Road Trip Rule #6:

Road Trip Rule #6
Camping goes suburban in Austin, TX

It sounds simple enough: a friend (on a social media site) says “Wait, you’re in Austin? ____ [old friend] lives there now – You should totally call her!”

Awesome – thanks I will!

Cut to:
A rushed response (old friend’s phone’s about to die)
“Hi Alden yes I know _____ – you can absolutely stay at our place – let me call you in a bit..”

Text received:
‘Hi Alden! Here’s the address
[5** Emily Dr.
Austin, TX]
– I might be a little late’

Two hours later – You have *one* unheard message:
(cutting in and out)
“Hey Alden – So.. do you have a tent? There’s a roommate that I’m trying to kick out – I don’t really live at my place right now – it’s a long story – but she’s really nice – you can stay it’s no problem – sorry my phone’s about to die – good luck on your trip it sounds like an adventure!”

An adventure?  It sure is honey and now you’re part of it.

*author’s note: This post in no way reflects said friend, said old friend, or the city of Austin, TX.  All risks and judgement are the responsibility of the author and the generosity of each friend, esp. the one on whose home lawn I crashed on, is still appreciated and was never in question.

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Ok I’ll just say it – I’m HAPPY (again) !

Or, “how Tim Ferriss and AC/DC may have just saved my life.”

        *       *       *

Happy.

Why should it feel so strange to say?  It’s not like I’m announcing an affair, or a coming out, or that I’m marrying that one girl that annoys everyone but I don’t care cause we’re in love and…  No.  None of those things.  Just happy.  Optimistic.  Excited.  Hopeful.  Engaged.  Focused.  Ready.

Still, writing those words “I’m happy,” and meaning it, feels somehow superior, like I should be sensitive to those who aren’t.

“But I was one of those who couldn’t say I was truly happy – and very recently I might add..!”

 

It’s similar to how I felt the first time I drove my 1966 Chrysler convertible after I got it home from Indiana. I felt the stares, I heard the calls, I saw the looks.  I felt like the grand marshall of a parade honoring.. me.

“Look at him driving that thing Harold, he can’t even park, it’s taking up two spots, he’s in our lane, and..”

#lifeisahighway
It’s a happy birthday in the new ride.. The Russian River and Penny Island in the background

And yet why shouldn’t I have felt good about that moment?  I earned it after all.  I took the bus to a crappy job every day and saved pennies and moved back in with mom and took on a second job at night and found my dream car and put my money towards something I thought was exactly what I needed and it was.

If the road fits...
If the road fits… Polaroid Emulsion peel 1999

What a sorry state of affairs and lies that we’ve bought into.. feeling strange about just saying I’m happy.  Finally happy.  Yes really.  Happy.

Whew.

 

*       *       *

Since I like beginnings and roots and talking about beginnings and roots let’s start at the beginning.

Smile.

 

Even just reading the word you’re probably doing it right now.  

“But it’s just muscles and cheeks and.. “ 

No, smiling is more, a real smile comes from inside, something that your heart tells your mind to tell your face to do and your mind says – “what do you think – I haven’t been paying attention?? I know he’s happy!”

A smile might mean the date was really really good, or you’re riding a motorcycle for the first time, or you’re beginning a project or journey that’s long dreamt of.  Or something simple like hearing the voice of an old friend on the phone.  

*       *       *

I haven’t been this happy, or at least on the verge of real happiness, for maybe 5 years. Wait – no it would be been before taking care of my dad- wait, maybe before I left for Hollywood – was it – yes, it was – day one of shooting my first film ten years ago.  TEN years??

 

Am I saying I haven’t been happy for ten years?

I guess not truly happy, no.. 

Dill California shot one
Day one shooting Dill, California


Hold on I need to let this sink in a bit.

*breath*

This might be more than one post can contain.

Ten years really? 

I know I’ve had good moments in there, good days, even good weeks.. a few successes and a few triumphs I’m sure.  I’ve met some great friends, took care of my dad, made a few films, started a small business, dated a couple girls that were.. well to be honest a little bit of trouble, but as a friend once said, “you’re the guy who walks into a party, sees the hottest girl there who’s and she’s wearing a shirt that says ‘trouble,’ that’s who you go for.”  

That’s not true!

 

Fine maybe it’s a little true.  Stupid friends.

 

But ten years?  Sheesh that’s a lot of work for not much payoff, and –

!! Ding-ding-ding-ding!! That’s it!  Lots of work and effort that just didn’t pay off.  That’s it!  At least not as much as the effort required.  It’s been like working 40 hours and getting a check for 20. Things just weren’t adding up.  Did I let my ambitions slide a little, set my goals and dreams to low, trying for “just enough,” rather than shooting for more than I needed?  I don’t know.  And right now, I actually don’t care.


See what I mean – probably too much for one post.

 

*       *       *

So what about Tim Ferriss and AC/DC?

First Tim.  My back and forth life of the last four years has had many “sand pit” moments ala Winnie – the – Pooh.  Moments that had happened before but I knew one of these times had to lead to a breakthrough.  This past January, though I’d seen the title and flipped through it a bit (and though I actually like working more than 4 hours), I finally picked up Tim Ferriss’s seminal lifestyle and entrepreneurs’ bible “The Four-Hour Work Week.”

4-hour-week

I think it was a timing thing.  I’d read articles and parts of books for years that are supposed to alter one’s patterns or bad business habits to lead to a new life, but Mr. Ferris does a good job of not letting you off the hook with just words.  He forces you to think about every single thing that you’ve let get in the way, and lays out a very clear path that will use your talents to build an income that can lead to an entirely different life.  I finally got real about my postcards and photography business.  So what if a postcard only wholesales for $.50, and a notecard at $2.  If I were selling a few thousand of them each month, and if I could automate the packaging and order fulfillment, multiplied by however many new designs I can crank out, well.. that could be real income.  More importantly, it’s a model that only needs me to continue to create – something I love and want to do anyway.

Setting out specific goals and therefore a specific path, finally had me focused on the right thing – and focusing on only that one thing – for the first time in many years.

AC/DC

I will readily admit I’ve had a less than great opinion of Australian rockers AC/DC for years.  Not that I didn’t think them talented or legitimate rockers, they were just never ‘my thing.’  Three chords, choruses repeated endlessly, 40 years of simple songs about booze and girls, blah blah blah…  Not my thing.

Around the time I was just diving into Tim’s book, I was listening to a lot of music through song shuffling apps.. you’ve heard of them, one of them is kind of iffy but usually hits the spot, and anyway I was listening to things like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, even a little country like Maren Morris.  All talented.  All good.

Then one day a John Mayer song – one of the lighter, fluffier songs like maybe Heartbreak Warfare, got repeated on shuffle, and I guess I’d had it.  The LA sun was shining in the room might has well have been shining through a plexiglass biosphere in a dystopian future..  I found an 80’s rock playlist and turned it up.  Just as with Tim’s book it must have been timing, it’s not like I haven’t been listening to 80’s rock since.. well since the 80’s – but somehow this time was different.  The guitars, the drums, the screaming vocals, the energy – these songs were cutting straight through to my soul like life-giving rain cutting through some classic San Fernando Valley smog.  Not a nice ray of light mind you but a real jolt – a jolt like an old mechanical ride at the fair that you think is probably safe but let’s face it who really knows.   It was like, well like this:

!!!  Are you kidding?!  Who can hear a song like Thunderstruck and not get fired up?!  I don’t mean fired up to work out for an extra ten minutes or to order an extra espresso shot at your local hipster coffee joint – I mean fired up enough to get rid of the bull sh*t in your life and focus on only what matters.

“Wait are you saying this loud rock and roll is responsible for real change in your life?  More than just a passing energy boost – like actual life re-focusing?  C’mon isn’t that stretching things a bit?”

 

Listen to it again.  Turn it up.  Yes – that’s what I got and that’s what I needed.  After all that’s what I got when it first came out – I guess I just forgot.  Or I got a little soft.   Doesn’t matter.  I needed that jolt and I needed it bad.

Music can do that.  Electric guitars can do that.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” – Proverbs 25:11

 

*      *       *

In other news, some amazing things have been happening these last few weeks.  The Interpretive display in Mendocino is finally in the ground, telling of how my dad and his inspired followers saved Jug Handle from development in the early 1970’s –

A long-overdue interpretive display for dad
A long-overdue interpretive display for dad

.. A new sign and real brochures from California State Parks were finally created…

Jug Handle State Reserve is now a National Natural Landmark - wow!
Jug Handle State Reserve is now a National Natural Landmark – wow!

…the Pygmy Forest received formal recognition by Congress –

The Pygmy Forest finally getting some National love
The Pygmy Forest finally getting some National love

And the children’s book I illustrated FINALLY is for sale IN Yosemite Valley!

Elmer in Yosemite - finally for sale IN Yosemite!
Elmer in Yosemite – finally for sale IN Yosemite!

A great couple of weeks indeed.

*       *       *

I know what you’re thinking…

“Sure you’re happy dude, the card business is finally growing, your children’s book is selling in Yosemite, your dad’s memorial kiosk got installed in Mendocino, you’re happy because of circumstances again…”

I don’t blame you for thinking that, after all I’ve thought it too but here’s the best part –

I wrote the title to this post before any of those things had happened.  Before I touched down in California almost five weeks ago.

BOOYAH

“Hope that is seen is not hope.
For how can one hope for what one already sees?”
– Romans 8:24

#lifeisahighway
“I find I’m so excited I barely sit still or hold a thought in my head…”

My personal Shawshank moment

Looks like I needed to remember to step out of the boat, to remember that though it’s risky it’s what life is all about.  It’s about trusting my instincts, trusting my creator, trusting my heart.  Sure following my heart has gotten me hurt on occasion, but it’s also made me take chances, made me climb mountains, made me grow beyond my current skills, it’s made me shoot for the moon and sleep under the stars, made me start a bmx bike company at 19, made me fly to Indiana for an old convertible, made me return to college to finish what I started, made me talk to an attractive girl cold, made me leave a note and a flower on her car, and made me fall in love.   Not bad choices in hindsight.

And it’s my birthday!  I’m usually not the happiest on my birthday, but let’s keep this new ‘tude going – it’s wasted time to think of what could be or should have been, it’s time to make the most of today.  Big dreams, big cars, good friends, honesty, sincerity, laughter, love.

Lovin’ life, lovin’ you ~ Chuck and Cindy

 

Happy.  About time.

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Road trip update: Dude where’s your car?

Dude Where's my Car?

Please enjoy this break in our regularly scheduled programming, as we bring you an update on the status of the trip and updates on our subject.

The trip

  • The trip is still 100% on, still 100% amazing, and it’s over 100% obvious now that this is exactly what I needed – at least right now.   My art business of hand-drawn cards and photography is finally growing beyond my reach.  I was forced to fly back and restock my stores – a good problem – and may have also found a representative to manage my line going forward – regardless of where I’m at.
Hollywood cards in stock and for sale on the Warner Bros. lot!
Hollywood cards in stock and for sale on the Warner Bros. lot!

The car

  • The old boat is fine – actually better than fine.  After running amazingly for over 6,000 miles, the only thing that was lacking was the fact that during more than a couple significant storms, it was as if the water was knocking and the convertible top was saying “hello – come on in.”  So I left the car at Joe’s Upholstery in Frederick Maryland and high – tailed it the the airport for a 5-week break in the action and the soul searching.

The breakthroughs

  • After pestering Aramark aka Yosemite Hospitality LLC about carrying the children’s book I illustrated they finally got around to it.  The Story of Elmer in Yosemite is finally for sale in the Village Market in Yosemite Valley, and may possibly get a nice mention in the Sacramento Bee this coming Labor Day.
  • The kiosk I helped design and build will be installed this coming Thursday, September 9th, about my father’s efforts to save the Pygmy Forest and Jug Handle beach in the early 70’s.  In a perfect match of timing, the National Park Service will be visiting to dedicate the Pygmy Forest as a National Natural Landmark.  Awesome awesome awesome.

The lingering question

  • Where will I live?  When will I stop driving?   Somehow, with the above accomplishments and happenings, these questions just don’t seem to matter much.  Not just yet.
Heaven on earth.. Monument Valley Arizona and Utah
Heaven on earth.. Monument Valley Arizona and Utah
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Storms of life: hard to film, harder to describe

That was NUTS.  Did I really just survive that?!  SHOOT – Why didn’t I FILM IT??!!!  I could’ve mounted the camera right behind the seat and…  Oh that’s right, I was busy hoping I wouldn’t float away.

The storms' a comin'
The view west from Hwy. 65.. storm’s a comin’

The worst storm of my entire life – at least while in an automobile, was in Waterproof, Louisiana.  I’m not making that up.  The town is called Waterproof.  Unfortunately my convertible top was anything but.

 

The view before:

And during…

Wipers having no effect in Louisiana

Looking at these pictures now, from a comfortable coffee shop in sunny California, even myself I’m thinking “it probably wasn’t that bad, was I wimping out? I’ve been through storms before that were…”

No.  It was bad.  Really bad.  The wipers were having almost no effect.  The wind was pushing the car east towards the corn fields.  The road was not even visible.  Then the water started coming in.  First through the back corners – the gaping gaps between the window and top – then through the front by the latches, and the sides, dripping on my knees, my shoulders, all over.  Then because it was a two-lane road the semi-trucks literally buried me in a Maverick’s – style big wave smash of water every time I got a little comfortable.  The only picture I got (above) was after it had calmed down and by then there was an equal amount of water inside the car as outside.

Oh how I was cursing the man who said he’d put on a new top before I left on my trip then flaked out and never ordered it.  Curse. Curse. Curse.

*     *     *

 

Waterproof tower waterproof town flood

From the shot above it’s clear Waterproof has a history of this level of nonsense.  I’m sure the jokes are non stop and have made their way onto t-shirts, postcards, and hats.  Not trucker hats but real hats.  Hats that double as jackets.

Waterproof parka
According to the National Weather Service for my storm from June, one could expect “severe thunderstorms from North Dakota to Louisiana, with some locations receiving between 3″-6″ of rain, hail, and strong wind gusts.”  So no – I wasn’t imagining it.

 

*     *     *

 

Let’s give it one more shot – from Northern North Carolina…


Nope. Just not that impressive.

It sure sounds like a thick dose of self-help-blah-blah- but it might be just actually true – the storms of our lives are impossible to describe.  It’s why support groups exist.  “Oh you went through ___ ? No way – so did I.”  At least someone, somewhere, can somewhat relate.

The friends of mine who visited my father’s house-scourging project will forever have a different opinion and memory than those who didn’t.  It just couldn’t be described.  3,000+ records.  Books and old VHS tapes on every – EVERY inch of shelf space.  Not all junk though – cool stuff, framed butterflies, dried plants, amazing maps and posters, old books about American Indians, John Muir, Olmsted history, and more.  The “more” in fact is probably what can’t be described.  You just had to see it. Seventeen old stand-up record players.  A garage full of 100-year old Singer sewing machines.  An old cash register we couldn’t lift – how did he get it in there??  No idea.. let alone why.

 

*     *     *

So what – do we only hang out with those who can relate to us and all of our ups and downs?  Maybe.  If the storm / wound/ scar is very fresh maybe we don’t hang out with anyone at all.  If you’ve dealt with cancer in your family, or with losing a close friend, it’s not all doom and gloom but it’s also a losing case to try to explain it to someone who just can’t understand – just like you before you went through it.

Maybe though the storms can have an unintended effect – to wash off not just the dirt, but the cynicism.  The hard edge of life that builds up like the red dirt of Alabama on an old screen door.  Because when you come through a serious storm you’re usually at least one notch down.  Seeing your own mortality can do that.  Seeing a cliff you almost went off, a river you almost washed away in, existing in a car that’s dripping gallons of water on the inside yet somehow still keeps running…  You come out – at least I did – grateful.  Heart pumping faster.  Clearer vision.  Maybe even with a feeling that it’s time to call someone you care about.  Family, friends, “hey – uh, I wasn’t sure there for a bit but.. well anyway how are you doing?”

Tough to go through, tough to describe.

Maybe we don’t need to.  Maybe the change in attitude, the huge hug you give those you care about, the edge off of your road rage or phone manner will say enough.  Pushed to the edge is probably a good thing once in awhile.

*     *     *

But hey, your storms are your own – this is how I felt after mine..

My personal Shawshank moment White Lake, NC Floating on White Lake, NC

 

Happy Tuesday, it’s good to be here.

::

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The Neutral Zone: A break in the action

I see it in their eyes. I can read it on their faces before they even speak. Concern met with a slight disdain for the sheer irresponsibility of my not having an answer to their question

“Yeah but when are you coming back?”

Orange Beach, AL
Orange Beach, AL

It’s not like I have no idea, it’s just that the question needs some clarification. By “coming back” do they mean from this particular trip or from this transition chapter that I’m four years into and thought would be well over by now?

For all i know I may never come back.  And where is “back” anyway?

“I’ll take questions that don’t have clear answers for $1000 Bob” –

*     *     *


Everything I hoped would happen on this trip 
is happening – I’ve explored and slept in and driven through soul-stirring landscapes of awe and grandeur from California to Utah, from Zion park to Monument Valley, through the forests of northern New Mexico, the swimming holes and hill country of Texas, the parishes and swamps of Louisiana, the history (and sudden monsoons) of Mississippi, the sugar white beaches of Alabama’s gulf shores, the BBQ and music history of Nashville, and the down home natural beauty of the smoky mountains.  

In a 50 year old car that has no business running so well.

French Broad River, TN

I’ve been gone almost two months.

 

And yet I still feel like if I could just think for a bit, it would all get figured out.

“But how can you say you still need time or space to think?! You didn’t have time to
think in the vastness of Monument Valley?  On the long road from Reno to Bonneville? Or across Texas?  For crying out loud you should’ve been able to write your autobiography driving across Texas!”

That’s what I’m saying, yes.

I need more time.  Or maybe not. Shoot what do I know anymore anyway?

 *     *     *

I realize I’ve been hoping – for longer than just this trip – for a silver bullet – a clear and quick “aha” moment. One that I’ll look back on and say “of course!  How didn’t I see that?”  But what I’m probably going to get will be more like a barge carving methodically through ice and sludge in the Arctic, delivering the answer like a snail mail letter to scientists in a hut at the last stop on earth. 

It might take a while.

If life is a journey, not a destination, (yes I did just quote Steven Tyler), why do we think a major answer like purpose or calling from God and or the universe will appear instantaneously like a stuffed gopher popping out of his hole in the whack-a-mole game at the arcade?

Because we’re patient as long as it’s not *too* long.  I mean, “c’mon, Bobby I’ve got work to do!”

Corey and Corey2

(random 80’s teen movie references are always welcome)

Plenty of articles have been written – heck I’m reading a decent book right now called, of all things, “transitions.”  And it’s actually pretty good. 

Transitions by William Bridges

It talks about the endings, how important they are, and not much about the new beginnings because, I’m guessing, they’re new – that’s the point. The author doesn’t know what my new beginnings will look like just as I don’t either.

The interesting chapter I’m in now, and no I didn’t plan it like this, is called the neutral zone. That space when it feels like *nothing* is happening.  And I mean NOTHING.

 

Uh, ok yes I can relate. 

Nothing happen'n in Monument Valley
Nothing happen’n in Monument Valley

The author’s advice – you may guess – is that it’s ok. I know I know, everything’s “ok” from someone growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, but no – he’s not just saying its ok, but that it’s actually necessary. You have to go through a fallow time if you want to really leave whatever you were leaving behind.  

And yes, yes I do want to leave it behind.  

Tony and Alden :: Zion Narrows

So what now?  

Am I seriously no further along than when I started this journey?  Other than being 5,000 miles away from friends and family and the predictable weather of Northern California?

Well if it’s truly a process – this neutral time, this vapor paradox life, then yes, I’m actually much further along, in fact, I’d say I’m in the thick of the nothingness right now. 

NC State Line Collage

Sheer profundity I know.

 

But I am.  I gotta give myself some credit after all.  I knew what I needed, or at least something that I hadn’t had in over 10 years, and that I knew was important.  I planned it and took a leap of faith and here we are.  Charlotte. In July. Sticky. Cockroaches. Painting a house.

 

Me and my Ukulele

Welcome to my neutral zone.

And unless I want to stay in it forever I guess I’d better experience it, live in it, not rush it, not force my way through it.  Just be.

Shoot. I might actually be learning something.

Now where did that cockroach I thought I stepped on disappear to?

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Road Trip Rule #5:

Explore your roots - Olmsted Power Plant in Provo
Visiting my Great-Grandfather’s power plant in Provo, UT

Everyone’s got ’em.  Even if you’re adopted and just meeting up with your birth mother at a McDonald’s in Montana at age 20 it’s still important.

::     ::     ::

My dad had often talked of the power plant in Provo, but I guess with all my Olmsted history: Central Park, Boston’s Emerald Necklace, California State Parks Survey, and literally hundreds more, I just didn’t grasp that it was my actual Great Grandfather, Fay Deveaux Olmsted, who was chief engineer of a power plant in the Provo River Canyon that was just recently decommissioned – in September of 2015.  At only 26 years of age he happened into the position by being intelligent and available when the builders of the plant, the already proven Nunn Brothers, were busy working on the East coast with George Westinghouse.

Paul and Lucien Nunn had already made significant names for themselves when they created the world’s first Alternating Current Power Plant, just a few miles away in Telluride, Colorado, http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2641.htm and had convinced Mr. Westinghouse to work with them again, dangling a reputed pouch of gold, in fact $50,000 worth.

Unfortunately for “Fred” as he was called, my Great Grandfather contracted tuberculosis and died just a few months before the plant opened, at age 28.  Brothers Paul and Lucien named the plant in his honor.

Olmsted Power Plant Campus, Provo UT
Olmsted Power Plant Campus, Provo UT
Alden with Nancy and Daryl
Behind the scenes tour with Nancy Calkins and Daryl Devey
AC Current stamp
Original Turbine Generator at Olmsted Power Plant, Provo UT
Standing in awe at my Great Grandfather's power plant in Provo, UT
Standing in awe at my Great Grandfather’s power plant in Provo, UT

What makes this more than just a power plant is one factor that my father also shared: education.  The Olmsted Plant had dormitories and a complete program in place to house and school young engineering students, send them off to get a formal degree, and then many times to hire them back later in an effective cycle of book learning + hands on learning = extremely knowledgeable workers.  Also interesting to me was hearing how water was diverted from the Provo river and transported in channels cut into the mountain, oddly similar to the defunct water channels that my dad found in the late 1970’s that he would use to build the first wheelchair nature trail in the U.S., the Independence Trail in Nevada City.

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised anymore when things come full circle.

 

*     *     *

As we sat on the banks of the Provo river, ate our lunch and dipped in the chilly (but oh so refreshing) water, I ruminated on one feat of Fay D. Olmsted that the power plant tour didn’t cover: he also had a son.  Had he not had my grandfather Jack, pictured below, who went on to win a Rhodes’ fellowship, play briefly on the courts at Wimbledon, become a professor at UCLA and part founder of UC Riverside, and of course, become a father himself to Johnny and Billy then I wouldn’t even..  well, you know.

Jack Olmsted in 1909, Alden Olmsted in 2016
Jack Olmsted in 1909, Alden Olmsted in 2016

 

Maybe settling on a career isn’t the only thing I’m here to do.

 

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Road Trip Rule #4:

2,780 miles = Calif. to Charlotte.
4,780 miles = the route I took instead.

Monument Valley, AZ
Monument Valley, AZ

I used to be all about speed.  All about efficiency.  Now – it’s not that I don’t still love a well oiled plan or car or vacation or business model, I do, but you gotta know when to plan a trip, and when to take an adventure.   It would have been 2800 miles direct to Charlotte, my odometer when I arrived showed a tad more: 4,780 in fact – about 1500 more than even I’d estimated.  But so what?  I’ve been wanting to see Monument Valley for years.  Same with Zion.  Same with the Blue Hole.  Same with..  well you get the picture.  Of course I didn’t have to do everything on this one trip, but if life is in fact a highway, then I’m gonna ride it.  All night long.

And yes I think after almost 5,000 miles I’ll use a few cliches.  Bring it in boys it’s about who wants it more.  Let’s do this.

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Road Trip Rule #3:

Santa Rosa, New Mexico

I probably read about it in a random “seat-back” magazine put out by XYZ airline six or seven years ago: The Blue Hole.  I put it on my mental list like we all do – but in a strange way an in between spot like Eastern New Mexico feels more rare to visit than places much further away.

Part of a seven hole-network of natural springs in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, the Blue Hole is actually a premier dive practice spot at 81′ deep and with nearly crystal clear water.  Every six hours the water is completely regenerated, pumping out 3,000 gallons per minute.  And yes it’s pretty cold.  I’ve swam in the Colorado at 44 degrees, the Northern Pacific Ocean at 52, Lake Tahoe and the Merced River in Yosemite, among others, and yes, this is cold.   However it’s still a welcome spot along old Route 66 – U.S. 40 between Albuquerque and Dallas and highly recommended if just for the otherworldly feel of the place. Thankfully it’s kept up pretty well and located in a public park – only cost is $5 to park and well worth it.  Stop by.  Jump in.  Enjoy.

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