Friday, May 1, 2015

Taos, Santa Fe and Tucson

The drive to Taos was spectacular.  We had been told to take the "high road" to Taos, which is 56 miles from Santa Fe to Taos through the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  Sure glad we did as the scenery was stunning at every turn and we encountered snow along the side.  This historic Spanish road was wonderful.

It was the day after Easter when we headed to Taos.  Our friend Eric had mentioned an Easter Pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo which had just taken place on Easter.   Some walk 90 miles from Albuquerque to the church.  The Church and grounds were amazing and I'm so glad we went.

Fence filled with rosaries, crosses, notes

The Church

Interesting Navajo painting of The Last Supper
There are 13 disciples

Church court yard

Another church along the way

One of the most-original and best-preserved examples of 
Spanish Colonial architecture in New Mexico

Our hotel in Taos, The Sagebrush Inn
17 room hotel, catering to guests traveling by carriage along the trade route 
between New York and Arizona

Had always wanted to visit Taos and with my friend Valerie living there we just made the trip. Had a good Mexican dinner at Orlando's New Mexican Cafe where we met Valerie and had a short, but good visit. She gave us some good tips about things to see in the area and some BLM maps and info. 

Valerie is a wildlife biologist and very good photographer

San Francisco de Asis Church is celebrating 300 years, also known as "Ranchos Church," 
built in the late 1700s and was made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams, among many other artists who became fascinated by its looming buttresses.

There has been a Taos hotel on the current site of La Fonda de Taos since1820

Don Fernando de Taos Plaza, settled by the Spanish colonists 400 years ago, built for defense; windows and doors faced into the plaza and the limited entrances could be barricaded.

Desert outside Taos, there were several odd and huge sculptures

Drove back to Santa Fe to see our friends Jim and Ann.  We pet sat for them in 2012 and they invited us to come see them. We had a good visit, lots of talking and, of course, great food.  It was so cool to see that Chaco, one of their dogs, had changed so much, mellowed out and was more relaxed and not so nervous.  He was been a rescue and when we pet sat before he was quite a suspicious and nervous dog.  He has adjusted and is happy.   Thanks for your hospitality, we had a very good visit.  (Missed taking a photo - so rare, sorry Chaco and Misa).

Happy times in the kitchen - always something good to eat here
Great kitchen, great cook

Modified quiche was delicious, Jim is a great cook

April 8th, we spent one night in Las Cruces to break up the drive to Tucson.  So many beautiful flowers in bloom - the desert is alive.   where we arrived the next day.  Happy to get there and see our old friends, Mike & Cheryl and their two grandsons.  We love visiting them and always have fun together.  Usually our visits are so short, but we've got over a week to spend together this time.

Stopped at Harbor Freight to buy a "claw" - a gribber/grabber.  This will help with picking up shells and I had left mine at "home" in storage in Florida.  My back won't take too much bending over for extended periods.  I've read that there are sand dollars where we're going and I have never in my life found a whole decent sized sand dollar so I'm very excited.  Cheryl and I both like collecting shells and photography so I know we're going to have a great week.

Mike's amazing artichoke plant
Very beautiful home, garden and yard

I counted 14 artichokes

Jacob and Jordan - the grand kids
They were pretty funny and entertaining

 We had our own private quarters - the cabin on wheels
Very comfortable bed, air conditioning, shower

This is after we returned from Mexico
I'd heard of this place before.  Good food and fun

Darn, we missed the gun fight.

 No ties!!!!! or they cut them off

Rafters are totally filled with ties, a crack up
There are some weird ties too

 Mike and his friends out grilling - we had shrimp, scallops (all wrapped in bacon)
red snapper, and carne asada - a basic feast

Back porch - they have such a lovely home and yard

I've put the before and after in Tucson in this blog because I'm doing a separate blog for Mexico. This leg of the trip has been filled with lots of friends which made it excellent.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Adventures in Albuquerque

April 4, 2015, up at 5:30 a.m. for a fast drive to Albuquerque to meet with Eric, a couch surfer I met on line, who wanted to show us around the town.  We met for a great breakfast at a landmark, Frontier Restaurant, which is right across the street from the University of NM.  Love NM when I can eat carne adovada for breakfast.  They have a John Wayne room and all decor is interesting.

Navajo rugs on the ceiling.

After breakfast Eric took us down to old town, the typical Mexican city plaza, and we looked around at the historical houses, church, wonderful sculptures and fun shops.  We enjoyed Eric taking his time to show us around.  He was a super nice guy.

San Felipe de Neri Church
Built in 1793

We were here the day before Easter

Of "Breaking Bad" fame.
Eric was surprised we didn't know more about the show

The city is getting to be Hollywood of NM
They are filming a lot of movies here.

Outside the Albuquerque Museum
There were many impressive sculptures.

Our wonderful tour guide and friend, Eric.

Had a quick nap in the afternoon so we could get to my surprise for John. We celebrated our anniversary of meeting going up in the Sandia Tram, 2.7 miles up, for a dinner at High Finance Restaurant. We were at 10,378 feet with a panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley which affords an 11,000 square-mile view.  Windy, cold and there was some snow on the ground.  Watched the sunset at dinner. We could really feel the altitude. 

Looking down at the parking lot

Chilly at the top, still had snow on the ground

Surprise anniversary of meeting for John
Gosh, where have 43 years gone?

Easter, so up at 5:00 a.m. so we could go to Sunrise Service. Found a Methodist Church that was very close to our hotel. A very friendly church and they insisted we stay for their Easter breakfast. We had a wonderful time and felt like family. This was what a church should be like.

After church we visited the Petroglyph National Monument and found it to be very interesting.  They had two easy hikes that we were able to do to view the petroglyphs and that was fun.  There were signs along the trails explaining the history.

Wonder what this one says?

We enjoyed our first time in Albuquerque.  We'd driven through it several times and been to the Balloon Festival for a few hours, but it was fun getting to know this great city.

Next blog will be Taos, Santa Fe and Tucson.

If any of you want to see more photos of specific things, or know more details just let me know.  I usually have lots more pictures than I put on my blog.