Sunday, October 28, 2007

9:26 am Sunday October 28, 2007

The following text was written over a week ago when I was making an effort to update my blog then started having problems with the Internet. I have decided to include it anyway and play “catch up” again later now that our equipment appears to be performing flawlessly—greatly reducing our anxiety levels.
October 21, 2007

Today is the big day. We will register for the 5th Annual MotoSAT DataStorm Users Rally sometime during today and attend the potluck at 5:30 pm to “meet and greet” the other attendees. Phil monitors the DataStorm User’s Forum and the Escapees Forum on line daily and he is really looking forward to putting faces to the names he has become so familiar with.

It has been hot here in Tucson since we arrived but the weather is supposed to really cool down for the next couple days then finish up the week in the low to mid 80s. That will be a pleasant change. Of course, MY nemesis—the wind—blows eternal in the desert and so Phil has been putting Penny’s awning up, then down, then up again, then down again! Sure makes one covet the automatic, self stowing awnings on the newer rigs. One day we came home after an afternoon of errands and a movie to find the neighbors has put up our awning for us. The next day Phil found the guys who did it and gave them our grateful “thanks”. We were embarrassed for committing the cardinal sin of Rvers (leaving the rig unattended with the awning down) but the fellows who came to our rescue when the wind came up told Phil, “Hey, we Rvers take care of our own!” Thanks again guys!

I pick up my travel journal when we left Colorado Springs, CO and headed south to Santa Fe, New Mexico. A visit with my nephew Dane, his wife, Jiaming and their 10-year old son, Joshua who live in Los Alamos was the primary reason but visits to Taos and Santa Fe were high on the list as well. We were rained out in Taos, (thunder and lightening chased me back to the car) and (as I always say, “We’ll just have to go back.”) but we really did enjoy Santa Fe. However, (and in our opinion only) our experience suggests that shoppers looking for a bargain from the local artisans should “Forget it! It ain’t gonna happen!” The word is out … the gringo tourists will pay any price so jack it up. Since we had neglected to rob a bank before going shopping, we walked away empty handed.

Back in the "Land of Enchantment" and we hoped some really good weather!

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

At 7,834 feet, Raton Pass at the Colorado-New Mexico border now ranks in my book as one of the best passes in the country. As you know, I do not "do" mountains and although I was a bit anxious, the "Mountain Directory West" assured us it was an easy ride. They were correct. The 6% grades were each no more than a mile long then the hiway flattened out before the next grade came along.

I can say to my fellow mountain challenged people with total confidence it was a "piece of cake!"

State Seal of New Mexico.

New Mexico State Capital Building in Santa Fe, definitely not your typical state capital building!

Often called "the round house", earlier described by one governor as the "ugliest building in town." He went out and scoured the state for hundreds of indigenous flora and ordered the grounds planted to hide the structure. This picture was taken before the campus was overgrown with his creative camouflage.

note: picture borrowed from the Wikipedia website.

Pictures at the entrance showing the previous and more traditional capital buildings in Santa Fe.

Very impressive entrance to the governor's office and art gallery.

The state of New Mexico uses the capital building as an ever changing gallery displaying the work of local artisans. This gorgeous wooden trunk is overlaid with embossed metal (aluminum?). It was a lovely surprise when we went inside to look around.

Beautiful ...

Very interesting concept--painted metal collages that are extremely colorful and rich looking.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

11:54 am Saturday October 27, 2007

I am trying to continue uploading pictures into my blog after losing the internet last Sunday and not getting back on line all week (equipment failure) but NOW I am back online but Blogger is not cooperating! I will try again later today. Maybe it will be less busy.

I thought this large case built from an old door then painted to house treasures was the most clever example of recycling I have ever seen.

Rotunda dome.

Three levels around the rotunda displaying just some of the art work in the building.

Colorful and imaginative examples.

Phil and I were fascinated by this piece of art work.

S-o-o-o-o inventive. S-o-o-o creative!

A closer look at the "found" items used to create this beauty!

Vendor row across the street from the plaza.

Native American vendors lined up with their wares for sale. Each one had a "permit" from the city to be there. As we browsed along the row, it all started to look alike and I have been told the bulk of their raw material is imported. Very expensive and very disappointing.

Pueblo architecture everywhere you look. I suppose it could be a city mandate because it is definitely the preferred appearance.
Very expensive "bling" in the window of a shop across the street from the Santa Fe Plaza.

This large gallery in downtown Santa Fe has many bronzes on display around the outside of the building. I so admire people with the talent to create these incredibly beautiful pieces of art.

Magnificent bull elk!

This cowboy startled me as I turned the corner. So life-like!

I loved this life-size pregnant sow although she looks so uncomfortable!

Loretto Chapel in downtown Santa Fe New Mexico.

The entrance. The church is owned by a private family today and they charge a small ($2) fee per person. Also, a nice gift shop sells all kinds of religious accoutrement's along with the usual tourist stuff.

A small amount of info about the chapel but if you want more just google: Loretto Chapel Santa Fe NM

This miniature just inside the entrance gave us our first peek at the famous staircase.

Information says the stained glass for the chapel was brought in by wagon. Can you imagine the ride all these pieces endured across the desert?

All different, all beautiful.

Stained glass windows above the front entrance.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The "miraculous staircase" which legend says was constructed or inspired by St. Joseph the Carpenter was built sometime between 1877 and 1881.

Constructed in 1873-1878 for the Sisters of Loretto at the end of the Santa Fe Trail. The design is patterned after King Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle in Paris; a striking contrast to the adobe churches already in the area at the time it was built.

I took a quick snapshot of this profusion of flowers along the railing of a motel in downtown Santa Fe as we drove by. It was such a beautiful addition to the usual bleak and bare surroundings for travelers, it made me want to spend the night!

Doors anyone? What fun it would be to build a home with this assortment of design elements available.

New Mexico has many painted freeway overpasses. The colors are bright and each design is different. A wonderful addition to usually boring interstate highways.

Each one is different. Beautiful!

My nephew and his wife took us to dinner in downtown Santa Fe at the historic hotel, The LaFonda. Lovely ambiance with good food and impeccable service.

L-R: Jiaming, Joshua, Dane and Joy.

I love this picture!

Saying goodbye in the parking garage.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

1:49 pm Sunday, October 14, 2007

We arrived in Tucson, AZ this past Wednesday. We are here for a total of 21 days, seven of which we will attend the Datastorm Users (satellite internet) Rally to be held where we are staying at Beaudry RV Park. We decided to spend some extra time in Tucson before and after the rally because we wanted to get to know the city better but the freeway/road construction going on in Pima County is horrendous and is making that difficult. No matter the address we program, our Garmin GPS wants us to take the freeway (the shortest route across town) but after the first trip, we knew that was a mistake. All the exits into Tucson from I-10 are blocked (they are widening the freeway). Once on, you are trapped and cannot exit until you reach the other side of town. So—we are making our own way via city streets of which many are also in the middle of some kind of reconfiguration. Needless to say, we have taken some interesting round-about trips to reach our destinations. However, we are sure getting to see more of the city as we had planned and the only time it was a bit hairy was when trying to get to the theater in time for a movie we wanted to see. Otherwise, we have more time than money so we try to relax and enjoy the ride.

I pick up my travelogue in Scottsbluff, NE where I left off in my last post.

Prehistoric rock formations in the Nebraska prairie. Incredible to behold.

The road to the top.

The city of Scott's Bluff spread out on the plains below.

Looking down on the Scott's Bluff visitor's center from the top

Stunning views from the top of the bluff!

One very, very long freight train (the white dashes across the middle of the picture) crossing the Nebraska plains as viewed from the top of Scotts Bluff, NE.

Driving south from Scott's Bluff, NE on our way to Denver, CO. Panoramic views of beautiful country.

A field of sunflowers in Nebraska.

The state capital building in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The beautiful ceiling dome in the rotunda.

Our Penny the Pace crosses into her 44th state, Colorado.