ANTONITO - A man was being mean at the Indiana Jones Bed and Breakfast, and all Sabra Lynn had to do was stare him down.
She was ready to kick him out after one more racist slur or sexist comment. But he shut up as he noticed the B&B owner's blue eyes boring into him, the glare of the woman self-described as a "6-foot Amazon blonde."
The Amazon. That's what longtime friends call her.
Says one, Deb Hoffman-Wade: "She would be right at home as Wonder Woman, fighting battles."
"She's a no-BS kind of girl," adds newer friend Samantha Moore, a local of this dusty valley in southern Colorado, where oddities range from an alien watchtower, to a castle made of beer cans, to the childhood home of America's favorite adventurer. Fans of "The Last Crusade" gush when they see the wooden mailbox reading "JONES," still intact from when Spielberg and Co. filmed here.
For a year now, the house has been home to an unlikely overseer. Lynn considers herself "a super lefty liberal from California" and also "tenacious like a pit bull." Her companions are two of the dogs named Lenny and Lady.
"She tells it like it is and doesn't put up with anyone's crap," continues Moore, tending to the house one recent weekend as Lynn was briefly back in California, carving ornate fruits and chocolates at an LGBT camp.
No, she wasn't about to put up with a man's crap earlier this summer. Lynn, a passionate chef, was preparing breakfast when she heard the insensitivity from the dining room's table for 12.
"I have control of this whole house," she says, recalling the episode. "I own this house. I can say yes or no to anyone staying here. I have complete and utter control."
She finds that refreshing, considering her battle to attain this independence. Her life in Sacramento came to a boiling point with the end of another relationship, this one having lasted about six years. She was running a catering company, but she was tired of feeling slighted as a woman - her gender, she felt, kept her from getting jobs she wanted as a butcher. She was tired of the crowds, the traffic, the heat.
Lynn had the Centennial State on her mind. "I like the kind of frontier attitude Colorado has."
So she packed her clothes, camping gear and cooking equipment in her 2001 Honda Passport and hit the road, not knowing where she'd arrive.
A sense of fear came to her, but stronger was the sense of freedom. She felt the past fade as the landscape warped, from the city to the San Luis Valley, its desert like a blank page.
She felt far from her childhood, from her alcoholic father and neglectful mother. She eventually lost touch with them after leaving home at 15 to settle with a boyfriend, whom she recalls as "really horrid."
"I ended up going from abusive parents to an abusive boyfriend," Lynn says as she wipes back tears. "I finally did escape from all that."
Now on the road, she could focus on herself. The kids were grown, 28 and 26, no longer the toddlers she struggled to support with jobs she picked up at offices - where she refused to be called "a secretary" - and at a Borders, where she collected books and movies to bring home, to spur their imaginations. Home changed as they bounced around, but Lynn drove the kids to their preferred school.
"She was pretty much a single mom," says daughter Christine. "She had partners, but she always put me and my brother first, making sure we had somewhere to sleep and something to eat. She did not want to raise us the same way her parents raised her."
In recent years, Christine noticed her mother's fight with lingering emotions. "She needed something different."
Different was Lynn's 50th birthday, spent by herself on a lodge's porch. She stopped to stay in Antonito last October so she could watch the Chicago Cubs break their run of bad luck.
The cold winter came with some anxiety, which she combatted with recreational marijuana. It was strange to be alone, but she knew seclusion was right. The town's limited cell service suited her fine.
"I think humans need a little down time, a hibernation time like animals," Lynn says. "I'd been going 24/7, 365 in California. I never really had that before."
She geeked out when she got to the corner of Front Street and Fifth Avenue, to a house that looked like any other in the neighborhood. To Lynn, it was anything but. She'd been an Indiana Jones fan since "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which came out as she was entering her troubled teen years, just in time for her to get lost in one hour and 55 minutes of adventure. "The adventure," she recalls. "That kind of life was always appealing to me,"
Lynn walked into the house, admiring the walls of autographed set photos and the office place from the early scene in "Crusade," where young Indiana runs to his father.
The house was for sale. Lynn's money from the California catering business was enough.
It made perfect sense to friend Hoffman-Wade. "The Indiana Jones House for a lot of people, I think they find joy in there. I think that's why she's there."
Lynn isn't alone anymore. She has her guests, who give her thank-you cards and gifts, such as a crocheted holy grail. She's expecting more to stop by as the aspens turn gold and people board the nearby Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, the site of a classic Jones chase.
"Yeah, I've got plenty of company here," Lynn says. "Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to hibernating again."