Monday, January 22, 2007

Mostly Dry

...but at least I got on a boat, even if it was parked on the side of the mountain and many miles from sailable water.

The winter storms that had been forecast proved milder than expected. Friday night's storm only left about an inch of snow on the ground; Sunday evening's storm was also relatively dry, bringing more wind than moisture. But, we did get some good out of the storms and perhaps the mountains got a good bit more.

We remained in our Albuquerque home for a good part of the weekend -- an unusual activity for us. Friday night we remained at home because Saturday's Frostbite regatta had been canceled. Even though the predicted half foot or more of snow didn't quite materialize, temperatures were cold enough for sunbelt sailors, who aren't prepared for true frostbiting conditions, to give the weekend a pass.

On Saturday, instead of attending the regatta, "Tadpole" participated in a string bass recital along with two bass teachers and their students. A variety of pieces and styles were on display; we had one little girl plucking "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" after only her third lesson, with older and more experienced students playing much more sophisticated pieces. We had perhaps a couple of inches of snow, but the roads were quite clear.

Saturday night we weren't quite ready to travel anywhere, and we were still leery
of the forecast, so I re-read several chapters of Ernie Pyle's Brave Men while Tadpole and Carol Anne watched movies.

Sunday morning I was restless enough that running a load of laundry and cleaning off the overburdened dining table weren't enough. After Tad finished practicing on his cello, he, Carol Anne, and I loaded a sailboat boom and some equipment in our Expedition, Babe, fueled, and drove south from Albuquerque to Elephant Butte. There we pulled into the state park, where we'd left our MacGregor in case it had been needed as committee boat for the now-cancelled regatta, hitched her up, took down the mast and tied it in place for travel, and let Tad tow a boat for the first time. We left our MacGregor along with an Etchells boom at the apartment several miles from the lake, grabbed a quick snack, and then headed south yet again.

This time we drove just outside of New Mexico territory into old El Paso, where we stopped at Zorro's home to present him and his feline pride with some late Christmas gifts and talk about plans for the new Etchells Fleet 31 and for rehabilitating our very recently acquired Etchells racing sailboat, USA 438. We also picked up a reaching spinnaker, mainsail, and some jibs.

Driving around a mountain, and making a quick stop at a convenience store, we then headed out from downtown and then a little ways up the side of a mountain to Dino and Sister Rosebia's place, which is where 438 currently resides. Tadpole and I clambered aboard the boat while Carol Anne watch from the top of the ladder as we took a look around the cockpit and enjoyed the view. With the sun just setting over the mountain to the west, we could see much of the city -- and further south to Juarez in Mexico -- just as the muted daylight gave way to the city lights of the evening. Perhaps it's not too often that one gets to stand on the deck of a thirty-foot yacht while gazing several hundred feet below at the lights of densely populated cities in two countries.

We enjoyed some tasty snacks, chatted, and then had to leave town. We enjoyed the view as we began to leave, or at least part of the view. We didn't get to enjoy the whole view, scenic as it was, however, because Dino and Sister Rosebia's driveway twists up the side of the mountain like something in a Bond movie; it demands a certain amount of attention and respect. During the most recent winter storm, ice, unusual in El Paso, had hit their neighborhood, leaving ice and forcing Dino to leave his truck at the bottom of the driveway, quite a distance from his home. Of course, Dino has just the right sort of toy available for such an emergency, since he has a snow cat. Probably the snow cat was bought with visits to mountains in mind; otherwise, many years might pass before it would have much of a chance to be useful in El Paso.

A stop in Truth or Consequences to unload sails, another in Socorro for fuel and a late dinner at Denny's, and then we rolled back home. En route, we saw some snow that had accumulated around Belen and Los Lunas, but the interstate remained reasonably dry and did little to impede us.


Post a Comment

<< Home