City Slickers

I noticed how easy it is to run in the desert. I could’ve run for hours. I only stopped because it got dark and I wasn’t prepared to find out what kind of critters appeared when the sun sets. It’s impossible to get out of breath because the air is so soft and warm and dry; almost therapeutically soothing. The colors of the evening sky all blend with the dusty, sandy soil and muted vegetation. It’s a fantastic place. To run, for example.

I only spent two days with Levi’s at the Rancho de los Caballeros but it was enough to get a real taste of country life. The drive out of Phoenix was fascinating. All you see is a wide open, ochre landscape dotted with the giant cacti I recognized from Western movies and the Lucky Luke comic books I grew up with. Hawks circle vigilantly above civilization. And everything slows and quiets down. Except for my driver, who talked for one hour straight about his family and marginalized, adopted daughter – it was quite a dramatic story actually. I felt sorry for the man, and the girl. But I digress.

Besides running, I also rode a horse. I can’t remember her name but she was spotted. It wasn’t the horse’s fault, but my ride was quite uncomfortable. My saddle kept slacking to one side but the wrangler woman didn’t believe me, nor did she listen to the annoying little kid who rode behind me and kept yammering on about it. I had even bought boots to make it look real, because this was my first time on a horse. In my book there is nothing worse than amateurs. At least I looked the part.

The town of Wickenburg is adorable and hopelessly far removed from any kind of architecture and infrastructure I had ever seen. The only indication that this was in fact the year 2014 was the local Chase bank and its modern blue-and-white signage. The rest was pure retro. Including the old lady who stumbled out of her house when she saw us take photos of her rose bush. It was a splendid rose bush, without a doubt. Not surprisingly she insisted to tell her life story, and show us the inside of her bizarre little house. This Tale would have ended on an entirely different note had she been a covert axe murderer, but fortunately she was sweetness incarnated. And a little bit lonely. Especially after husband #4 had died.

And hurrah! I found a vintage store! A great one too. Two floors stuffed with everything from frying pans to reading glasses to cowboy boots to taxidermy animals. I tried on a ton of stuff and gave the owner a crash course in 5D photography, because I needed to document this. Eventually I walked out with the dark brown suede Indian pull-over you see in her perfectly composed picture. Another store worth visiting is Ben Saddlery. That’s where I got the cute little fringed booties. It’s as authentic as it gets.

Anyways, you get my point: the desert is awesome and you should all go. Like I mentioned in the previous post: I didn’t stick around for the Levi’s fun because I was on a 24-hour flight to Kazakhstan by then, but I’d visit the ranch again, in a heartbeat. I want to thank Mickey Boardman for always knowing exactly what makes my clock tick, and the Levi’s team for giving us the real City Slickers experience.

August 1, 2014

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