Saturday, June 30, 2012

Last day in New Mexico

The day started for us at the Taos Farmer's Market.  It was a nice little market but can't hold a candle to its  Santa Fe counterpart.  And Santa Fe doesn't measure up to the king of all Farm Markets, Eugene, Oregon.  We enjoy checking out these local food venues and almost always find something interesting and good to eat.  Today we just got some beautiful red radishes and lovely tomatoes.  No roasted green chilies, no flower bouquets, no donuts.....

After the market we started our drive around the "enchanted circle" planning on only driving about halfway then turning around.  The whole loop is about 85 miles and both of our backs are a little ouchy after yesterday, so we didn't want to do the whole thing.  Sometimes sitting in one position too long makes things worse.  The road wasn't as twisty as we'd been led to believe, but it was beautiful.  Up through a pine forested mountain, closed in by trees and rocks.  All of a sudden the view cleared as we descended on to an enormous valley.  The scale was so large it was hard to believe.  So beautiful.  We drove through some small towns and past a large lake set at the base of the mountains.    I saw my perfect campsite, overlooking the lake.  Doesn't it look like it was made for me?  JoAnn, you'll need your glasses for these pictures....or click on them to get a bigger image of the "campsite"....

See the white trailer?  No one around for miles...

Back view of the white trailer and all its neighbors.  Just my style!

We saw lots of signs along the road, "Elk Crossing", "Watch for Bighorn Sheep", Eagle nests,  prairie dogs raced across ahead of us, ducking in their holes just in time, and on the lake we saw Pelicans, white pelicans!  I was disappointed that we didn't see any of the animals we were warned to watch for, but the pelicans were neat to see here.

This picture of the pelicans was taken from the road, quite a long way from the shore of the lake, sorry.  You can click on the picture to see a bigger image.

We were enjoying the scenery so much we decided to finish the circle and drive all the way around instead of back tracking.  I'm glad we did because after cresting Bobcat Pass (9288 ft. above sea level)  we came upon a sweet little ski town called Red River and stopped for lunch and a walk along the clear, fast flowing river.

 Backs feeling a bit better after the walk, we finished the trip back to Taos.  We had planned on stopping at the Stable Gallery to see an exhibit of equine art benefiting a horse sanctuary, but we were wiped out, gutted as dear Ruth would say, and didn't feel like dealing with the traffic, parking and people in town.  

Tomorrow morning we'll set off for Colorado.  At the suggestion of the campground mgr. we'll take NM 522 north to C159 through Fort Garland, Colorado to US 160 east to meet up with I-25.  The route that looks straight from here to I-25 evidently winds up and over the mountains on its way and David (the mgr.) urged us to avoid it with Beluga.  Fair enough, he's a native and we just look at lines on a map!
We plan on stopping for the night around Pueblo, Co., well south of the fires in Colorado Springs.  The next day we hope to move on through the burning areas and stop again nearer Denver.  We'll work out the rest of the route then.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

lots of water

No pictures today.

We stayed home and used lots of water.  We washed Lewis and clipped him, washed dusty old Sasha, washed and cut Dave's plentiful head of hair, did 3 loads of laundry and then both showered.    Yes, there is a drought in this part of the country, and yes, we felt guilty, but its pretty dusty here.

Tonight dinner at Mondo Italiano, a tiny, slap your chest and fall back in your chair good  Italian restaurant near here.  I think we'll even just bring the meals home so we can  enjoy a nice bottle of wine, its Friday night isn't it?  (I know, its supposed to be Friday night fish fry....but they don't do that here, so we'll improvise)

Tomorrow the Taos farmer's market for some carrots, radishes, lettuce, and whatever else looks good.
Then I think we'll take the long, twisty scenic byway around the "enchanted circle"  The road goes around Wheeler Peak, the states highest point.  Sounds interesting, yes Cindy, another altitude thing!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Not much happening today

 Lewis, it turns out, didn't really get better after his Monday digestive problems.  He rallied for his birthday, but when we woke up yesterday morning he had "painted" the living room rug with p and p.   We hung around the campground to make sure he was ok, started him on meds. and boiled hamburger/rice meals.  All was OK today, he seems fine.  

Dave is good at using his hands an feet to keep the dogs happy....See all the towels on the floor?  We've decided that they're easier to wash than the rug while Lewis is having digestive issues....

After a slow morning, (I know, another boring morning, but we enjoy sitting outside with our coffee/tea and watching the birds flit around in the trees) we went into the Plaza and made a few small purchases.  The Plaza is a 200 year old open air shopping area in "downtown" Taos.  I use the term downtown loosely, this is a small place that has no bldgs. over one story and no real center.   Just absolutely flat grassy plains ending abruptly in beautiful mountains.   As we were walking around window shopping, it started to rain.  Everyone was so excited, but it only provided enough precipitation to make circles in the dust on our cars.   

Actually, we did a lot of work at the picnic table this morning.  Along with our tea/coffee, we had the entire surface of the table covered with maps, trying to decide which way to go on Sunday.  Do we take small mountain roads out of Taos, go a long way around to catch I-25 and move north into Colorado and the fires, do we cut cross lots on very small roads towards the 4 corners area and through Navajo reservation land into southern  Utah?  I'm not sure we really came to a decision, lots of possibilities, none clear at this point.  Tomorrow's another day, and its only Friday! 

We had a spicy good take out dinner tonight from Guadalajara Grill across the street.  Mojo Ajo Shrimp for Dave and Shrimp Matzalan for me.  Sopapillas with honey for dessert.   

Beluga snuggled in our site, windshield curtain pulled half closed against the  bright sun.

See Dave sitting on the patio in our "yard".  He's doing a bit of Alcoa  business on his phone.  Nice office eh?
Tomorrow we're planning on bathing both dogs and clipping Lewis for the 2nd time on this trip.  Wish us good luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New and Old

As I said yesterday, Dave and I really enjoyed seeing the demonstration Earthship and seeing the whole community here in New Mexico.  These homes are built with natural and recycled materials (tires, bottles, recycled wood, mud, straw, etc.), employ thermal/solar heating and cooling, water harvesting, contained sewage treatment, solar and wind electricity and food production.

Even though the site we visited was their "world headquarters" it was still an active construction site.

the detail in these pictures are glass bottles of varying sizes and colors.  They sparkle in the sun.

entrance to the demonstration earthship

the glass sections enclose the greenhouse areas used for growing vegetables and cleansing  water.

Dave on the roof, checking out some of the systems.  Solar, water, wind , ventilation, etc.

view of some of the homes in the "Greater World Earthship Community".  This sustainable subdivision covers over 630 acres north of Taos.

And the Old....we visited the Mission Church of San Francisco de Asis.  It was built about 1710. Recently,  the parishioners have undertaken restoration of the structure, but have done so in the traditional fashion.  Its simplicity is stunning.

View of the rear of the church housing the altar.

The way the light played on the smooth, soft looking surfaces was fascinating

One of only two windows in the entire church
The Mission church sits in the center of a square and is surrounded with historic buildings in various states of restoration.
This structure is just beginning to be restored.  See the straw pile used  in making traditional adobe?

close-up of the straw/mud mixture

some buildings and homes in the church square have been lovingly restored  and are beautiful examples of  a very old building style still being used today.

I wanted to go through this door in the wall and  sit in the beautiful blue garden.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Too Many Pictures for one post

We're enjoying Taos and our campground so much that we've decided to stay until Sunday morning.  Perhaps it will give the firefighters in Colorado time to bring some of the blazes under control before we continue north into Colorado Springs.

We had an easy morning, coffee outside in the sun and spent some quality time with the dogs.  It is Lewis' 3rd birthday today and we wanted to give him a little extra TLC today.  He was under the weather yesterday, but I'm happy to say he's  back to his bouncy self.  I'm not so sure Sasha is as happy as we are....

He thinks no one notices him in the shadows
His eye is on his victim
watch out Sasha marie!

Sasha happily defends herself and Dave hangs on to the table to keep it upright in the tussle

There are many things we want to see here in Taos, so we started our afternoon with a new mexican lunch at a small local restaurant.  It was delicious.  We wanted to try and find the headquarters of Earthships, just over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge a few miles.  We had driven along the Rio Grande river at the bottom of the gorge on our way into Taos yesterday, but we wanted to drive over this famous bridge.   Be careful of what you wish for I always say....The span was under construction and just as we got to the very middle,  the highest point, they stopped us to move some heavy equipment around.  Any one who knows me, knows I have serious problems with heights.  Sitting in the middle of a bridge 650 feet over a river with strong wind gusts buffeting us just about did me in!!!  I rose to the occasion, however, and managed to lower my window and take a few shaky pictures.  Dave suggested I get out and go to the railing to get a better shot, funny guy.

Pictures are taking a long time to load tonight, so I'll post the pictures we took at the demonstration Earthship
location tomorrow.  It was a very interesting and thought provoking tour and we enjoyed seeing the creative and artistic designs as much as we were facinated by the systems used to enable these homes to be completely "off the grid".  I'm sure this technology isn't anything new, especially to you Jess, but we were very interested to see how many of these homes are in existence.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The road to Taos

It became just too crowded at Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground.  At the beginning of our stay the place was fairly empty and we had a nice little space to ourselves.  As the week  wore on, more and more people came in and we felt more and more hemmed in.  Santa Fe is a wonderful area, lots of things to see and do and eat....but we had outgrown the campground.

Our drive up to Taos was a beautiful one.  We stopped for a quick lunch just north of Santa Fe, at Camel Rock Casino on the Tesuque Reservation.

Camel Rock

Only in the west - this is a shot of our inside thermometer at lunchtime.  The top number is the inside temp., the middle is the outside temp. and the bottom number (l percent) is the humidity!  When was the last time you experienced l percent humidity?  Can you say bloody nose?

After driving north of Santa Fe through the numerous Native American Pueblos , we entered the Rio Grande River gorge.  Route 68 was a very twisty road, quite narrow in spots and steadily climbing.  Beluga handled it with ease.  The river ran clearer and faster as we moved north.   I wish I had taken pictures of it in Los Lunas and Albuquerque, you wouldn't recognize it as the same river.  There it trudges along wearily, most of its strength being stolen to irrigate the farm fields.   What water is left is muddy and brown.  Here it flows free and fast and clear.

the canyon walls are steep

we finally climbed up, out of  the gorge and drove along it's rim on  the top of the  plateau.

Taos nestles at the feet of the mountains
We're at a lovely campground just a mile or so south of the Taos plaza.  The sites are well spaced and landscaped and our spot is particularly nice because we have a large "side yard" that, with a few well placed sections of ex pen, we can allow the dogs to be loose when we sit outside.  They enjoy their freedom after the confinement of Rancheros de Santa Fe.  I think Lew had enough of strangers up there.  He did his absolute best to accommodate everyone, but the stress of it finally caught up with him tonight.  He doesn't feel very well, we think.....

 We'll stay a few days and explore the area a little more than we had planned.  Its pretty nice here!
view from Beluga's windshield at our campsite in Taos Valley RV Resort.

After looking at his post, I realize that these pictures don't really show what we saw today and for that I'm sorry.  I guess trying to capture such larger than life scenery through a buggy windshield probably isn't the best idea, but nevertheless, thats what I did!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Boring Couple Alert!  We stayed close to home today, tried to catch up on some personal and domestic housekeeping.  Since we're on the road again tomorrrow we really needed to get a big laundry done (sheets, towels, etc.) bills paid, mail tended to, and  some personal hygiene taken care of.  The dogs needed to be groomed (they're big dust balls by now) Beluga needed to be vacuumed and we needed or organize our poor jeep!  We've been throwing things in it (coolers, hiking boots, chairs, towels, water jugs, maps, etc.) since we got here and it really needed a little TLC.   Dave spent most of the day on the floor, manuals and Ipad in his lap,  trying to straighten out the sirius radio.  It keeps defaulting to a "standby" mode and no music.  He finally gave up in total frustration and when we turned it on again later - bingo, it worked.....poltergeists or gremlins?  I think we'll leave well enough alone.

 Too tired to cook dinner so we ordered take out from our favorute local  restaurant, Harry's Roadhouse.  I don't know what we'll do without them when we leave.   Everything is fresh and made from scratch - I had apricot/cherry crisp for dessert tonight, with real whipped cream.  What could be better?

Taos, NM is our next stop tomorrow.  It shouldn't be a long drive, but we're traveling along the wild part of the Rio Grande river so I'm looking forward to it.  We'll stay up there for a couple days, then continue north into Colorado.

I've just seen a bulletin on TV informing us of another fire in the bosque, this time north of Santa Fe, so we'll have to check the conditions before we leave in the morning.  Such is the west during a drought.  This is the beginning of the monsoon season, so everyone here is praying (and dancing) for rain!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The Saturday Farmer's Market called us this morning.  It was huge compared with Tuesday's, and we found ourselves in the midst of a Rainbow Parade to boot.  What a great morning it was.  A riot of colors...

What would I do without Dave to carry all my stuff!

We couldn't resist these beautiful flowers

Who ate all the Chocolate Toffee Crunch donuts?   I only ate one, Cindy....It was really good

The start of the parade.  

check out the cool shoes and the pup's harness!  Color everywhere..

Even the cowboys got into the spirit

We came back to Beluga for lunch, after the market and the parade.  Jesse called and we had a great conversation.  He seems to be really enjoying his summer job and the Seattle scene, except for the weather.  It sounds awful, rain in the 50's.  I feel guilty being here in the land of the sun, well, almost guilty.  Tee Hee

After lunch we headed back out to do some errands and checkout the homes in our area, which is south of Santa Fe proper.  Some interesting single story Adobe houses surrounded by low walls, spectacular mountain views, and acres between them.  Nice.

Another good day comes to an end.  Tomorrow we'll stay around Beluga and get some housekeeping done before we pack up and head up to Taos NM for a few days.