Tag Archives: New Mexico

Finishing Up New Mexico

10/16/14 -10/31/14


We were too early for the Festival of the Cranes, but we did make it to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge outside of Socorro. This Refuge is the  home to 17,000 wintering Sandhill cranes, along with numerous other waterfowl, birds, and mammals. Not bad scenery either!

We had been seeing Sandhills sporadically along our entire trip, so it was a real joy to finally see their most popular wintering area in the US.



We meandered through Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces, before finding ourselves in the Organ Mountains…more beautiful majestic rocky crags. They reminded me of the Grand Tetons on a smaller scale.

We camped there at Aguirre Springs and hiked up to incredible vistas and meadows filled with wildflowers.



Pulling ourselves away from this beauty, we stopped in for a visit to White Sands National Monument. Glad we didn’t pass this gem by. There was a storm on the horizon, and we just made it out before the the rain starting pounding down. The sand dunes are huge mountains of white gypsum sand. Growing up along the ocean, this sand was very surreal to me, it was so white and clean and dry. Very different from my ocean sand.



Whenever we pass through a town where either of us have had ancestors living, we try to stop in and visit. This cute little town of Weed, New Mexico, once held the lofty name of Garden City. Always one to feel sorry for the underdog, I kind of like the name Weed. The population of 20 was stretching it a bit too. We met half the population, and they were all awesomely nice.




A stroll along another wildlife marsh. Can’t seem to pass these by. And amazingly they are great places to walk a dog. Leashed of course!


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Hiking around a bend out in front of Fred and Pia a bit, I caught these two flickers doing a courtship dance. What a treat!


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A quick jaunt through Roswell and a visit with some aliens from the Area 51 site, also know as the Roswell UFO incident. Actually it was at the Rosewell UFO museum where we visited these guys.




And finally to wrap up this truly enchanted land, another outrageous New Mexico Sunset, from our campsite at Rockhound State Park.




We’re on our way back home, slowly…to spend some holiday time with our families and friends. But first, we’ll tootle our way through the Arizona desert, and see what there is to see.

Hanging Around Santa Fe

We’re loving Santa Fe.

The history, the culture, the art, the people, the food, and the textiles. It’s an easy place to be… We’ve practically taken up residence here.



A few shots of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, near the downtown plaza, including Pia with St. Francis himself.



Having some fun in Madrid, a very artsy little folk town south of Santa Fe.



Then into the country near Placitas to conquer fears by hiking up to the Sandia Man Cave. The cave is an archeological site located in the Sandia Mountains, in the Cibola National Forest.



Look hard in that bottom photo to see the cave way up on the face of the cliff. Climbing up that spiral stair case is not for the squeamish. We had Pia, so took turns going up. When I (the first to conquer) was half way up, I heard a beautiful voice singing from the cave. Thought for sure the spirits were moving around, until I met the sweetest young lady sitting in this cave peacefully waiting for her friends who were spelunking inside.  What a treat to listen to her lovely voice carrying across the valley.

It’s hard to get bored around this area.

Birds Of Las Vegas

9/30/14 – 10/1/14


Back to Santa Fe…Another mechanic…More dollars.


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What to do?


After testing all the A/C components, this mechanic finally decides to test out our new relay, which tests out as no good. Volkswagon will order another relay for us at no charge, but they aren’t interested in paying for all the diagnostics to figure out that the part was no good. Grrrr.



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We squabble and debate a bit.




We defiantly wait for the new part to arrive.


We go on another overnight sightseeing excursion.




We discover that Las Vegas, New Mexico is very different from Las Vegas, Nevada. Neither of us are real gung ho on bright lights and gambling, so we find this historic old town of Las Vegas much more to our liking.


The Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge is fantastic.


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These White Pelicans in flight definitely brightened up our days.


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Mr. Hawk teaches us a lesson in patience.


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We think it all over a bit.


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And decide it’s still all about the journey. We’re waiting for our new part, and enjoying New Mexico.




Crisscrossing New Mexico

9/24/14 – 9/28/14

Back into Taos, we tried re-charging the A/C. It did’t do the trick, so we had someone look at it, who spent quite a few hours on it and traced it back to the relay under the dash. The part we needed had to be ordered by a Volkswagon dealer and had to come from Dallas, Texas. It  had to be paid for in person, before anyone would order it. We had to go to Albuerque or Santa Fe. No brainer. We headed to Santa Fe.

Not a bad town to wait for a part. We enjoyed the plaza and native artists selling their wares. We bought a few gifts, did some sightseeing, and delighted in some New Mexico fall colors.




When the part arrived, we picked it up, quickly installed it, and ta-da…had cold air blasting into the cab.

To try out our refreshing luxury, we moseyed over to  Bandelier National Park. Mostly we needed a place to camp for the night, and the park was handy.




A peaceful setting to enjoy the evening and early morning.


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Some interesting campers were also visiting. In fact a lot of these Western Bluebirds were camping along side of us.




This Northern Flicker and White-breasted Nuthatch didn’t mind sharing a site.


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Pretty sure this was a Merlin watching over the entire loop.


We moved on after these visitors left and lots of the two legged type moved in. (It was a weekend.)




Found this place a little quieter and more to our liking up a forest service road. Room for Pia to run and play, and plenty of New Mexico sunshine for the solar panel.


Some of these Bluebirds thought so too, as they followed us to our new camping spot.


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We drove by and visited Valles Caldera National  Preserve.





It was a beautiful valley, but there was no place to spend the night. We inched our way around the Jemez mountains.




A quiet walk  in the Santa Fe National Forest.




Nature’s sculpture…




And yet another lovely peaceful camping spot, thanks to the forest service folks for maintaining their roads.

The countryside changes abruptly.




Emerging out of the forest and into Jemez Pueblo.


It was about here when our air conditioner quit working again…


Respite Along The Rio Grande



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Somewhere between Farmington and Taos on a quite warm day, our air conditioner quit working…

We rolled down the windows, endured the warm breeze, quit talking to each other, due to the loud road noise, and became a bit crabby.  By the time we pulled into Taos, it was rush hour,  cars were sitting still in every lane and the lights were all red and lasted forever.  It was Friday, and also unseasonably hot for Taos.

Instead of a gentle stroll along the plaza as planned, we really just wanted to find a place to stop and camp, so we left town shortly after arriving, heading up the mountain to cooler pastures, on which the map showed numerous campgrounds. It didn’t take us long to learn that the forest service had closed all those campgrounds for the season, just two days ago.

We kept driving until it got very dark, when around a corner we went, and met in the middle of a very dark two lane country road, two very big and very all BLACK cows just standing right smack in the middle of that dark road. It was a very very near miss, which could have resulted in a very bad disaster for both us and the cows.

But calamity was averted, thanks to the fact that the road had no one coming in the other direction.  Whew, it really was time to stop. So in the very next, very little, very dark town of Angel Fire…we found of all things a Visitor Center. Well, we certainly were visitors, and we needed some centering. We did what any logical wandering nomad would do, and found a far little corner, hunkered down in the parking lot, and turned in for the night.

All was well the next morning, never a soul did we see before departing to journey further along the very scenic drive in the Carson National Forest. It was foggy. Really foggy. So foggy, we didn’t see the very scenic drive until around noon.

The sun did finally come out, and the sun did shine. It was warm again. But happily, we found ourselves parked along the mighty Rio Grande River, high above the Rio Grande Gorge. I wanted to hike to the bottom. Glad we took the easy trail. It was pretty rugged, I could only imagine what the challenging and difficult trails were like. But it was a lovely hike down and awesome to be on the Rio Grande River.

While lingering at the water’s edge, Fred and I both at the same time spotted a huge mountain sheep across the river high up on the cliff. Then we spotted another and another. There were seven altogether, and we watched them for a long while, while enjoying the rolling river and expansive views. As we started back up the ascent, the sheep started their own descent. It was  amazing to watch them sure-footedly going down the rocky cliff and gravely trail. We humans were so carefully picking our boulders, and placing our feet, while they were almost as graceful as ballerinas on tiptoes.

We stopped near the top for water and power bars, and watched them again for another hour or so.

Of course I took lots of photos and got some really great shots. But somewhere along the way, I either lost the memory card, or accidentally deleted it, because it is now nowhere to be found.

After our exciting day with the sheep, we lucked out and found a wonderful campground in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. This one was operated by the BLM who managed to keep it open.




Peace at last.




And a comfy, quiet evening under huge cloud filled skies. And no it didn’t rain. Yet.


New Mexico


The Land of Enchantment. New Mexico.

Coming in from the northwest, mostly  what we encounter are miles and miles of gas and oil rigs and all the pipes and wires that go along with it. I wonder over and over if all our use of electricity is worth this sight. Would all who gobble up and over consume like to have this in  their backyards?

It’s beneficial for sure, but how much do we really need. When do we ask ourselves, is enough enough? And at what cost….

The juxtaposition of all this industry sitting next to sacred archeological digs is a bit perplexing.

We stopped in at the Aztec Ruins archeological site.

The ancestral Pueblo people here lived above ground between the late 1000s and 1200s.

The most amazing part of this site is this Great Kiva in the main plaza which is huge and has been amazingly restored.




It is truly an emotional and moving experience being inside such a structure.




Many of the original pueblo’s stones have been carted away over the years for reuse as building materials by more recent settlers. I suppose we would do the same today in the name of re-use and recycling.


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The talent of these people is amazing considering the lack of modern tools and materials.




Incredibly enough, this is actually some of the original roof, 900 years later. On top of this framework was layers of thick tamped mud, forming the floor for the second story.




Doorways leading down halls, as in our modern apartments.




Colored stones added for perhaps an artistic effect. I love this!




I fantasize about our own extended families living in a space like this. Separate rooms, communal spaces, activities and ceremonies. Not too unlike modern experimental co-housing communities.




A rendition of what it was like.




What have we lost and what have we gained?      ❧