Thursday, November 29, 2012


 Flat Stanley is a recent phenomena at our house.  For kids who are in the fourth grade, it seems to be on the curriculum.  Flat Stanley is a book the children are reading at this point, and their teachers have decided to include friends and grandparents in the formula by having the kids send a letter to the person of their choice (in this case, we were chosen 3 times) with a cutout of Flat Stanley, usually their photo glued to the figure, and ask them to take Flat Stanley on a tour of where they live.  Arizona is fertile ground for unusual places to see.  The first two times, we took Flat JJ and Flat Tyler to Tombstone, Bisbee, and anywhere else we could think of that would give the child's class an idea of what Arizona was like. 
The third time around found us just returning from up north, having company, getting settled, and not really wanting to travel to those places anytime soon.  But, we rallied, and found some nearby fun places to photograph.  One of them was Traildust Town, which has lots of photo-ops.  Also, we went up to Mount Lemmon, a nice break from the still warm desert floor. A trip to Home Depot was documented, because, hey, we go there a lot. lol

Friday, October 19, 2012


 Our last 2 nights "out on the road" were spent at this great campground we found a few years ago.  It is by far, the best place we've stayed in our travels.  Level cement pads, spaced far enough from each other that you have privacy, and it's on a lake.  Located in Show Low, in the White Mountains.  We can slide on home from here.


 Southwest of Albuquerque, we swung by this monument that we had never seen.  It is a bluff in the middle of nowhere, and at its base is a large pool of water that's been here for a long time.  It has been the only water source for 20 to 30 miles around, and became the natural stopping point for travelers, as well as a perch for an ancient pueblo, around 1200 a.d. From ancient petroglyphs to inscriptions written by weary travelers, people have left their mark to say "I was here".  As we looked at the writing, it made us imagine those people standing where we were, up to 800 years ago, and then in 1605, when the first Spaniards came through looking for gold. There was an inscription by a young girl on a wagon train heading to California, who was later shot with an arrow, but survived. 


 We camped outisde of Santa Fe, on the old Route 66.  It's always fun to visit the town, with its plaza, and Native American Jewelers lined up on the sidewalk.  One day is not enough time to explore the town, with its exclusive art galleries on one street, art museums and kitchy shops and many places to eat.  We had great fish tacos at the Burrito Co.


Another pueblo ruin, just outside of Santa Fe.  This is the old church.


 Madrid used to be a coal mining town, but has now become an art colony.  Shops line the main street, presenting fine art, silly art, hippy art, and it's just a fun place to visit.


 This is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, on the way into Taos.
We went from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, and visited the Balloon Museum, located on the grounds where the Fiesta takes place.  This was after it was over, and there were no crowds. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


We finally made it, after about 6 years of saying we would "swing by" this place on our way back to Tucson.  After leaving Durango, we headed to Bloomfield, NM, to park the trailer at an rv park.  We knew there is camping at Chaco, but had heard the road was pretty bad going in.  And it was....all washboard for 13 miles.  The story of Chaco Canyon so fascinated us, because the historians still don't know for sure the real story of why this huge complex was built.  Archaeologists don't feel that the buildings were lived in, so it's believed this was a huge trade center, with facilities for religious ceremonies.  We drove out twice, the second day climbed to the top of the mesa behind Pueblo Bonito. 

This is Pueblo Bonito, the largest structure in the Chacoan system.  It was lived in from the mid 800's to 1200 a.d.  It eventually had 4 stories, with over 600 rooms and 40 kivas.

 Here is an excavated kiva at Pueblo Bonito, and below is a reconstructed one that we saw at Aztec Ruins.  It really felt church-like inside.

This corner door was very unusual, and difficult to build.
 Two similar types of masonry; the one below looks a bit more primitive; possibly from earlier in the period.

One our way out of the park the first day, we spotted an elk strolling through the desert.  Looks pretty healthy.

Luna has an apprehensive look on her face, but Darrell gave her the confidence to make the climb up to the top of the mesa/bluff, so we could get an overview of Pueblo Bonito.  We all did great!
Darrell and Luna head for the edge to get a better view.
 Pueblo Bonito from the bluff above

What goes up must come down!  Luna followed Darrell's directions step by step.  Notice the guy in the parking lot some perspective.
 Chetro Ketl


 We had to stop and say hi to Doug, a friend we met in Tucson, and his dog, Diesel, who Luna loved to play with at the dog park at home.  Doug and Diesel moved to Durango last May, so we dropped in for some fun.