Remember Los Alamos

5th June pm

We left the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe late afternoon. Heresy it may be; but I really don't 'get' her so much. Yes, wonderful colours, a great reflection of the New Mexico red mesas etc, but what? I actually preferred the history - she was married to Alfred Stieglitz, himself a passionate artist and a strong pioneer for photography as an art form. The couple, although geographically separated by their respective passions for New Mexico and New York, wrote daily to one another, and Stieglitz considered O'Keefe his muse.

The church outside the O'Keefe Museum

Anyhoo, Sarah enjoyed the exhibition a good deal, but finally we set sail once more. Leaving the storm clouds around Santa Fe behind us.

It's not a long drive from Santa Fe to Los Alamos, but on the way there are several interesting places. In fact, we were a bit nervous, having done our research. Apparently it's a very bad idea to hang around in some villages/towns, especially the bars/saloons, without a local escort.

"

We don't like no damn strangers round these here parts. Goddamn gov-ment spies. Goddamn gov-ment. Damn chipmunks. They tooke ur joubs,"

 etc etc

However, our biggest issue came when we entered Los Alamos itself. We tried to follow the highway through the town, but there were many signs saying the road, the land, the area, everything was gov-ment prop'ty. In time, we arrived at a guarded checkpoint.

"G'day sir,"

"Good day. Sorry - we were just following the road."

"It's okay sir, this is the right road. Just new security arrangements around the Los Alamos National Laboratory."

"Oh right. I heard something about that. Quantum chipmunks, or something?"

"Sorry sir?"

"Err, nothing."

"Well, do you look or sound funny?"

"I don't think so. Not so much anyway. If you ignore my last comment."

He stared at me. "Where are you going next?"

Damn, about the only question I couldn't answer. "Errr. Wait. I'm thinking. Wait. Errr."

"I'll have to rush you sir."

"I know it, I know it. Just give me a second."

"Sorry sir..."

"Right! It's right, we're going right!!"

"Okay, that's correct.

And her? Do you vouch for her?"

"I suppose so, yes. I know her quite well. She doesn't torture chipmunks, or anything like that."

"Well, we had better escort you through the site. Please follow that unmarked car there, driven by the guy with the shades and the whiskers. See 'im?"

"Yes, yes okay."

"Good day sir. Remember to report any suspicious chipmunks."

"I shall. Thanks! Bye."

Obediently we followed the unmarked car with 'Los Alamos National Laboratory Security ('To serve and protect chipmunks') on the rear door (it was a big door). They peeled away at the next security checkpoint, after we had successfully circumnavigated several razor-wire compounds, and we were free, back on our own. At the end of the road we turned left, just to keep the buggers guessing.

Left turned out to be the road to the Bandolier National Park, but no vehicles were permitted beyond the Juniper Campground. It was late, and our stowaway chipmunks were driving me crazy. Always bloody singing. So we picked a quiet spot, and paid our 10$.

We were certainly closer to the forest fires now. The red/orange glow was reflected in the clouds and the darker smoke...

I might have overdone the colour correction. A touch.

Trying to make the most of it, we went for a little hike (the bikes still non-functional), and had some fun with my new toy - the remote trigger!

Sarah explaining how I should have taken the picture, in fluent Italian.

Ultimately though, the rules on the campground were somewhat Draconian, due to fire risk and just because... we were happy to leave early the next morning.