28 October, 2008


well kids, did the 800 some odd mile trip to texas. took the dog too. so instead of hauling butt non-stop for 13 hours and slamming red bulls, i chilled and stopped whenever mason needed to pee or to play on the various roadside playgrounds as well as to feed, water, and to make the dog go too. all in all it took about 16 hours. ouch. it was mind numbing but thank god i own a toyota and mentally didn't need to worry if it was going to implode or anything. the weather was exceptional for making such a long trip. i was worried about one particular mountain pass-raton pass in nm-and the general high altitude in colorado.
here's the road-side view of capulin volcano
i finally stopped at capulin volcano and rest assured it was worth all the five bucks i paid for the entrance fee. snapped some pretty cool shots. would love to ride my bike up there one day. there was a 10k race up and back down the volcano the day after we sightsaw. seems intense. no guardrails either. scary if you fall. could be fatal for both car and pedestrian.
here's the birds-eye atop the geographical anomaly...
after getting in late saturday evening; and, after mason and i eating like fiends; and, after not sleeping-in late we started our first official day of vacation on sunday. i've been a member of my hometown church in plano for forever. there, i met an old high school chum of mine. we hung out for years as close high school buds but now as forty somethings it's funny that we still appreciate each others' company. he married a friend of mine's wife after he passed away (what i'm trying to say is she's a widow). then i got to see another close high school friend, jimmy. jimmy and lisa are new parents and i like them a lot so it's always a treat hanging out with them and their daughter gianna. time is fleeting people. time also has a way of making people live larger (if you know what i mean). that's why i ride. coupled with my vanity i really don't want to let my body go. i regress, anyhoo it's no longer a cute, north texas town in the middle of nowhere with useful amenities; it's now home to major fortune 500 companies like frito-lay, jc penney's, and eds to name a few. and along with these bastions of capitalism come the cumulative, radiative infrastructure of progress like...streets! all the roads i would normally travel on are now arterial, multi lane, toll roads and as luck would have it, i'm coin less. my hometown has mutated into a non-descript aggregation of homogeneity replete with boredom, trophy husbands and wives, manicured residential areas, restaurant chains, malls, all made with infinite surface areas of concrete, glass, wood veneer, and shiny steel. thanks, but no thanks.
we went and visited some close friends of my parents and in fact she was responsible in helping to raise me when i was a toddler back in the philippines. she has cancer and we wanted to visit her to catch up and to be empathic because she's such a great spirit. also down in that neck of the woods was my alma mater, the university of texas at austin. i always wax nostalgic about that place; and, it was another opportunity to visit my cousin gerard aka gerry. after my dad and i hung out in austin we met gerry. here's a funny cycle of life episode that occurred to me: you know, my ulterior motive in doing this trip was for a chance for me and my son to bond (which we have and i'm karmically thankful and humbled); but what's also happened is my father and i got a chance to do some bonding as well. three generations of father-son bonding. very, very satisfying and meaningful as a son and father. when we were at my aunt's house, since she had company there already, i invited my dad to join me in austin. he did, and we chatted away like the way fathers and sons should. being in close quarters in the car and then taking a pedestrian tour of my beloved campus with me sharing the places i used to frequent: the commons, the six pack, the stadium, my freshman/sophomore halls...aww it was great! just me and him walking around shooting the shit. mason opted to stay with lola at aunty's house. i felt really confident and proud having him as my dad and we were just like two buds walking and talking away in a campus that's near and dear to my heart. i certainly hope that my mother and father's monies did not go in vain for my top tier educational degree and experience with our shared, ground level, walking tour o'austin machmoud-style.
the fountain shot with the infamous bell tower
we then met gerry for dessert and coffee at the flagship whole foods store and he said it's been a while since he hung out with aunty so we all caravaned for a late dinner at aunty's house. it was awesome! before we left we bought some fine, hand-made, quality cannellonis and two maredsous trappiste ales (one triple and a double) to compliment our dinner. when you're surrounded by family and presented with a fine dinner and exquisite beverages to wash down said food-it...is...sublime. it was also an almost perfect day weather-wise. the only thing missing was my children and my lovely wife. the moment was still near perfect. whatever part of the brain that's responsible for joy and happiness was kicking out the appropriate hormones in excess. we spent the night at aunty's house too.
in the morning i cooked breakfast which was breakfast burritos with the filling of hash browns mixed in scrambled eggs. aunty's husband, chuck, also owns an '05 corvette zo6 where he gave me a joy ride. to ride shotgun in a 505 horse powered beast is always fulfilling for a car lover such as myself. wow.
the rest of the day was spent fighting dallas rush hour traffic to get back in a decent time. it was also my mom's birthday so i bought halloween themed cupcakes and made stir-fry for celebratory purposes. guess what we washed down the dinner with...maredsous!
the high alcohol content made my dad take a nap; when he napped and my mom did some work-related errands, mason, ruby, and i walked down to the playground where we commenced to bond and took play-making to the next level.
my mom and dad and their largess went clothes shopping for my family. i am thankful for such gracious parents and i certainly hope when my kids are in college or are parents themselves, i can reciprocate likewise. so as a sign of my thankfulness i made another vegetarian dinner of creamy walnut pasta without the nuts. if you're a philistine (not a beer snob), you'd probably know no better and would drink trappiste ale in a generic pint glass; but if you're a beer snob (like me!) you'd instead, partake of this nectar in a wide-mouthed goblet or a chalice.
this helps retain the fruitiness, maltiness, and alleviate the carbonation of this divine beverage constructed under the supervision of holy men wearing robes, living in monasteries speaking mostly flemish. amen.
since my folks dig my breakfast burrito concoction, i made this again for our last breakfast before my trip back home. today was the day i pack our stuff for my return trip. instead of doing the 800 mile trip in one day, i'ma break it up into two and spend the night 'round the halfway mark in a small town called dumas, texas. pretty podunky, filled with price gouging hotels.
we head out at six in the morning and once in new mexico with the sun just poking through, it broadcasts this flat light onto the grass sitting above the volcanic base layer. just straight roads, with mt dora in the background and dormant grass all around. kinda surreal so i play some surreal music: sufjan stevens' enjoy your rabbit.at raton pass, since i'm westbound, i arrive with the sun just poking through the mountains. it made a scenic little vista...i arrive with time to spare to take a nap and head off with sweet melissa and mason to our daughters' halloween festivities at their school. phew! what a break it has been! i'm making plans to road trip again in may...


Groover said...

What an epic trip! Great piece of writing. Sounds like you had the time of your life. And I'm with you on the beer glass. :-) Creamy walnut pasta - yum. What's the recipe?

...it's me!... said...

Howdy Sandra. It was a great trip. Mason and me. Great. The Cookbook's called Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. It was a restaurant my wife frequented when she went to school in upstate New York. Hope things are good...