Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Oh no. The volcano has erupted. What do you do now, Jenny? That's right: duck and cover." - Narrator, South Park

These are the Spanish Peaks, but word has it that the Spanish Conquistadors had another name for them . . . involving what the Spaniards were most missing (nudge nudge, wink wink)

We pulled out of the hotel parking lot after a nice breakfast with Pop Wilder and a stop at the bookstore. The Boy picked up a Green Lantern comic book. So passes the geek torch.

We headed out of town. Thankfully, The Mrs. dread sinus infection had gone, so she was able to take jumping up and down thousands of feet in altitude without thinking about taking a power drill to her forehead to relieve pressure.

After going nearly a hundred miles, I looked down at my dashboard. The dohickey that measures the MPG we were getting was stuck at 38 miles per gallon. In a car that normally gets about 25 miles per gallon. At that point I recalled that the gasoline sold by retailers at a mile and a half in altitude had to be “thicker” than the stuff sold at sea level – it was 85 octane for regular. The gasoline has to be thicker so it doesn’t just go “whoosh” and jump out of your tank like helium out of a balloon when you go to refill. The thicker stuff also had no ethanol, which is good for drinking, but sucks as a fuel. The “thicker” the gasoline, the more tiny faeries can be packed into a gallon, so your car goes much farther on a gallon of high altitude gasoline. So, if you think that you could get better mileage if they’d give you better fuel, you’d be right. But only if you lived at over a mile in elevation.

Capulin Volcano - Federal Government Tourist Trap Bureau

We moved on down the road at a good clip. We left the main road in Northern New Mexico and hit a side road that headed (nearly) straight for the Texas border. As we drifted through the miles, The Mrs. and Pugsley started to drift to sleep, while The Boy and I hit a pause in our incessant banter. I took the opportunity to kick the radio on, and hit “Scan.” As would be expected, most of the radio stations were fuzzy, and even those had two flavors: one flavor extolled the virtues of Jesus, the other of someone named “Billy Ray Cyrus”. On the third “Scan” attempt, suddenly a clear radio station came in, and began talking about Volcanoes.

Apparently, there was a National Monument stuck out here in the middle of nowhere – specifically Capulin Volcano National Monument. The Federal Government radio flypaper had caught us.

We went in, and immediately noticed that the National Park Service had rules. Not sure why, but wherever the Federal Government goes, there are tons of rules. The sign below indicated that we could picnic, but not camp, and it was entirely illegal for us to use hammers and smash the entire volcano into bits and put it in our pockets. Sadly, our scheme for making money by turning a volcano into gravel was dashed.

What was strange was that everywhere we looked around, volcanic calderas jutted above the surrounding landscape like the Dolly Parton Look-a-like contest “lying on your back” portion of the judging. Strangely, the Federal Government felt that, unlike the 10,000 other volcanoes we’d passed on our trip, this one should be a National Monument. I’m thinking that the owner (back in 1901, or whenever) was owed a favor from a senator, and the senator persuaded the government to buy this volcano instead of that volcano.

The Boy and I went into the minature theater where we watched a short film about volcanoes. The Mrs. took the wrestled the restless Pugsley out when he saw that there was no food to be had in the little theater.

Leaving the Park Office, we took our car up the curving mountainside. The Mrs. is afraid of no man and no spider, but The Mrs. is afraid of heights. One of the first things that The Mrs. noticed was that there was no guardrail around the curving road, and that it appeared to drop into a chasm below. I tried to make soothing comments, like, “after the rocks go through our heads we won’t feel getting ground into itsy bitsy pieces” but that seemed not calm The Mrs., it seemed to have the opposite effect.

She didn’t even like it when I swerved toward the edge of the guardrail-less road, throwing my hands over my eyes and screaming.

No sense of humor.

The Boy and I ran down into the crater inside the volcano. We ran down the trail, and about 300 yards back up. “Slow down, Dad. I’m tired.”

Thankfully he said that, since he picked the point where my lungs were attempting to claw their way out of my chest so that they might get just a little air.

Got to be strong. The Green Lantern would never be a wussy that said he had to take a break running out of a volcano.

The Best Little Rest Stop in Texas
Novice Drinkers
Happy 10th


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do get some good scenery shots.

Keep em coming!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Brent said...

Greco! I ran into a mutual friend of ours while in the Valley over Easter weekend. Mama gave me your number and other such stuff so I'll be giving you a holler soon. This is just to let you know so you can screen that (970) number without wondering who it might be. Of course if'n ya don't talk to me then I might have second thoughts about reading your book!

5:40 AM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

I'm sure the Mrs. will join me in saying that only a mean and insensitive spouse finds humor in the other spouse's fears. I too am scared snotless of driving on narrow, winding mountain roads with 1,000 foot drops and no guardrail. My spouse also does the hands-off-the-wheel-pretend-to-drive-off-the-road thing. The short-term humor quickly wears off when he realized he hasn't had a homecooked meal or clean laundry (among other necessities of marriage) for a few weeks. However, I am sure you didn't really make fun of the Mrs.'s fear and simply added that to your post for its creative value. Anyone who can cut down trees and shoot moose can't be that cruel.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comments are as interesting as the post this week. So with the term Greco, I have to assume you are a wrastler?

And that "necessities of marriage" comment made me quit playing the fake mouse in the house thing years ago.

And I like the scenery shots as well. I think of the French who were further north at the Teton national park.

5:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks . . . next scenery is more . . . umm, unusual.

Dude!!!! All you had to say was "Mine."

Go Broncos.

dame koldfoot,
Homecooked what? What is this "Meal" that you speak of . . . ?

Those are grand Tetons indeed! And, once upon a time I didst grapple. Now, I mainly wrestle with plumbing.

7:41 PM  

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