Thursday, January 28, 2016

Getting Home, Again

Monday, I headed back towards home.  Was a chlly morning, was out of Albuquerque about 5am.  First stop was Santa Rose for breakfast.  Had blueberry pancakes, sausage, and coffee at the Sun & Sand Restaurant on Historic Rt 66.  Much better service than the diner I ate at in Santa Rosa the last time traveled through there.

My book of things to see in New Mexico showed The Blue Hole in Santa Rose.  I found out the attraction was just back of the restaurant I was eating at.  The Blue Hole is a spring fed 81 deep hole in the earth.  I understand it is popular with local swimmers and divers.  A bit too cold for a swim that morning!  In the photo here, you see the full moon over the Blue Hole.

From there. it was a short drive East on I-40 to the "ghost" town of Cuervo, NM  Old buildings are on both side of the interstate.  I was able to recognize some of the buildings (ruins) from photos in my book about ghost towns of New Mexico. I understand the little church in the lower photo is still in use. Like mant of the other "ghost towns" in New Mexico, most have a couple residents. 

On long the highway, I saw another cluster of buildings.  No town on the map, but seemed to be another will way-station in the old Route 66. 

My route had me exit I-40 at Tucumari.  Took time to detour to look at old Main Street of Tucumari.  More signs of the bygone era along the "Main Street of America".  Many ruins of businesses along the street.

Settled into my lodging in Dodge City.  Frustrated from one of the e-mails I received.  More questions from the other person handling my proposed mortgage. 

Could not sleep, so figured to get an early start towards home.  Abouth 15 miles out of Dodge City, I got a "low tire" light.  Waited at a convenience store until it opened where I could get some change to feed the air pump.  Only place for tire repairs are back in Dodge City.  Killed some time in Dodge City by having breakfast in McD's.  Eventually, the tire store pened and I was able to get the tire fixed.  Was back on the road about 8am.

Without any other adventures, I arrived home about 4pm. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

House Hunting

After the busy days Monday and Tuesday, I spent Wednesday recovering.  Back at it Thursday.  Had a meeting with my real estate agent.  We discussed what I am looking in a house. He was going to go though listings and send me a list.

I was planning to go from there to the bank's mortgage offices.  However, my real estate company has a full service mortgage division.
went down the hall and met with the mortgage broker.  Went through gyrations, figuring out the best way to get a pre-approved loan.  I have to forget the line of credit I was pre-approved for - it would screw up home loan approval process.

Friday and over the weekend, I spent untold hours looking at home listings.  Sent a couple e-mails to the real estate agent with properties I was interested in, and questioned exactly what he was using for sort parameters.

Saturday evening, I was ready for a break.  Cousin Don and I met at Billy'Long Bar for food and drink. Great visit and conversation.

Today, I met with Leland (real estate agent) and selected a few properties to inspect.  The house in the photo here is the best that I was today.  We look at houses smaller (and less expensive) that he had started selecting.  The ones we looked at today were in the 1400 sq-ft area.  While I liked what I saw, for purposes of "due diligence" I need to look at larger and more expensive houses, too.  Probably another session of inspecting houses later in the week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Preparations for Moving

Today was a day of errands and preparations for  my move later in the year.  I started with coffee and a bagel at the Panera Bread on Central.  The UPS store was a block away, so stopped there to rent a mailbox there.

Next was the laboratory to get my blood draw.

Now some shopping.  From checking the web sites, Wanted to check belts and hats at Cavenders. Ended up buying a dark brown hat there.  Next, it was Boot Barn.  Selected 2 more shirts.  They did not have the belt I wanted in my size. Instead of having them try to find the belt and one of the other 2 stores in the area, selected another design belt.

You  might notice there are no jeans in the photos of my western wear photos.  I already have several pairs of Levi 501 jeans.  I prefer them over the 'wrangler cowboy-fit jeans.

Last stop (all this done before noon) was opening a bank account at the Bank of Albuquerque.

All day, I was excited about the move.  While UNM Lobos are not a team I am have not followed; never been at a game; its part of the mental move.  New Mexico has a rich western history.  My interest in the history of New Mexico and and the cowboy (western) wear I have purchased is part changing my mind set.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Georgia O'Keeffe Country

After 4 storms in the last week, today dawned sunny, though cold.  Y was getting cabin fever, so decided to take a drive up to Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch.  Took the scenic loop via Cuba, Ghost Ranch, Espanola.

As I climbed towards Cuba in US 550, the temperature kept dropping.  Snow on the ground, unlike the bare ground in Albuquerque.  When I hit Cuba, the temperature was down to 8 deg.

Highway 96 North from Cuba was a winter wonderland.  Evergreen trees were laden with heavy snow.  Unfortunately, I had a truck right behind me and no place to allow him to pass.  Would have like to stop to take a couple photos.

By the time I reached Gallina, moost of the snow was gone.  Stopped to take a couple photos at Abiqula reservoir and dam.  Recreational areas on the lake side and down river from the dam.  A short drive up US 84 to the Ghost Ranch.

It was lunch time when I reached the Welcome Center.  At the desk, they directed me to the dining hall if I wanted lunch to kill the time until the gift shop opens.  At the dining hall, I saw no facilities for purchasing a meal.  Looked like all a sign-in system for lunch.  Returned the the Welcome Center and listen to the radio until 1pm.  Picked up a couple t-shirts and a book and headed back down the road.
With the beautiful scenery, I can understand why O'Keeffe likes this part of New Mexico.  The upper photo was taken in front of the Welcome Center. There were some unusual formations like the one in the lower photo.

By the time I got to Espanola, it was past time to get some lunch.  Stopped by at "Dandy's" hamburgers.  For something different opted for the chili dog and fries.  Was not a good choice.  Neither the hot dog or the chili had any taste.

At this time, I was going to hit rush hour in Albuquerque.  Took the bypass around Santa Fe.  Got off I-25 at San Mateo.  Stopped by the Boot Barn to straighten out any confusion with their rewards program.

Exhausted when I got back to the house at 6pm.  Processed photes and cashed into bed a little after 7pm.

Check out this Artsy page for more information about  O'Keeffe's work.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cowboy Wear

When in Rome...   New Mexico is a western state with a rich cowboy/rancher heritage.  It does not hurt that I like to wear western gear.  The clothes I have at home currently do not fit me.  So, headed out to the Boot Barn on San Mateo. 

First on the shopping list was a decent pair of boots.  The western boots I have worn, are not the best boots - generally from discount retailers.  This time I wanted to buy a pair that fit me comfortable and are a pleasure to wear, not as a fashion statement.  Tyler (sales clerk) helped me select a pair of Durango boots with a walking heel. 

Next were a shirt and a belt.  Boot Barn had a good selection of Wrangler western shirts with snap closure in my size.  This was surprising, being the best fit was 2XT (double X Tall).

I have many western belts at home, all to short to me at this time.  We found a belt with some design in the leather, and no large trophy buckle.  Had to get some supplies for the boots - boot jack, boot hooks, and leather conditioner.

Was a successful shopping trip.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Poncho Villa

It was a foggy morning that greeted us in El Paso.  Had breakfast at the hotel.  While packing u the room, heard the rain start.  It was about done when we ere ready loading the van.

Out of El Paso, we headed West on Rt 9 to Columbus, NM.  The fog stayed with uo for about 50 miles.  Columbus is renowned for the raid on the town by Poncho Villa.  Toured the museum at Poncho Villa State Park.  From there, we went across the street to the old Columbus Depot which is now a museum.  Memorabilia from the raid and General Pershing's routing of the renegades.  Upper photo o\is of a early "tank" of the era.

From there, it was up to Deming, NM.  There is a local museum at the old armory.  Across the street is the old customs house.  We did not enter/tour either of these site.  I was food time.  Heading west on Pine St (main E-W drag) stopped at the cafe at the Balboa Motel.  Good taste and good price for lunch.

Out of Deming, we took the cut-off from Deming to Hatch.  Checking the map, I was a wide spot in the road called Nutt, NM.  Had to stop to take a couple photos of the sign.

Made it to Albuquerque by 5pm.  Cranked up the computer, checked mail, and crashed to bed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Merv & Sue

Today was the day Don was getting the majot dental work done in Juarez.  I was not excited about spending the day seeing the sights in Iuarez, so I borrowed his vehicle to drive up to Las Cruses to visit with Army reunion friend Merv and his wife Sue.  Had a very  enjoyable visit.  For lunch, the suggested Chope's in La Mesa.  Good, authentic Mexican food.

Weather was not great - off and on sprinkles. drizzle.  Don was delayed getting across the bridge and through customs as it was rush hour. 
he arrived back at the room frustrated and with a very sore mouth.  Both of us skipped dinner.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Drive to El Paso

 Cousin Don made plans for a trip to El Paso for getting some dental work done over the border in Juaresz, Mexico. He invited me to ride with him and keep him company.

Had lunch in Las Cruses at Corner Bakery Cafe - and upscale Panera Bread.  Had a good bowl of chili, just enough to tide me over until we eat dinner later.

Don was interested in seeing the plaza at Old Mesilla.   Fortunately, 2 years ago, Sue & Merv took me there when I was in the area.  Directed Don to the plaza.  Looked around, took some photos, browsed a book store, and bought some butter pecan fudge.

After settling into the room and a quick nap, headed out for food.  On the internet, fond Brew's Sports Bar.  Good food, good brew.  Place was not too noisy.  I had the Philly Cheesesteak, fries, and a couple pints of bock beer.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years 2016

Cousin Don and I had a quiet New Year Eve.  Had an early dinner at Il Vicina Nob Hill.  I  had a great pizza and Don had pasta.  Washed them down with a couple pints of craft beer.  He dropped me at the rental and a crashed early.

New Year Day there was a house party hosted by Don's childhood friend, Larry.  Was a relaxing afternoon.