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.

We drove up to Haviland Lake to have a look, and the dogs went for a swim, of course.
 Purgatory ski a small city up there!  Doug is a ski instructor, and hopes to return this winter.  We drove around the back of the runs, and it's a beautiful valley with primitive campsites, streams, and the road probably goes back to Silverton.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

IN SEARCH OF.........

Just north of Ouray, in the Red Mountain mining district, we were in search of the townsite of Ironton, hoping to find the old train turntable used in the mining operation.  First, we started up a road we thought would take us there, but only learned that the road went forever.  We stopped hiking after about 2 miles (up), and being passed by several jeeps. 

 After much exploring, we finally found the townsite of Ironton.  It was just off the highway, we just didn't have the special book that showed you where it was.  Anyway, lots of buildings in varying stages of decay.  It appears some work has been done to slow down the dilapidation.