It’s summer and we’re off to Granma Merrill Patterson’s cottage outside Red River New Mexico with Jim n Katie Patterson. Last year’s Rotary Exchange Student to South Africa from Ardmore OK, Dottie Moffett comes along thanks to Katie’s generosity and insight!
Jim had a birthday. From the size of the fire it looks like it was a big ‘un!
There were five jeeps: Old Red – Pattersons, Old Green – Hrbaceks, Old White – Glen Payne, semi-old White – Mindemanns and New Blue – Manars. We explore the dirt roads and mountain passes in the jeeps with ice-cold Coors and bloody marys in hebcoolers tied to their tailgates.
One night it’s partytime in town! The wicked metropolis of Red River! Jeff Manar drives us there in New Blue (he’s 14). Meet a petite girl who asks me n Dottie how old we are and doesn’t believe we’re 18 so I show her my passport: 1955. I ask how old she is and she laughs and shows us her ID: 1946!! She’s 27! She looks 19. She’s dancing on her own having fun, free as a bird! A real-life hippie on the road in the USA.
She tells us where she’s staying and says we should come and visit.
The next day Jeff drives us out to where she’s staying in Arroyo Hondo in a communal adobe house. I’m really looking forward to seeing her again. We ask a housemate, a guy who is watching the Watergate hearings* all day while filing down a Ford flywheel one tooth at a time to fit his Chevy and then hit the road again one day.
“Sally? Oh, she hitched off to California early this morning to go catch a rock concert out there”.
Off to Taos Pueblo where Dennis Hopper and Timothy Leary hung out.
Hopper starred in Easy Rider, filmed here and elsewhere in 1969:
Hummingbirds at the cottage; Walks in the Sangre de Cristo mountains; Drives on the jeep tracks, Fly fishing in the streams:
*The Watergate hearings were on TV from May 17 1973 to June 27 1974, broadcast live during the day on commercial television; Some 319 hours were broadcast overall, and 85% of U.S. households watched some portion of them. They led to President Tricky Dick Nixon’s resignation on 9 August 1974 a step ahead of being impeached.