Tandem, An American Love Story

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.


Tandem, An American Love Story — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the memories, and the update on your own adventures. That last few days back to Sequim was bitter-sweet after more than a year on the road. We’ve never been the same; a good thing.

  2. What a marvelous and beautifully descriptive article about a simply amazing woman – Karen Landis. I’ve had had the serendipitous experience to create and nurture a friendship with Karen after I underwent a hip replacement and three hip fractures and realized I needed to request the local “Meals on Wheels” service. And of course, if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Karen serves the Chino Valley community two days a week by delivering meals to people in my circumstance.
    I loved Karen the first moment I met her. And when we started chatting I knew I had met a soul mate. I’ve been looking all my life for a role model, a hero, an amazing example of humankind. I don’t know if she realizes what an outstanding example she is of a strong, independent, intelligent, talented woman. Sometimes as women, we have a dentency to undervalue ourselves. But Karen, I want you to know you are the real deal. You are just so beautiful in your authenticity. And I a so appreciative of the value you have added to our environment by caring for the land and the animals under your watchful care. Your abilities and strength simply boggle my mind. And thank you for your loving service to me these past four months. You rock girl!

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