June 3, 2011Started filming this morning at seven at the torreon in Lincoln, New Mexico. Got three done before breakfast, then whipped out four more before lunch. Had telepromter issues but worked around them. Did a very loosy goosy one, without a script, on the Blazer Mill shootout. Everyone criticizes Hollywood gunfights as being unrealistic, but when you consider a real gunfight (Blazer's Mill) where someone does a Chuck Conners' Rifleman blast at opponents standing two feet from each other, shooting off fingers, blowing off belt buckles (which saved his life) and then hitting a guy in the eye at 150 yards with a rifle he has never used before, and then they bury the shooter and the shootee in the same coffin, well, let's just say, if I saw that in a movie, I wouldn't believe a frame of it.
Had lunch at the Ellis Store then finished three more True West Moments utilizing the yard and buildings on the B&B site. Finished at three and took off for Arizona. Got to Soccoro at about five and got a sandwich and coffee to go. Kept about an eighty-mile-an-hour clip across the Plains of San Augustine (rental car), but was somewhat unnerved by all the antelope in the median (I must have seen a dozen both coming and going, inside the fences, several standing on the edge of the road ready to jump, "Go! No, wait! Go! No, wait!"). Having had a deer jump right onto the hood of my truck coming back from Payson after a speech, I am a little gun shy about these four-legged torpedoes.
Just east of Quemado, NM, I noticed a huge, reddish cloud which took up the entire Western sky. Took one photo of it. Coming into Quemado I went into the cloud and everything turned ashen. I was downwind from the Wallow Fire, raging in the Alpine, Nutrioso, Arizona corridor about fifty miles away. I learned later, it has a four mile front, has burned 100,000 acres and is zero contained. My biggest fear was that I would come to a roadblock and have to turn around and go back, but at about six I made it through. Really surreal and apocalyptic, the sun a red ball through the haze, churning ash, smelled like a bar-b-que pit the day after a cookout. Eyes burning (in the car!). Crazy. Cleared up at Springerville, which is closer to the fire, but not down wind.
Drove on to Heber and got a room for the night. Home in the morning.
"Ironic: Quemado in Spanish means burned."