Crossing into New Mexico had all sorts of good vibes too it. There was that great lunch. The scenery had a new kind of beauty - silver birch and drifts of whitest snow up high, red dust and ashen sagebrush below. And after a couple of days drifting last minute into musty motels we had taken the trouble to book an upscale bed and breakfast (same as a motel but with foody magazines instead of a Coke machine). The omens improved further still when it turned out that the dusty hamlet down the road boasted a homemade ice cream parlor run by exactly the kind of nonchalant bohos that put Taos on the map.
My only worry about staying out of town had been where we might eat - always a tricky question on holiday, now made even more so with a tired baby to factor in. So it seemed too good to be true when our host pointed out a convenient local option and her only warning was to "hurry because its Country night and it'll fill up fast."
It was more than just any old country night. Local legend Michael Hearne was twanging tunes of love and loss and, most crucially for us, life on the road. Louis loved it and so did his Dad. Local folks were dancing with their best girls and Louis soon joined in as did another little fella about his age and his older brother. His parents later revealed that Hearne had played at their marriage celebration, which is a shame because until that moment I'd thought that we'd had pretty much the perfect wedding.
Of course it was all a bit too good to be true. The video posted above is the last known image of Daddy J looking convincingly upright before being knocked sideways by a fever for the best part of four days. My teeth started chattering on the way out to the car from that gig and I've only just recovered.