Jephir Treks America: Bumbling Through Central America

A 6 week adventure in gastronomica, sights, and observation.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Morning, everyone...

One of the major problems with "standard" roadtrips is that everytime you sit down to write, something comes up - a park, city, conversation, your turn to drive or just plain exhaustion (which is much more troublesome than mountain or coast exhaustion). The last 3-4 days have not been writing-friendly. Thus, in an attempt to catch up quickly before Z and me hit the road again I'm going to use the (bad) haiku, both to sumarize and limit excessive verbal diarrhea (as if any were ok....)


Plop! Hot springs and truck.
Sunset drive to ABQ
Service sucks, go Sox!


Goodbye Sam and Kate
Coffee, wash, knock-knock pick-up
Late night thumber.


Oklahoma, rain.
Satellite Barista rocks.
Fix car? Nah, we're tough.


Tall grass, noisy truck,
Manhattan too small for fun.
Still goin' rainy.


Bike balmy Lincoln.
People watching, bad Thai food.
Tent sleep (finally).


Mojo coffeehouse
Wifi works and tasty brew
Onward to S.D.

P.S. if you want to download some silly videos, follow these links:

Delicate Jeff
Bumpy Sammo
Tall Grass Prairie Expressions

Those with slow bandwidth, beware.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Westward we go-go

Where we been...

Just spent half an hour on a post that subsequently was lost during transmission, so please excuse any brevity or lack of humour in the next bit (-our due to time spent with British companions as of late).

Santa Fe was great. A heated political atmosphere, all kinds of weird and wonderful art, and the smell of green chile permeating the air.

The weekend was spent in Jemez Springs, a town with a restaurant per meal and a not much else. The hills surrounding the area are beautiful and have three separate hot springs that you can drive and hike to. Both Red Sox games were watched with plenty of beer in hand. We braved drunken locals and horrid service to witness the beginnings of winter in hell.

More posts from a state northeast of here, assuming the truck still runs.

Oh, and we're going to start posting video links sometime soon, if all goes according to plans laid this past weekend.

Where we're headed...

Who we've been with...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Why are we here?

Excellent Question.

Where is here? Well, currently we're in Santa Fe, capital of NM, home to shopping, artistic communities and some of the more beautiful mountain views I've seen. Last night we spent a rather frigid evening in the Pecos Wilderness about halfway in between Taos and Santa Fe. Our campsite was at the Trampas trailhead, next to a rather lovely winding creek and below the start of the trail. Wildlife included chipmunks and bluejays - no bears so far...

But why are we in New Mexico? Friendship, I guess - our good friend and ex-roommate Sam is going through some tough times and needed a weekend away from his life. And who better to call when you want to escape your life than us? Discarded hairs, we're floating towards the drain with nothing but soapy bathwater to support us. And credit cards, of course. But then again maybe I've had too much coffee.

Because I've got nothing better to do, and due to the occasional request from parents, friends and potential staulkers, I'll outline a tentative trip schedule. After a weekend with Sammo in Jemez Springs, the plan is to hightail it back to eastern Kansas to see the Tall Grass Prairie then wander through Manhattan (Kansas, that is), Lincoln, Nebraska and various sections of South Dakota before landing in Grand Forks, ND on Halloween (Focus on the Family is against such cavity filled festivals). After a few days in the inebriating company of an old friend we head eastward to parts frozen and tall (think Chi-town, NYC, Boston, etc.). And that's about it.

Oh, if you get a chance, check out our new "photoblog" which has pics from our trip deemed blog worthy, but not so blog worthy as to make it onto the main page.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

CT is which way?

Currently in Taos, staying at the HI for free! (One of the benefits of knowing how to fold laundry) Why? Stay tuned and you'll find out tomorrow (to quote Zephir, "We'll think of a reason and post it soon....")

Quote of the Week:

"Some people don't want jobs that offer healthcare" - Linda Gorman (on a NPR show entitled Swing State which I can't seeem to find the transcript for)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Pritchett, CO

Picture of Pritchett
Just stopped off to mail a few things after escaping Carrizo Canyon - all that flatness and roads without signs can drive you batty while driving in circles. Fell into a 2 hours conversation with a couple of "locals." Mike and Sonny are renovating a set of buildings in this 4 block ghost town. Sonny moved from Florida about a year ago and takes care of bison on some property owned by the land trust. Mike prints T-shirts for a living, but if you listen to him it sounds as if he wants to resurrect the town. I guess Pritchett was once the broomstraw capital of the world. Now its nothing but abandoned buildings, a cafe where the merits of reading are still disputed and Mike's garden of organic veggies and various wildflowers. Vaguely reminiscent of Nick Nolte on a sober day, Mike's a vegetarian out of Boulder who's planning on turning the buildings into an art gallery, an ice cream parlour and a T-shirt shop. He and Sonny recommended visiting Picture canyon, Twin Buttes lake and a cliff jumping spot called the black hole. So if you're heading through this corner of Colorado on SR 160 and want some ice cream and conversation, stop in Pritchett and ask for Mike.

P.S. Still haven't hooked up to the web yet - currently in Ulysses, KS trying to figure out exactly what to do with ourselves...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Canyons in the Grasslands...


Nothing quite like awakening to mooing cows. Their gentle crying laps at your consciousness like some far flung northern lake. Then again, arriving in darkness is rather fun as well - only come morning do you see what the hobgoblins and devils are made of. This morning I sit in the southeastern tip of Colorado in the Comanche National Grasslands. Quinoa simmers to my right as Zephir coughs, puts on a show, coughs, rustles around a bit, coughs... you get the deal, eh?

This morning we're having said quinoa with avocado and dipping sauce, pu erh and yerba mate` teas and some ginger miso for good measure. Managed to hop out of bed juuust as the sun pulled itself over the edge, to the chirping of birds, aforementioned bovine companions and the rustling of the wind. This picnic area is composed of two "covered" picnic tables, a few fire rings and an outhouse. Sure glad we brought our own water.

Our particular site is on the edge of Carrizo Canyon, surrounded by short rolling hills, various coniferous trees and an abundance of shortgrass seeding this way and that. Zephir is currently taking a stroll about the grounds, like an English lord surveying the lay of the land. Off to breakfast - more later...
See, desolation!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Sickness descends....

Sickness has descended upon me. Struggling in Crestone typical of me to come ill prepared. I called Sherrie and Prescot too late, no response, my cell phone no longer works and the payphone is not far off. Maybe I have just forgotten how to use it. Lisi at the Desert Sage Restaurant has astounded us with the verbal tour of crestone not to mention his friendliness and his genuine helpfullness in finding my parents property. Turns out Shauna (friend of father's) works at the Desert Sage and if not for Lisi we probably would not have returned for dinner.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

First Day Out of the Boulder-Denver Closet...

Talk about a first day! Denver was our waking point, with a goodbye session consuming most of the morning. Chicken Barrons are hard to leave, even when adventure lies ahead.
Our first stop was in Colorado Springs at a lovely institution known to the world as Focus on the Family. Greeted at the door by a man with shining eyes found only amongst fanatics, true believers and car salesmen, we signed in and took a stroll around the place. Wandering through the cheerful halls on sees only occasional and subtle references to the almighty. Take the following picture.
Strange, eh? How many frogs have you met that were concerned with absolutes? In fact, it would seem that frogs were diamettrically opposed to absolutes (kind of;) due to their rather wishy washy, amphibian character. Lord knows they flipflop from water to land and back again. But maybe that's what was intended. Ribbit acts as a metaphor for man's condition with dry land representing the hereafter and water our day to day existence. Or perhaps I've been reading too much Tom Robbins as of late...

Of course, everything changes once you get to the bookstore - the otherwise friendly veneer of childrens games and parenting advice gives way to the impressive intolerance of this organization. Here is a collage containing some examples of interesting books to be found in the store.
I can understand the striving for absolutes, but it isn't fathomable to me that a religion which claims to teach compassion can feel the need for such vitrol. But enough hatred for one day...

Our next stop was in canon city, home of the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office. Friendly and moderately helpful, the staff only had National Park Passes for 2002. They suggested we visit Royal Gorge and told us about Valley View Hot Springs.

Royal Gorge is a Royal tourist trap, so I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but Valley View is what every hot spring should aspire to be. Cheap ($16/person, a $15 surcharge for a private cabin), beautiful (views up to 120 miles), natural (unchlorinated pools, many maintained without concrete) and clothing optional (enough said). We rolled in around 8:30, paid our money, grabbed one of the queen sized bunkbeds (brilliant idea) and wandered through the pitch darkeness in search of one of the hot springs. We ended up alone in a pool overlooking the valley. At 87 degrees it was nice, but not hot enough, although the bubbles were wonderful. We hurried back down the mountain after a bit and rotated from the hot tub to the 85 degree pool to the sauna (which had a pool inside - another brilliant idea). Interesting, friendly people abounded, and words cannot describe the incredible set up. A bit of miso soup and we called it a night.

Here are a few pics (links due to problems with picture sizes)

About as natural as you can get - even mossy rocks!

View from the back porch of our lodge (included in price).

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Anybody like enchiladas sauce?

Here's a rough and ready recipe for (alliteration and) your next batch of enchiladas:

4 small carrots
1 medium red or yellow pepper, roasted and peeled
2 serrano peppers, seeded
1/4 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp. chili pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken broth

Puree first 5 ingredients in food processor. Combine with seasonings and liquids in saucepan and reduce to half its volume over medium heat. Feel free to substitute or add veggies. For more heat try a habanero!


There are those of us who reside in the Land of the Bland, a world populated by saltless, limp vegetables, overdone beef and cornsyrup laced everything. We here in Jephirland attempt to avoid such... indiscretions. As such, our recipes will assume a love of spice, fat and especially flavor. If something appears outside the range of your tastebuds, it probably is, so avoid it like an Arrogant Bastard. Happy enchiladas!

What we've been up to the last week

Other than taking Spanish SAT II Subject tests, that is...

How'd I do? Let's just say "we'll see."

Now I need to find another excuse to avoid spending time with Zephir...

Below is a little photo essay of the last week.

If you're in Denver, eat at this place, it's spectacular.

I smell Jerky! Jerkyjerkyjerky!

The car part pumpkin.

The fruits of Cecatae's labor.

Coincidence? Or artistic skill rivalling the great masters? (can you see the hair?)

I want to be Superman.

Pink poodles. Yep.

Befuddled amonst the cattails.

Biking about in the wilds of Boulder. Treacherous. Bewildering. Flat.

Fall(se) happiness.

This is an amazing photo. Look! It's fantastic! Amazing! Defies captioning!

Girl meets pumpkin. Pumpkin blushes.

Pumpkin hunting amongst a few gourds?

Zephir and Fronny, waiting at dusk for a bit o' wisdom.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

VP Debate

Not everything I would have liked - frustrating to watch Edwards let Cheney off the hook on many things and not answer the question about black women with aids IN AMERICA.

Anyway, test in 4 days, study more...

Any pictures you'd like to see of the Jephir?

use the comment button below...

p.s. really excited about the new Matt Stone/Trey Parker movie...

Friday, October 01, 2004

No time...

Presidential debates, spanish studying, hives, unrequited yearnings for wild mushrooms, spanish studying, free vicky's panties, gallons of coffee, weblogs and the dreaded Sims have conspired to keep me from posting much lately.

Nice to see Kerry hold his own, if not win the debate outright.

If you get a chance you should see this movie
off for sushi and spanish...