Friday, September 21, 2018

Duke City HamFest - Friday

Today was the opening day of the Duke City HamFest.  The function is being held at the Isleta Resort & Casino about 10 miles South of downtown Albuquerque.  It's a big show this year because it is also the Rocky Mountain Division convention of the ARRL.

It was the first time I had ever been to Isleta.  And, being a Friday morning, I planned extra time to make the 30 miles from Rio Rancho (North of ABQ) to the Resort (South of ABQ).  Figured I would kils some time befoire my work shift (registration).

When I got to the resort, I asked at the front desk - where and when I can have breakfast.  The clerk told me at the restaurant close to the convention center entrance.  It was almostt 6am, he said it would open in just a couple minutes.  Alas, he was wrong - it did not open until 7am.  There had a coffee shop, but I was hungry for a full breakfast.  I killed time until the restaurant opened and had my full breakfast.

Food was "OK".  Sausage was a bit bland and the toast was cold (not even melting the butter) but it was much less expensive than Flying Star.

At 8am, I started my 2 hour shift at the registration area.  I heard there were over 400 early registrations. 

My other job is an official photographer for the convention.  After my registration shift was iver, I grabbed my Canon 60D to shoot some photos of the convention.  It was pretty "dark" in the vendor hall.  Had to jack up the ISO and slow down the shutter.  Of course, that causeed to blurry photos. 

When the show is over, I will process more of the photos, but for now, I posted the photo here of the High Desert ARC display (the club I belong to).

Not feeling so chipper today, so called it a day about noon and headed back home.  The afternoon activities included a outside fleamarket and an evening mixer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Blue Grasshopper - South

Wednesday's Geezerz lunch was at Blue Grassgopper near Coors & Montano.  I have been gaining some weight recently, so decided on not having their pizza for a big burger. Instead I had their beer brat with fries.

The brat was "OK" but did not have the "zing" of the brat at "The Local Brewhouse".  Fries were good, but nothing to write home about (like the ones we had in Antonito, CO).

For beer, I tried the "TR" (tractoor Brewing?) red ale.  It was "OK" but a little sharp to my taste.  My second pint was "BB" amber (which I think was the Bosque Bear "Ambear").

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BJ's Brewhouse

This week's "Geezerz" lunch was at BJ's Brewhouse at Cottonwood.  BJ's is a regional chain.  The frist time I have lunch at a BJ's was in Las Vegas.

Anyway - Wednesday's special was one of their burgers and a pint of one of their beers.  I had the bacon-Cheeseburger with fries and a pint of their Jamison Red Ale.  The burger was great and fries were cooked pretty good.  BJ's had 2 amber ale, the Jamison Red is a little darker in color and a very pleasant tasting.

None of BJ's beers are brewed in New Mexico.  I understand that the chain has one of their locations would brew just one of it's beers and transport them to other locations. That way the brewery can concentrate on doing a good job on that one beer.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Filling the Gaps

We were hungry for a full breakfast this morning.  The only place in Antonito for breakfast is the Dutch Mill.  I decided on their breakfast quesadilla with sausage and coffee.  It was just the right amount of food for the morning.

Spent some time around the depot.  The folks there were very friendly and accommodating.  Don spent some time touring the maintenance shop.

We were able to watch the train (same one we rode yesterday) return to Chama.  Don shot video of the departure on my point & shoot camera.  I shot the departure with my Canon 60D.

After the train departure, we got on the road towards Chama.  On the way, we stopped at the scenic view along Route 17 the bus driver pointed out.  I took some photos, including shooting a panoramic series of frames.

As we approach Cumbres Pass, we saw the Eastbound train was just ready to depart after taking on water.  We shot video and stills of the departure from Cumbres.

From there, on to Chama to check out the railroad facilities there.  Much different that the shop in Antonito, the shop in Chama was "off limits" for visitors.  There was a box-car museum at the Chama station.  Did some shopping in the gift shop there.

By this time, the sun was over the yardarm, and I suggested we tip a pint of New Mexico beer.  Had pints of Santa Fe Brewing's "Nut Brown" ale.  Visited with a local farmer at the bar (Foster's).  Still too early to head back to Antonito, so we did a driving tour up as far as Pagosa Springs.

Driving back through Chama, we were thinking we might catch the train along the railroad.  At one time even heard what we thought as a locomotive whistle.  But, driving back to Antonito, we were following the motor coach transporting train riders from Chama to Antonito.

We stopped by the room to use the facilities before heading out from dinner.  Returned to "Dos Hermanas" steakhouse.  Both Don and I had their enchilada  plate.  After dinner, processed some photos, wrote  facebook postings, and packed the bags for the return trip.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Early start for a long day on the train.  Cousin Don and I had coffee and sweet roll before the trip.  Not hungry for a big breakfast, specially we were getting a big lunch as part of the ticket price.

Had to wait until this morning to pick up our tickets.  We boarded a motorcoach for the drive over to Chama.  Had a nice conversation during the hour-long ride.  Gal across the aisle was from Mankato, MN.  Interesting chat up here on the front of the bus.  When we arrived in Chama, we quickly board the train, finding our seats.

Once the train was underway, it didn't take much time for the conductor to run thro9ugh the train punching our tickets.  At that time, we were allowed to get out of our seats and move around thee train.  For information, the train consisted the following:  Locomotive and tender, three coach cars, a concession car, open gondola, Tourist car, and finally Parlor car.  The open gondola was equipped with a sound system.  The docent onboard spend most of the ride describing the railroad and the scenery on the sound system on the gondola.

As soon as we head out of Chama, the train started climbing.  It took about 1 1/2 hour to climb up to the summit of Cumbres Pass.  There, the train stopped to take on water.  The docent passed out pamphlets including a railroad map with note-worthy locations on the route.

About half way through the trip, we arrived Osier where we were served lunch.  There were 2 hot lunches we could select - meatloaf or turkey.  I had the meatload dinner, which consisted of a slice of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, roll or corn bread, and a selection of deserts.  For drinks, there was water, coffee, iced tea (sweetened and unsweetened), pink lemonade, and lemonade.

There was time to stretch legs and look at some of the older building at Osier.  Cousin Don scoped out while there, I relaxed back on our train car - needed the time off my legs/knees.

One of the options for riding the train is to turn back at Osier, riding back the train to your departure location.  It seemed to me that we lost over half of our follow travelers took the train back to Chama rather than continuing on to Antonito, CO.

The weather forecast was for about 60% chance of rain.  We had periods of rain, mostly light showers.  Most of the ride it was overcast. 

The scenery on the East end of the railroad is both the more scenic (and dramatic) section of the railroad and the most boring part of the train ride.  The train runs through 2 tunnels on this half of the line.  There were scenic highlights of "Calico Cut" and the Toltec Gorge.  The last 1 1/2 of the trip was pretty boring, nothing much to look at except for sage brush.  And, actually, this was fine as we were tired from the long day on the train.

We were a little late arriving Antonito.  Don and I looked for a good. cold beer when we got back to town.  The one bar in Antonito did not open 7pm.  We settled for a bottle of Dos Equis and the restaurant where we ate last night.  By 8pm, both of us were sound asleep.

I have processed my photos from the train ride.  Eventually I will sort and select photos to post on my website.

On the Road to Antonito

Cousin Don and I are on the road to the New Mexico/Colorado area to ride the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad.  Stopped along the road a couple time to look at the roadside wild flowers.  Had a little rain up in Northern New Mexico.

Checked into the motel, dropped off some luggage into the room, and headed for a late lunch.  The motel suggested the "Dos Hermana's Steakhouse" downtown.  I had the 6oz bacon-cheeseburger with fries.  About 3 strips if bacon, good burger, full slice of red onion, with pepper jack cheese.  The fries were also great, battered and crispy.  Washed down the meal with 2 bottle of Dos Equies Amber.

Checked out the train station and the train's anticipated arrival in Antonito.  Had time to look at the wear at the gift shop and visited with the folks there.  Watch the train arrive and got a few good photos.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow and Thursday.  They should be the typical New Mexico "pop-up1' showers.  Surely nothing like the rain the Midwest has been getting