Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 23, Wednesday, June 24th - HOME!

Home again, home again!   After 4119 miles, we got home at 6:44 PM.  It was a good trip, covering parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico & Colorado, plus a wee bit of Missouri. 

Today we left Colby a bit before 7 AM, bound for Kansas' Grassroots Art Capital, Lucas.  It's home to S.P. Dinsmore's Garden of Eden, World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, the Grassroots Art Center, and one heck of a public restroom.  It's too much to describe, just have to go there to get the full effect!

Rest of the day was driving, driving, driving, with a few rest stops and dinner in Holden.  460 miles on the day, and the Subaru didn't need a  refill.  I'll add pictures to this and cover more about the trip tomorrow - after we pick up mail, do some shopping, and redeem the cats from the pet resort.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 22, Tuesday, June 23rd - La Junta to Colby

Left La Junta a bit after 7 AM, heading north on a paved county road.  The Arkansas River was way up, and we saw standing water in some yards & fields.  After a long drive on CO-96, we came to the turn off to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.  The dirt road leading to it was well-maintained, and frequented by turtles, jack rabbits, a snake & lots of birds.  The site itself is short grass prairie, with cottonwoods along the intermittent creek, and well-interpreted with a short talk by one of the two rangers there..  A peaceful party of Cheyenne & Arapaho was attacked by Colorado troops under Col. Chivington, killing chiefs who tried to parley under a white flag (they were flying a U.S. flag), then indiscriminately killing without regard to sex or age - then taking 'trophies' from the bodies.  It was brought to light by two officers who, with their troops, refused to participate.

The Sand Creek site, looking toward the trees where the lodges were

Sand Creek site - the Indians fled and resisted down this draw.

Unfortunately, we had to cut our visit short because of the biting flies.  We headed for Burlington for a carousel ride, stopping for lunch at the Alleyway Cafe in Cheyenne Wells (I highly recommend it).  The Kit Carson County Carousel is a classic 1905 design with a player pipe organ and hand carved animals, mostly with the original paint.  It fell into disuse but was restored at significant cost.  We rode twice, at a whole 25 cents per ride!

Sandra riding "Comanche"

And here's the horse.

Headed east on I-70 to Colby, ate at Los Dos de Oros, and are settling in at the Holiday Inn Express.  3568 miles on the trip, with about 450 to go.  Home tomorrow!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 21, Monday, June 22nd - Cimarron to La Junta

Got up at 5 AM & got the heck out of the motel a bit after 6.  That means the cafe we'd planned on visiting for breakfast wasn't yet open.  We drove past the CS Ranch, picked up I-25, and stopped for breakfast (at McD) & gas in Raton.  Nothing open yet.  Toured the town & headed off to Raton Pass - all those trips to NM & we'd never crossed this way.  The pass is an easy trip - not like those wagons that paid their toll to "Uncle Dick" Wooten  the Santa Fe Trail was active.

View from Raton Pass

We'd hoped to see a couple of museums in Trinidad, but our early departure made us way too early to visit the museums.  The grounds of the main museum were open, so we shot some pictures & headed for La Junta.

 Trinidad was a coal town.  Here's a remaining sample

Wagon at Trinidad Museum

Got to the HIE in La Junta by noon, and a room was ready for us.  After unloading and relaxing, we went to lunch at the Copper Kitchen, a real-live quintessential small-town cafe, with all the usual diners.  Then we headed for the local museum, where we got a guided tour of a rather eclectic multi-building establishment.  The star of the collection is a real stagecoach that ran what passed for roads out here.  It's a nice, well-supported museum with enthusiastic volunteer guides.

Historic stagecoach at Otero County Museum

Tomorrow we're off to visit the Sand Creek Massacre site, ride the Kit Carson County Carousel, ending up at Colby, KS.  Getting close to home. 

Sunday, June 21st - Albuquerque to Cimarron

That's via the scenic route.  We left at 6:05 AM and headed east on I-40.  We stopped at Moriarty for a quick McD breakfast, then headed north toward Lamy.   Lamy is the Amtrak stop for Santa Fe, with a small railroad museum, not open at that hour.  Then it was up I-25 to Las Vegas for a comfort break, and off on the back roads to Mosquero.  All I can say about the drive is "Wow!"   Never thought such scenery of 1000 foot escarpments would exist in that mostly-flat prairie country.

 The road to Mosquero

Mosquero murals

We had a nice visit in Mosquero, then across more country to Wagon Mound to I-25.  Had lunch at our favorite posole stop in Springer, then the scenic route to Cimarron.  Had our $1 hard ice cream cone at a local store, visited the interesting and eclectic Old Mill museum, then checked into the Cimarron Inn.  All I can say is that I slept a bit better than expected in the deep valley bed, in a room without effective cooling after a 90 degree day.

Mill museum in Cimarron

At 6:30 we met "The Cimarron Kid", aka Kirk Davis, and his wife Priscilla at the St. James Hotel for dinner.  Kirk was the 12-year-old protagonist of a 1973 book about life on the CS Ranch, with photos.  The St. James is famous for its saloon's role in sending 26 men to their graves with "lead poisoning" during the 1870s-80s.  Now it's fine dining and nostalgic lodging - but the .44 inch holes in the ceiling testify to its past.  Sandra had saved a copy of the book from 'recycling' and wanted to present it to the family.

Bill & Sandra w/ Kirk Davis, the "Cimarron Kid"

After dinner we got a short twilight tour of a small, but important, part of the 125,000 acre CS Ranch. The ranch has several  units, but this was the home/headquarters.  As we bumped down the ranch road we saw white-tail and mule deer, elk, antelope & jack rabbits, all making sure that not all the forage would be eaten by the ranch's red angus and black baldy cattle.

Sunset on the CS Ranch

Back to the St. James, pictures in the lobby and we bid each other adieu.  Got back to the motel, couldn't find Sandra's camera.  Turned out it was still sitting on the roulette table at the St. James, ready for pick-up in the AM.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 19, Saturday, June 20th - Albuquerque Fenn Party

Well, the party isn't really all day.  In the morning we went to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which has greatly upgraded its museum exhibits.  We'd have liked to stay for the Acoma Buffalo Dance, but needed to get back to be set to go to the party.  We highly recommend a visit!  Then, we drove down Central Ave (classic Route 66), had lunch at the Frontier Restaurant, and came back to the room to get ready for the party.

Got to the party at 1:15, and none of the other guests were there yet.  Left about 6 hours later, but details will be posted elsewhere.  Suffice it to say that a good group showed up and it was fun.

Tomorrow it's on to Cimarron via Moriarty, Lamy, Las Vegas, and Mosquero.  We're at 2899 miles for the trip, with three days to go.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Day 18, Friday, June 19th - Albuquerque Day

Here we are in hot Albuquerque.  After a motel breakfast, we headed back for Old Town.  We stopped for a paper and snacks at Smith's Supermarket, then found a free parking place near the target museum.  Since we arrived before it opened, we walked around the Plaza and did a bit of shopping.

 Church of San Filipe Neri
I'm just amazed at the Plaza
Artillery?  You know Bill has to "shoot" it

The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History is much improved over our last visit.  The new "Only in Albuquerque" gallery is open, with a comprehensive view of the history & culture of the city.  The artsy high heel shoes exhibit I could have done without.
This wolf's eyes follow you around the gallery

Back to the Plaza, lunch at Church Street Cafe (same table, same waiter as last year), bought some T-shirts and a book, took more pictures trying to get some art shots, and back to the motel to escape the heat & do laundry.

 Ivy on a cottonwood

A vendor of turquoise chairs

Walked to supper at Sadie's, near a defunct motel, shared a local beer in the HIE's gazebo while Bill read "The Cimarron Kid" out loud.  This is a 1973 book about the CS ranch in Cimarron, NM - we're going to give it to the "Kid" himself on Sunday.  However, tomorrow is lunch at the Frontier and a Forrest Fenn searcher party.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 17, Thursday, June 18th - Santa Fe to Albuquerque

A tad hot today.  We visited Forrest Fenn, who's responsible for the treasure hunt we've been playing with, for a short time about 10 AM.  While we were there, another couple showed up to get his autograph on his book. 

 Sandra & Forrest

We left shortly afterwards and decided it was too late to visit Rancho de las Golondrinas, so we headed for Albuquerque.  We were able to get a ground floor room at the HIE Eubank, so we unloaded and headed for Old Town.  First stop was the NM Museum of Natural History, which we always enjoy - including a quick kiss in the cave.  It has an excellent timeline plus a few good casts of dinosaurs.

Seismosaurus mount at the museum

We walked around the Plaza for a while checking various stores for a specific T-shirt.  Lots of stores, restaurants & a nice bookstore.

Chair near the plaza

Then it was on to pick up Larry Harrah for dinner at Garcia's on Juan Tabo.  Larry is the widower of noted children's author Madge Harrah, whose books include one about Blind Boone.  After dinner his grandson Cody showed up and we talked for a while.  Only 100 miles today.

Sandra & Larry, with one of Madge's paintings in the background.

Tomorrow is museum day in Albuquerque, starting with the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.  We'll spend some time on the Plaza, eat at Church Street Cafe, and (we hope) visit some museums at UNM.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 16, Wednesday June 16th - Around Santa Fe

Rats!  Missed Forrest again - but we do get to see him tomorrow.  We went to the International Folk Art Museum on Museum Hill - very interesting, especially with the new exhibit on cochineal red dye.  Those little bugs sure have a lot of uses and made some folks a lot of money.  Meanwhile, storms were already brewing in the mountains.

Storms over the Sangre de Christos from Museum Hill

Went downtown and ate at someplace new to us, Tia Sophia's.  Yum.  Then toured the Museum of Contemporary Indian Art, where the exhibits often have something to say.  Sat at the Plaza for a while, then headed back to the hotel.

 View at the Plaza

Sandra sitting in the Plaza

Tomorrow, after the FF visit, we head for Albuquerque, possibly via the Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history ranch similar to Missouri Town 1855 near KC.  A couple of museums in ABQ, dinner w/ friend Larry Harrah, and a stay at the HIE Eubank.   We're up to 2750 miles for the trip.

Day 15, Tuesday, June 16th - Santa Fe visit

Posting a day late, mainly because the hotel didn't have enough bandwidth for us & whoever was streaming stuff yesterday evening.  We didn't get to visit with Forrest Fenn, although if Bill got Sandra's email on his cell phone we would have had a chance.   We got downtown early, hung out in the Plaza watching pigeons for a while, then were the first folks through the door at the New Mexico History Museum.  This is a great museum with a timeline of NM history, plus special exhibits on Harvey Houses, pinhole photography & sacred iconography.

About 11, we took a break & walked over to The Shed cafe for our favorite blue corn taco/enchilada plate, green,  Sat outside, and of course called our friend Sandy back in Missouri.  When she was planning a trip to Santa Fe several years ago, we told her about The Shed, and she called us as she was enjoying lunch.  Now, every time we come to Santa Fe and eat at The Shed, we call or text her over the blue corn plate.

Back to the history museum to finish our visit, one more floor and the Palace of the Governors.  As we left, we looked at the sky, and the clouds were building.  Thunderstorms on the mountains to the east, north & west made for great pictures.

 Bill always wanted a dependable truck
 View to the west near Palace of the Governors
View toward the east showing the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis

We drove out to Museum Hill to tour the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.  The standing exhibit "Here, Now & Always" shows the various Indian groups in NM and how their cultures developed and varied.  The museum also has an exhibit of pottery, music/dance, and turquoise.  The gallery of art featured artist David Bradley, whose work is, to say the least, interesting - called "Indian County Today" his detailed paintings are both humorous and biting.

More pictures of sky and storms & statues, light supper at Tortilla Flats, and early to bed.  Wednesday is more museums.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 14, Monday, June 15 - Taos to Santa Fe

Another day when things didn't go exactly as planned.  We left early enough going down the High Road, took a few pictures, and got to Tesuque about 10 AM.  Started up toward Ski Santa Fe on back roads, and found that the Google map was a bit misleading - state road ends on a dead-end county road.  Backtrack.  Fortunately, Garmin gave me the road name I wanted, as the road signs didn't.   Up this county road until it turned into a forest service road - maintenance went from bad to worse.  We pulled over for pictures and watched a downbound car bounce it's way toward us.  We decided we were too meek for that jaunt & returned to Tesuque. Another glitch - the cafe Forrest recommended for us to have the ultimate Frito Pie wouldn't start serving lunch for another 40 minutes...

Church at Las Trampas

So, it was off to Santa Fe.  We were able to check in early to the Holiday Inn Express - Cerrillos Rd, had lunch at Tortilla Flats. then went to the Plaza.  First stop was Collected Works Bookstore, where we didn't see the display of Forrest Fenn books we'd seen on a previous trip.  Then it was on to the Art Museum, where we enjoyed the exhibits, compliments of the Culture Passes we'd won in a caption contest, compliments of Stephanie.  From there, we visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, where my military retired ID allowed us free access.  Some of the Stieglitz photos of her confirmed she didn't need implants.

Sandra & a donkey, on the street at Santa Fe

This kitty looks pretty real from a distance

We sat on the Plaza for a while & struck up a conversation with some folks who were originally from Lubbock.  Back to the HIE, then dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe, do some laundry,  and plan for tomorrow's museum viewing and, maybe, a visit with Forrest Fenn.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday, June 14th - Taos & the Enchanted Circle

After breakfast at Michael's, we headed east on US-64 for the first leg of the Enchanted Circle, a circle drive thru scenic areas of northern New Mexico.  First stop was the New Mexico Vietnam  Veterans Memorial State Park at Angel Fire.  The memorial, established by a doctor in memory of his son killed in Nam, and all veterans of that war, has striking architecture and is quite moving.

We then continued on past views of Wheeler Peak, NM's highest mountain, still with snow on the upper slopes.  Next was Red River, a touristy town with a ski resort for winter and outdoor sports in summer.  Past Red River we saw the recently closed Molybdenum strip mine - the mountain pays for our steel & special needs.

Nothing much in Questa, so we returned to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area from which we fled in a storm of hail yesterday.  This time the weather was perfect, and we got some great views of the Rio Grande and Red River.   Some of the rapids were so loud they could be easily heard from the top of the gorge.

Back to Taos, dinner at Casa de Valdez, and getting ready for Santa Fe tomorrow.  We're at the 2600 mile mark for the trip.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 12, Saturday, June 13th - Around Taos

Any search plans we had for today were washed out.  Yep, really nice thunderstorms on mountain, mesa & canyon.  However, it didn't ruin our day.  After an American style breakfast at Michael's, we spent some time walking around the Plaza marveling at the Farmers' Market that took 3 sides of it.  Unlike Warrensburg, most of the vendors were selling obviously fresh vegetables of all sorts, with a few soap vendors and almost no other crafters.  Of course, it's a bigger market, even if the quartet of musicians was playing bluegrass.

We then headed off to the Martinez Hacienda, a museum in a restored ca 1800 adobe farmstead of a well-to-do farmer and merchant.  It's an interesting combination of lovingly restored rooms with period furnishings & equipment, supplemented by actual demonstrations of weaving, plus use by a quilt guild.  One of the rooms had a collection of santos & retablos, religious carvings often found in the Hispanic community here.

Kitchen view at the Hacienda

Wire sculpture of a donkey, mascot of the Haciendas

After an excellent lunch at Casa de Valdez (best meal so far) in Ranchos de Taos, we headed north to Questa, keeping a watchful eye on the rain over the mountains to east at west.  Heading north out of Questa, we turned off to the Rio Grande Wild Rivers Rec area.  Storms getting closer, but we pressed on after some photo stops.  Just a little bit further... too far, the rain & pea sized hail swept over us, as we made our way back on a curvy road not far from a 1000 ft drop.  Got out of the hail, but were in and out of rain all the way to the motel. 

Bunny cloud?

After the rain abated, we took a trip across the Taos High Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge.  Sandra took pictures of the gorge; across the road a flock of Bighorn sheep grazed & lazed, adding something to the scene.

It turned out that the storms were over, at least for the day, so we had supper at the very convenient El Taoseno.  Today ended up about 125 miles.  Tomorrow, depending on weather, we may just take the Enchanted Circle thru Eagle's Nest, Red River & Questa.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 11, Friday, June 12th - Around Taos

A nice day in Taos.  We had breakfast at El Taseno, did laundry - well, Sandra did laundry while Bill researched ideas for the Chase - and went downtown.  Here's the Plaza at Taos and Sandra in front of the Padre Jose Martinez statue.

We browsed the shops that surround the Plaza, bought a T-Shirt at the I Love Taos shop, ate at La Cueva, and toured the Kit Carson House Museum.   This is a very interesting museum, in a house where Carson lived with his wife Josefa Jaramillo and raised his many children.  The house is owned & operated by a Masonic Lodge, since Carson was a founder of the first lodge in Taos.

Our last stop in town was one of our favorite bookstores, Moby Dickens.  The two cats work hard to bring in customers and patrol the store at night.

With time left in the day, we decided to explore, with a trip up the mountain to Taos Ski Valley.  On the way up the mountain next to a vigorous creek, we noticed several beaver dams. 

Afterward, we took a side road to Arroyo Hondo, then back to the Lodge.   Dinner was back at El Taoseno, and now we'll sit by the pool with a couple of local beers and try to figure out some clues.  60 miles today, more of the same tomorrow.