In 2006 I took a Road Trip from San Francisco to New Mexico and back over the course of a month, writing and taking photos all the way. Two years later I had a show of paintings based on those photographs. This is one of a series of twenty-nine posts of those paintings accompanied by the relevant diary entries.

027 abominable snow mansion, arroyo seco, NM

At the Abominable Snow Mansion, oil on board, 8 x 9 inches (approx.)

20. May 13th, 2006

I enjoyed my stay in the Abominable Snow Mansion. It was the exception to the apparent rule that American hostels must be unfriendly to maintain their cool. It was a very friendly and relaxed place and great as a base. I could sit in my tiny shed (thinking of me happy in a tiny shed makes me laugh), or in the garden, or field really ( you could also camp in a wigwam, or tipi, but, given my conflict with cultural repackaging I preferred my shed), or in the outdoor living room or in the comfortable living room in the house. People here were bit more real, or maybe just older. Maybe it is the nature of places like Taos to attract seekers, people who are open.

I am in Burger King. Comfortable here. It’s weird when Burger King is more real than the “Alley Cantina”. Fat Indians stuffing their faces are more genuine than the Pueblo carry-on.
I am in a low mood, bad sleep, headache, hotter than the previous night. I think there’s a storm coming. Pissed off about going back. Back to my non-life, back to THAT job. Would like a job where I was needed, had some physical and intellectual freedom. Would like to be a detective!

I have a habit of reading detective novels. They are to my brain what a bone is to a dog. Keeps it busy so it won’t chew on other things. It works about half the time…

Leaving tomorrow. Went to see the Earth Ship Community today. Couldn’t find out how much it would cost to get one built.Β 

The Earthships are off-grid houses built from mud, beer cans and tyres.

Polish girl on reception had a funny eye, the pupil off-centre, dragged downwards. I think if I was dealing with the public I’d wear an eye patch.

Especially if the public are like me and they obviously stare at it. Anyway I think eye patches are cool…

This was the day I stopped on a bridge over the Rio Grande. Didn’t mention it at all.

The other day in town, standing at the lights on Kit Carson Street, a pick up drove by full of cowboy boots. Not in boxes. Just boots, piled high.

One of the only sketches I did…and this from memory. Not great. I was relying on the camera mostly. Since then I have returned to using my sketch pad a lot more again.


Went shopping for gifts in Arroyo Seco. What a pain in the ass. Got a few things though.

So funny. I always used to feel I had to buy people things when I am away, and the ‘shouldness’ of that feeling makes me not enjoy it. Or used to. I am over it now. I don’t buy anyone anything any more…

Books:Finished the Doss book about an Indian detective (like Hillermans’ books) , that I bought yesterday.

James Doss, can’t even remember this one…

In the middle of Ceremony-its a bit irritating…

I never finished it..

Finished Winonas’ Web during the week and a Michael Connolly also. I left that one in Flagstaff with a request to the next reader to say hello to people…

The ‘boys’ are kicking football outside and just kicked it into my shed. I think they broke something. Do they ever grow up?

If, in these posts, I Β come across as judgmental, that’s because I am. I try not to be. It is something I have worked on but I can still be a brat. Often though, the judgement is directed eventually at myself..

In the Plaza today there was a comical protest against…what?the war?nuclear weapons?something…conducted by a few women in shapeless t-shirts and leggings and skirts. Comical because they are the archetypal old hippies and dressed like that and banging their little drums no one will take them seriously. They look sad. I think I am starting to look sad. The whole front of me is starting to get that middle-aged saggy thing happening. Oh dear.

Overcast still. Smell of warm grass. Pattys’ not at her easel. She’s a brave woman. Wonder if she knows that…

The other lady left this morning. The one going on retreat. Sad to see someone whose name you don’t even know just leaving. Never see her again.Who is she?What’s her life like?

I have always had this love/hate relationships with hostels. I think its because I am a raw type of person. You meet people, connect with them very quickly and then suddenly they are gone. It is something that always tweaks my abandonment issues. As I have become older I have begun to be OK with this. In a way you realise you never really lose anyone.

Was in Wal-Mart today. Happier there than in the Indian Pueblo.

Sad to say I am a big supermarket fan. And yes I know now they treat their employees like crap…but there’s so much stuff in there…

Later-good chat with a guy motorbiking around, don’t know his name. He is going to set up a hostel in Eastern Europe, spends half the year in Thailand…then an English couple, in their 20s, nice, relaxed with each other, joined us. They are driving around the States for 6 months. Great chat, should keep me going for a while. We’re all heading off in different directions tomorrow.Β 

Even though I am at the outer point of my journey there are still adventures (and complaining) ahead…



  1. (you forgot to switch off :D) love the earth ship photo’s and the abominable snowman painting. Nothing wrong with being happy in a shed I’ll have you know! πŸ˜€

  2. Shite..I thought I did..I don’t think I know how to! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ ah well I was missing you already…yes your shed!Sheds are the business, may you be as happy in yours as I was in mine πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ x

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