Saturday, September 24, 2011

About That Land of Enchantment (September 18 - 24)

Dear Family and Friends,

Sunday was road trip day. Roger, Bear and I left Santa Fe in the morning and drove eighty miles to Taos. The trip through the mountains and along the Rio Grande River was beautiful and we soon found ourselves at the Visitor Center, located on the outskirts of Taos. It was there that we planned our day's schedule with the help of the Visitor Center staff. Our first stop was the historic Plaza Taos. This downtown square is the site of the original Spanish settlement and center of Taos, that has been in existence for over 400 years.

Bear cannot wait to start the tour.

Bear is taking a break at the Plaza Taos. 

The Plaza is like the one in Santa Fe, but on a smaller scale.  Shops and galleries line the four streets surrounding the square.

After the Plaza we walked over to the Kit Carson home and museum. Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson, a fur trapper and mountain man,  moved to Taos in 1826. Later he was an Army officer in the Civil War and Indian Wars of the Southwest. With his third wife Josepha, a Taos woman, he raised seven children during the next twenty five years. He was one of Taos' most famous inhabitants.

Roger and Bear outside the Kit Carson home.

Taos is filled with all sorts of art galleries. This picture shows Hopi masks.

After touring the downtown area of Taos, we decided to drive to the Taos ski area where we found a great hike in the Wheeler Wilderness area of the Kit Carson forest. The scenery was stunning and Bear had a ball off the leash. The vertical climb was challenging. No wonder that Taos Ski Valley is known for it's steep downhill skiing.

Bear and Roger before we headed up the trail for a hike.

Bear loves hiking!

My Mountain Man!

Great hike!

After the hike we drove to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The following pics show the gorge as we crossed the bridge on foot. It is 600 feet from the bridge to the bottom of the gorge.  The first picture reflects the under pinnings of bridge.

The following pictures show the San Francisco de Asis (the spelling is correct) church. It is the most photographed church in the Taos area. Ansel Adams is one of the more famous photographers. I hope my pictures express the beauty of this church.

Hollyhocks at the church.

We returned to Santa Fe late in the day after a wonderful road trip in this Northeastern part of New Mexico. I truly understand their motto, "the land of enchantment." 

Monday evening we met our daughter-in-law's mother, Shanna, for dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Blue Corn Cafe. Over great regional food, we caught up on each other's lives. Though Shanna lives in Albuquerque, her office is in Santa Fe.  Shanna has an interesting and demanding job with the federal government, mainly in the fire fighting business.

We have had several cycling rides along The Turquoise Highway during our time in Santa Fe. It is a scenic highway with a wide bike lane. It runs between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The scenery is beautiful. Luckily, we have seen buffalo and antelope along the way. Now where is that camera when I need it?

On Tuesday we toured The New Mexico History Museum that is located on the Plaza. We learned so much about the legacy of this State through the many peoples who have lived here. From Indians living on the pueblos, to Spanish explorers, to Mexico's influence, to mountain men, early settlers and more modern times, the history of New Mexico is fascinating. 

Thursday found us taking a break from cycling in order to hike Aspen Vista Trail (one of the more famous hikes in the area)  at the Santa Fe Ski Area. We quickly were surrounded by packed stands of Aspen and fir trees on this beautiful hike. Bear, Roger and I turned around at almost 11,000 feet. The following pictures are of this hike.

Say cheese, Bear!

Yes, we are having fun!

Roger is using his hiking poles! 

Santa Fe in the distance.

Tightly packed Aspens

On Thursday we decided to drive to Abiquiu, New Mexico in order to see Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch and her home in the town. On Friday, we went to her museum in Santa Fe where we learned so much about this American treasure. The following pictures are from our trip to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch.

The Abiquiu church.

Pedernal made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe.

We leave Santa Fe on Tuesday, so the next post will come from Arizona. After a stop in Tolleson for scheduled RV work, we head to Tucson for the month of October.  What a lovely two weeks we have had in New Mexico. Thank you for your interest in our adventures. We appreciate you reading the blog.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

About That Santa Fe (September 10 - 17)

Hello Family and Friends,

Our last days in Colorado Springs involved a football game and friends! Sadly, USAFA lost to the TCU HornFrogs! Frog fans were super supportive of the men and women in uniform at USAFA. They were great opponents! Congrats Frogs!!! ( I have to say all of that because I am from Ft. Worth and have several TCU grads in the family, including my parents.)  Below are some of the pics from a very patriotic pre game show.
Cadets march onto the field.

Jumping with smoke!

All flags of each branch of the military are represented here.

There is nothing like OLD GLORY!

This flag took up the entire football field.

This RV life is great in that you run into friends from previous stops! Imagine our surprise when we found Butch and Pam (friends from Davis Monthan AFB Fam Camp) at the USAFA RV park at the Academy. We spent three days with them and had so much fun. We look to Butch and Pam for all sorts of help as they are seasoned full time RVers. They had us over for dinner the night before we left.

Butch and Pam

Our trip to Santa Fe went very smoothly. On Wednesday, we left the beautiful Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains, driving south on Interstate 25, into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe. Along the way we spotted herds of antelope "playing" in the fields. Our site for the next two weeks is at Santa Fe Skies. We are on the south side of Santa Fe. At night we are up high enough to see the twinkly lights of the downtown, Plaza area. Our first day in Santa Fe was spent on a walking tour of the plaza area with a local guide. Below are a few pics of the Plaza. The first picture shows wares being sold in front of the Palace of the Governors (one of the oldest buildings in the country). The second picture shows the Plaza square directly across from the Palace of the Governors.

Friday found us at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. Unfortunately the museum was closed for a change in artwork. Fortunately we were able to join a tour that showed us the artist's personal collection of books, drawing implements and her clothing located in a separate building. This is something that is not normally open to the public so we were thrilled to learn more about the artist via her personal collections. We will head back to the museum when they reopen next week. The rest of the morning was spent browsing the many shops in the Plaza area.

If you study Georgia O' Keefe, you cannot help but be fascinated by shapes. Notice the bark of this very old tree in front of the O"Keefe workshop.

Saturday morning we were able to get our first bike ride in by cycling along a path that took us straight into the downtown Plaza area. The Plaza was busy with all ages and it was fun to see the sights by bike. Tomorrow we hope to visit El Rancho de las Golonrinas. This "Ranch of the Swallows" founded 300 years ago, in 1710. It was the last stopping spot on El Camino Real before reaching Santa Fe. El Camino Real ran from Mexico City to Santa Fe for several hundred years. 

We are grateful to have two weeks in Santa Fe. We look forward to cycling, hiking, playing with Bear and touring the many fascinating places that are found in this area of the Southwest. Thank you for checking in with us. We appreciate your interest in our never ending vacation. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

About That Colorado Springs, Part Four (September 3 - 10)

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for checking out our blog. We are into our fourth and final week at Colorado Springs, with a departure to Santa Fe on the 14th. Our perpetual vacation continues to amaze us and this week started out with lots of excitement.

Saturday was the first football game of the season. Thanks to Ann and John, we had great seats at the 50 yard line. Air Force games begin with a march on the field by the cadet wing. Below are the pics of the game. USAFA beat University of South Dakota 37 to 20.

Roger's new friend from Famous Daves.

Led by the Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps, the Cadet Wing begins marching onto the field.

The Cadet Wing running to their seats in the stadium.

Sunday morning was an early departure for Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. It was the 34th Balloon Classic. The morning was perfect with no wind. At 7 the first wave of balloons left the park followed shortly by the second wave and finally the third. Almost 70 balloons were launched and the pics below show the wonderful sight.

Guess what??? Pigs can fly!!!

Filling the balloon and preparing to launch.

Roger, Bear and I took a road trip to Canon City, in search of  The Royal Gorge, on Tuesday. What a rip off! I love the free enterprise system on our country, but this was over the top. For $25 per person, we could get into an amusement park that allowed us to walk over the bridge that spans the Royal Gorge. Fortunately there was a free spot (not well marked) where we could see small parts of the gorge.  Below are the pics from our expedition. Besides the bridge to nowhere,  look closely and see the rafts on the river.

We leave Wednesday for Santa Fe. I will miss the beautiful scenery of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak, the crisp mornings with a touch of Fall in the air, the cycling, the Rockies, the animal life (wild turkeys, a red fox, chunky prairie dogs, black squirrels), old and new friends, and Air Force Academy athletics. What a great month this has been!!!

Roger and I are headed over to the Falcon/TCU game. I am hoping to be able to post a win for the Falcons on next week's blog. GO FALCONS!!!