Jemez, NM

Admittedly, the last post turned into a bit of downer. Here’s the deal: the backroads have great scenery and driving. And, yeah, the scenery is still there because not as many people go on these routes and big businesses haven’t yet destroyed them. We took route 4 from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The road is all two lanes and slow and easily, without exaggeration, the best drive of my life. 

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Route 66 and the death of Americana

Driving gives me a lot of time to think, especially when we exclusively travel the backroads from A to B. We see things that we would have normally missed (just take a look at the destination posts from the blog). Sure, we still would have seen the National Parks, but we would have missed many of the state parks, the BLM land, the chance views and chance meetings with locals. And just to drive the point home, every once in a while we come to an impassable road and are forced onto the four lane madness of the US Interstate system. 

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Central New Mexico

The land that I love—New Mexico. It just keeps giving. Miracle and I sit down with our road atlas—the perfect wedding gift from our dear friend, Raj—and simply pick a route. We go. Miracle googles stuff and we read road signs; we talk to locals and pick up brochures. We drive and we detour. 

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Truth or Consequences

True story: At one point in time, Truth or Consequences was named Hot Springs. But in the 50s, there was a radio gameshow by the name of Truth or Consequences. The host said the first town to rename itself for the show would get… an episode aired from that town. Guessing incorrectly that this would be a great move, the town of Hot Springs became Truth or Consequences. As it turns out both truth and consequences are things people desire less than hot springs and the town fizzled. Lucky for us because this place is great. 

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Season 5 is coming!

The bassist from the band Slaughter. A bona fide New Orleans chef who lost everything in Katrina. A Canadian whose bus shares the same name as our dog. The CEO of the Dollywood Foundation. The Itinerant Air-cooled guy and his friend who runs McIntyre’s Home for Wayward Buses and Wandering Souls. A pastor who owns a wakeboarding ministry and took us in for a week. Two friends who met through their VW club. One of the guys who runs OldVolksTV and saw the new ID Buzz when it premiered. Season five is jammed-packed with stories and drops in one week. So set your reminders (or mark your calendars) for April 18, when all ten new episodes drop.

Oh, and remember Ben from last season—the guy who road tripped with four of his buddies? Well, we caught up with Tom, the ringleader, and got his perspective on the adventure. Check out the entire season as we relay tales from (mostly) the south. 

Cruces Creatives

We visited a couple from my old high school, Lea and Patrick, who moved out to Las Cruces and started a community makerspace called Cruces Creatives. They were kind enough to put us up for a couple nights and then give us a tour of their venture. Let me tell you, they are doing something really special. More than a makerspace where folks can simply create (and it certainly is just that with AV equipment, a dedicated children’s area, a full woodshop, electrical shop, a mushroom incubation chamber, bike shop / partnership, spray painting tank, and more), it is a place for sharing ideas. Together, Lea and Patrick are bringing parts of the community together—from agriculture scientists and ranchers and farmers to business developers and artists. The impact they are having on the community is being felt in real ways. Farming practices are becoming more sustainable and environmental impact is lessened. In my conversations with them (which were wildly entertaining and informative), they remained realistic and humble about their work, giving credit to their staff and volunteers, the community at large and their local government. I can’t say that I knew either of them particularly well in high school, but I think the secret to their success is them. They are hardworking, forward-thinking, risk-taking individuals who believe that seemingly disparate parts of the community have a lot to teach each other. Having studied makerspaces for my dissertation and TEDx talk, I can say as an expert, that they are doing it right. If you’re anywhere near Las Cruces, look them up, pay them a visit. You will be amazed at what they are doing for the community. I am proud to say that I know them. 

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Southern New Mexico

Ah, New Mexico—one of my favorite states. We trucked in from the south, which is almost as indistinguishable from the bleak Texas oil fields I mentioned previously. But once you push past that, you have all the kookiness of Roswell, the history of Billy the Kid and railroads and boom towns turned ghost towns. Add in the raw beauty of the red dirt and green scrub and you’ve got a recipe for adventure. 

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Playlist: New Mexico

State number 31 for us and one of my all-time favorite places. I went here as a kid and then as a teenager. I’ve been back several times as an adult and I always find something else to fall in love with. The red dirt and blue skies. The hoodoos and rivers and adobe buildings. The intersection of cultures. The art. The food. But here–here–I am just making something for our ears. Enjoy.

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New Mexico

Thirty-one states and 20,000 miles under our belts. This has been our route since January 1st. That big northward spike? That was our now-infamous engine breakdown. We booked it southward and stayed in St. Louis with our now dear friends, then trotted east with the good weather, only to be waylaid by faulty brakes. We stayed with Saint Bob of Tennessee while he patiently saw me through the brake job. Then it was smooth sailing—until the master cylinder went out along the Mississippi coast. But what a place to be delayed.

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Podcast: Shawn & Emma

Before setting off on our 49 state bus tour in our VW, Adie, we made a post on a Facebook forum asking for interview recommendations. This guy, Shawn Sullivan, messages us to ask if we wanted to be on his radio program called The Happy Trucker Show. We were on the program and instantly liked Shawn. As it turns out, he and his wife, Emma, own their own digital radio station, Happy Productions, out of Minnesota. Their logo is a cartoon rendering of their 1974 bus, Cosmo, hence their interest in what we were doing. Soon we appeared on their Afternoon Delight Program which is hosted by the both of them and they began to air our podcast on Wednesdays. At the end of October, we were in Wisconsin and decided to make the extra jaunt over to Minnesota to meet them in person.

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