Friday, February 29, 2008

"You Puttin' Me On?"

Here you go. The best thing to do when you're blocking (as opposed to blogging), is to just put it aside for a couple of days, let it ferment, and suddenly it's all clear and ready to go. If my home page is any indication, there's a whole lot of blocking goin' on.... as I see nothing new for several days from Patrick at Terriermandotcom, nor Steve at Querencia, nor Christie at Dogged, nor even Brian at MGoBlog. In fact, the only new post is from Andrew at Regal Vizsla , and that's because he and his wife just returned from a most extraordinary "vacation". They're back in the Bronx, but their luggage is still somewhere in Mongolia. It'd be well worth your while to check it out.

But this post is supposed to be about my trip up to Magdalena to meet the above mentioned Steve Bodio... and the reason I was blocking, was that for two days I was trying to compose a post to impress the famous (in his fairly large circle) writer. Finally, last evening, it hit me: He's not going to try and impress me with his photography! ;-) So this post will include mostly what I do best: pictures. That first image up there isn't mine, but I'll get into that later.

I arrived in Magdalena about 9 am, and after a little searching, found Steve and Libby's house. First I met the dogs... the famous Tazis, from Kazakhstan, and Plummer, the English lurcher, (and Steve, correct me if I don't have it spelled correctly), and the little wired dachshund, whose name I forget... did I mention I'm terrible with names?... but remember that she's 13, and has her own set of steps up to the overstuffed easy chair.

UPDATE: Lily! Her name is Lily. Thanks Steve.

I've seen so many images on the Querencia blog of the interior of Steve and Libby's that it was hard to appreciate that this was my first visit. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of art on display... pretty much on every exposed wall surface - nature and wildlife and other works. And sculpture on most horizontal surfaces. Other rooms contained books... oh so many books; but that was to be anticipated, and finally, the gun room. Steve has written extensively about vintage firearms, shotguns mostly. I was allowed to examine a late 1800's British shotgun, and it was interesting to see the fine detail work up close and not through the glass of a museum case.

But I came up here to run some jackrabbits with Sandia and the Tazis, so after a breakfast at the Magdalena Cafe & Steakhouse, Steve and Libby piled their pack into their vintage Ford pickup truck, and I followed back down Highway 60, to the Lee Ranch, where they have exclusive and unlimited access to a couple thousand acres of pretty good jackrabbit habitat.

That's what they said, anyway. The ranch is on a huge, flat plain between the mountains that overlook Socorro to the East, and the Magdalenas to the West.

It certainly looked like good rabbitat. (I made that up.) So off we hiked, paralleling the fence. My first hint that this might not go as well as expected was when Steve said, "we've usually jumped a couple by the time we've gotten to this point". I should mention that it was now close to noon on the warmest day in this neck of the woods since October... if it wasn't 70, it was very close.

We changed direction, and headed north for a few hundred yards, then veered back toward the vehicles. Finally, I spotted a jack, but it had jumped over a hundred yards away, and was headed north. Sandia saw it, but I had him on a slip, and didn't release him. Steve's dogs didn't see it until it was almost out of sight. That's all they needed; away they went. I held Sandia. They came back fairly quickly, and we walked back to the cars, and the big stock tank which is a regular ritual for the Tazis, and especially Plummer, who's getting on in years and heats up pretty easily.

I finally let Sandia go so I could shoot some pictures. He wasn't much interested in the stock tank.

Back in the vehicles again, we returned to Magdalena to plan the rest of the day. I had to get back to Socorro and the rest of the herd who, as it turned out, Steve and Libby wanted to meet, so the plan was hatched. After Steve fed the pigeons, we'd go to the RV park, walk the dogs, (it's always good to have dog walk helpers!), and then we'd go to lunch at El Sombrero. That's when the day got interesting.

Steve offered to drive so we wouldn't need two vehicles. I got "shotgun", and Libby got the middle, and we headed for the restaurant at the north end of Socorro. I had noticed, when we were still in Magdalena, that Steve didn't bother with his seat belt, which is probably normal for the denizens of that little, out of the way village. He also wasn't using it as he drove to the restaurant. I didn't bother with mine either, so when the Socorro cop passed us, I wondered: do they enforce the seat belt law in Socorro? Maybe I should slip it over my shoulder anyway.

"WHOooop -WHOooop!!"

Guess enforcement's high on their list in Socorro. Be it safety or Revenue Enhancement, Steve's donating fifty bucks to the town coffers.

That little detour out of the way, and it was on to El Sombrero, or more correctly, Frank and Lupe's El Sombrero . We'd been told by a local friend that this place wasn't any good. Steve and Libby say it's the best place in Socorro for Mexican food. (The reviews at the link are, uh... equally mixed). Personally, my lunch was excellent, but if I'd read the menu description of the stuffed sopapilla completely, I'd have noticed the potatoes stuffed in there along with the excellent carne adovada. Add the rice and the refried beans, and we were a little heavy on the starch.

Lunch conversation, covered a range of topics from politics (we agreed to disagree), and food, and complaints about the Socorro police. It was probably the most fulfilling day of the entire 6+ weeks I've spent in New Mexico. I truly wish Margaret had been here, too.


Here's Steve, Libby, and the hounds in front of their casa. (That doxie's around there somewhere, too). Like I said, I'm lousy with names, but will fill them in if Steve sends them. Looking forward to his thoughts on the day.

I'll probably put up a new slideshow next door with highlights from this trip, and maybe the whole New Mexico trip.



  1. Great post Dan-- I will post too, and maybe include the pic in front of the house.

    Only correction is that the ancient dachs is a girl-- Lily, from Teddy Moritz who the Terrierman has blogged on.

    @#$%$%&*%$# safety Nazis.

  2. Dan I hope to see you at Deborah's on the 15th.


    You want to stop by the house on your way in? It's on the way.