Sunday, April 20, 2008

full tilt at the bone zone

Seldom do we get to retrace our steps on this show.  And if we do, it's usually at such a clip that there's no time to savor it.  But today, it was truly Turquoise Trail II for RVRR.  We'd driven scenic New Mexico Highway 14 nearly ten years ago for segments of episode #402, and ended up in Santa Fe.  This time though, we just wanted to make it through Madrid (one of the funkiest old mining towns turned cosmic seeker convergence center ever) to Tammy Lange's roadside extravaganza known as the Bone Zone.

Tammy Tattoo as she likes to be called got that name legitimately, working as one of the state's first female inkers.  In 1997 she started building an environment about halfway between Madrid and Cerillos, creating as she likes to call it "the art that dies to live."  There are indeed a great many bones out here that have been fashioned into motorcycles and other forms that you may or may not recognize.  There's her Better Bones & Gardens area, complete with the Wheel of Imagination (which one nameless tall producer walked into with his noggin) the River of Glass and Tiny Town itself.

The town's got a jail, a church, hotel and gallows, all part of her miniature golf course, though finding balls to putt with is half the challenge.  Then there's Tammy's very own bowling alley, complete with glass bottle "pins" that make every frame a lot more fun than the regular kind. "If it seems weird, chances are it is" says one of the signs that she's sprinkled around.

There has been some upheaval around the Bone Zone in the last few months, causing Tammy the stress of finding another place to live.  She can still work here on her art though, and she vows that in a month or so, the place will be looking better than ever.  She bought new tattooing gear, and hopes that the revenue stream from it will turn things around.  We left her some $$ in the donation box, and a Big Ball T-Shirt that she promised to cut up nicely.  We say rock on to that.

On the way back to Albuquerque we stopped in at Tinkertown, a sensational site near Sandia Park that we did see on the '98 trip.  Circus sign painter and carver extraordinaire Ross Ward made it "while you were watching TV" and we were humbled by his achievement.  Ross passed away in 2002, but his wife Carla still has it up and running, and to say that we were happy to see her (and it) is an understatement.   We meet the greatest people doing this show, and even though Carla says we're doing important work because we're documenting it, we know who the real heroes are. 

Did I mention yesterday that Don bought too much kettle corn?

Music In the Van--Kathleen Edwards, Byrds Super Hits (truck stop purchase)
Don's found money count to date on the trip-- $1.47

1 comment:

Funnynames said...

Great to see the weasels back on the road. You were in Iraan, Tx
Didn't know about that one!