A Travellerspoint blog

Day 17 - Goodbye Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument

High Road to Taos

semi-overcast 2 °C

This morning we said "goodbye" to our comfortable lodging at Guadalupe Inn in Santa Fe. We post a picture of a fancy light fixture in the bathroom.

Decorative bathroom light

Decorative bathroom light

We drove to Bandelier National Monument. We spent about two hours there learning about how the canyon was formed, about the vegetation, animals and birds, about the first peoples who lived in the canyon and their lives.

Welcome sign

Welcome sign

First view point

First view point

Canyon view

Canyon view

The canyon was formed by two violent eruptions of Jemez Volcano more than a million years ago. This volcano was located fourteen miles to the northwest. The volcano ejected enough material to cover a four-hundred-square-mile area with a layer of ash up to one thousand feet thick. Each of these two eruptions was six hundred times more powerful than the 1980 eruption at Mt. St. Helens.

The pink rock of this canyon wall may look like sandstone but it is actually volcanic ash that has compacted over time into a soft crumbly rock called tuff. This tuff is easily eroded, which, over time, when it is exposed, takes on a "Swiss Cheese" appearance. Today, this tuff takes on interesting formations.

Rock formations

Rock formations

Rock formations 2

Rock formations 2

The Ancestral Pueblo people chose this location because of the Frijoles Creek and the soft rock. The holes in the soft rock were enlarged by these people to provide shelter. They also found obsidian and basalt from the volcanos to make tools and trade items.

The building in this photo labelled "Kiva" was dug into the ground. This building was used for cultural, religious and educational activities. The building would have had a roof made of wood and earth.

Kiva

Kiva

The Ancestral Pueblo people lived in a variety of dwellings.

The first type of dwelling was a cave in the south-facing walls of this canyon. It is supposed that there were smaller caves in this "Swiss Cheese" type of rock, which the peoples enlarged to make rooms.

Ladder to cave dwelling

Ladder to cave dwelling

Decoration in cave dwelling

Decoration in cave dwelling

Another cave dwelling

Another cave dwelling

It was fun to climb up the ladder, even though Reta does not like ladders, to see what was inside the cave.

These canyon walls by these cave-type dwellings were decorated with "wall art".

Wall art 1

Wall art 1

Wall art 2

Wall art 2

There were also villages built on the valley floor. The foundations of one of these villages is on display. The walls of this village would have been made of rocks and pueblo mud. These walls were then plastered with mud. The ancestral pueblo people hunted and farmed in a rudimentary way. Pottery and tools were made by these people.

Valley dwellings

Valley dwellings

The third type of dwelling is reconstructed as in the photo following. The building was reconstructed in 1920 to give park visitors an idea of what they would look like, but it may not be completely accurate. Buildings were built against the wall of the canyon. These structures would have had mud-plastered walls and floors.

Recreation of building

Recreation of building

We have one more picture of a cave dwelling and the nearby wall art.

Wall art 3 with cave dwelling door

Wall art 3 with cave dwelling door

We had completed the part of the "Loop Trail" that led us past all of the cave dwellings. The next section of the trail led us over a small bridge over the Frijoles Creek. This part of the park had snow in it. The temperature was about -2 C (28 F) so the creek had a film of ice on it.

Icy Frijoles  Creek

Icy Frijoles Creek

The closer we got to the visitor centre, the warmer it got, and the snow disappeared.

Frijoles Creek closer to visitor centre

Frijoles Creek closer to visitor centre

We then got to see some birds and a squirrel. The first bird is a Blackheaded Grosbeak. Then we saw the Abert's Squirrel, which Art thought was the size of a cat. Well, it was large, but not that large. The last bird we saw just as we got to the visitor centre. It is a Pygmy Nuthatch. It was very difficult to get a photo of this bird.

Blackheaded Grosbeak

Blackheaded Grosbeak

Abert's Squirrel

Abert's Squirrel

Pygmy Nuthatch

Pygmy Nuthatch

The buildings at the visitor centre were different as were some of the items there.

Building near gift shop

Building near gift shop

Interesting bench

Interesting bench

Another building at visitor centre

Another building at visitor centre

We ate our picnic lunch in the car at a picnic site. It was too cold to eat outside even in the sunshine.

After eating our lunch, we started our "High Road to Taos" trip from Sante Fe to Taos. This road travels through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and much higher elevations. We found it snowy today as there have been three snow storms go through this area in the last few days. The literature about this drive promises beautiful vistas and scenic Mexican/New Mexican towns. We did see the towns but not the vistas. It was still an interesting drive.

We found our comfortable lodging at Inn on the Rio.

Inn on the Rio

Inn on the Rio


We have views of a nearby mountain. The first picture was taken in the late afternoon and the second picture was taken at sunset.

Mountain north of Taos

Mountain north of Taos

Sunset on mountain north of Taos

Sunset on mountain north of Taos


Another great day.

Posted by A-RPoulton 20:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 16 - A day around Sante Fe

sunny 1 °C

This morning, while we ate breakfast, our hosts at the Guadalupe Inn entertained us with information about where to go and what to see in Santa Fe. They told us that the historic plaza and many art galleries and museums are within walking distance of our lodging. Santa Fe has the worldwide problem of no parking downtown. We chose to walk downtown and we were very happy that we made that decision.

Old Man Winter blessed us with a snowfall overnight. The temperature this morning was 1 C ( 34 F). We put on our warm winter jackets for the walk.

We took a few photos of the coach light just outside our door and the wagon that decorates the front yard.

Cover on coach light

Cover on coach light

Wagon in front yard

Wagon in front yard

As we walked downtown, the first thing that caught our attention was this otter mailbox.

Otter mailbox we walked past

Otter mailbox we walked past

We then walked past the Santuario de Guadalupe. This church with southwestern architecture had a beautiful sign and statue.

Interesting church

Interesting church

Another view of same church

Another view of same church

We walked to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. We spent a hour there viewing her artwork and following a very knowledgeable docent learning about the art of her time, her life story and hearing about the finer points of her art. This was a very interesting morning.

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Georgia O'Keeffe sign

Georgia O'Keeffe sign

We then walked over to the plaza and walked around the perimeter looking at the artwork for sale in the little shops.

Plaza in downtown Sante Fe

Plaza in downtown Sante Fe

We walked past the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, but Reta took this picture as we walked across a street, and did not take the time to make sure that the church was sitting on the square in the picture.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

We noticed that many homes and businesses decorate with these strings of red peppers hanging to dry.

Peppers hanging

Peppers hanging

We walked past a little house that just caught our eye. Reta may be wrong, but she thinks this house may be an "Arts and Crafts" style.

Eye catching house

Eye catching house

We returned to our lodging and made lunch for ourselves. We took a picture of the patio just outside of our kitchen. We find the rustic fence post type fencing that is used here is different.

Our patio

Our patio

After lunch we went out for a drive around the city. by the time we left our lodging the snow was starting to melt and had caused some icicles for us to take photos of.

Icicles

Icicles

Icicles on corbel

Icicles on corbel

We saw many, many art galleries. We went by them too fast to take pictures of the most interesting objects. We then returned to our lodging for a quiet afternoon.

Posted by A-RPoulton 14:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 15 - Sandia Crest and Santa Fe

sunny 13 °C

We forgot to mention yesterday that we saw a number of small herds of pronghorn as we drove from Roswell to Santa Rosa. The drive was through desert and the two giant cowboys and the pronghorn added interest to the drive.

We had a lot of options to consider in traveling from Santa Rosa to Santa Fe. We chose to travel west to see the Sandia Crest on Sandia Mountain. This crest is at 10,678 feet (3,255 metres). The sign at Sandia Crest said that it was one mile higher than Albuquerque, which must be a mile high by itself.

Everything went well. We drove west on I40 (US 66) to US 14 and turned off on NM 536 to Sandia Crest. The trip from US 14 to the crest is 14 miles (23 kilometres). As each mile passed the road became more covered with snow. The speed limit was 25 MPH, which was good as the road was icy and snow-covered. We met a snowplow at one point. When we reached the crest, three cross-country skiers were on the highway, so Reta stopped and then got stuck. The skiers got off the road and onto their trail. Reta backed the car up with the help of gravity and was able to get to a slightly drier spot where she could get traction and get up enough speed to get over the snow drift and into the parking lot. The parking lot had been snow plowed but just the entrance was a challenge.

We got out of the car and walked the last bit up to the crest. While we were doing that, two park people were taking a blue box down to their car in the parking lot. One of them was riding in the box like a sled, but, by the time Reta got ready to take a picture, he was out of the box.

View to east from Sandia Crest

View to east from Sandia Crest

Reta took a distance photo so you can see how high we were.

Looking east from Sandia Crest

Looking east from Sandia Crest

We found the west-looking overlook and Art cleared the snow off the sign for us.

Looking west from Sandia Crest toward Albuquerque

Looking west from Sandia Crest toward Albuquerque

Sandia Crest info

Sandia Crest info

Artistic photo of snow and Albuquerque

Artistic photo of snow and Albuquerque

We started our walk back down to the parking lot, and met the park people coming up the highway, pushing their blue box full of supplies.

We took some photos in the parking lot.

Trees in front of the parking lot

Trees in front of the parking lot

Communication towers on top of Sandia Crest

Communication towers on top of Sandia Crest

We took a photo near the crest of the highway that winds back down the mountain, so you could see how much snow was there and how much was on the road.

Road back down from Sandia Crest

Road back down from Sandia Crest

We then took a photo when we were less than a mile from the bottom. We felt that it took a long time to get to the Sandia Crest but that it was a quick trip back down.

Nearing the bottom of the road from Sandia Crest

Nearing the bottom of the road from Sandia Crest

We then took another picture 15 minutes down Highway 14 on our way to Santa Fe. The road was completely clear and we were back in desert.

Back on Highway 14 desert conditions

Back on Highway 14 desert conditions

We stopped at a desert overlook on the way to Santa Fe.

Overlook of desert

Overlook of desert

We were greeted on the way into Santa Fe by a caboose with a welcome sign.

Welcome to Santa Fe

Welcome to Santa Fe

We drove to a laundromat, started the laundry, and ate our picnic lunch while we waited for it to get done.

We still had some time before our lodging would receive guests so we drove the "Old Pecos Trail" and then went searching for the State House. The State House is obscured by various trees, so we did not get a good picture of it. We did get a picture of artwork out in front of the State House.

Artwork in front of New Mexico State House

Artwork in front of New Mexico State House

We then drove to a car wash and made our poor car feel better about life, and then found our lodging for the night.

Posted by A-RPoulton 19:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 14 Roswell's UFO Museum and Santa Rosa

sunny 13 °C

We started our morning by touring the International UFO Museum & Research Centre at Roswell, New Mexico. The admission fee was only $3.00 per senior. Very reasonable. The displays were very well done and if you were a devotee of UFO's, you could have spent all day in there. The lady who sold us tickets said that July 1st is their big celebration day and that they are very busy that day. They had this diorama set up and every now and then lights would flash and steam would spout from the spaceship. One lady recorded the whole performance.

Scene in New Mexico UFO Museum, Roswell, NM

Scene in New Mexico UFO Museum, Roswell, NM

We noticed another store with UFO paraphernalia.

Store with UFO style

Store with UFO style

We left Roswell to drive to Santa Rosa, NM along US 285. We had a bright sunny day with clear blue skies. The wind was strong at Roswell but lessened as we drove along. We found these two twelve-foot-tall cowboys along the way.

Hitchhiker on US 285 Northbound

Hitchhiker on US 285 Northbound

Hitchhiker on US 285 Southbound

Hitchhiker on US 285 Southbound

We arrived at Santa Rosa, NM and noticed the sign about the "Blue Hole". We drove over to see what that was all about.

Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, NM

Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, NM

Blue Hole facts

Blue Hole facts

Blue Hole 1

Blue Hole 1

Blue Hole 2

Blue Hole 2

We investigated this lovely blue hole and discovered that it is a 60-foot-wide, 81-foot-deep, artesian well, filled with water so crystal-clear that it draws scuba divers from all over the western states to practice their underwater techniques there. The water of the Blue Hole, at around 61 F ( 16 C ), is too cold for casual swimming, but in the summer heat it is a great place to cool off. In fact, as we were arriving, it appeared that a group of men were loading scuba gear into a truck.

Our overnight lodging is located right on Route 66. It appears that Santa Rosa, New Mexico, takes its connection to that storied highway very seriously.

Route 66  Santa Rosa, NM

Route 66 Santa Rosa, NM

Route 66 Santa Rosa

Route 66 Santa Rosa

Route 66 Santa Rosa sign

Route 66 Santa Rosa sign

Route 66 Santa Rosa Museum

Route 66 Santa Rosa Museum

The bright yellow hot rod perched atop a 30-foot pole is the Route 66 Auto Museum. It features a wide-ranging exhibit on "anything to do with wheels," highlighted by some tricked-out old Fords and Chevys and a totally cherry 1957 T-Bird convertible. We were fascinated by the gold and white customized GM product with a front end loader on the front and a backhoe on the back.

We watched the last half of the NFC championship game and were sad to see the Falcons win as our hearts were with the Green Bay Packers. Now we are watching our absolute favourites, the Patriots, and the Pittsburgh Steelers battle for their place in the Super Bowl.

Posted by A-RPoulton 17:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 13 - Desert Mountain snow storms, space exploration

and UFOs

all seasons in one day 11 °C

We took a couple of pictures of some homes in one of the upscale neighbourhoods in Carlsbad when we drove through it.

Interesting house at Carlsbad, NM

Interesting house at Carlsbad, NM

Interesting House at Carlsbad, NM 2

Interesting House at Carlsbad, NM 2

We set out from Carlsbad with a goal to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History at Alamogordo. Alamogordo is near the White Sands Test Facility so has an interest in space exploration.

We needed to cross the Sierra Blanca mountain range to get from Carlsbad to Alamogordo. The higher we got into the mountains the more snow we found. We got to drive through a mountain snow storm. The interesting thing was that the closer we got to Alamogordo, the less snow there was, until we were driving through desert again. The temperature when we left Carlsbad was 11 C ( 52 F) but at the height of the mountains the temperature was -4 C ( 24 F). When we arrived in Alamogordo the temperature was 9 C but very windy.

We arrived in Alamogordo and found the Space Museum. When we got out of the car, the wind was very strong. We hustled into the museum.

Welcome sign

Welcome sign

Part of exterior display

Part of exterior display

The museum is a nondescript building. The displays are on the top four floors. Visitors begin the tour of the building on the fourth floor and then visit all of the displays by walking down the ramp. We took an elevator up to the fourth floor. We thought the elevator interior was interesting.

Interior of elevator to displays

Interior of elevator to displays

We looked out the window of the fourth floor and had a good view of the exterior displays.

Exterior displays

Exterior displays

The last floor of displays focused on the Star Trek series. They had a lot of photos and memorabilia on display. Art found his way into the "teleporter booth".

Beam me up Scotty

Beam me up Scotty

We had purchased a ticket to an IMAX presentation of the future exploration of space. On our way out of the museum building, we walked quickly through the exterior displays.

Exterior display at ground level

Exterior display at ground level

Exterior display 2

Exterior display 2

The destructive German V2

The destructive German V2

The IMAX presentation was in a different building. We enjoyed it, as it was very well done.

After the IMAX presentation we drove to Roswell, NM. By the time we reached Roswell we had traveled through another snow storm and the temperature had reached 9 C.

Roswell, NMUFO Museum

Roswell, NMUFO Museum

Stores with UFO theme

Stores with UFO theme

Tomorrow we will stop at the International UFO Museum, Research Centre and see what they have to say about UFOs. We only found a couple of UFO references in the city of Roswell, even though they have quite a reputation for being centred on UFOs.

Posted by A-RPoulton 19:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 43) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 »