California early on a Saturday morning on the first leg of a
five state trek. As I drove through the Salinas Valley in the
first light of dawn, I was struck by the buzz of farmworkers
already at work ó laying pipe, picking lettuce, loading
produce into crates and onto trucks. I realized that farmers
work hard to keep us fed, even on the weekends.
green fields behind, I munched on dried apple slices as my
little truck zoomed through the Mohave desert. Apples,
landscapes and other living things thrive better with water, I
concluded, and took another gulp from my water bottle.
past lunch time, I stopped for gas outside Needles, Calif. And
to whoever wants to know, an ice cold milkshake is a justified
meal when youíre cooking at 108 degrees.
sister welcomed me with a real meal when I arrived in the cool
pines of Flagstaff, Ariz., that evening. And the next day, I
continued east towards my home state of New Mexico. Some
things never change ó red rocks sheltered under puffy white
clouds in clear blue skies. As I passed signs urging me to
stop and buy "moccasins for the whole family," I
decided my nutritional goal for the day: Try to find something
green to eat besides cactus candy.
you find green in the deserts of New Mexico? Itís green
chile season, my other sister reminded me when I arrived at
her house south of Albuquerque. Score!
chile, by the way, is the same plant as red chile. Itís just
picked at a different time. Which is better for you? According
to the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University,
red and green chiles are similar nutritionally. Both are so
low in calories, they are considered "free" foods
ó eat as much as your taste buds dare. Red and green chile
peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin C ó the
vitamin that enhances immunity, helps builds bones and may
even play a role in weight management.
on her patio as the sun set, I told my sister about the last
leg of my journey that day. An hour from her house, I had
turned onto a narrow two lane highway that was once part of
historic Route 66. I came up behind a large semi truck, and
not wanting to take any chances on this winding stretch of
road, I followed behind it for several miles. After a while, I
noticed the truckís left turn signal wink at me...blink,
blink, blink; then it stopped. Again, it blink, blink, blinked
and I realized the trucker was sending me a "safe to
pass" signal. So I did and waved a thank you as I zoomed
ahead. The lights of the semi flashed as if to say, "You
are welcome." I truly do love this Land of Enchantment.