Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Safe

Did not sleep well Sunday night.  Up before 6 to have breakfast, load the car, and drive the last section of the trip home.  Was on the road a little after 7am.

While Sunday was warm and sunny. most of Monday was cool and cloudy.  Temperature never got over 55 degrees,  As I headed East on I-80, the wind was picking up. 

Took the time to run by the post office to get my mail on the way home.  Got the computers plugged in again.  Unloaded some of the bags out of the car, then crashed into bed.  Still tired this morning, but good to be back in my own bed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Return Drive - Day 1, Santa Fe to Colby

Did not sleep much last night.  Felt like the altitude was getting to me, though I have been at about 5000 ft for a week.  Cold morning, was 39 deg in Santa Fe when I was packing the car.  Sunny but cold.  Dressed in BDU pants.  Filled the gas tank on the car and headed North on I-25.

Was a bit tired at time, stopped at a couple rest areas to get out of the car.  At Trinidad, CO, turned NE onto two-lane roads.  By the time I was at Trinidad, the temperature was into the 70s.  Felt like overdressed for the temperature.

I have driven this route several times, so mot much new subjects to photograph.  Did snap this one of an old Union Pacific caboose on display in Sugar City, CO. 

Checked into the Quality Inn, Colby, KS.  Grabbed bags and pulled a pair of cargo shorts for the drive tomorrow.  Decided check out the Mexican Restaurant (El Dos de Oros) at the hotel.  I knew there was a problem when my food was served in under 10 minutes.  Food was just tolerably warm, not hot like I am accustomed to getting at Mexican Restaurants.

Hoping to get a good night's sleep.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

North Central New Mexico Mountains

When I got up and shower this morning, I saw the weather had not changed muck.  Cold, damp, threatening rain.  Not a good day for a bike ride.

Headed North to and past Taos and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Took the low road from Espanola to Taos.  From there, clockwise around the Enchanted Circle to Angel Fire.  Off the beaten path to Mora.  Then West to meet up the High Road.to Taos.

Getting at Red River, it was lunch time.  Saw the "Yesterdays Diner" when I first came into town.  Looked like an interesting place for a sandwich.  Decor was a little of everything from years past.  Ordered Ham & Cheese sandwich - something different.  Alas, no ham.  Settle for a Patty Melt.  Was very tasty.

Wanted to see and photograph the ghost town of Elisabeth town.   Missed it.  Knew when I got to Eagle's nest, I had gone too far.  My guide book said about it being over 5 miles back and down a dirt/gravel road.  Maybe another time.

Spent the afternoon driving the roads of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain.  Weather was changeable. Spitting rain, trying to snow, overcast with periods of sunshine.  Any time i got out of the car, was happy I had worn my sweatshirt.

Took lots of photos of old, abandoned building and a few landscape photos.  Processed the photos when I got back to the room.  Also went out to the grocery store for some supplies on the drive home.  Packing the room this evening and early to bed.

A Little of Everything

Thursday night, I started getting cold in my room at the Quality Inn.  Tired to get some heat running. No Luck.  Found out that the hotel had turned off the HVAC system.  They could not come up with a heater to plug in the room.  Temperature was to get down in the low 40s, upper 30s the next nights. Registered my complaints, but it seemed to land on deaf ears.  After breakfast Friday, i moved to the next-door Motel 6.

Was a pain in having to move, but I did not have to load the bikes, i was able to ride them across.  Rained overnight and threatening rain off and on all day.  Not a day for a bike ride.  Grabbed my copy of Scenic Driving in New Mexico.  Drove to Pecos and up into the mountains there (Pecos River Canyon).  Nice scenery, but no much opportunity to photograph the landscape.  Was able to shoot some of the old, abandoned buildings. (upper photo).

Had tickets for the Handmade Bicycle and Craft Beer Show in the evening at the Farmer's Market.  Weather permitting, I wanted to attend.  Did not want to waste the $15 I paid the ticket for.  Weather was iffy, but decided to drive down to the Railyard.  Parking was a pain.  Eventually found a spot about 3-4 blocked from the show entrance.

Showed my ID, presented them my ticket, and received my hand stamp and wrist band. Wrist band was good for 1 free pint of beer.  Tabs were removed for each beer you had, up to the limit of 3 pints.  A bit disappointed - last year the entrance fee was $10 and included the frist pind AND a souvenir pint glass. 

Durango Bike Company has it usual selection a good looking mountain bikes (lower photo).  Visited with a local guy the does environmental studies and watching the regulators (for stuff they miss) and another that had lived in Minneapolis.. Last year, they had tables outside to sit at and visit in addition to the small tables to stand at while drinking your beer.  They had food vendors, but, again, no place to sit down to eat.  I had a second beer and visited with a guy in the area from Lubbock, TX.  He knows Copy Craft, the company that published my calendars. Had enough and headed back to the car.

Was rough walking back to the car. It was a bit chilly and spitting a little rain.  After standing for over an hour, my knee was giving my problems.  Was happy to get back to the car.  Headed back toward the hotel. 

Needed some supper.  Remembered Dr. Field Good was in the area.  They had a spot in the bar.  Had a burger and potatoes with large glasses of water.  Ready for bed once I got back to the room.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Albuquerque to Santa Fe

This morning, started loading the bags into the car.  Had breakfast with cousin Don at the Range Cafe.  Very disappointed, my breakfast was cold (very little heat in the food) when delivered to the table.  After trying to eat a bit, I gave up.  the server offered to get me another breakfast, but by then, I was not in the mood to eat.  Thankfully, they did not charge Don for my breakfast.

Back at the room, I finished loading the car.  Add all of the day to drive to Santa Fe, so decided to take the scenic route (Route 4) into the Jemez Mountains.

Stopped at the Soda Dam and shot this photo.  Stopped to take photos of the battleship rock, too.  Was planning to check out Jemez Falls.  Found the road to the falls and campground.  At the end of the spur road, there was a parking lot with restrooms.  there was a trail leading away from the parking lot.  I could not hear any falls, nor was there any indication have far I would have to walk to view the falls.

On into Santa Fe and checked into my hotel.  Grabbed bags for the 3 night stay in Santa fe.  Unloaded the bicycles and parked them into the room.  Check e-mail and facebook.  Not up for moving around for dinner.  At the hotel was Lu Lu's Chinese Restaurant.  A dinner of sweet & sour chicken was a welcomed change to burgers and brews. settled into the room for the night.

Forward Planning

I had an appointment with Real Estate friend om Albuquerque.  We discussed my financial situation and the housing markets in preparation of possible moving.  Rest of the day, read book about Chaco Culture and rested.

Wednesday was time to pull most of the bags out the car and repack for the return trip.  Sent a message to a friend of cousin Don who has a property available for short term rental.  Thinking of spending a month or more in Albuquerque next Winter.

Property owner called me about noon.  Made arrangements to view the property.  Sure would be more room and not much (if any) more than the hotel room.  Have something to think about when it gets to the Fall when I plan my Winter trip.  Photo here is of the rental property.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Native American Ruins in New Mexico

Over the several years I have been visiting New Mexico, I have been to most of the National Monuments and Parks.  New Mexico is rich in Native American history.  There are ruins of the buildings their society built.

This recent trip, I was able to visit the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in NW New Mexico.  From books I picked up at the Park, the Chaco Canyon area was inhabited in the years 850 to 1150 CE. (upper photo)  Previous to this time, most of the inhabitants of the area were nomadic tribes.

During that same trip, I visited Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM.   The Four-Corners area of the USA has many more ruins in what is called the San Juan Basin.  It is believed that various settlements in the area where located and moved as climate conditions change.

One of the more interesting parks is Bandelier, with their multi-room masonry buildings and cliff dwellings.  All of these settlements had one common factor.  The spiritual lives and rituals were centered around the kiva.  Many of these settlements had several small kivas and one large kiva.

With the influx of the Spanish Missionaries in the 17th century, the spiritual lives of the native peoples was changed by the Missions.  Most of these seem to be in the Rio Grande valley.  Undoubtedly, the El Camino Real Historic Trail was a large influence on the creations of missions in the area.

The spiritual center of the pueblo now was the mission church.  Life centered around the church.  The lower photo is of the Quarai Pueblo Mission.  Some of these missions were built on top of the ruins of the earlier settlements.

What is interesting to me is the similarity of construction of their building from the earlier days of the 1100s to later years to the 17th century.  Visit National Parks and Monuments to learn all about the early residents of the country.

Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National  Monument
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
El Camino Real Historic Trail
El Morro National Monument
Pecos National Historical Park
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

There are more sites in New Mexico.  These are those that I have visited and took some photos.  Check out my web site for photos:  http://tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/albuquerque-nm.html