Monday, July 19, 2010

Ghost Rider of Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs, New Mexico is just 60 miles north of Albuquerque. Thank goodness, there are no malls, trinket shops or junk stores along the way, or we would still be on the road. As we pulled off US Highway 25N from Albuquerque onto 550 I immediately recognized the terrain from our many trips to Ouray Colorado and began sharing childhood stories with Ruby J.

All of a sudden we hear the roar of what sounded like a steam engine fly past us. We had the windows rolled up and still felt the gust of wind through our hair. “What the hell? What was that? Did you see that, is that it way up there in front of us? Right there! Can’t you see it? THERE! Look about a mile ahead of us that has to be it, what else could it be?” Ruby J hollered, “That can’t be it, that’s a motorcycle, he couldn’t have flew past us and got that far that quick.” “Well Ruby J, it’s just us and him on this road, who the hell else could it have been,” I mumbled.

We come to the Indian Reservation and stop at a store/gas station to fill up and of course pee. There are only us and a Harley motorcycle out front. We walk in and make a beeline for the restroom. As we come out a man in all black leather motorcycle gear is paying at the register. As we approach he looks, nods, turns and leaves. It was only for a second, but he was creeeeeepy. He had a sinister smirk like, we meet again or how’d you like that fly by, Freddy Krueger meets Texas Chain Saw Massacre grin-nod. He fired up his ride and sped off. We jumped in the truck, locked the doors and looked seriously at our map hoping somehow the directions changed and we weren’t going in the same direction as he was. Nope, no such luck, damn map, that’s our route too. We mosey along, nice and easy. No need to rush ahead, enjoy the scenery, relax-whoooosh. “What the hell? What was that? Did you see that, is that it way up there in front of us? Right there! Oh my God Ruby J, it’s him. Where did he come from? He should be in front of us!” Ruby J just mumbles, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my GAUD.”

We arrive in Jemez Springs, still shaken but thrilled to finally be here. It’s pretty much a one street town. The first thing we see is The Laughing Lizard Inn and Café. Oooh, can’t wait to go there. The café looks interesting, but the inn, well let’s just say Ruby J could not even look at it without reaching in her purse for the Lysol. Next we see the Los Ojos Saloon, now that place looks like something out of the 1800’s. I could just imagine roughriders trotting into town, hitching their horses to the posts, and throwing down. There were a couple of motorcycles out front. Curiously we looked to see if one might be Ghost Rider, but all we remembered about the bike was a black blur. “Look Ruby J, there it is,” I scream. Our reason for living, a force of life, the Jemez Springs Bath House and just like that the Ghost Rider is a fleeting thought.

Now this bath house, which by the way, we have appointments for early in the morning, makes their own bath salts. They are going to wine and dine us, flip and turn us, boil and bake us, melt down any stressors that dare to surface and finish with a long massage. Oh my God, can’t we just camp out here till morning? We pull over to have a looksee, of course they are closed, but we are like two kids seeing Santa at Macy’s on Christmas Eve. WooHoo Ride’em Cowboy! Now that we know exactly where it is, we turn around and head back on the road towards the cabin.

The directions say after we cross a bridge with a huge boulder it’s the first gravel road to the left…..gravel road should have been a red flag. As we approach the bridge, we hear the freight train humming. I look in the rearview mirror and right behind us is GHOST RIDER! “Why isn’t he passing us? How long has he been back there? What the hell? He’s just following us, why’s he doing that?” Ruby J (the navigator) screams out, “Don’t turn-go straight and slow down.” I do as I’m told and Ghost Rider kicks it in gear and flies past us. We’ve now gone at least another mile past our turn and have to find a turn around on the narrow mountain road. Ruby J sees a spot and motions me to it, like if we speak he’ll hear us. I turn around and we make our way back to our gravel road.

When we were given the 4-wheel drive tip that too should have been a red flag. This cabin is about a mile up the mountain and it takes about 30 minutes to get there (flag!). The ride is tight hairpin turns, single lane, huge pot holes and small boulders that literally raise the truck, tilting it to one side where Ruby J grabs hold of the arm to my seat. Several times when we make a turn I look at the wall we are supposed to climb, look over at Ruby J and she just smiles. You know the one, that teeth clenched, drill team smile, that really says I’m gonna kick your ass if you kill us. But no, she just keeps saying (with white knuckles and stone face), “Venus, you’re doing a great job, gasp, great job, OH God!

Well, you know the drill, that night we sleep in the loft, scared to death that Ghost Rider knows where to find us. Upstairs window cracked so we can hear the sound of the Harley approaching and a 32 Chiefs Special tucked neatly under my pillow. We lay there quietly, wide awake, motionless looking up at the skylight thinking, “If that SOB makes us miss our Bath House appointment, we’ll see how he looks when a three-quarter ton 4-wheel drive pickup runs over his ass!”  "Come on Ruby J, lets go sleep in the truck!"


1 comment:

  1. Gawd Venus....I love you!! Your my lobster friend...FOREVER. HEE HEE, I was there and I still love hearing you tell these stories!