One evening, toward sunset, Earl and Sandra drove us 22 miles to the river at the border crossing overlooking La Linda, Mexico. We visited Mike at his Open Air Cafe overlooking the river and mountains. He has been there since 1991 and seems very happy to be at the end of the earth. We may call to give him warning and go down with a group for dinner some night. He’s reputed to be a great cook. He also has one of the most exotic views we’ve seen.
While we were there two Mexican boys came riding down the road bareback and at Mike’s beckoning, rode in for the sodas he often gives them. They were so stoic looking and beautiful with chestnut skin and black eyes; they watched us gringos warily as they accepted the sodas.
Their father drowned in the river a few weeks ago. His horse broke through a high bank and fell into a whirlpool. The horse kicked him to death.
That’s the official story. Others believe the boys killed him because he was known to beat his wife and them. Justice can be different, and swift, in a place as remote as this.
On the way back, mauve afterglow lit the soaptree yuccas standing alone over the rolling desert and below the high and tumbled rimrock. This is strange and beautiful place. I can honestly say I was not prepared for the power of this country to move me.
It was also on that drive that Earl and Sandra told us how they came to live full time on the road. Fourteen years ago, on December tenth, two days from now, they lost a son to an accident; hit by a car while walking. It was the second tragedy for them. Six months before (to the day) they lost their other son to a motorcycle accident.
They began a new life, traveling, and living one day at a time. They love the life, if not the way they came to find it.
A bobcat crossed in our headlights, flashed bright eyes over her shoulder, and disappeared in a dry wash.