The Charlie Bravo Story

Thunder on the Plains, MacDuff’s version

MacDuff here; I’m here to fill in the blanks on Dad’s recounting of the thunderstorm incident. I had been watching those two supercells building ever since we had left Taos, and was a bit alarmed when Dad seemed determined to confront them directly.
Have you ever heard of Don Quixote?
(ˈdɒn kiːˈhəʊtiː, ˈkwɪksət, Spanish don kiˈxote) /noun. “an impractical idealist”… look it up.)He was a fictional knight that was more than a little insane, seeing causes that needed championing where most people saw normal situations. His voice of reason was his loyal companion Sancho Panza, a simple farmer that tried to keep the Don on the straight and narrow. One of the most defining pictures of the Don’s mental condition was from one of the first novels ever printed, “The Man of La Mancha, published in 1612. In this book, the mentally-defincient knight sees what he perceives to be giants standing out in a field, waving their arms at him in mute challenge. Against Sancho’s advice, The Don attempts to engage them in combat astride his raggedy old horse Rocinante and armed with nothing but his lance; he was dismayed only to find the giants were actually windmills and their “arms” were the blades. As you can imagine, things did not go as planned for the old knight in his hopeless cause, hence the term ever since “tilting at windmills”.
Are we seeing a pattern here?
While I was advising that discretion might be the better part of valor, he just HAD to delay, stopping at a small diner at the crossroads of Tres Piedres known for it’s pinon nut fudge brownies. Remember the brownies described in a previous post, the brownies that I felt weren’t being distributed in an equatable manner? Well, these are those brownies. Also, even the owner of the diner advised that we stop for the night and set up camp behind her shop; of course, Don, I mean Dad, saw this as nothing but a sinister plot to sell him more brownies and elected to forge ahead.
As far as the rest of the story, well, it’s pretty accurate, maybe even a bit understated.
It was like a vampire learning to write poetry: it went from bat and just kept getting verse as we raced to punch through the storm. The force of the storm seemed to intensify when we passed a large mesa to the west of the highway; instead of the massive feature shielding us from the nearly horizontal slashes of rain , it seemed to actually speed up as it whipped down from the slopes above.
But the real assault was man made, as we encountered the road spray of the 18 wheelers heading south into the teeth of the storm. Let’s see; we were doing 70 mph, the trucks were doing at least that; where I come from, that’s a north/south closing speed of 140 MPH, then add in the storm wind from the west for a combined mess of hmmm, that’s double-aught times two, carry the three, gotta figure in the misery factor… I give up. By my misguided calculations, I would say that these split-second encounters were equal to at least a Cat 3 hurricane, maybe even more. It was not pretty…
Then it was gone. We pulled into the gas station at Antonito to regroup, and soon the line of cars that had stacked up behind us at the construction area miles back began to filter in as well. I personally think that Dad needs to change the old motorcycle’s name from Black Molly to Rocinante, or at least Roxie. I’m thinking of changing mine to Napoleon; and just why, you ask?
Because it’s not a Napoleon complex when you really ARE a badass! Or maybe Napoleon might just want to change his name to MacDuff; oh yeah, I forgor, he can’t; because he’s DEAD! So MacDuff it shall remain.
Dad wanted to go back to the state line to get a picture of the storm from the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign, a plan which I quickly vetoed; sometimes Sancho’s voice of reason is needed to balance Don Quixote’s idiotic idealism.
Happy Charlie Bravo Day!

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