May 29, 2015


“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”  Charles Dudley Warner

Carol writes:  As we left Santa Fe, we headed east to Clovis, New Mexico, for a much anticipated visit with our daughter, who had just undergone outpatient knee surgery the previous day.  Over the next few days, it was sort of like slipping back into the very early days of parenting as we helped out with meals and did household chores, all the while hovering close by until we were sure she had smooth sailing climbing stairs on crutches.  That’s what parents are for, right?

Like much of the United States, May turned out to be a rainy month in Clovis, with record rainfalls and extensive local flooding.  Many times during our stay in Clovis we heard that with a change in weather comes illness; sadly, our experience was no different.  First Al got sick, with body aches and a nasty, relentless cough.  Then, Carol had a horrible night of unexplained nausea and vomiting.  Over the next few nights we both had turns testing out sleeping on the living room sofa.  For a while there, the Galus Family was a sorry sight—daughter Megan on crutches, Al unable to get through 5 minutes without coughing, and Carol with sore ribs from ‘giving back’ her meal the previous night! 

Eventually, Al needed to see a doctor.  So--much sooner than expected--we had our first real test of how medical issues could be handled on the road.  Fortunately, Clovis is also home to Cannon Air Force Base and, as a military retiree, Al was able to get an appointment in Family Medicine.  Within 2 hours he had seen a doctor and was fixed up with a handful of prescriptions.  We owe much thanks to the men and women of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group for a job well done.

As you might expect, much of our stay in Clovis was spent recuperating, but we also had time to check out the commissary, health clinic and library facilities on base, plus we had time to enjoy catching up with our daughter by means of conversation and family time during several dinners together.

To be truthful, Clovis really is out in the middle of nowhere--and that is phrasing it kindly.  The nearest decent shopping mall is almost 100 miles away in Lubbock, Texas.  One day, during a break in the rainy weather, the three of us made an all-day excursion to South Plains Mall in Lubbock for a visit to the Apple Store.  We even got “treated” to a Texas-style dust storm on the way home!  I can state that without a doubt this part of the country will not be in the running for the next place we will call home!

By the end of our stay, Megan was crutch-free and driving once again, so Al and I spent one of our last days in Clovis exploring the real reason Clovis has a spot on the map.  Fans of archeology may wonder if that reason has anything to do with a simple but elegant little arrowhead called a Clovis Point.  Well, yes, it does--it was discovered in Clovis, thus acquiring its name.
The tiny but well-explained Blackwater Draw Museum tells the ancient story.

The nearby once spring-fed Pleistocene lake site, with its fascinating trove of ancient tools and animal bones, was a truly revolutionary find in 1929, for it pushed back the archeological clock by more than a millennium to 13,500 years ago as the date of the first human activity in North America.  Archeological artifacts unearthed at the site (and displayed in the museum) have documented that this ancient Clovis culture hunted mammoth and Ice Age bison.  So…while present-day Clovis may not be a very exciting place to live, its place on the map will forever be secure as one of the most fascinating archeological venues of recent times.

We seldom pass up an opportunity to visit a state park if one is in our path because, after all, each park must have some unique feature to justify its creation.  Since Oasis State Park was right next to Blackwater Draw, we dropped in for a visit.  The lake walk was a scenic stroll through some of our favorite desert landscape, with flowers in bloom courtesy of recent rains.  Arty camera pics practically snapped themselves.

The lake shore provided an irresistible backdrop for a selfie of the two of us in our new complimentary, super-nice Spartan Chassis jackets. 

FYI:  Our Entegra RV is on a Spartan chassis.
The state park campground was nicer than we thought it would be.  A brief stroll provided some excitement when this little critter slithered by as we were having a chat with the campground host. Quickly assessing the situation, the campground host recited, "Black touches red, feel no dread; red touches yeller can kill a feller."  I wasn't totally reassured.

As I write this, I can say Al and I are definitely on the mend health-wise, but we would really like to get out from under this prolonged unsettled and rainy weather system.  We have a good friend from Al’s teacher days who plans to spend the Memorial Day weekend in Ruidoso.  Knowing that we have 11 weeks to hang out in the southwest until our August rendezvous in San Antonio, it makes no sense to head east as we had planned.  It looks like we will have one more summer to savor the desert southwest that we love so much.  Heading to Ruidoso, NM to hang out with our friends over the Memorial Day weekend seems like a great plan.
As we round out our two weeks in Clovis, daughter Megan’s medical issue with her knee has not been repaired yet, but the diagnosis has been made and a good plan is in place.  We will meet up with her once again in San Antonio, Texas, in early August, for her definitive knee surgery.  We will be her helpers in San Antonio as she rehabs and recovers, then assist with getting her back to Clovis.  We are so thankful our lifestyle allows us the flexibility to be there when family needs us.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”  George Santayana

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