Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cold Sasparilla

The food at Philmont is great, wonderful, fantastic . . . at least to those who have been eating beef jerky and tropical gorp for ten days and burning 15,000 calories a day out in the back country. To adult leaders who have been sitting in training for quite a few hours however, Philmont food is fine for a few days, but . . . We had chicken-fried chicken one evening. It was good, but they put it on top of a bed of pasta and drowned it with what they smilingly referred to as gravy. I told the server that I didn't want any pasta, and he said, increduleously, "What? No pasta?" I should have said, "Give me pasta but no gravy."
So, it was with some relief that we were invited to go with our District vice-president of something into Cimarron to get a green chili cheeseburger at the world famous . . . I forget its name. But upon ariving at the dinner hour we were greeted by a sign, "CLOSED! GONE FISHING."
So, never fear, we had another option, and that was to drive . . . and drive . . . and drive . . . to a fine dining establishment named "Cold Beer," which is eighteen miles east of Cimarron, a few miles past Ted Turner's buffalo herd. You can look at it on Google Maps to see how it is the only sign of "civilization" for miles.
Not everyone gets to see a herd of buffalo on the way to eat. We also saw a flock (or herd or whatever you call them) of wild turkeys . . . and a bear . . . and lots of deer (Cimarron has deer all over. We had to tell one to get out of the way at the ATM).
So, we arrived at Cold Beer, and we ordered our food. They offer pizza, and green chili cheeseburgers, and a few other specialties. I had to try their Green Chili Philly Cheesesteak, which promised to deliver the best of Philadelphia AND New Mexico. And it did. It was really good, although it was in a hamburger bun, which would be treated with scorn in the city of brotherly love. I recommend it to those of you who find yourself in Cold Beer, NM. I'd also recommend the sasparilla they serve (actually you just grab one out of the cooler) at Cold Beer for those who don't drink beer at any temperature.
I ordered my Green Chili Philly Cheesesteak with Cole Slaw, which, when it arrived in my basket, looked strangely like French fries. But it didn't matter. It could have been served on a bed of pasta with gravy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Irons in the Fire

High in the back country of Philmont, Scouts can brand their shoes, their Nalgene bottles, and if they're feeling really destructive, their nylon caps.
Down at the training center, the adult leaders get to have their belongings branded by girls. These girls, on staff at Philmont, are difficult to watch by one who has branded hundreds of calves.
First, they don't know exactly how to heat up the iron. Second, they hold the iron up in the breeze before branding while saying things like, "Did you see what Kathy did today? . . ." Meanwhile the branding iron is cooling from "not really red hot" to "warmish." Third, they brand the shoe, but it is more of a sunburn than a brand. Then they say, "Do you think it needs a little bit more?"
Then they repeat the process, placing the somewhat cooled iron sort of where the original brand was. It took three attempts before I said, "Looks fine." Although a calf would be ashamed to have such a faint brand.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Driving to Philmont

The drive to Philmont from Angle Fire is spectacular, and exciting--especially at night when you get to dodge deer every quarter mile.
My most unforgetable drive along this road was when I was taking scouts home from a winter camp at Philmont. I was navigating the winding road well, considering I was in a Ford F150 pickup. Scouts were slumbering in the back seat. It was a great time to contemplate the beauties of the world.
Suddenly, one of the scouts awoke. Let's call him Howard. Howard said, "I don't feel very good." It took my brain a few seconds to interpret this, and I screeched to a halt at a small turn-off. About the time I stopped, something happened inside the cab that caused me to take on the expression and (unfortunatley) the language of a resident of Pompeii when Vesuvius let go. (Vesuvius smelled better and covered less area.)
I spent the rest of the trip trying to figure out how I might set my pickup on fire and make it look like an accident.
Today's trip was better.