Wednesday, October 31, 2007

10/20/07 Bandelier

Up and out early again today. Today we went to the Bandelier National Monument.

We passed some beautiful scenery on our way.

We couldn't help but notice how yet another state "decorates" its overpasses.

We came to an area where you pull off the road and are we ever glad we did! You just can't imagine how beautiful this is. The pictures are nice, but seeing it first hand is breathtaking.

When we reached the parking area we went into the visitor's pavillion and this display caught my eye. I think its a good way to remind people not to litter!

Before we started on the mile and a half trek through the park, there are actually 70 miles of trails but we're only doing the part where the cliff dwellings are, we had lunch in the courtyard.

Bandelier National Monument is a U.S. National Monument consisting of 32,737 acres. About 23,367 acres of the monument has been designated a wilderness area. One question I had was what is the difference between a National Monument and a National Park. After all, this had all the makings of a park as far as I could tell, it had a picnic area, hiking trails, camping and a park like setting. So I did a little research and found the difference. A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a national park (specifically a U.S. National Park) except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a national monument without Congressional approval. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks.
Another difference between a national monument and national park is the amount of diversity in what is being protected; national monuments aim to preserve at least one unique resource but do not have the amount of diversity of a national park (which are supposed to protect a host of unique features). So now you know too.

We made our start on the loop into the Frijoles Canyon and the first thing we came to is what is left of ancient Kivas. These are the ceremonial buildings of the ancient Pueblos.

We soon came to the cliff dwellings we had heard so much about.

We just had to climb up and look inside.

Can you see the petroglyphs?

It seems that cactus grows anywhere it wants!

See the holes in the mountain side? They were put there for a reason.

These holes are where the logs, that the roofing material was put on, were secured as the picture below shows.

Some of the scenery.

So this was our day Bandelier National Monument. We passed this rock formation on the way home.

10/19/07 A Day of Rest

Today we didn't do much of anything. We've been on the go for the last several days and decided we needed a day at home. After all, we can stay here as long as we like and there is no rush to see everything all at once.

I took care of some inside things and made a crock pot full of beef stew for dinner. Bob rode his bike down to the local Home Depot to see about an electric heater for us to use to take the chill off in the mornings. We have one but it isn't working properly and we don't want to take any chances with it.

While out, Bob picked up a couple of those free real estate books that give color pictures and descriptions of homes for sale in the area. We pick these up wherever we go just to see how far the housing dollar goes in the area we're in. As in Texas, your dollar goes farther here than it does on the east coast. You can get a lot of house for $150,000.00 in this area.

One thing we have noticed is that they don't advertise air conditioning as we on the right coast know it. In the real estate booklets its listed as R/A.....refrigerated air. We have also noticed that the A/C's are all mounted on the roofs here. I don't know why this is. Maybe because there isn't grass all around putting them on the roof keeps dust/dirt from messing them up.

Another observation has been that there are no residential built in pools. In fact we have only seen ONE above ground pool. Don't New Mexicans swim? Even when we have been at higher elevations (think Sandia Tram) and had the opportunity look down over a town or city we haven't seen the telltale bright blue of a swimming pool. I don't get it. With the weather here one would think pools would be all over the place. In fact, few hotels/motels have pools. I'm going to have to ask some questions of the locals to find out why that is.

After dinner we settled in for yet another night of TV.

Tomorrow we'll go see the cliff dwellings of years gone by.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

10/18/07 The Turquoise Trail

No sooner were morning chores out of the way and we were out the door. Today we will travel the Turquoise Trail, the road that links Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It was suggested we come this way when we left Albuquerque but we opted for the Interstate since we didn't know what conditions we would find as far as mountains were concerned. We're glad we took the interstate highway!

We decided to ride out and work our way back. We drove as far a Madrid, pronounced MAD-rid, not like the country. Some highway scenes.

Madrid is a small town where you park your car and walk. We parked at the Mine Shaft Tavern. Since it was lunchtime we decided to eat before we went any further. Once again Bob got a little adventurous and ordered a buffalo burger and I opted for the good ol' American kind. Madrid's history, dates from the early 1800's. Because of the unique geology of the area, a phenomenon found in only two other mines in the world, hard and soft coal were mined here with shafts as deep as 2500'. The area was booming in it's heyday supplying coal for the Santa Fe Railroad, local consumers and the US Government. The company town became famous for its Fourth of July parade, lighted Christmas displays and minor league baseball games in the first lighted stadium in the west. When coal use declined the town died. It became a ghost town of sorts.
In the early 1970's , artists and craftspeople arrived. They converted old company stores and houses into quality shops and galleries and services. Madrid has a mining museum, an original tavern, and in the summer there is melodrama in a theatre created in the engine house, blues concerts at the ballpark, and walking tours.

A look down main street.

Lots of artists have moved into the area and here is one store where they sell fountains that bubble up out of blocks of stone and windchimes. These were the nicest windchimes we've ever heard. They are made out of CO2 cannisters with a piece of wood wrapped in leather hanging from a rope inside. Here's Bob checking them out becaue I want one!
We went into the Old Boarding House Mercantile and got quite a surprise when we went in. This is the town's grocery store and the interior walls have not been removed and neither has the wallpaper!

This home was "moved" here in 1884 as were all the buildings in the town. There were no trees for lumber and the coal company found it cheaper to move the workers homes here rather than haul in lumber, windows, doors etc and pay carpenters to build new homes. We learned all this from the fella who now runs the town grocery store. He was born here in 1964 and he brought the population up to 18. Of course now it is an artists paradise and the town has grown.

They did have a Sears and Roebuck. S & R must have sold some darn good paint! Its still there after all these years.

Some local scenes.

After walking Main Street and checking out all the shops it was time to get back in our truck and head home.

We did stop in Cerillo on the way back but there wasn't too much going on in this little town.

One very old adobe building.
A perfect day for these fulltimers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10/17/07 A Tour of Santa Fe

We love New Mexico!

Today we toured Santa Fe. We drove the truck into town even though we are right on a bus line. We found few parking places downtown, narrow streets, lots of foot traffic. We should have taken the bus. We did finally find a parking lot and stopped into the Visitor Center for a walking tour map.

First stop, Loretto Chapel, home of the Miracle Staircase.

The Miraculous Staircase, which legend says was constructed or inspired by St. Joseph the Carpenter, was built sometime between 1877 and 1881. It took at least six months to build, and has two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support. No one has ever been able to identify the builder who mysteriously showed up and then disappeared when the project was completed without pay or thanks. After searching for the man and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself.

This church is now privately owned and is a museum but it is rented for weddings. This site is rented frequently so that the happy couples can have their picture taken on the Miraculous Staircase. Many engineers have studied this staircase and cannot give a reason for how it stands without support.

The alter.

A beautiful stained glass window.

This is another little church, very, very old that was next door. Again, we just love the architecture.
The alter and take notice of the ceiling.

This painting was done on a deer hide several hundred years ago.

We made our way to the plaza area and passed this metal sculpture on the way. Have you taken notice of that blue sky?

Once again, the locals are selling their jewelry.

This is a statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, she lived from 1656 to 1680, only 24 years and was the first North American Indian to be promoted to a saint. Promoted was the word used on the plaque under the statue. I never of thought of saints as being promoted.

We walked down this little alley way .....

....and found this.

Don't you just love the colors?

I didn't pay much attention to this little motorbike until Bob pointed it out. Even then I didn't see what the big deal was but then he said, "Look closer, what do you see"? Then I did, how many out of place things can you see?

Nevermind, now that I posted the picture, I was looking at it in full screen, you can't see all that many things different in this size. For instance, do you see the electrical boxes and the fire extinguisher hose? Not many of the parts are what they should be.
More pictures from the streets.

So this was our day in Santa Fe. We found our way back to the truck and made our way home for dinner and an evening of TV.