I decided to go on this excursion only two weeks before I left. It was a Friday night around 9pm. I had gotten home after a day of work of giving manicures and pedicures and I was slumped on the couch watching t.v.  I had to take a leave of absence from what was supposed to be my last semester at school, I was only making enough money to scrape by, and my love life was down the tubes. If I didn't do something soon I knew that i would start melting into one with my old sweat pants and t-shirt and you wouldn't be able to see where my futon ended and I began. I poured a glass of red wine that I bought, thought about where I'd like to go, got onto Craigslist and called someone renting an apartment in Santa Fe.

  Right now I'm sitting in front of the fireplace in the communal room of the Adelaide Hostel in San Francisco. I begin my first entry into this "New York to New Mexico" blog in a city about 1200 miles northwest of where I actually set out to go. I did get to that dusty dry town. However, about a week into it I realized that I very well may have been only one of ten people under 50 that didn't have a back pack, a walking stick, and a dog. That and the job situation was resembling something..well something scary. I started imagining a lot of Chef Boyardee in my future.

My neighbor was an old man named Bill. At the beginning we were friendly and would share chit chat over an outdoor cigarette about painting since he was a painter too. One day he even invited me in to show me his "pointillism" paintings and gave me a jar of turpenoid and a small canvas he had. Then he started appearing at his door every time I went outside, which wasn't often. At first I thought it was coincidence. Then one day I timidly hovered inside the door frame with just my hand, my cigarette, and the smoke that was curling up peeking outside, hiding so he wouldn't see me. But then I heard a door and the creek of his lounge chair. I heard him let out a sigh and in a second I closed my door, and decided rules or no rules, I was smoking the rest of that cigarette indoors.  On the last day I was in Santa Fe I was doing laundry and every run I had from the washer to the dryer he somehow appeared outside. His last words to me were "you left your outside light on”, I looked up and my light was still on from the night before, “I thought you got lucky last night”. I promptly decided to stop being nice. Dry clothes in hand, I walked inside my apartment and shut the door. My flight was leaving that evening. I packed my suitcase, cashed in my three dollar winning scratch-off, said one final goodbye to the KFC and McDonalds down the road, and I was on my way.

 However, before going further into this second leg of my escape from New York to even more western places, I will backtrack with my photos I've taken and start from the beginning.

Ok, I missed my first train. So this is sort of how November 1st ended up.

Leaving New York, going up the Hudson. It was a gorgeous day but I openly wished there was a snow storm to make me feel even better about leaving. Not that I needed much more of a reason, but its like when you go on vacation to somewhere warm in the winter. You want to know that you're really basking in the sun while everyone back home is suffering in 10 degree weather. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day.

Waking up the next morning to middle America.

We had a stop over for half a day in Chicago. Harold's Chicken Shack and J.P. Graziano deli were the first places I stopped. Followed by St Patrick's Church since it was there as I passed. It was rainy and cold. Chicago felt gritty, industrial and comfortable. Halloween had just passed so there were still leftover signs and decorations from the weekend.

The next train connecting was leaving Chicago around 3:00 to go to New Mexico. It was scheduled to arrive there the next day at 2 p.m., so it was a 24 hour leg on this trip. I should have known when the sour faced woman greeted me to take my ticket that this wasn’t going to be as friendly of a train as the last one. It was a large double decker and she said we had to sit in the seat she assigned; unlike the last one where we just grabbed an open seat of our choice. I got into my seat and there was a woman in her early 60’s sitting next to me. At first she seemed harmless, asking us where we were from. But then she sat up in her chair on her knees, peered behind her and started talking to the people there too. She left and came back, beer and nuts in hand and said” I’m being naughty” and put her tray table down. She leaned in closer to me with her dyed red hair and started telling me about her life and the Missouri River. On the other seat in the row across was a clean cut woman with short cropped hair. She carefully opened some food she brought and took out her cell phone. She told me she had just been in New York as well, in Chelsea. Then she said she was on her way to move to Los Angeles to stay in a homeless shelter. A few rows in front were a young mom and her 2 year old daughter. I had seen them in Chicago in the lobby. She kept yelling to her daughter” STOP IT, I said SHUT UP” over and over again. I had been thinking what a horrible woman she was and was happy that I only had to encounter her for a minute. Or so I thought. Way up in the front of the car were two middle aged, gray and slightly round coke heads. They stayed up all night talking loudly with newspapers strewn everywhere. When I woke up at 8 am the next day one of them was still awake and was talking to a woman next to him. You could see the look of horror in her face from the smell of beer coming off him but she was just too nice to walk away. I spent most of this train in the observation car. I was happy that the nazi seat assignment enforcers let me go to another car to sleep that night though. All in all, I was still happy I took the train. Here is what it looked like along the way: