The Agonies and the Ecstasy

Ranch Entrance

Snowy Ranch

Yesterday was full of challenges and joys. Perhaps it was an indication of what is to come in the next eight weeks – days full of challenges and joys, intermingled with everyday activities such as laundry and cooking.

First, the challenges: We were traveling along I-40 in the Texas Panhandle when the storm began – first a few icy plops on the windshield, then sheets of sleet, then finally wet, sloppy snow. Since we are Wisconsinites, we didn’t have an inordinate amount of difficulty driving in the messy, white stuff.

However, there were plenty of other drivers who refused to slow down so they could drive safely on the road.  And there were many, many more semi-truck drivers whose sole ambition in life was perhaps to prove that no matter what the weather, they could still drive 85 mph on any Interstate constructed by man.

Many of these drivers were wrong, as was quickly proven when two semi-drivers had rollovers and effectively blocked the west-bound lanes of I-40 heading into Albuquerque. Dozens of cars and jack-knifed semis also stopped in various states of distress along the roads, as reported by the New Mexico DOT. (We were a few hours behind these numerous accidents, on I-40 West, heading towards a Super Bowl party in Albuquerque.)

Considering that first of all, the roads weren’t much fun (or safe) to drive on, and second of all, there was no scenery to see in the white-out conditions, and third, the road ahead of us was closed for no telling how long, we did the sane thing. We stopped at the first town we came to, Tucumcari, and got a hotel room.

The weather and the driving was the agonies part. (Some of the other drivers were down right scary, and Sherpa drove in silence, with his teeth clenched, for at least 30  miles.)

The ecstasy part came next. The hotel provide plenty of activity: we caught up on our laundry that we’d hauled, wet and dirty, from Madison; we luxuriated in the hot tub; we ordered out Chinese food; we walked across the street to a gas station for beer and tequila; and then we turned on the television just as the Super Bowl game–not the hype–was about to kick-off.

We enjoyed a most marvelous game between our beloved Green Bay Packers and their worthy opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the ecstasy part: Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25. Yes, the Green Bay Packers won — they are the Super Bowl Champions!

So Sunday was a great introduction to my adventure–a bit of agony, a bit of ecstasy. Oh, and I took 322 photographs, many of which I deleted, but there were a few fun ones I kept to document the snowy weather in Texas and New Mexico.

And tonight? If all goes well, we arrive in Tucson tonight, a few hours behind schedule, but we’ll arrive at the condo tonight. Hurrah!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is living in Tucson for the next eight weeks, exhibiting her photography in art fairs, taking photographs in deserts and desert gardens, and blogging about learning to live on her own. Visit as she writes about living and working in Tucson. Her mantra is “Bo goes solo!”

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. It is remarkable and fortuitous that you both are 1) still with us and 2) in good shape! What a horror story – the drive, the snow, the speeders – ICK! Sorry you missed your Super Bowl party but what a great find in Tucumcari! Hot tub, football, laundry done, Chinese food and libations – yay! We rooted and cheered the Packers on all night at our own SB party and CONGRATULATIONS PACKERS! Be safe!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yep, we are in good shape and traveling again today. Wasn’t a bad way at all to spend the time–Packer win, hot tub, etc… 🙂

  2. Not just Chinese food in a snowstorm but Chinese food that DELIVERS! Ecstasy for sure! Glad for you the Packers won and that you are coming South. Soon you’ll make the big turn West and then. . . home! (the new one!)

  3. Yes, I sure understand about driving in winter weather concerning the other drivers, and what you wrote: “Sherpa drove in silence, with his teeth clenched, for at least 30 miles.” Indeed, been there. I’m sure glad you found a delightful place to stop, get out of the madness and enjoy yourselves! We watched the Superbowl and rooted for the Green Bay Packers. Yeah! May the rest of your trip not be so crazy, and remain safe.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Today dawned bright and sunny and we’ve been on the road all day, admiring the amazing scenery in eastern New Mexico and southern Arizona. It will be great to get to Tucson, though. 3 1/2 days of driving is about 2 days too many! 🙂

  4. I’m glad you stayed safe! Also that your Packers won! Looks like you had the best Super Bowl party!

  5. Glad you’re still smiling in the face of some obstacles. Yes, our Packers won! A good day to celebrate.

  6. Sandy Scherrer says:

    I always knew you were an artist from the first time we had a “craft sale” at my mom’s. I applaud you for your bravery of 2 months solo. If it gets lonely let me know, I could stand to get out of the cold!!

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