Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 20 - Great Bend to Warrensburg

We left Great Bend before 7 AM, but we didn't have to worry about sun in our eyes.  It started off cloudy, then became foggy.  The fog became a mist, the rain, then a hard rain.  It finally cleared up between Emporia & Ottawa, and was positively steamy by the time we got home, about 1:15 PM. 
Chore time - empty car, do laundry, check on cottage, make a grocery run, work out finances of the trip (& reconcile accounts).  We'll start working on the trip report from Sandra's notes after we get the cats back home and everything put away and organized.

297.9 miles on the day, 4142.8 for the trip, overall average (per the car's computer) 32.4 MPG. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Day 19 - Lamar to Great Bend

A nice, easy driving day.  Not much traffic on the roads we picked (CO-196, US-385, CO/KS-96), so drove 5 mph below the speed limit and got close to 40 mpg on the day.  Left at 0820 MDT, arrived 1445 CDT, 235 miles.  Had a break at Tribune, KS (why are towns called 'Horace' and 'Tribune' so close together?  hmm) and talked about the weather.  They've been very droughty and welcomed the rain. Lunch at a little cafe in Scott City, supper at Perkins in Great Bend.  Oh, no pictures today - sorry!

Tomorrow we're off for home - a bit under 300 miles. If we start by 0730, we should be home a bit after 1500. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 18, Red River to Lamar

We were really tired Friday evening, but after a good night's sleep at the HIE, Lamar, ready to go.  We left the BW Red River about 0745, headed through the mountains (a 9000' pass north of Mt. Wheeler) toward the Vietnam Memorial State Park.  This is a special place, originally funded by a private citizen in memory of his son, KIA.  The state eventually took it over since the endowment/volunteers couldn't keep up.  The indoor portions have lots of tissue boxes around - they are needed.

We  the Cimarron canyon down to the plains, time for  a stop at Raton.  Amtrak arrived from KC  we drove past the depot - memories of Bill's trip to Albuquerque a number of years ago.  We visited the museum, had lunch at El Matador, and headed for Raton Pass.  The road from Trinidad to La Junta is 70+ miles of essentially nothing, just a few ranches and some abandoned settlements without even a change in speed limit. This road follows the Santa Fe Trail for many miles.

We arrived at Bent's Old Ford NHS about 2:30 and explored it thoroughly, leaving not long before it closed at 4. 

 Restored fort seen from the walk

 Hat, woodpile & fire pit
 Gate seen from outside
 Two interpreters, period dress
 Wagon in yard of fort
 Room interior
 Yard of fort
 Outside adobe wall seen from bastion

We got to Lamar  about 4:30, checked in, watched a thunderstorm roll in and crashed early.  259 miles on the day, 3606 for the trip.  Saturday it's on to Great Bend - sightseeing optional.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 17 - Santa Fe to Red River

And mostly Taos.   We were rolling by 7 for Taos, mainly to have a second breakfast at Michael's.  After the breakfast, we drove to the Plaza area to shop and take pictures - and to shop some more (Bill ended up with two books at op. cit. bookstore).  Here's what the Taos roofline looks like a bit after 9 AM:

We then drove over the Gorge Bridge and stopped for pictures;

We followed the West Rim Road, and then down into the gorge - Sandra wanted to stop for rock picking; Bill said not until we find someplace somewhat level.
We crossed the low level bridge, and stopped to watch some fisherman out in the Rio Grande:

We then headed back to Taos for lunch at El Taoseno - Bill recommends the green chile stew, best so far this trip.  Then we headed north to Red River, where we're staying at the River's Edge Best Western, did the laundry, ate at a fancy place w/in walking distance, and enjoyed the view from the motel:
 Looking downstream from the hotel shore
Lift tower for the ski area, just across the creek

A change of plans for the rest of the trip.  Tomorrow we'll visit the Vietnam Memorial State Park and Raton as planned, but we'll also see Bent's Old Fort and spend the night in Lamar.  Saturday it'll be Great Bend rather than Scott City, and we'll be home on Sunday afternoon!  3349 so far for the trip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day 16 - Around Santa Fe

The Best Western this AM had an unusually good motel breakfast - the sausage & eggs tasted real.  Thus fortified, we set off for the Plaza.  We parked in the cathedral parking lot, $10 for all day, and headed for the Plaza, passing the La Fonda Hotel parking garage:
Yes, EVERYTHING in Santa Fe is the Pueblo style, even garages

Walked past the Indians setting up their wares in front of the Palace of the Governors, stopped at the Dime Store for post cards, then walked up the street toward the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA).  Stopped in a camera store, just to look, and Bill coveted the Nikon P900 superzoom camera - $600 is not in the market today.

The IAIA is a long standing fixture just off the Plaza, with displays of recent (read: modern) art by its students and graduates. This picture is from its Houser Sculpture Gallery:

BY 11 AM, we were first in a long line for our favorite Santa Fe eatery, just across the street.
We always try to get the same table, a sorta-private one where we dined during our first visit here in '04.  There's a mirror right behind it, so we could get Sandra & Bill in the same picture:
And the food - the food - do you like blue corn enchiladas, green?

After lunch we headed for the New Mexico History Museum, where we were reminded of the characters & issues in the prehistory, settlement and U.S. acquisition of the area, as well as modern transportation options:
A quick visit to the Museum of Art (no pictures from the courtyard this year), some ice cream, and a walk around to a book store, back through the Plaza looking for pigeon pics (did you know SFPD cars can have bike racks for the pedal patrol?). 

Then it was back to IAIA to buy a Lakota Noon (their story of Custer's demise), and back to the motel - tired!

Tomorrow we're off to Taos and Red River.  Only about 12 miles for the day and 5 days left on the trip!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 15 - Albuquerque to Santa Fe

Left the hotel today about 8 AM and headed north on I-25.  We pulled off at Santo Domingo for some of their less expensive gas ('only' $2.769/gal), then continued on NM-22 toward Cochiti and Kashe-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  This is a place where erosion of ancient volcanic ash and pyroclastic flows created tepee-shaped hoodoos.  It also has a slot canyon.  We were here several years ago (when it was much less crowded) so didn't walk the full trail or up the slot canyon.
Here are some pictures:
 Do you see the space alien?
 How about now?

  Ponderosa pines grow in the slot canyon

The thousand foot La Bajada climb awaited us on our return to the interstate - we'd heard of it but never really put it together with this location.  There's a rest area at the top, so no more excuses.

On to Santa Fe, locate our motel but drive on by for lunch at Weck's, where we'd eaten breakfast on previous trips.  It was OK, but breakfast is better.  Then we took a route we know to Museum Hill.  First museum was the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, guarded by this guy:
Massive statue of Apache dancer

Bill took his time going though the Here, Now and Always exhibit, featuring history & culture of New Mexico's resident nations.  Downstairs was a special exhibit about Apachean groups.  Then we went over to the Museum of International Folk Art, with its regular exhibits plus a special exhibit on beading - seems virtually every culture has used it at one time or another.

On to the Best Western after making it through a traffic jam; seems they're paving every road in southern Santa Fe.  We were upgraded to what is the nicest suite we've seen in  a long time.  Light supper at Tortilla Flats, then an early night to get ready for tomorrow - downtown to the Plaza, the Shed for lunch, several museums and sightseeing.  Only 102 miles today.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Day 14 - Around Albuquerque

After a motel breakfast, we headed for Old Town and found a free place to park central to what we wanted to see.  The walk to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History was leisurely, as we had about 1/2 hour to go about 1/4 mile.  We bought our NM Culture Pass, one visit to each museum & historic site, visited with the dinosaurs

While Bill perused a giant map of current earthquakes:

Part of the visit was a 3D movie about National Parks - OK, once all the school kids got quiet.  Then we went to the Plaza area.  First stop was lunch at the Church Street Cafe, second was a T-shirt shop

Sandra's new T-shirt (Bill got a different one)

Bill paid a visit to a couple of relics of Sibley's misadventures in the area, replicas of a couple of the mountain howitzers buried nearby during his retreat after his supply train was destroyed.
Kind of interesting how certain parts of the gun are some much shinier than the rest of it

Now it was time for a visit to Bill;s favorite store on the Plaza - a book shop.  He ended up with 6 Steven Havills and the new Anne Hillerman - lots of reading when we get home.

After a trip back to the motel to recuperate, we hiked across the street to the Pueblo Cultural Center.  The lobby features one of New Mexico's 'painted ponies'
The museum is much improved over our first visit many years ago, but certain aspects of the center's Plaza remain very similar to the old appearance.
Interpretation is a lot more confident and even 'in your face' than many years ago- confident in their Pueblo identity. The featured exhibit was a series of cartoon paintings by Ricardo Cate', whose strip makes pointed pokes at White-Indian relations.    Dinner was a Tewa Taco at the center's restaurant.

Only 6 miles today, but 3066 for the trip. Tomorrow we're off to Santa Fe for a couple of days.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Day 13 - Socorro to Albuquerque

Off early after a hotel breakfast, heading east on US-380.  When we reached the Tularosa Basin, we could see Carrizozo - and a lava field.  So naturally, we pulled over to take some shots of the lava:

Then it was on to Carrizozo - you'll remember all the shots of the painted burros around town and on the rooftops.  Well, you also know we can't resist those critters:

A close up of one rooftop burro

Next was a side trip to the old mining town of White Oaks.  It's supposed to be sort of an art town, but not much open today:

We turned off on NM-55, went through the almost-ghost town of Claunch, on to the southernmost of the Salinas Missions Nat'l Monument, Gran Quivira.  This was a Tompiro-speaking pueblo; the remaining residents headed south with the Spanish after the revolt of 1680 and their descendants live near El Paso.  It also is built of darker stone than the other two:
 The church as seen over the remains of a housing block.
Housing block ruins

Headed on to Mountainair, home of the monument headquarters and of a really good green chile cheeseburger at Jerry's Ancient Cities Cafe.  It's also home of an interesting mural - notice anything odd?

We continued north to another of the pueblo ruins, Quarai.  This one was built with red stone; the people were Tiwa-speakers so any descendants likely live in current Tiwa pueblos.  The church is the most intact of the three.

All of these pueblos include this little 'stay-on-the-trails' memo:

We continued on scenic roads to Tijeras, then on Old US-66 to Old Town Albuquerque. Visited the Albuquerque Museum (art & history), said "hello" to our favorite pictures and to some new ones, and a special exhibit of high-schooler photographs - some of those kids are immensely talented photographers, others know digital editing.

Checked in at the HIE Old Town, drove cross town to the Frontier for supper, and now thinking about tomorrow - mostly Old Town.  We're now over 3000 miles on the trip.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Day 12 - Las Cruces to Socorro

Well, that doesn't sound like an adventurous day - except we took the very 'scenic route', via Lordsburg & Silver City.  Left the hotel before the 7 AM breakfast & ate at McD's, on the road by 7:20.  Too early, since nothing in Deming opens until 9, it's only 60 miles, and driving under 70 on I-10 will get you run over.  So we found a side road that ran roughly parallel to the big hiway, and got there not quite as early.  First stop was a visit to a couple of characters we met 2 years ago:
This fellow has been there a while - he's a tail-dragger
 This one looks hungry

Next stop was Deming's Luna-Mimbres Museum, with three levels of  artifacts from various eras located in an old National Guard armory, with extensions.  Bill examined the interpretation and pottery of the Mimbres culture, while Sandra had a nice talk with the lady in charge.
These replica pots hold signs all over town

We left about 1030 for Lordsburg, where we planned to eat at Ramona's.  Wait, no cars parked in front?  What's this?  A fellow on the roof looked down at us and shook his head.  Well, that was a wasted stop.  So off to Silver City, once a mining town where Billy the Kid first got into trouble with the law.  It's now a thriving art center, home of a state university with an outstanding Mimbres pottery collection - we couldn't find it.  It's also the home of La Cocina cafe, which is worth a stop!

We also missed the turnoffs to Ft. Bayard and a Mimbres archeological site.  We didn't miss the huge copper strip mine in the area.  It's actually quite colorful in its own way:

This road is known as the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway, since the Black Mountains were part of the domain of his White Mountain Apache band. 

                                         The road started off rather mildly

Then quickly became curvy with lots of ups and downs:

Rocks beside the road could be interesting, as long as they stayed off the road:

Eventually we reached a high point overlook, I think about 8600' above sea level.  Some bikers were taking a break, then 4 women showed up heading for the 'facilities.'

We finally came out at the old mining town of Hillsboro.  It's shown as a ghost town, but like so many others in New Mexico,  many of the ghosts still seem to be animate.  It was full of shops, with even a garage sale going on.  We did find this ghost of a building:

Finally back on the Interstate, we headed for Socorro and the HIE there. Tomorrow we take another 'scenic' route to Albuquerque, via Carrizozo and the Salinas Missions.  332.6 miles for today, 2795.9 for the trip.