My first-ever visit to New Mexico is making me want to come back.
Rock Hound State Park is located just East of Deming, along the Western edge of the Florida mountains (not to be confused with the state of the same name).
Unfortunately I was unable to book any programs here. Libraries in both Las Cruses and Placitas expressed an interest following my initial proposals, but neither ever followed through on that interest.
Anyway, with no evening commitment, I instead hiked the base of the mountain just beyond the campground.
I saw half a dozen cottontails, several birds I couldn't identify, and a garter snake. Those rabbits are quite well-camouflaged. Can you find it in this pic? I only spotted him when he moved.
I was hoping to spot a rattlesnake, but no such luck. I was, however, lucky enough to witness and photograph a pretty glorious sunset:
If anybody in New Mexico reads this, I'm interested in a return visit - and one for longer than one night - especially if I could add the state to my list of places where I've delivered Beatles programs
With our arrival in Arizona this evening, I have six talks over the next six days throughout the greater Phoenix area, starting at the Mesquite Library:
Saturday, 19 March 2016, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Mesquite Library, 4525 E Paradise Village Parkway N., Phoenix, AZ
From the Shadow of JFK: The Rise of Beatlemania in America
Many Beatles authors and scholars have cited John F. Kennedy's assassination on 22 November 1963 as a cause of the Beatles' sudden popularity in the United States in early 1964. Their logic: Kennedy's assassination made America sad, then the Beatles made America happy again. But this commonly accepted answer is overly simplistic. America has suffered numerous tragedies and rebounded each time, but the popularity and staying power of the Beatles remains unmatched in American history. The real answer is that Kennedy's life and death inadvertently primed the nation for the Beatles' arrival and success. This 60-minute program will explain how and why.
JOHN (Aaron's father and travelling companion on this tour)
I was telling Aaron I don't understand how musicians survive many weeks on the road performing. This is the second week we've toured the South, and Aaron has presented several lectures. He's done the work, I've done most of the driving, and I'm pretty much beat.
There are times when I've thought I'd rather pull out the couch bed in our travel trailer and zone out for the evening rather than drive to the next lecture site.
Of course, if I weren't driving, I'd have missed the Texas ranch sign announcing the complaining residents of "Belly Acres," so there are some advantages to being behind the wheel.
But driving across the country is more tiring than I expected. The poor weather those first few days on the highway didn't help. We were plagued with rain almost constantly. My leg, neck and arm muscles would rebel after sitting behind the steering wheel awhile. I had been gripping the steering wheel of our 2010 Chevrolet Suburban long and strong enough that they felt like they'd transformed into a new steering wheel cover.
I have nothing but respect for semi tractor trailer drivers, but when they whoosh by in the passing lane, block the crosswinds and create a vacuum that forces you to grab that wheel and pull your rig the opposite way just to stay on the road, that gets tiring. Then, when the trucks have passed, the winds return to push you the other way. "Keep those hands on the wheel" takes on a different meaning than when my girlfriends used to spout such warnings when we'd go for a drive.
Paying attention to mirrors is important. However, the tow mirrors and the rear camera attached to our tow vehicle make pipsqueaks out of the monstrous semis approaching from behind. The mirrors and camera fool you into thinking you've got miles between you and other vehicles when in reality they're feet from you. More than once a truck seemingly far behind us and in the same lane has scared the bejesus out of me when it swings into the left, passing lane just inches away.
I also have to quickly circumvent those blown truck tire cast-offs as we speed 70 mph along the pavement.
Not only that, but out the windshield is a constant array of distractions: Was that a Great Blue Heron soaring to the east? A hawk looks like a statue on that utility pole wire. What was that chicken-sized, skinny bird with the elongated tail (mostly likely a Roadrunner)?
Of course, Aaron pointed out that entertainers have employees to drive them to their gigs, set up lodging arrangements (we have plenty of required preparations to set up camp with our travel trailer), and arrange for meals.
Oh. Yeah. That's right. Maybe the superstar life wouldn't be so bad after all....
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.