Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 9, Wednesday, June 10th - Bernalillo to Los Alamos

Another change in plans - we toured the Valle Caldera Preserve, which wasn't on our list, and we missed Bandelier National Monument, which was.  We left Bernalillo in good time and bought gas from the Pueblo at $2.42/, and started up NM-4 toward "points of interest" to us and maybe the Chase.  First stop was Jemez State Monument, a set of ruins spanning the pre and post contact periods.  Got a lesson from the site manager on generalizing the pueblo cultures, as he informed us of the many differences among them.  Shouldn't have mentioned Fenn to him.

 We pulled off at Soda Dam for pictures & just general looking around, then did the same at the Battleship Rock Day Use area.  Continued on up the canyon, checking the likelihood of additional pull offs.  A few pictures:

We thought that maybe the hiding place in his special spot could be something like this:

The road continues past the Valles Caldera, site of a major eruption in the formation of the volcanic Jemez Mountains.  I wasn't aware one could enter it, but it's available for day use driving & hiking.  Signed a release from liability in case we were eaten by a bear & we promised not to do anything we shouldn't.  The drive starts on a rutted dirt road that doesn't get any better as it proceeds.  It passes historic buildings, buildings used in movie sets, trees, lava domes and open grasslands populated by elk & cattle.  Rain was setting in, so we got out before things got slick; it's worth a longer visit.  Oh, and there's no food available.

Coming into Los Alamos, we got thoroughly confused.  We finally found the downtown area, didn't see any restaurants until we were past them, so we went to the hotel, checked into our nice executive suite (free upgrade), and asked about places to eat.  We couldn't remember the name of the one that was suggested, so we ended up at a good but expensive eat-in-or-carry-out place.  Back to the hotel, decided to hit the hot tub, then quit early for the night.

Today's travel - 105 miles, for the trip 2112.  Tomorrow it's Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, and on to Taos.  May hit Bandelier early, too. 

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