Archives for category: southwest

Yesterday, my sister and I met a nice owner (C. G. Higgins) of a confectionary of the same name in Historic Santa Fe who convinced us to come see him for great coffee and quiche. Well, he was right! It gave us the much needed energy to absorb a wonderful permanent exhibit in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

2017-6-7 SantaFeGaHm1

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home in Abiquiu, NM

2017-6-7 SantaFeGaHm2

At home

2017-6-7 SantaFeGaHm3

Shown with one of her abstracts

 

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa1

Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center

As we complex women are, we have many shades to our many colors. She was a hardy outdoors woman and a femme fatal; an artist and a horticulturist; a brilliant artist and an adventurer. The parallels between Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo were brought more into focus by seeing their exhibits back-to-back! WOW!

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa2

Georgia O’Keeffe on the back!

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa32017-6-7 SantaFeGa4

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa5

Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Bella Donna!”

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa6

She loved to study the bones of animals she found in the desert and take those shapes found in them and nature to create her abstract art.

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa7

2017-6-7 SantaFeGa8

Georgia O’Keeffe’s “mountain.” She said that if she painted this mountain outside her cabin enough, the it would be her’s forever…and it is here and at Ghost Ranch!

As we meandered along the wonderful, flavorful streets of Historic Santa Fe, we talked of how we really had hoped to find an authentic Mexican restaurant. As luck would have it (or greater Devine intervention), we happened to go down Burro Alley to find just what we were looking for…Los Magueyes! Lovely people and great food!

2017-6-7 SantaFeBrurroAlleyRest

We departed Santa Fe to find new adventures along the Turquoise Trail (NM Highway 13) towards Albuquerque, NM.

2017-6-7 TurqHwy1

Turquoise Trail (NM Hwy 14)

2017-6-7 TurqHwy2

Turquoise Highway

The first little town on the Turquoise Highway large enough to make a stop to explore was Madrid.

2017-6-7 Madrid1JPG

Of course there’s a cowgirl there!

2017-6-7 Madrid2

Great little village

2017-6-7 Madrid3

Sandia Crest National Park with an elevation at it’s peak of over 10,000 feet is just off the   Turquoise Trail on Highway 536. It’s worth the drive for sure! It has a great little gift shop at the top where we met another transported Atlantan!

2017-6-7 TurqHwy3

Sandia Crest Nat’l Park (10,000+ feet) off the Turquoise Hwy

2017-6-7 TurqHwy4Sandia

2017-6-7 TurqHwy5SandiaVirga

These “fingers” of rain which evaporate before reaching the ground are called “Virgo.”

2017-6-7 TurqHwy6Sandia

First on our agenda was to get the feel of Historic Albuquerque and we, of course, were greeted with lots of red chili peppers!

2017-6-7 AlbuqHist1

Historic Albuquerque (Covered Wagon)

Eat? Heck yeah! Locals recommended Church Street Cafe. Great choice!

2017-6-7 AlbuqChchStCafe1

Church Street Cafe

2017-6-7 AlbuqChchStCafe2

Inside Church St. Cafe

2017-6-7 AlbuqChchStCafe3

Inside Church St. Cafe

We were so very fortunate to meet other southerners, artists and kindred spirits on our “Friend Traveling Sisters Hauling A$$ Great Adventure,” We drove over 3,000 miles in a week and it’s been life altering for us both…something to embrace with laughter and BIG smiles forever. We have so many new friend from this trip who will be in our hearts and prayers forever! We are truly blessed.

I hope to stay in touch with each of you through email, travels, phone or telepathic communications forever! Each of you touched our hearts so there you’ll reside until we meet again.

Tomorrow? VEGAS BABY!

HAPPY TAILS (found Montana hair in the truck today), TALES OR TRIALS! You’re pick!

Wow! What a wonderful day packed with beauty, great people, amazing southwestern architecture, shopping, wandering and soaking up one of our country’s most beautiful and exciting cities. In 2011 when Ava and I were here in 2011, we both fell so in love with it so much so that she wanted to intern at the Santa Fe Opera House. I’ve wanted to come back here to create new memories last year but still wasn’t ready. Now I know why. I needed my big sister with me to help me walk through some memories with Ava and create new ones with her! What a great Big Thithter she is!

First on our agenda for the day was the “Mirror, Mirror” Exhibit  at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art containing personal photos of Frida Kahlo giving us newer insights of a woman my sister and I have admired for years. I believe that she defined surrealism but she said she used art to express what she felt and boy did she ever! As a young child, she had Polio. At the age of eighteen, she was in a tragic trolly accident wherein she suffered a broken pelvis, collarbone, legs and three displaced vertebrae which caused her a lifetime of excruciating pain wherein she had to endure long hospital stays, body casts, bed confinement and approximately thirty operations.

2017-6-6 SantaFeFrida

Frida Kahlo had mirrors all over her house. I can only assume so she could paint her feelings no matter where she might be confined.

In Historic Santa Fe, we visited the San Miguel Chapel thought to be built by the Tlaxcala Indians around 1610. It is thought to be the this nation’s oldest active church!

2017-6-6 SantaFeSanMig1

San Miguel Chapel built around 1610!

2017-6-6 SantaFeSanMig2

San Miguel alter.

2017-6-6 SantaFeBldg?

Across from San Miguel. What shouldn’t be in this picture? LOL

A few blocks away, we entered the Loretto Chapel made famous by it’s “miraculous Staircase” to the Chapel’s choir loft. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. An anomous carpenter is said to have fashioned the spiral steps in 1878 by using only wooden pegs; leaving without asking for material reimbursement or compensation.

2017-6-6 SantaFeLoretto1

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe Historical District

2017-6-6 SantaFeLoretto3

Loretto Chapel Miraculous Staircase front view

2017-6-6 SantaFeLoretto4

Loretto Chapel Miraculous staircase back view

2017-6-6 SantaFeLoretto2

Loretto Chapel Alter

As we walked through Historic Santa Fe, art of every genre is found in abundance inside and outside the buildings. I’ve never seen so much beautiful art for sale permanently exhibited in courtyards and walkways. It made us wonder how all these high end  stores could possibly stay open without a great deal of tourists.

2017-6-6 SantaFeArt

And, to top off our day, we found this 1953 restaurant called “The Shed,” touted to have award winning red chile.

2017-6-6 SantaFeTheShed

Tomorrow? On the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico via the Turquoise Trail.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS!

We cranked up our day by visiting the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. The Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo have been welcoming visitors for over a thousand years to experience their existence which has changed little in their high desert village. (www.taospueblo.com)

Our guide was a volunteer who is going to college studying environmental engineering and was well steeped in his heritage and village.

I’ll apologize right off for these pictures not being the best I’ve taken but I’m working with a brand new camera and still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do. What looks good after I review and modify doesn’t always translate the same here on WordPress. Go figure!

2017-6-5 TaosPueblo2

This wall used to be much higher with sentries guarding the village.

2017-6-5 TaosPueblo1

All of the village buildings are made from mud bricks made from the local dirt, straw and water which are left to dry in the sun. Once building is constructed, a thick mud coating is put over it all, including the mud brick roofs.

2017-6-5 TaosPueblo3

Main buildings of the village.

2017-6-5 TaosPueblo4

What happens when you don’t continue to coat the bricks in mud to protect them from inclement weather.

Our next stop was the famous Ghost Ranch just outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico. A very famous (and infamous) woman artist by the name of Georgia O’Keeffe was living in New York City in the early 1930’s when she heard of a place in New Mexico which was magnificent. Other friends had traveled there and she packed up and went.

She hired a driver to take her to meet the owner of Ghost Ranch, a woman rancher who rented out rooms to visitors, and was told there was only one room available for one night. Georgia O’Keeffe had already fallen in love with sights, sounds and smells of this majestic region and, upon being returned by her driver to Abiquiu, promptly borrowed a car and drove herself back to Ghost Ranch (alone) over the rough roads.

2017-6-5 GhstRnch1

View on the way to Ghost Ranch from Abiquiu

2017-6-5 GhstRnch2

Rustic log cabin inhabited by Georgia O’Keeffe when visiting the area.

2017-6-5 GhstRnch3

The view just outside the cabin.

2017-6-5 GhstRnch4

View inside the cabin.

Their museums include local art and history as well as a wonderful Paleozoic area of fossils found on the ranch.

2017-6-5 GhstRnchPaleo2

Ancient crocodile

As art was the heart and soul of Georgia O’Keeffe, it is only fitting that Ghost Ranch has a wonderful exhibit of both ancient art (pottery) and current works.

2017-6-5 GhstRnchArt1

My favorite, of course, was this horse.

2017-6-5 GhstRnchArt2

The last adventure my sister had planned for us was a hike to an area she had visited over a decade ago where water had once been abundant. Sadly no water was found this time but, being a rock-aholics we are, we were saddened by the waters absence but loved being outside with the generous herbal smells of the natural flora and fauna of the area (sage, juniper trees, wild flowers, cacti, etc.) and the vastness of the cliffs, mountains and rock formations.

2017-6-5 GhstRnchHike1

Majestic!

2017-6-5 GhstRnchHike22017-6-5 GhstRnchHike3

2017-6-5 GhstRnchHike4

What are the indentations on this boulder?

And, last but not least, ME!

2017-6-5 GhstRnchMe12017-6-5 GhstRnchMe2

Oh yeah, and those crazy cloud formations we saw on our way to Santa Fe from Ghost Ranch. My sister said the white swirls below the clouds was the rain evaporating before it had a chance to hit the ground.

2017-6-5 SantaFeClouds1

Pretty cool stuff on this leg of our trip. We’re actually going to be in one place for TWO WHOLE DAYS! Santa Fe is ours and it’ll never be the same!

HAPPY TAILS, TRAILS OR TALES!

 

I started dreaming of this adventure last year after my tenure of parent care giving came to an abrupt end with the passing of my sweet mama. I was still in pretty bad shape after Ava’s passing and was the only logical one to care for Mom in her last years. I’d been caring for her as she had for me 67 years. It was what we did. I’d made her a promise over 50 years ago and it was one I kept…almost to my own undoing.

I kept my eye on the open road to help me through the diapers, 911 calls, emergency rooms, doctors, hospital stays and all the chaos, crisis and nightmares that came along without notice.

My PTSD was magnified during that time and after some very hard work focusing on her estate issues and finding the right combo of help for me, I could begin to begin to dream again of heading West.

The only way I could even think about taking this trip was with my Service Dog, Montana. She, along with my friends and family, made it possible to even think I could do it…for even a minute.

I sat frozen in my car…packed to the hilt ready to pull out of the driveway to head West and totally melted down. I wasn’t going. I couldn’t be that far away from my safety zone…my home. I called my BFF and she helped talk me down out of the tree by helping me break it down into little bites by saying, “Go to Knoxville to be with your family and see how you feel after that.” So, that’s what I did.

But first, I prayed. I prayed that God would help me find my way, reinforce my faith and direct my path. I put my destination in my TomTom and started on my way. I had to pull over THREE times because my TomTom wouldn’t cooperate…for the first time in 80,000 miles! It was insistent on my taking a totally new route over my saved/favorite/faster way.

I finally just embraced the joy of the journey when I recalled my prayer. I found myself driving along a two lane back road beside the Tennessee River and loving the countryside instead of the fast pace of the interstate…until. Suddenly, I realized where Tom was directing me…to The Tail of the Dragon on Hwy. 129. It has something like 128 hairpin turns in 11 miles. I guess God wanted me to slow down to 10 miles an hour to embrace my destiny and believe in my prayer and rebuild my faith!

I was so happy to see my loving, supportive and encouraging family. Emboldened by love and faith, Montana and I pulled out headed West intending to only get to Arkansas on Friday, May 13. The rest is history.

I-40 used to be a decent road to take West. Well, it still is in Tennessee except for the very aggressive drivers and constant cluster confusion construction in Memphis. Once I got to Arkansas, the road got worse and so did the cluster factor. Wrecks every where. I was still in the mood to drive so I headed for the Oklahoma border and would have made it easily before dark had it not been for the fact that, even though we can have space travel to and from a space station, cops can’t figure out how to keep from blocking a major interstate artery in BOTH directions for over an hour for a wreck in the median!

Needless to say, all I could do was get in the hotel and crash, get up today and start all over again but in Oklahoma. Well, folks, I’m sorry to say that I-40 ain’t much better there as they have had perpetual construction without much improvement over the last times I’ve driven the full length of it. The blessing was in the beautiful array of wild flowers of bright yellow, lavender, orange and all shades of green in pastures and crops.

Texas, on the other hand, made me believe again in someone somewhere actually keeping our infrastructure intact. Amarillo was my target and I wasn’t letting up because there was a back road there I’d never taken and I was now drooling.

I pulled off the safety of I-40 onto Saucy Road (US Hwy 385), got through the traffic garbage to get to the good stuff and realized that I’d forgotten to breathe. It was only when I came over that first knoll and saw prairie stretching for hundreds of miles that I caught a deep breath, saying out loud, “Now THIS is why I’ve pushed myself…to see THIS!”

2016-5-14Front3

2016-5-14Front2

I had a greater sense of pride and accomplishment in this moment than I’ve had in many years. This was BIG and I’m so happy to share it with you all.

Below is the payoff…sunset.

2016-5-14Sunset

Tomorrow it’s Boulder, Colorado or BUST, then my favorite place in northwest…FLAMING GORGE.

Thanks for following me and HAPPY TAILS!

Ava and I drove through SW Colorado after her adventure at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where she met Donna Brown when Ava hurt her knee and couldn’t climb back out of the canyon. Ava and I both both fell in love with SW Colorado.

As I drove up into the South Lake Tahoe area, I was reminded of SW Colorado. But it was when I actually got into the quaint little city wrapped lovingly with a river, meadows and beautiful snow-capped mountains that really took me back to last summer camping with Ava. Although it’s a busy little city, it still manages to keep its small town atmosphere where neighbors chat happily with a stranger needing directions. Dana and her two little ones walked with Montana and me to find Lake Tahoe. She told me she’d grown up here and came back to raise her children here and lived in the same neighborhood as she did when she was young. Says volumes to me.

South Lake Tahoe from bike trail where Montana was frantic trying to bark at each and every bike. I got quite a workout trying to keep her from freaking out the cyclists!

Montana waiting for her next victim on the bike trail!

Truckee River flows through the town

Snow capped mountains hug this wonderful, clean city.

Beautiful!

The coolest tribute to this area is how you won’t get any styrofoam for take-out and how you’ll see many VW buses of vary styles and years. Never saw this many outside of the State of Oregon! Does that mean they’re moving back to California? LOL

VW bus of yesteryear!

The original VW bus! Is that a gypsy wagon I see? Only in California!

A wonderful surprise was when Montana and I walked to the bank earlier today was finding a great Mom & Pop Mediterranean and Greek restaurant called Artemis  located at 2229 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Ste A, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (www.ArtemisMediterraneanGrill.com).

I’m a bit of a Gyro meat snob as I’ve had the best at the now closed Shipfeifer’s which used to be located on Peachtree Road near Brookwood Station in my hometown of Atlanta. It was the absolute best Mediterranean restaurant in Georgia and I haven’t found another one of equal quality…until today. Too bad I had to drive all the way to California to find it!  Funny thing is that if I’d blinked, I would have missed it but I was hungry, looking for a place to sit outside (because I had Montana) and needed  something tasty. Interestingly enough, when Dana and I were walking later this afternoon, I mentioned this restaurant to her. Much to my surprise, she said it was her favorite in town!

As I had no room for all my lunch or to try their home-made desserts, I got a paper to-go box for my leftovers and for my Baklava. As I’m a Baklava snob as well, I just couldn’t resist getting it. After all, I’m on a quest and have to have things to write about, right? Well, let me tell you that their Baklava not only was the largest I’d ever been served but it was the BEST I EVER HAD!  It was fresh (as they advertised), not dripping in syrup but lightly dribbled with quality honey, the pastry was light and flakey and the filling absolute pleasure! It was so big I was sure I’d save half of it to go with my morning coffee. That did NOT happen. I found myself licking the cardboard container!

I was going to try to save this post until I’d seen Emerald Bay as I hear it’s an amazing view. Oh well, you’ll just have to wait for it like I do! I’ll go by there on my way to Petaluma, CA near the Pacific Coast. I’ll stay in a Motel 6 there before camping four days in the redwood forest where God lives.

Happy trails!

Numa (Ava’s husband) and I decided to head for Tonopah, NV where my son, Carl, used to have a gold mine. My dad owned quite a chunk of land there and every year Mom and Dad would take Carl out west for him to work his mine. I’d tried to find my son’s old gold mine before but ran out of road and time. This time, Numa and I were going to find it and we almost did! All we needed was a 4-wheel drive to get to it!

We stayed in my pop-up camper over night. The last thing Numa said before he fell asleep was that he hoped the winds didn’t pick up. Well, talk about foreshadowing! I thought we were going to end up in Kansas in those early morning hours! We did a little more exploring to find a ghost town called Belmont. When I looked at the lady’s map, it sure looked simple enough to me. No need to write anything down or get more details, right? WRONG! We did have fun driving too fast over a crazy road to that DOESN’T go to the ghost town of Belmont giving me screams! He thought it was funny flying through the air leaving my heart in my throat and Montana throwing up in the back seat! The road really wasn’t that bad but I get butterflies going over little knolls too fast and he, a person who loves a good thrill, thought this was a cake walk! It was awesome!

I left Tuesday morning, taking the back roads, of course. What an amazing drive! It was just what my broken heart needed to see. Some of this country’s beauty to help me through today. It was two months ago today that my girl, Ava, took her life.

I got momentarily excited seeing how diverse our country’s landscape is and how quickly it changes from alien lands to canyon lands to river basins to lush, fertile farm lands. These next few pictures show you some of that diversity I saw in a few short hours yesterday.

Alien lands north of Tonopah, NV. Large fields of sand butting up to craggy mountains. Surreal.

As I got past this alien land, I got into a more remarkable area called Walker Lake. Talk about strange! A HUGE lake in the middle of no where with crumbling rocky mountains all around and no greenery!

Walker Lake just on the other side of Alien Lands!

Walker Lake with a touch of green!

Walker River Canyon just north of Walker Lake, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

Walker River Canyon, NV

orange lichen growing on the side of this rock wall of Walker River Canyon made the whol rock look orange in the late afternoon hours. Pretty darn cool.

Mom kept telling me about raging fires in Arizona and I reminded her that I wasn’t going that way at all. Lo and behold as I come out of Walker River Canyon, I see fire in the distance and think, “Boy, am I glad I’m not headed for there!” Boy, was I ever wrong! My back road took me right past it! They closed the road and I begged the officer to let me go through so I could get to South Lake Tahoe for my prepaid Motel 6 room for the night! (Motel 6 rocks). Thank goodness they let me through but here’s a close-up of the fire with a touch of truck window thrown in for the heck of it!

What started out as a 1400 acre fire turned (at last I heard) into over 4000 acres maybe more. It was near Smith, NV

More fire near Smith, NV. I’d never seen anything like this before. It was a little frightening.

Cleared the fire and went through a little town called Wellington, NV. Cute!

Wellington School House 1898. Cool little town.

I made it from Tonopah, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA in about four hours taking the road less travelled. Lots of little towns and beautiful countryside. Just what a soul needs.

Today, I’ll stay over to rest and catch my breath from the last two months before continuing on to the redwood forest where God lives. See, I’d been telling my daughter, Ava, about this place for fifteen years and this year she was going camping with me to finally see it. The local funeral director, Jeff who is now and forever my best friend, sent me a small urn with some of Ava’s ashes to me while I was tending to her final affairs in Las Vegas so she could come with me on this trip. Thank you Jeff. Your Mom-n-Pop operation sure has been there for me, first with Carl and now with Ava. You made a terrible and alien experience into a simple feat. You arranged everything from Atlanta so I wouldn’t have to worry about the arrangements after I told you how simple I wanted it all to be and my timeframe. Donahoo-Lewis Funeral Directors in East Point, GA were remarkable, loving and efficient.

I plan on writing more about my daughter as I move along this journey. She wrote of herself as being a “revolutionary woman” and that she was. More to come.

Happy trails!

I’ve been absent but for good reason. I’m diligently working on a book of short stories of real life adventures and misadventures from my childhood, my life and my journey toward mental health, happiness and rediscovering my joie de vivre, from a Friend, a book of short stories. As writers go, we write, re-write, edit, write some more and re-write and re-edit. It’s an OCD process that keeps my ADD very happy and my dyslexia in absolute misery. LOL I wouldn’t have it any other way because I wouldn’t know how to be any other way!

Want a peek into my novella, from a Friend, a story of Great Warrior? Read my blog “My Son’s Eyes” for a taste. It’s about the great adventure my family went on with my son, his disappearance and his communications with us from the other side. Faith, love and communication from all levels are explored and experienced in my journey through it all.

Jus as an aside, it seems like someone’s protesting or  complaining about the size of a person’s wealth but, to my way of thinking, I coulda’ been born into a wealthy family as there was a time when Mom’s family was. But things happen and as Dad used to say, “I shoulda’ been born rich instead of so damn good looking!” Yep. If he had been born rich, I would’ve had a totally different experience. Maybe I woulda’ never lost a son and almost a daughter but I also wouldn’t be the woman I am today and I like me just fine.

My next Great Adventure is June and July so we won’t miss the PowWows and Rodeos this year! I had thought I’d cancel this year’s adventure but I was reminded about the Mayan calendar thingie and decided I really needed to cram as much in this year as possible just in case they knew what they were talking about. So, Montana and  I’ll be heading west hoping Ava will join us on a great adventure up the Pacific Coast Highway to my favorite redwood forest in all the world where God lives. I can’t wait!

Right now, Montana won’t come away from the wood burning stove. She’s so cute! It’s funny but it’s very comforting to see my bird dog in front of a fire.

Happy Trails!

Montana in front of the fire

We’ve had the hammer down these last few days trying to finish up our trip to  Atlanta as Ava has music to learn before leaving for Austria, people to see at  home  and I’ve got 6 weeks of accumulated mail to dig through and grass to cut.  I’ll be  glad to be back home but I’m already planning my next trip.

As for this one, last night was scary. We were outside of Memphis by about 70  miles when we noticed quite a “light show” going on. The more east we went,  the  worse the lightning got; I’d never seen cloud to cloud lightning before and  this was  scary stuff. Strangest part of it was the lightening skipped across the  sky like a stone across water… barely hitting briefly down before showing up a  little farther down an imaginary horizontal line. THAT’s what convince me we needed to take action.

Ava, feeling the same way, whipped out her IPhone and went on Weather.com  while I tuned into a  local radio station to see how bad the weather was ahead.  After all, we were still in Arkansas and they’re known for tornadoes and hail.

That horrible ehhhhh ehhhhh alert was coming out of the radio at the same time  Ava found hail and storm warnings on her phone. That was it. The radio told us  to find shelter immediately! I’d remembered there was a Motel 6 in Brinkley,  Arkansas just west of Memphis from my 2009 trip. Ava pulled it up on Google  map and we got there without difficulty. We checked in and went to bed  unscathed. That was a close one.

This morning we drove to Knoxville to visit family and tomorrow we head for  Roanoke to visit a friend and then we head for ATL. Whew! 10,000 in 6 weeks.  I’m ready to go again.

I’m hoping to upgrade to a more unpredictable weather friendly structure to replace the pop-up by summers end and explore western half of Colorado.

In the meantime, Happy Trails to you until we meet again.

Ready for action - 5/13/2011

Ann (part owner of the Thai restaurant where we ate last night, Thai Cafe) had  invited Ava and me to her private 3 year anniversary celebration at Thai Cafe  today from 9:30 to 11:3o. After we broke camp, we drove into town where I  dropped Ava off and went to look for a parking space large enough for Silver (my  truck) with a pop-up attached. Good luck!

This is Old Santa Fe Trail (also Route 66 in some parts)

First of all let me say this about that. There is very little parking in Old Santa Fe,  the streets are very narrow and parking scarce.  It’s like New Orleans that way.  Finding street parking is because the “parking  Gods” are with you or there’s bad  weather! I understand they’re building parking  decks but that doesn’t  accommodate tourists in RV’s or with any kind of  truck/camper setup.

I proceeded to drive around and around. The good news is that Ava and I had  walked most of the area of Old Town that I was in the night before looking for  just the right place to eat (she won’t eat Mexican and I won’t eat Indian so we  settled on Thai). Fortuitously, I ended up at the Visitors Center where I found an  area marked “RV parking only”. Silver plus the pop-up certainly qualified as an  “RV” so I parked there while I went into the Visitors Center to tell them what I  was doing and why.

The woman at the Visitors Center put so many red markings of unsatisfactory  places of where to go on  the Old Town  map that I was totally confused by the  time I was leaving that I  pulled the “I’m a  writer” card. I told her I was going to  write about the parking  issue in my next  blog. She told me I could keep my car  where it was for a couple  of hours. So there it is; but there’s more!

I also told the woman at the Visitors Center that I was glad to have experienced  “dog friendly” merchants in Old Town the night before. She indicated the “dog  friendly” part didn’t extend to any other facilities. Great. Now I realize that I  won’t be able to take experience the two places I came to see: Georgia O’Keefe  Museum or San Miguel  because Ava was busy and I had nowhere to leave  Montana. Oh well. I’ll just have to come back when everyone else is at home (like the middle of the night) and when it’s not 100 degrees (like October) so I can leave Montana in the car and do it all.

San Miguel from the outside :={

They were repairing San Miguel with adobe bricks to match the ones used in  1610.

adobe bricks

Another church I’ll come back to see is Loretto Chapel.

Loretto Chapel

There are at least a million little shops in the old area of Santa Fe selling  traditional southwestern items for exorbitant prices.

Lots of shops selling everything southwestern

and…

rugs, baskets, turquoise jewelry, silver bracelets, etc.

None of the goods for sale were anything I could possibly afford. A young man  who was selling his art in one of the squares encouraged me to come look closer  at his paintings. I said, “Thank you but I can’t afford any of it.” His retort was,  “I haven’t told you any prices.” To which I replied, “When you’re on Social  Security and Congress only voted themselves a raise and not you, and you’re  2000 miles from home, you can’t afford it no matter how much it is.” True dat!

Because Ava needs to get to Atlanta, we decided to skip Albuquerque. Mostly, it  was me because I was going to have to come back to Santa Fe when the weather  gets cooler (a lot cooler) to see what I missed. I’ll enjoy Albuquerque then. And,  as for Ava, she’ll come back on her own as she’s in love with Santa Fe.

San Miguel from the outside :={

So much for the Santa Fe part and now for the I-40 afternoon!

The first part of my trip was cold, snowy and windy until I got right outside of  Las Vegas. Then, it was just windy for about two weeks until right before I left.  Then it got baking hot with only some wind. When I was in Utah and Colorado,  the weather was kinda’ hot during the day but nice and crisp at night.

That’s all gone now that we’ve left the mountainous regions and headed south  for Santa Fe. There? It was HOT! Thank goodness there was enough of a cool  breeze last night to keep the temperature in the pop-up fairly nice. I think that’s  over. I think the Vegas weather pattern is following me 2000 miles to home.  Mom said it was 91 degrees in Atlanta today.

We made it to Amarillo, Texas to camp for the night and it’s HOT! We’re going to do the Trucker Dew routine tomorrow to get as close Memphis as possible without killing each other. Trucker Dew, you ask? Well, you must be a newby. Last year when I was driving back from Vegas, I got hyped up on Mountain Dew and only ate Slim Jims with a side of cheese and drove for 36 hours to get home. I stopped only at truck stops to nap for a few hours before hitting the Dew again. That’s what I call pedal to the metal, trucker style.

Object of the game is to get to Maryville, Tennessee by early Friday afternoon to see my sister and her family and get into cooler weather!

Happy Trails!

Silver does Durango

Leaving Mesa Verde was difficult as we’d had such a wonderful time there and  it’s the longest I’ve camped anywhere so far this year because of inclement  weather, namely strong winds and snow following me all the way to Vegas! We  took Hwy. 160 east toward Durango, Colorado which was only about 50 miles  from Mesa Verde.

Ava and me in Durango Diner

It was there that we discovered the Durango Diner on Main Avenue. Now  THAT’s the way to serve breakfast. I had the best bacon strips I’ve ever had…  ever. The pancake was twelve inches in diameter and the egg cooked just right.  The waitress was wonderful and the whole experience very pleasant and  reasonably priced. Ava and I both fell in love with this little Colorado town.

With bellies full, we headed east for Santa Fe. The countryside was amazingly  gorgeous Colorado style. This is a sample of the views we saw along the way.

on the way to Santa Fe via Hwy 160, 64 and 84

And this one.

mountains, lakes, rolling pastures, cows and horses... oh my!

We didn’t get through setting up camp until after everything was closed in Santa  Fe so we went scouting. We found the two things on the top of my list: Georgia  O’Keefe Museum and the San Miguel church. The bonus was finding a gallery  with has some original photos of Frida Kahlo. What a bonus!

After walking around Old Santa Fe for what seemed a very long time looking for  somewhere to eat that we both wanted, Ava whipped out her IPhone and found  this amazingly authentic Thai restaurant called THAI CAFE at 329 W. San  Francisco St., Santa Fe (www.thaicafesantafenm.com  505-982- 3886). As Ava had traveled to Thailand, she could authenticate the food as  being excellent and traditional. Please visit our new friends Ae and Ann at Thai  Cafe next time you’re in Santa Fe!

Ava, me and Ann (owner of Thai Cafe in Santa Fe, NM)

Not only did Ava and I leave Thai Cafe satisfied with the service, the food and  the atmosphere, we both felt like we’d just made two new friends with Ann and  Ae. A big “Thank you” to them for making our evening so special.

Tomorrow, we go back to Old Town Santa Fe and to Albuquerque to explore it as  well. I was hoping to hit the road hard tomorrow but I have a feeling we’re  going to fall in love with Albuquerque as well.

Happy Trails!