September 25, 2001

9/25/01 Truth or Consequences

75.2 / 8277 miles

Judy insisted on cooking me breakfast because there wasn't much between here and T or C. As we ate, she told me that she had gone to TWU for her freshman year of college. "The humidity was unbearable!" she remembered. So, the next year, she transferred to the University of New Mexico.

Took a few pictures of some of Holly's artwork at Martha's Black Dog coffeehouse, then headed out of town. Passed a few small towns outside Socorro in the first five-miles. After that, I seemed to leave civilization behind. Because of some prime wetlands, the area was made a National Wildlife Refuge called Bosque del Apache. Still a little too early for any migrating birds. Even the Visitor Center was closed.

by Holly Hughes

The miles seemed to inch by as the temperature increased. The desolation was so complete, no houses, no ranches, not even any outbuildings. I didn't even see any animals, let alone birds. I couldn't even get off this road if I wanted to. I didn't even pass any dirt roads, just pavement. Up, down, straight ahead. And getting hotter every minute.

And out of this desert, I saw a mirage, The Santa Fe Diner. But it was real, a truck-stop in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Socorro and T or C. Boy, that cool dining car was a welcome relief. And the food was good too. The owner said he had a guy working for him that crossed the country in a horse-drawn buggy to Washington, D.C. We agreed that there are some pretty nice people out there.

Reluctantly, I headed back out into the heat, but this time onto the interstate. The road seemed to go on for miles on a level mesa, but at least three times, I descended into, then out of a canyon. I made pretty good time even though I always seemed to be cresting a hill.

Finally the town of Truth or Consequences came into view. I'd picked up a flyer about the hostel, so it was pretty easy to find. The Riverbend Hot Springs [] is an eclectic collection of buildings, trailerhomes, and even a teepee or two. I was planning on going out for dinner but everyone at the hostel invited me to a communal meal of spaghetti. Everyone here is so laid back and genuinely friendly. Pete's from South Carolina and came out here to work. An old roommate of his from Boston, Mark, has been working at the hostel for a while. Kurtric was traveling cross-country but stopped moving when he passed this way. Robert is a hostel regular who calls Florida home. Dane lives year-round at hostels all over the USA. And Louise is traveling to Tucson on a motorcycle.

After dinner, we all sat around the fire. A very comfortable atmosphere. Later, we were joined by Max who couldn't pass up a dip in the hostel's hot mineral baths. I went back to the guys trailer to watch a little TV. With over one hundred videos to choose from, I settled on the "Thomas Crown Affair."