THIS TIME TOMORROW I should be somewhere in West Texas, on my way to Lubbock, or some place near there, where I’ll spend the night before heading on to Santa Fe. I plan to visit friends there for a day or two before driving up to Boulder, where I’ll spend the next two and a half weeks.
The good news is that for that length I time I will escape Houston’s heat and humidity. (It’s not really that bad, really: I just emerged from a Starbucks into the afternoon sun and it felt damn good.) The not-so-good news is that while there I will be responsible for the wellbeing of three beings while their owner and master goes away to play all over Europe like a rich lady.
Before my friend Diane — the owner of the house where I’ll be staying and owner of the three animals — gets the wrong idea, let me assure you, and her, that I’m looking forward to being with los animales and that, while I have no experience in taking care of four-hoofed animals, I do not shrink from the responsibility.
It’s just that I am a little apprehensive about being responsible for the wellbeing of any other living, breathing animal – human or otherwise. I’ve taken care of dogs and I’ve taken care of cats and I’ve survived. In fact, enjoyed it. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t worried that something bad would happen to them during the time I was responsible for them.
I’ve spent most of the day cleaning up my place because it must be spotless when my nephew and his family arrive in a couple of weeks to take in a couple of Astros games. I’ve also typed out a two-page list on how to do things in my apartment and where the nearest grocery stores and pizza place are. Which blinds to close on which side of the apartment at what time of day to keep out the sun’s rays. Where they can find HBO and the Astros network and other channels on the TV.
In a while I will start packing because I want to get an early start tomorrow, as soon as I finish eating breakfast, drinking my coffee and reading my paper.
I’ve got my cameras and lenses and other photo equipment, my binoculars and bird guide books, all in one place, ready to be packed. I’ve got my sketchpads together and I just got back from the art supply store where I bought a bunch of neat pens. I doubt I’ll use them much, but a man must have pens.
I’ve cleaned out my fridge, eaten what I could and discarded the rest.
ONE OF THE joys of road trips for me is taking a road never before taken, and I’m going to do that this time. On the advice of my friend Laura, I’m going to get to New Mexico without driving much in interstate highways. I am driving west on I–10 but only to Sealy, where I’ll get in State Highway 36 to Abilene, I believe. From there I’ll take another state highway to Lubbock and another into Clovis.
From Sealy to Clovis will all be new territory for me. (Laura actually recommended I take 290 to Brenham and 36 from there, but I refuse to drive on 290 because it has been designated the Ronald Reagan Highway.) My New Mexico and Colorado routes (also non-interstates) will be familiar, but they are beautiful roads and I am eager to drive over them again.
I still haven’t decided my return route, but it will probably involve going driving through parts of western Oklahoma, an area of the country I’ve never seen.
SO, WHAT DO I plan to do while in Boulder? I don’t really know. I now this much: I won’t be riding the horses. Never ridden one in my life and I don’t intend to start now.
My friend lives outside of Boulder, in the mountains (or foothills – I haven’t figure it out yet), and the area has numerous state and national parks and forests, so I will probably do a little hiking. I will explore Boulder and drive into Denver to visit its museums and other attractions.
I’ll take pictures and maybe do some sketching. And I have friends nearby that I plan to visit. But I also hope to just take it easy, catch up on my reading (yes, I just started reading “Go Set A Watchman”) and maybe a bit of writing.
And, oh yes, take care of the horses. And the donkey.