Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SPRING TREK 2013: New Mexico Rambles

Wednesday through Friday, May 1-3
     Relaxed days the rest of this week as Rick and I pick up Mom R at the airport on Wednesday at 11, go out to lunch at Village Inn, and then a little shopping to get her settled back into her apartment at Three Fountains.  She has been in North Carolina and Pennsylvania for the past month visiting family.  We stayed until about 4 and then decided she needed to get some rest - she had been up since 1am our time!  
     Both Thursday and Friday we drove into town and spent time with Mom - some it just relaxing and watching TV with her, also getting a few minor fixups finished such as cleaning off the porch, putting up key hooks, figuring out how to download some new library books on Nook.  We went out to lunch Thursday at Thai Tip, which proved to be excellent food, but expensive!  
     Wednesday I made several phone calls and found a place where I could get a new Honda key made....for ONLY $125.  We found a dealer just down Wyoming from Mom's place.  We figured we would stop by either day and get a new key before leaving on Saturday.  I even called each place: Roswell police and RV park and the Vaughn gas station just to double check the keys had not been found.  No such luck.  
     Coming home on Thursday afternoon my cell phone rang and it was Debbie at Trailer Village.  A gal had brought my keys in that afternoon, having seen them hanging on the hook behind the door in a bathroom stall!!!!  Luckily, Rick and I had NOT gone to Honda that day and were going to go the next morning.  Debbie is sending the keys to Baker City, so they should be waiting for us when we get home!  I got a thank you and check in the mail on Friday to cover the postage for the mailing and a little bonus.  I was just so relieved!!!  
     Edgewood and the Albuquerque areas were supposed to be experiencing extreme winds on Wednesday, but although the weather the past few days has definitely been colder during the nights (and days) we weren't blown off the map!  In fact, it was 12 degrees colder Friday morning in Edgewood than in Baker City!  Our water line froze Thursday night, so Rick disconnected everything Thursday evening.  
     Overall, good visits with Randy and family, Mom, and Jed (brief!).  Saturday morning we are taking off for Utah!!  

TUESDAY, April 30
     No pictures today.  Tragically (?) I left the memory card in the laptop.  I even took a picture of Jed at Denny's, but didn't notice the beep-beep of the "No Memory Card" signal.  Most sad because I HAD a second memory card in the glove compartment of the trailer! up to date pictures of our eldest son sporting his new 'do' - the shortest we have seen his hair in about 12 years!!  He looks downright professional!  
     Rick and I drove down to Soccoro this morning, taking the back country route via 41 and Hwy 60.  It takes a little longer, but isn't freeway!  Hwy 60 is rather fun, but 41 is a long straight shot through dry fields at this point.  We met at the Denny's restaurant.  Jed just got back from Portland, OR last night a midnight, drove back to Soccoro, and has a class to teach at 1, so it was a short visit!  
     He did reflect on a good weekend, however; both the wedding and friends, visit with Luke, Kady, and Aunt Liz and Dave, visit with Todd and Amy in Mac Town, and then some good mentor time with two professors at Linfield.  They gave him some good advice on "where to go from here", as in once he actually has the doctorate finished!  
     It is warm today - high 80's to low 90's!  As we drove back up toward Albuquerque, we decided NOT to go to the zoo.  The animals would all be hiding in the heat in the middle of the day, and it was pretty expensive for a quickie visit that would put us driving out of ABQ during rush hour.  So....we went and played mini-golf at the Fun Center out on Tramway instead!  We have played there several times.  A quick 18 holes - they were doing maintenance on the course, so it wasn't quick as scenic as usual (the pansies were all blooming, but the water features were all being cleaned out.)  I was HOT today and I mean that in a good way.  I think I had 4 or maybe 5 holes in one!  I lost the pencil around the 11th hole so I couldn't keep accurate track of our scores.  Rick would say that was just as well!  (It was during mini golf that I realized my camera wasn't taking any pictures.  :( )
      Patty and I went to Weight Watchers for a weigh in - good results!  Then a walk with Rick while a beautiful sunset marked the skies over the Sandia Mts. 

MONDAY, April 29
Madrid and Cerrillos, Artist Communities
Click HERE for pictures

     Ran and Patty have to work, kids all off, so Rick and I take the day to explore a little!  We did a loop of about 60 miles, taking in parts of the Turquoise Trail (Hwy 14) and the towns of Madrid and Cerrillos, just south of Santa Fe.  Both are old mining towns - Madrid especially known for coal, and Cerrillos for the turquoise mines.  Gold and other ores were also mined in the area.  At one point, Madrid was a ghost town.  Gradually artists starting moving into the hills south of Santa Fe and the town was reborn.  It is
Dropping down to Madrid.  Santa Fe in distance.
struggling, however, with the recent slump in the economy.  We heard comments from some artists who are moving to Bisbee, AZ.  One shop, a consignment store called Resources, was closing out with 50% off sale.  We got a few GOOD buys there!  

     The narrow Hwy 14 winds through the town - not alot of space on either side, no sidewalks, limited parking, etc.  Most of the stores are in old houses that have been fixed up.  Plenty of funky, artsy stuff, fine craftsmen, beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry, and a definite 'hippie' feel to it!  In one shop, I listened and people were visiting from Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Pennsylvania, and France.  And, of course, Oregon!  Rick made it through just one store and then opted to relax in the truck!  I probably spent another hour poking around.  
Church in Cerrillos
Main Street in Madrid
 We drove on down the highway about 3 miles to the village of Cerrillos, once seriously considered for the capital of New Mexico.  There is very little left to it, save a beautiful Catholic church.  A local state park draws horse back riders and bikers to the trails in the mountains.  No restaurants, so back to Madrid for a bite to eat.  We stopped at a place called The Diner, and then Rick read a sign in the front that said, "This is NOT a restaurant.  We sell clothing and
The Hollar
gifts."  Oh.   On down the road to The Hollar, southern fusion cuisine advertised.  It was outside, shady, and fun.  We both had the special, Fried Green Tomato BLT sandwich, Rick with fried okra and I had cheesy grits. I just wanted to try something different!  The grits were a little too peppery for me, so I ate half and Rick finished them up.  The okra was good too!  

     Back via Route 344 and through the San Pedro Mts. to Edgewood.  We gassed up the truck for tomorrow, stopped at Walmart to pick up some food for dinner, and home by 3:30!  Will BBQ tonight with regular and sweet potato fries, salad, and grilled pineapple!!  

WEEKEND, April 27-28
Doing Nothing
     This will be short and sweet!  We have sat around Randy's for two days, reading, visiting, taking two long walks, and enjoying some fine meals!  Randy smoked a pork roast on Sunday which was wonderful.  Regan got moved out and cleaning in her apartment done on Sunday.  We went to church Sunday morning with Ran and Patty.  Beautiful sunshine days in the high 70's.  Cool nights.  A good time for rest!!  

FRIDAY, April 26
Roswell, NM to Edgewood, NM       175 miles

     Today was a travel day through a new route into Randy's place.  Rick commented that this completed our 'compass' arrivals at Randys: we have now entered Edgewood from every direction possible!  
Highway 285 between Roswell and Vaughn, NM
     Highway 285 from Roswell up to Interstate 40 is one LONG uphill haul!  We knew we were going to gain elevation in going from Roswell's 3500' to Randy's 6800', but we didn't realize it would be such a constant climb.  The highway was four lane most of the way, but between the uphill and the northwest head wind (just our luck to be driving in that direction today!), we got horrible gas mileage - only about 8 mpg!  We filled up in Vaughn just to make sure we could get to Edgewood!  

     It was during the gas stop in Vaughn that I realized I couldn't find my truck and trailer keys.  While Rick was in the restroom, I was tearing the truck apart.  I had used the keys to lock the trailer as we left the campground.  Then we went into the restroom, got back into the truck, and drove to Vaughn.  After arriving in Edgewood, I examined the truck again to no avail, called the trailer park, but came up empty on that end.  It is a total mystery.  I can't figure out WHERE they are.  Did I leave them in the trailer door?  I seem to remember throwing them into the truck.  The biggest loss is the Honda truck key - it is one of those programmed electronic ones - could be a couple hundred dollars to replace.  Ouch!  
Nearing the interstate

   The terrain all day long was vast and far-reaching.  Gradually we saw a little more green and mountain ridges began to emerge from the flat horizon.  Between Roswell and Vaughan there is NOTHING.  No services, no towns, a scattering of large ranches and two roads that take off, one in either direction.  
     We arrive at Randy's at noon, grab some lunch, and then get the trailer pushed into position under the willow and next to the garage.  Later in the afternoon Rick and I take a walk 'around the block' (about 3 miles) and then enjoy Randy's Green Chili Chicken Stew for dinner.  Patty reports she only has 20 school days left when she gets home!  
Trailer all tucked into its spot at Randy's. 

     Regan is moving home for a couple weeks tomorrow (she is in between apartments), Rachael is getting last minute projects done before her May 11 graduation from UNM and Ryan has one more exam to complete his certifications.  It should be a busy household!  Grandma R flies in on Wednesday!  
THURSDAY, April 25
Spring Creek Zoo & Recreation Trail
Bottomless Lakes State Park
Click HERE for pictures

     We could get used to these 10am morning!  I was up around 6:15 (yes, I saw the sun rise!) listening to the cacaphony of the birds in the trees around us.  I had to look up mockingbirds again on the internet to double check that these were NOT such birds.  I sure heard a multitude of sounds while lying in bed!  
Rick prepares to take off on the trail.

A waterfall at Cahoon Pool Park. 
     Eventually we get moving.  Our goal this morning was to get on the bikes and follow the Spring Creek Recreation Trail from the zoo to its western terminus, about 5 miles away.  The path is well graded and paved.  It follows the creek all the way, touching base with at least 7-9 parks.  It dips down twice for the path to travel nearly at creek level in the storm drainage channel, both times while traveling through the downtown section.  By dropping down, you pass under Main Street and all the traffic!  The creek has very little water in it at the moment.  We passed an old city swimming pool and park - not open yet - and the city golf course with an abundance of pretty fountains.  Just past the golf course, there is a bird and wildlife nature center around a couple of ponds.  At the western end, the trail passes through Enchanted Lands Park, a frisbee golf course and more!  I didn't want to ride on the main streets, so we opted to go back the way we came.  We stopped enroute, however, to take a brief side jaunt around the nature center trails.  
I loved the laid-back expression on this goat.

     Once we got back to the truck, we packed up the bikes and then walked in to the Spring Creek Park Zoo, the only FREE zoo in the state.  It is small scale, but we enjoyed the animals we did see.  Many are rescue animals, including the two bald eagles.  Also saw other raptors, raccoons, a small burro, bison, deer, antelope, lemurs (big eyes!), beaver, etc.  The park is a relic from a time long ago: a park train and carousel even!  There is also a fishing pond and plenty of ducks!  
     A quick bit to eat in the truck (jerky and string cheese) and we are off for Bottomless Lakes State Park, located about 12 miles east of town.  Unfortunately this is the same road that is undergoing construction (our park entrance was clear this morning, however!).  We got stopped twice for LONG waits before coming to the park road.  
Watertower at Lea Lake
One of the sinkhole lakes at
Bottomless Lakes SP
 Bottomless Lakes was the first NM state park to be established back in the 1930's.  The CCC did major work soon thereafter, building summer recreation opportunities at the largest of the lakes, Lea Lake.  Each of the lakes is in a sinkhole created by the collapse of caverns in the limestone and gypsum.  The water is artesian, coming from the Sacramento Mts 80 miles to the west.  The water actually flows UNDER the Pecos River just west of here, and then is sent to the surface by the pressures underfoot.  Right now, several million gallons of water are flowing out of the Lea Lake area into the wetlands.  The lakes are filled from below the surface, rather than water melt coming down!  They range in depth from 22' to 90'.  There are about 8 distinct lakes, some quite small.  A rimrock of red rock borders each lake to the east, forming the curved wall of the sinkhole.  It was pretty interesting!  

     We didn't want to go back through the construction, so we checked the map and found a road heading south to the town of Dexter.  Wide open spaces with views from the top of the bluff down toward Roswell!  From Dexter we drove back up to connect with Hwy 285 and into town.  Dinner at Peppers Bar and Grill.  Too early for Happy Hour.  :(  But we enjoyed a little Mexican anyway.  Then gas in the truck (we paid a trip low $3.05 a gallon!) and back to prepare to leave in the morning.  
Check out this price!!!!  Trip low! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jedediah!!! 
UFO Museum, Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM
Click HERE for pictures

     A lazy morning!  It felt good!  When I checked the internet this morning, it said the current temp in Roswell was 32 degrees.  We kept the little heater running all night and had all the blankets on our bed!  Stayed warm! 
     Eventually we pile into the truck to scout out the town.  A little cruise north as far as the shopping mall (and Wal-Mart) and then out west a bit (lots of pecan groves), south (towards the college and airport) and back up to the UFO Museum right in the middle of town where we started!  The Museum was begun in 1991 as a central location for artifacts and information regarding UFO's worldwide.  The current location is its third as it has grown.  It is the 2nd largest repository for UFO data and information. 
Alien Animatronic display

Part of the UFO Art Gallery
 The "Incident at Roswell" is the impetus for this museum and all the UFO hoopla for the town. (The 4th of July UFO Festival is 'out of this world'!)    The incident  happened in 1947 when locals reportedly came across debris from a crash, others reported SEEING aliens who were injured.  It was released to the news.  One day later, a retraction was given to the media stating the wreckage was a weather balloon.  Reportedly, the military had instituted a major cover-up of the entire episode.  In  the 1980's, the case was reopened and more data obtained.  The museum does a pretty good job of laying out the actual facts and letting people make their own decision.  (The short movie we watched definitely supported the cover-up theory!)  There was alot of first hand reports to read through, which I didn't always do, but I enjoyed the displays, the ancient section of extra-terrestrial visits, crop circles, and abduction accounts!  I missed seeing the "alien landing" display in action.  I guess the aliens come alive 2-3 times an hour.  There was even a horse from the Painted Pony Series.  It was plastered with newspaper accounts of the Roswell UFO and sparkled with an overlap of glitter.  I think the horses's eyes were a bit alien shaped as well!  
     By the time we got out of the museum, it was after 1pm and we were starving!  We had passed a Thai restaurant, but didn't agree on WHERE we saw it in our morning cruise.  Headed north to no avail.  I asked at a chicken fast food place for a phone book and we located the only Thai restaurant in town - NOT on a street we had been on.  Go figure!  But the food was good and we enjoyed the meal!  
Ceramic Platter by Eddie Dominguez
Tea, Chocolate, & Coffee Papel Picado
   Our second stop for the day was the Visitor Center and then the Museum and Art Center. is FREE!   The museum is an eclectic mix of natural history,western New Mexico history, and New Mexico art.   There is also a restored model of Robert Goddard's, the rocket scientist, workshop and artifacts from Goddard and New Mexico's Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmidt. I especially enjoyed the papel picado artwork, ceramics by Tucumcari artist Eddie Dominguez, and a huge mural of a Pow Wow.  It was a pretty well done museum.  By the time we finished it was 4:45!  Time to call it a day!! 
The PowWow mural.  Check out the little boy in glasses at the left! 

     Quiet night at the campground.  The road in front of the RV park is under repair, so we have to wait for a pilot car to take us the final 200 yards to the campground entrance.  Kind of a pain, so we are limiting our 'in and out' times!   

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