No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Banana Ears

April 14, 2019

Banana Ears

Banana Ears is a term that I admit that I had never heard, but after visiting the Windrush Alpaca farm in Clovis, New Mexico, I now know that it is a term that is usually applied to the ears of Llamas because of their large banana shaped ears. This is one of the features that one can use to distinguish between llamas and their cousins the alpacas. Kathy and I had the good fortune to visit the wonderful Windrush Alpaca farm during our time in Clovis.

We consider ourselves fortunate that we happened to be in Clovis during one of the limited days that the farm is open to the public and at the suggestion of our friends Dakota and Andy, we made sure to add this to our must see list while in Clovis. We were a little concerned that the very chilly, damp somewhat rainy weather might close the farm, but thankfully a little chilly weather is nothing to the average alpaca.

In fact we were greeted by a warm fire, burning in a fire pit where we met the owners of the farm, a super friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming couple named Ric and Rosemary Metcalf. Ric gave us an introduction to the tools of the trade and explained about the methods used in raising alpacas, which was really fascinating. He even brought a single alpaca up for a close-up where we could get an up close explanation about what raising these adorable creatures entails.

It is immediately obvious that this is way more than just a job for Rosemary and Ric, alpacas are their passion and you can feel their real excitement about sharing their knowledge and love of these animals as soon as you meet them. I must admit that I did not know much about alpacas prior to the visit but found myself immediately intrigued by them.

The highlight of the visit was a trip out into one of the alpaca enclosures where guests are given food and the alpacas gather around to eat the provided food right out of your hands. There were about 30 alpacas and a couple of llamas, which are slightly larger and have those banana ears, in the enclosure and they were super friendly, soft and of course hungry.

The diversity and individual character of each animal is readily apparent, as they look remarkably different and exhibit very distinct individual personalities. We were able to spend about thirty minutes interacting with the animals before concluding our visit with a stop in their wonderful small gift shop, where we spent a bit of money on cozy alpaca socks, hats and stuffed alpaca toys we will be giving as gifts. If you can’t make it to Clovis, and really I know most of you never will, you can still order their wonderful products and support the farm by visiting their website, which I have linked below. And if your travels happen to bring you to Clovis, you should certainly arrange a visit, it is a really wonderful experience.

In addition to our alpaca farm visit, we all had the opportunity to check out one of the newest additions to Clovis when we visited the newly opened tap room of Red Door Brewing. Red Door is brewery based out of Albuquerque who had what seems like the inspired idea to open a tap room in an existing bowling alley in Clovis. I believe it is the first craft beer taproom or brewery to open in Clovis and if the crowds packing the place are any indication, it was a brilliant move.

The beer and food were really good and as everyplace we went in Clovis, the people were incredibly friendly. We had a great evening hanging out, eating and sharing a few beers with Dakota, Andy and Sloane. (Well Sloane didn’t have any beer). It was a fun evening in advance of the big first birthday party that was the reason we came to Clovis in the first place. And while Kathy and I would have been content to just hang around their house playing with Sloane, our explorations of Clovis were fun indeed.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Clovis Rocks!

April 13, 2019





Clovis Rocks!

If you are asking yourself why on earth would someone willingly travel to visit Clovis, New Mexico, trust me you are not alone. I asked myself that question many times in considering this most recent trip. Kathy has of course already made two trips to the small city located on the far eastside of the state near the Texas border and we actually have a very good reason to visit as our friends Dakota and Andy and their daughter Sloane all live there. Andy is currently serving in the United States Air Force and is stationed at Cannon Air Force Base which is in Clovis.



Kathy and I made the trip just to see them and to help celebrate the first birthday of their adorable daughter Sloane. Kathy as I mentioned had already made two trips to Clovis since Sloane was born, but for me it was first time to Clovis, first time to meet Sloane and first time seeing Andy and Dakota in way too long.  Traveling to Clovis is something of a trick as there is only a tiny regional airport located there. That means we had to fly from Key West, through Atlanta to Dallas and then catch a small commuter aircraft on Boutique Airlines in to Clovis.


It was so worth the effort. Not only was it amazing to meet Sloane and see our friends, Clovis as it happens is not nearly what I had perhaps frightened myself into believing it was. In fact as small towns in the middle of nowhere go, Clovis is pretty good. It has a fascinating history and with a population of just under 40,000, helped a great deal by the base, Clovis has a surprising amount of interesting things to do, some decent restaurants and even some interesting shopping opportunities.


Though the city is mostly agricultural, it does have a significant role in the history of rock and roll music. The town achieved some local fame in the 1950s and 1960s when it was home to the Norman Petty Recording Studio, founded by musician Norman Petty, whose "Norman Petty Trio" topped charts with "Mood Indigo" and "Almost Paradise" in their lounge/pop style. Artists such as Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox, Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, and The String-A-Longs had top-charting hits recorded there (Holly's "Peggy Sue" was recorded there in July 1957). Artists including Waylon Jennings, Charlie "Sugartime" Phillips, Bobby Fuller and Roy Orbison cut their earliest recordings at the studio. From the late '50s to the late '60s Petty had recordings on every major label in the USA and Canada.

The original recording studio is still there, though closed up, but the city has created a wonderful Vi & Norman Petty Rock n Roll museum downtown in the Chamber of Commerce, which includes a precise recreation of the famous studio including much of the original recording equipment. The museum also has a ton of artifacts from that era, which is really well represented in some really top-notch displays.


Having visited a lot of rock museums including the Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland, this little place really holds its own and is well worth a visit should you happen to find yourself in Clovis. The history of the “Clovis Sound” is pretty fascinating and is well documented and preserved at this spot. 


With Andy busy at work, we spent our first day in Clovis exploring the downtown area, doing some shopping mostly along Clovis’s historic Main Street. It is easy to tell that Main Street of Clovis was at one time a happening place that fell on some hard times and the town is trying hard to bring it back and revitalize the area which has a ton of potential. 


There are three abandoned theaters with-in a few blocks and many of the storefronts are empty. But there are also a bunch of interesting stores, mostly large flea market/ antiques dealers that have huge inventories of all sorts of cool artifacts both old and new. Development is coming too, as a new brewery is scheduled to begin construction right on Main, which will certainly help draw people back to the area.

Train traffic has always and still plays a huge role in the Clovis economy, though passenger service has gone away leaving a sad abandoned train depot right downtown, but we still had a great time checking the entire place out. Of course the main reason we were there was not to play tourist, but to spend time with our friends which we were happily able to do.