patches of orange spread on them that have to be Aspen tree groves tucked amongst the evergreens.  From our distance it looks like a random-patchwork quilt.

 

We’re in the high desert again--scarce coniferous trees about 20 ft. high--all plains surrounded by Rocky Mountains a few hundred miles away.  Highway 191 to Moab, Utah is a scenic Rd., so I’ll be interested to see what it’s about--dry land full of grasses and sagebrush. (Utah means “one that is higher up.”)  Please remind me I don’t want anything in Dove Creek County.  Stark, brown, ugly, treeless, junky.  People must be tied to the land to stay.  No farm animals even.

 

 

Utah’s adjoining plains are planted in hay and sunflowers.  Lots of clean sky and side roads that go right over the horizon.  Traveling through Arches National Park we see a distinct formation called Church Rock.  It looks like a fat pile of dough with a couple of sporting horizontal colorful striations, some resembling geodesic buildings.  Some look like a giant child dropped a top.  Some look like castles.  Just like Utah pictures with caves in their cliffs.  We did take some pictures since there was a turnout available.

 

The land is adobe red now, sprinkled with brush.  Freeway fenceposts are impaled in red stone.  I feel pretty insignificant in relation to these formations.  Not even a person pebble.

 

Just before Moab on 191 the ground looks like somebody overturned a rock truck for 20 miles before town with a ton of homeless people squatted on this land--like Tijuana, Mexico, in case you’ve see that mess.  They’re either desperately poor or desperately stupid, but the city is charming--same western town facades we’ve been seeing--so cute.  But it’s definitely an oasis on the desert.  Not to mention a tourist trap.  Even though the season is supposed to be over, the place is overrun with tourists.  We tell ourselves we’re not lowly tourists.  I guess we’re just trailer trash.

 

We’ve taken 191 to the I-70 and West.  Moab is in a bowl with the Colorado River going through it.  Now the cliffs are back.  I wonder what mineral would cause that color.  I-70 West turns totally desolate.  We’ve planned to overnight in Green River--I hope it’s green--everything here is moonscape bald.

 

***

To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |  www.MelodyScott.com

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FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA – A Melody D. Scott Serial Story (Part 5)
by libralight
Feb 20, 2014 | 13572 views | 0 0 comments | 518 518 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Apache Country.  First to Ft. Sumner where Billy The Kid is buried-thankfully-  We’re on a quest for donuts to go with our coffee and Melrose New Mexico looks likely. Three big cattle trucks are stopped, right on our highway--a pen complete with cowboys there to greet them with a herd to load.  We have to pull into the oncoming lane to get around them however.  Yep, New Mexico for sure.  I don’t know the difference between a mesa and a plateau but we’re seeing short shaved of  hills at Taliban Outpost.  Taliban?

 

You’d think they’d change their name.

 

Now coming into Ft. Sumner I look for a stockade but find only a historical marker, not to be confused with Virginia’s Ft. Sumter of our American Revolution which is where the Star Spangled Banner was written by good old Frances Scott Key.  Darrel told me that Key was on board ship as a British prisoner, watching the battle on the shore.  Next morning the Stars and Stripes were still standing--but I digress.

 

Near Santa Rosa we’re getting higher and scenic--no power lines or wind machines or buildings.  Just rolling gold and green sagebrush.  The beautiful desert still exists!  On a hill, Santa Rosa is beautifully spread out and clean.  The Pecos River is full, about forty feet across, running deep and south fast.  I’m here to tell you this is the best of the historical West.  Diesel gas is posted at $3.17 per gallon--or across the street, $2.92 per gallon.  The New Mexico freeway overpasses are pieces of Southwestern Indian Art.

 

Uh oh, now there’s a billboard jungle out here in the middle of nowhere at exit 234 on I-40.  What are they thinking?  20 miles of billboards?  Maybe if they figure they will group them then the rest of the countryside will be left without them?

 

Yellow black-eyed-Susans line the road and some cactus have yellow blooms.  We plan to stay in Chama, above Santa Fe for a couple of days so I can paint.  We’re on the famous old Route 66, feeling mighty restored, surrounded by such nothingness and a beautiful day.  The Jemez Mountains are huddled almost beyond our view.  But since they’re 3000 feet high I can still see them.  The Coyote (trailer) issues have been interesting, though the critter is really comfy.  This morning Darrel sprayed some Tinactin on his feet, which set off the smoke alarm.  He disconnected the battery to shut it up but it kept on screaming until I turned a fan on it.  Then he turned on the heater because it was under 60 degrees this morning, which started the smoke alarm all over again. We’re hard on RV neighbors.

 

More yellow, this time Goldenrod plants, soft green sage, dry grass, dark green mesquite and red dirt with granite rocks makes the taller hills post-card perfect.  I must have Indian blood, I love it so.  Visibility has to be about 100 miles.  You gotta wonder where the ponds come from out there.  We’re approaching Santa Fe but know the Coyote and truck will not fit the old town streets, as we’ve been there before, so we won’t see the best parts this trip.

 

Lamay, El Dorodo is where I’d live if we moved here.  In the hills south of the city.  It’s a clear 65 degree Santa Fe Day.  We see box adobe homes that look like they’re part of the land set in among mesquite trees.  Now we’re going through an Indian Reservation--Tseseque, then Pojoaqise, complete with their casinos.  The 84 is a scenic highway for the 80 miles to Chama, New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border.  And we agree to read up on the flu shots tonight.  We hadn’t gotten them before we left Atlanta.

 

Albiquin Ghost Ranch sits at 78 degrees and red at the base of the eroded cliffs, then white, then yellow, topped off with stacked stoneshale and a dusting of mesquite--far below at the base is the Chama River, surrounding its length three canyons by cottonwoods and oaks.  The cottonwoods are lined with gold as they enter fall.  And upward we go over the top of the mesas at the lower end of the Rocky Mountains. 

 

Purple flowers join the goldenrod or wild mustard.  There must be something of old Santa Fe here but it’s really hard to find among all the people.  Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the U.S.  Mini Mt. Rushmore faces peer down at us around every mountain curve.  And here’s a historical marker at the end of an amazingly steep climb.  Now what could have happened clear up here in Tierra Amarill, New Mexico?  The friars must not have known they could go around the steep hills, poor babies.

 

We just passed through Dulce, New Mexico--my mother’s nick namesake, Dulce, means “sweet” in Spanish.  Her twin’s nickname was “Tot” because she couldn’t say “Carlos” when they began to talk at a year old.

 

Chama is adorable at 7800 feet--a little bitty town with blue flags on the lampposts, flower boxes filled with lavender petunias.  I didn’t know petunias came in lavender.  The RV park was a knockout after the mudholes of the plains.

 

Abby found out about bullthorns today.  She was not amused even after I pulled it out.  I remember those miserable suckers from when I pulled them out of my own feet as a child.  It taught me to wear shoes when I was learning to never spit into the wind or pull on Superman’s Cape.

 

 ***

 To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/

Melody D. Scott  |   MelodyScott.com

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