Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day 10, Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - Holbrook to Farmington

Didn't sleep too well last night because we don't adapt well to really firm mattresses.  Had a quick breakfast at a very overpriced McD's, and quickly headed off into the painted desert on BIA roads.  After a couple of hours through scenery varying from 'scenic' to spectacular, we arrived at Chinle, gateway to Canyon de Chelley (pronounced de shay, a Europeanization of the Dine' name tsegi).  This is a sacred place to the Dine' (Navajo) and important in their history.

We decided to tour the South Rim before lunch, intending to view (photograph) Spider Rock, home of Spider Woman, who taught the Dine' weaving.  We stopped first at the White House Ruin overlook, a view of an Anasazi site. 

Then it was on to Spider Rock, a pinnacle in the middle of a divide in the canyon.  We toured the canyon to here on our 30th Anniversary, and visited the overlook on our 35th.  We again took photos from the overlook this trip.

After lunch at the Thunderbird Lodge, our next stop was Lukachukai and the Totsoh Trading Post.  We had visited there before, in 2005, 2007 & 2012 (and had met a daughter of the family in the Phoenix area in 2006).  In 2012 I'd bought Sandra a small rug for our 35th Anniversary; today we bought another one.

After Lukachukai, we headed into a pass in the Chuska (pronounced chews' ka) Mountains.  At the top, we got a view of Ship Rock, the Rock With Wings, another place sacred to the Dine'. 

 Finally, we arrived in Farmington and the HIE.  A good Mexican dinner, download pictures, and to bed!  259 miles on the day, 2604 for the trip.  Tomorrow we tour the Aztec ruins and head for Albuquerque.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Day 9, Monday, May 30, 2016 - Willcox to Holbrook

Well, I had this whole thing written and it disappeared!  Damn laptop.  Here's some pictures with a short comment about each:
Railroad station/visitor center in Clifton, AZ - see the mountains?  We're headed that way.

Clifton has a flock of bighorn sheep wandering around town.

The Morenci mine - it eats mountains looking for copper.

One of dozens of scenic mountain views taken along US-191, the Coronado Scenic Byway - 90 miles of this.

 Holbrook Arizona has rock shops and dinosaurs and petrified wood.

It's on Route 66.  The Wigwam motel has rooms in concrete teepees, with classic cars in front of each.  We're staying across the street in the Globetrotter Lodge - it has better reviews.

Tomorrow we're off to Farmington via AZ-77, N-15 and US-191 to Chinle, N-64 and N-7 to Lukachukai, N-13 thru Chuska Pass, US-491 to Ship Rock and US-64 to Farmington and Aztec.
For the day, 309 miles, 2348 for the trip

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Day 8, May 29, 2016 - Deming to Willcox

Deserted (de' sert ed) - Saw a lot of desert today, some Border Patrol vehicles, and even a blimp.  On our way out of Deming, we ran across these critters out for their morning stroll:

We headed south past the Tres Hermanas Mountains. Our first stop was to be Columbus, site of Pancho Villa's 1916 raid.  It has a state park - reputedly the only one named for an invader of the U.S.  The museum at the park is in an old RR station and supposedly opens at 9 AM.  It didn't.  We did see the outdoor exhibits, such as this armored car.  Despite a nice little hill for a lookout post, armored cars and airplanes, Pershing didn't catch Villa. 

On to Hachita, shown on the NM map as a ghost town.  Let's just say some of the ghosts are not incorporal - while many of the buildings are deserted, the place is populated.  The 'ghosts' thoughtfully provided a rest area at the edge of town.

Among the deserted buildings are this Catholic church and the saloon - if they're empty, it is indeed a ghost town.

On to Lordsburg for lunch (trivia - the destination for a certain conveyance in a well-known 1939 John Ford western).  As has happened to so many towns bypassed by the interstate hiway, the downtown area on Main Street (next to the tracks) was full of empty buildings as the thriving ones moved out near the big highway.  We passed though here in 2012 when returning from the Las Vegas Libertarian convention.  We don't ask the welcome center what they recommend, we ask them where they like to eat.  We made a point to return to Ramona's, a small place on Main Street, with a strong local clientele.  We got there before the rush (luckily), and invited two ladies to share our table.   Turns out they were travelers, as well.  Folks were lined up outside when we left.  Best meal of the trip.

Got to Willcox about 12:45, unaware that we'd gained another hour.  We said we'd gallivant around the town, but they came up with a room early.  So we gallivanted anyway, ending up at Buffalo Sisters Trading Post, owned by a Comanche lady.  Told her of our visit to the cultural center in Lawton.  Dinner at a truck stop (the town shuts down on Sunday), a quick laundry, and process some photos.

Tomorrow it's about 300 miles through mountains to Holbrook, via US-191, US-60 and AZ-77, through towns like Safford, Clifton, Eager, and Show Low.  210 miles for today, 2036 for the trip.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 7, May 28, 2016 - T or C to Deming

Not a lot of miles, but a lot of visiting.  Left about 8:30 AM for Ft. Selden & Las Cruces.  Fort Selden was a post-CW fort designed to protect the settlement at Mesilla from the Apaches.  As an adobe fort, it is badly deteriorated.  It had on display an 1865 3" ordnance rifle that had been modified for breach loading.  It had once been painted yellow.  Meanwhile, please take care to avoid the snakes.

We met Sandra's Uncle Murray and his friend Peggy at the COAS bookstore downtown - they have some nice new & used books, for a nice price.  We had lunch at La Posta in Mesilla, then did some shopping.  Talked some more at Uncle Murray's apartment.

Arrived at a nice HIE in Deming, ate at El Camino Real, and looked at next day's plan.  Tomorrow we'll go to Willcox via Columbus on NM-1, Hachita on NM-9, and Lordsburg on NM-113 & I-10.  For the day, about 160 miles, 1826 for the trip. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 6, May 27, 2016 - Roswell to T or C

Left Roswell bright & early after an uncomfortable night at Candlewood Suites and breakfast at Denny's.  Took about an hour to get to Lincoln, site of the Lincoln County War & Billy the Kid's exploits, shortly before everything opened.  We didn't wait - we've been there several times before.

Back in the car to Fort Stanton (the reason for the commercial rivalry that caused the Lincoln County War), again well before anything opened.  In addition to its role in the Apache wars, Ft. Stanton served as a WPA camp, a POW camp during WWII, a TB sanitarium and a school for developmentally disabled.  It was recently opened for tourists.  Here's the sign:

On to Carrizozo, a major junction on old trails and 2-lane highways (US-54 & US-380).  It's also a bit of a folk-art center, and is known for painted burros (you know, like painted ponies, cows, dogs, etc.) all over town - and I do mean 'over.'  They're on the roof tops, as well as the streets.

Headed west along US-380, which passes through the 'Valley of Fires,' a volcanic lava flow about 5000 years old.  It's pretty extensive, but we just stopped along the roadside where it cut through.

At Socorro, we stopped by the welcome center for maps & suggestions.  Weren't impressed by the food at the recommended restaurant, but the plaza is nicely done.  San Miguel was supposedly the first one in New Mexico (under the name of Our Lady of Succor), but it fell to ruins.  The current one was built on the same site in the early 1800s and the name was later changed when a vision of St. Michael (San Miguel) warned the people of an impending Apache attack.

We stopped at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  This is the winter home of greater sandhill cranes.  No pictures, so we pressed on to the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, which coves the history (and prehistory) of this important trail from Mexico to the province of Nuevo Mexico.  Oxcarts were often used.

On to Truth or Consequences, formerly known as Hot Springs, where we had dinner and relaxed at the  HIE.  Tomorrow we go on to Las Cruces to visit Sandra's Uncle Murray, with an en route stop at Ft. Selden.  Then it's on to Deming for the night.  262 miles for the day, 1671 for the trip.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 5, May 26, 2016 - Alpine to Roswell

Got out of Alpine about 7:30 AM after a nice night at the Alpine HIE.  The ballpark we didn't visit last night looked pretty nice, and it did rain about the time we would have been at the ghost light viewing area.  After we got through the Davis Mountains, we stopped at a roadside site we'd noticed the day before. It's a memorial for "all the horses, mules & burros that passed by on their way to be slaughtered."

After a gas stop at Pecos, then up a long & busy road to Carlsbad, with lots of oil field truck traffic.  At Carlsbad, we stopped at the Info Center for advice on lunch, then paid a visit to the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center.  This museum has a small but solid art collection, and an in-process model of the town in an earlier day, complete with railroads and moving parts.  This is where we found a lady who is from Stover, MO.  We also recommend the green chile cheeseburgers and the ice cream at Kaleidoscoops.

After a short stop at the Artesia Library to see the Peter Hurd mural
we pressed on to Roswell.  A quick stop at the UFO Museum gift shop for a set of antennae, we headed for the Roswell Museum & Art Center, with it excellent art galleries as well as local & regional history and Robert Goddard's rocketry.

Final stop was the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, which has an Artist in Residence program and is full of the work of current & past program participants.  The large galleries have plenty of space for a wide variety of works.  Whatever your taste in art, you'll likely find works that you like (& don't care for - the collection is eclectic).

Supper was at Los Ceritos, a very good resta, urant, and we're hanging out in our room at the Candlewood Suites.  Tomorrow it's on to TorC, via Lincoln, Ft. Stanton, Carrizozo, & Socorro.

264.8 miles on the trip, 1410 for the trip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Day 4 - May 25, 2016 - Pecos to Alpine via Marfa

Finally some mountains.  It was pretty flat from Pecos to Balmorhea, but just past that we hit the volcanic Davis Mountains.  Not a hard drive, but it wasn't flatland.  Here's a view.

Got to Ft. Davis about 9 AM.  This was a frontier fort astride the San Antonio-El Paso Road and close by the Comanche War Trail used to raid Mexico.  It was built in the 1840s, abandoned during the War, and rebuilt around 1867.  It was occupied by a Buffalo Soldier cavalry regiment for most of the time until it was closed in the 1890s.  It's a National Park site.

Next was Marfa, home of modern art and the ghost lights.  We had a good lunch and started looking for outre' art.  The Chinati Foundation features 'minimalist art by Donald Judd.'  We looked at one of his outdoor installations, which left Bill puzzled & Sandra checking it for solidity.

Also visited the Hotel Paisano, famous for its use during the filming of Giant.

And, of course, the Ghost Light Viewing Area, where we may visit tonight about 9 PM, since the lights don't show up until twilight & later.  Or, we may go to a ball game, or maybe... both - if we can stay awake.

Well, we didn't go to any.  There's a chance of thunderstorms here.  Today was 141.6 miles, 1145 for the trip..  Tomorrow it's on to Roswell via TX-118, TX-17 & US-285.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 3, May 24, 2016 - Lawton to Pecos (TX)

It was farther than I thought   I made a small mistake in the formula for distance, and drove an extra 40 miles.  Still got here before 4 - went to the laundromat, had a good dinner, and bought some Lone Star.  We survived a thunderstorm at 3 AM, and hit the road by 7:30. Our first stop was a Texas welcome center at Wichita Falls for maps & ideas.  It rained there, too

[gee, I got in a trip photo!]

Most of the day was spent driving past oil wells as the temperature got higher and higher, breaking 100.  Had lunch at Buck's near Big Spring, and supper at an excellent Mexican restaurant here in Pecos.  Finally paying a bit over $2/gallon for gas.

444.9 miles on the day, 1003 for the trip.  Tomorrow to Marfa via Ft. Davis; spending the night at Alpine.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 - Sand Springs to Lawton

Rain in the morning and more museums the rest of the day.  We left the Tulsa area just ahead of a line of thunderstorms - and we drove through them most of the way to Oklahoma City. Got to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum at 9 when we thought it opened - wrong, it opens at 10.  We drove downtown, then wandered thru the streets until we found the memorial for thre Oklahoma City bombing.  Did a slow drive-around, then to the Oklahoma History Center, where we looked through the galleries for the 30-something tribes in Oklahoma, a Kiowa painted teepee, and the CW exhibit.  Outside the entry, Apache sculptor Allan Houser is featured.

Back to the Cowboy Museum.  We'd decided to have lunch there, Navajo Taco or Frito Pie - closed on Mondays.  Guess I need to research better next time. It's a good museum, lots of great art, a firearms collection, western history, rodeo, western movies.  Worn out again!

On to Lawton w/o a real lunch. just a quick stop at a McDs.  Got to the Museum of the Great Plains, an interactive museum which is great for kids but a bit overpriced for adults familiar with the history & geography. A high point is the tornado experience simulation - you're in a cellar for a major tornado hearing all the sounds.  Sandra met a couple of bison, this giant bronze one

and this sleepy character

Right next door is the Comanche National Museum and Heritage Center.  The gentleman manning the desk was a relative of the last Comanche code talker of the 14 who landed at Utah Beach and were involved in the rest of WWII in Europe.  This museum covers the history & culture of the Comanche people in brief, and it's free.  It even has a "selfies site."

Found our Candlewood Suites & checked in, went to Golden Corral for supper, and had another surprise when we got back - a fraud detected email on my credit card.  Ouch!

211 miles on the day, 559 on the trip.  Tomorrow we drive to Pecos TX on I-44, US-277 & I-20.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 2, 5/22/16 - Miami to Sand Springs

Very definitely a day for ART.  Out at 8 AM  via OK-10, US-169, US-60, & OK-123, to Woolaroc at 10 AM, just when it opened.  It's a scenic place in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma, where Frank Phillips (Phillips 66) had his country estate.  He collected eclectically - exotic animals, western art, native relics, guns, etc.  The art collection is what I'd call "important" - everyone you've heard of and some that you probably haven't.  We spent two hours there, mostly in the museum, and that comes nowhere near doing it justice. 

 Guess who was born on Feb 3rd?  Draw your own conclusions.

We planned on getting lunch en route to Tulsa on OK-11, but we were detoured onto US-75, an express highway, and never saw a restaurant.  Our next destination is the Gilcrease Museum, created by another wealthy oilman (this statue is in front of the entrance).  This is another outstanding museum of, predominantly, western art.  More of everyone you've heard of, even a couple of Bingham portraits, Indian relics, and more art.  Walked my feet off, and stumbled out after 2 hours, still hungry, and not having spent enough time to look at everything in the detail I would have liked.

A quick trip to Sand Springs to our HIE.  This a new and very modern one, well laid out.  Had lunch/supper at Billy Sims BBQ (decor features the legendary OU running back).  Good, not great. 

Tomorrow it's on to Oklahoma City and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (formerly known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame), and the State Historical Museum.  Then it'll be on to Lawton for the night.

For the day, only 155 miles; 347 for the trip.  Glad we didn't try to do it all in one day!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 0, May 21, 2016 - Warrensburg to Miami OK

This is Day 0, because we originally planned to leave tomorrow.  But - we were ready & packed, and this would give us more time at tomorrow's stops - Woolaroc & the Gilcrease, both noted for western art. 

We took the cats in to Wag'n Tails about 9:30.  Miss Topsy objected to getting into her travel case, and even more to exiting it.  I had to turn it on end and sort of slide her out.  That done, we visited the Master Gardener group's plant sale at Blind Boone Park, where I made connections to get some milkweed pods into their hands.  Then it was lunch at Country Kitchen, a visit to the library, and finally the art show reception at UCM's gallery (we each have 6 photos in it).

Finally, hit the road at 2:40, via MO-13, MO-82, I-49 and I-44.  No pictures, but we saw a few Battle Flags along MO-82 between Osceola & Eldorado Springs.  Got to Miami (pronounced mi am uh) a bit after 6, 196 miles.  Staying at the HIE here, which is nice but the wifi in our room is spotty.  Town has a lot of businesses, so it must be bigger than I thought, as well as being on a major interstate.

Tomorrow, we're off on OK-10/US-60 to Bartlesville, then on to Woolaroc.  After a few hours there, we'll try to find some BBQ, spend some time at the Gilcrease, and RON at Sand Springs HIE. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Trip Coming

Another trip Southwest, for art, history, photography, visiting, and just maybe a bit of treasure hunting.  I'll be posting regularly (I hope) starting this weekend.