Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

According to the website, .The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is an 85 mile drive with valleys, mesa, mountains, and national forest...all unique to north central New Mexico.  Today, we wanted to check it out.  We began in Taos driving 40 miles to get there.  Just before getting to Taos, the scenery began to change.  There were more mountains and a river running beside the highway.

We stopped at the Visitor Center to check out anything we may have missed and then headed into Taos.  The downtown streets and stores reminded us of downtown Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  We kept driving until we reached the Taos Pueblo.  It is the largest surviving multistoried Pueblo structure in the United States.

We walked around looking at all the structures.  There are shops inside most of the first story rooms, so we meandered through the shops.  It looks like many of the people working inside live here in the Pueblo.  There are also houses behind it.

It was now lunchtime and we decided to drive to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and hoped there were some picnic tables to eat our lunch we had brought with us.

The bridge is about 10 miles northwest of Taos and you have to veer off the circle tour about 7 miles.  It is definitely worth the side trip!

The gorge is about 800 feet deep carved out throughout the years by the Rio Grande River.

We crossed over the bridge and were in luck, there is a large picnic area right beside the gorge.

After lunch, we walked over to the bridge and were able to walk along each side of the bridge on an oversized sidewalk.  What spectacular views!!!

It was time to continue our circle drive.  We were heading towards the mountains we saw in the background at the Rio Grande Gorge.  We drove to Questa veering to the the east and began climbing into the mountains.

We passed the Molycorp molybdenum mine in the mountain.

There were lots of signs warning about bighorn sheep, but we didn't see any.  We arrived in Red River.   This is a really cute town.

I know it's a popular ski resort, I think it stays pretty busy in the summer as well.

We continued on towards Angel Fire passing these snow capped mountains.

The last 20 miles between Angel Fire and Taos was a winding road going uphill and downhill.  We were really glad we were in the car and not the fifth wheel.

We made it back to Taos.  It took us about 3 hours to make the 85 miles with lots of stops.  It is a beautiful drive and we highly recommend it.

We enjoyed the temperatures that were in the 70's.  We are really loving New Mexico!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travel Day to Riana Campground, Abiquiu,NM

We left Albuquerque this morning about 9:30  Our destination was the COE campground in Abiquiu, about 150 miles away.  We had an uneventful trip and arrived about 12:30.  I had reserved a site, but when we drove through we found one of the unreserved sites we liked better.  Half of the sites here are reservable and the other half are first come, first serve.

So, we are parked in Site 4 with this view out our back window.

The last two weeks we have been at rv parks without much of a view, so it is nice to be back in a place where we can sit outside, barbecue, and enjoy the view.

This is Georgia O'Keefe country.  We're only about 9 miles from Ghost Ranch, so that will definitely be on our list of places to see.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Albuquerque Museum, Back to Old Town, and a Visit with Family

This morning we went to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.  We found out that admission is free on Sunday morning. Free is always good. :)

We wandered through looking at the paintings and reading the backstories about them and the artists.  It was pretty interesting.  We couldn't take pictures inside, but we took some of the sculptures and walk outside.

The best part of our visit was the walking tour through Old Town.  We returned to all the places we had been the other day, but this time we learned the history.

One of the most interesting is a tree behind the church.  From the street, it just looks like a plain tree stump.  When you walk around it, you realize there is a sculpture inside.
We learned from the walk that it was carved by a man who lived across the street after he returned from World War II.  We were told he had said if he made it back after the war he would create a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  What is even more amazing is that the whole tree was there until about 8 months ago when it was blown down.  However, it snapped right above the statue keeping it intact.

We ate lunch in Old Town and then returned home before we headed out for dinner.  We were going to  see our nephew, Jeremy and his son, Colton.  Our sister in law, Susan, was also there. She had flown in  today to pick up Colton and take him back to Texas for a few weeks.  It was a real treat to see all of them and we had a wonderful visit over a great dinner that Jeremy prepared. Thanks, Jeremy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Santa Fe

Today, we thought we would check out Santa Fe.  We decided to take the Roadrunner Express, the train that runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

It costs $9 a person for a round trip and takes about 1 1/2 hours one way, but not this morning.  We were probably about 15 miles from Santa Fe when all of a sudden the train stopped.  The conductor came on the speakers saying they were going to have to restart the engines and that would take about 10 minutes.  More than 10 minutes passed, and then the lights and air went off.  The conductor said it was a momentary delay, but we were pretty sure it was more than that.  It was, a little later we were told another train was coming to get us.  Another train came and pushed us to the next station outside of downtown Santa Fe.  We then had to get off that train and get on another train to finish the trip.  We left Albuquerque at 9:35 and arrived in Santa Fe at 1:00.  Being from Texas, we don't have a whole lot of experience with mass transportation, but this trip made me never want to do it again.

We did have a nice lunch at Blue Corn Cafe and then proceeded to the square.

We weren't expecting the green and the flowers.  It was very peaceful.  We walked over to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis.

We found out later there were supposed to be spires on each side, but the church ran out of money before they were able to build them. It is still a beautiful church inside and out.

We also went to the Loretto Chapel.

This church has a neat history and also has a beautiful staircase with two 360 degree turns with no visible signs of support.  You can read more about it at http://www.lorettochapel.com/history.html

We were also able to take a shuttle tour through the city and see some of the highlights.  We then took the train back to Albuquerque at 5:00.  This time we made it back without incident.  It turned out to be a pretty good day after the morning's frustration.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Old Town

Yesterday, the winds blew, not only did they blow, they howled.  At one point, we pulled one of our slides in because of the noise and shaking.

Today, the winds were not quite as bad.  We decided to explore
This is where Albuquerque began in 1706.  We began with a trolley tour around the town.  This was one of the best tours we have ever taken.  We went through neighborhoods and learned so much about this city.  It lasted about 90 minutes and when it was finished, we knew so much more about what we wanted to do while we were here.

One of the things we learned is that Albuquerque takes 1% of city construction funds for public art.  There are many murals throughout the town painted by local artists.

We rode along Route 66 and passed the El Vado Motel, it's in the book, 100 Places to Visit Before You Die.  Apparently, it was scheduled to be demolished and the city bought it.  Our tour guide stated that the city does not tear down any buildings ever since a Harvey hotel was torn down in the 1970's.  The buildings are saved and eventually renovated.

We also saw the spaceship house belonging to Bart Prince, a well know architect who was a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The house has been featured on HGTV.

After the trolley tour, we went to eat at the Church Street Cafe.  I spelled Albuquerque correctly on the tour and received a free meal, so we thought that would be as good a place as any to eat.

It looked like a little place, but when you went inside, there was a large dining area as well as a patio. We chose to eat outside on the patio.
One of the things we found out on the tour is that Albuquerque has a bustling movie industry.  Right now, Johnny Depp is here filming The Lone Ranger.  We haven't seen him yet, but there was someone sitting at the table next to us who our waiter recognized as being in the movies.  He told our waiter he was here working on The Lone Ranger.  I don't know yet what part he is playing.

After lunch, we explored some more of Old Town.

The church
and lots of shops nestled inside around the patios.
It was a fun day and we're looking forward to seeing more around the area!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Travel Day to Albuquerque, New Mexico

Today would be a long travel day for us.  We drove 257 miles to Albuquerque.  The winds were blowing, but nothing like what was predicted for Wednesday.  We arrived at our destination in Albuquerque without incident.

This park is located on the old Route 66 and has some really neat old trailers that are rented out.  Here are a few.

This one reminds me of the one in The Long, Long Trailer.

We were able to go inside and take a look.  It was really neat,

even a full size bathtub!

We'll be here for the week exploring the sights.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mountains, White Sands, and a Solar Eclipse

We hadn't really planned what we would do today, but as we talked a plan began to develop.

We drove to Artesia and turned west going through the Lincoln National Forest.  The drive began with desert views and then turned to mountains.  We went through this tunnel

and were treated to mountain views.

We stopped in Alamagorda for lunch and then proceeded to

We stopped at the visitor center and watched the film telling about the animal and plant life in the dunes.  We then went to see the dunes for ourselves.  The sand is made from gypsum rock and sparkles in the sun.  At the beginning, there are more plants,

and then as you go further, it is pretty much nothing but white sand dunes with purple mountains in the background.

There were people sledding down the dunes.

We walked to the top and all you could see was white sand reaching to the base of the mountains.

We left White Sands National Monument to head back east through Ruidoso.

We arrived in Roswell in time to have a quick dinner before the annular solar eclipse.  We had heard that we would be in the vicinity of the eclipse when we arrived in Carlsbad, so we ordered Welder's Glass 14 from Amazon and had it delivered to the Escapees Park.

We went to the city park and joined other people waiting for the event.  The eclipse began with the moon creeping into the sun.  Here's what we saw through the glass.

Once, the annular eclipse began, we removed the filter from the camera.

Then the moon began moving across the sun leaving a crescent sun.

The sun began to set leaving this point peaking out from the horizon.

The sun set ending a most spectacular day!