Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mud Bath

Ojo Caliente Spa today.  Nick and I went to get a mud bath.  We added three others, iron, arsenic, and something else that had "soda" in the name.  Afterward we each got a massage, mine hot rock and oil, Nick deep tissue.  A great way to spend our last full day in New Mexico.  We dined at Louie's Corner Cafe, where we're getting to be regulars, and are now chillin' in our room.

I've had a great time and I believe Nick did also.  It's hard to tell because he's so accommodating to his "Pops."  Even so it was fun to spend a few days together on neutral territory.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday in Chaco Canyon

Long drive this morning to show Nick one of my favorite places in my favorite state.  The 170+ mile trip to Chaco Culture National Historic Site ends with twelve miles of unpaved road that could rattle a car apart if one had to travel it every day.  We spent a couple of hours walking through the ruins of Una Vida, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl and viewing the petroglyphs on the canyon wall.
North Side of Pueblo Bonito
Back in Santa Fe we chilled out for an hour or so before having a great dinner at the Galisteo Bistro, about a block up the street.  Nick and I sat at a counter where we could watch and actually talk to the two chefs which was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow is our last full day in New Mexico and the current plan is to visit the spa at Ojo Caliente.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Los Alamos

Nick and I spent the day in Los Alamos, walking around a bit then visiting the Bradbury Science Museum, yesterday.  The place is fascinating on a couple of levels: it didn't exist before 1943, and it was built on land taken over by the federal government "in support of the war effort."  The name was taken from the boys boarding school which was taken over as housing for the initial workers.  There is an eighteen minute film describing its construction that has some spooky elements to it.

The beginning flashes to Hitler reviewing troops interspersed with the exodus of German Jewish scientists to the USA.  Following that it describes the initiation of the Manhattan project and the need to isolate and congregate all the important scientists in one location to facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas.  Los Alamos was built as the isolated place where that could happen.  Security was so tight that the resident's driver's licenses had numbers not names, the address a PO box in Santa Fe; even birth certificates listed the PO box at the home of record.  Residents traveled under assumed names, when they traveled at all.  The focal point in Santa Fe was a civilian woman, owner of the PO box and the only link to the outside world.  A very strange beginning to what now seems like a fairly normal place.

Today we drove up to Taos and explored the town, which is now mostly boutiques and restaurants designed to keep tourists happy.  I was able to locate the terrific place Carol and I stayed when we were here however many years ago and photographed it to send to her.  We walked over to Kit Carson's home and museum but it was closed.  Neat thing: the guy who gave us that news was sitting under a sun shelter weaving baskets.  We turned to leave but he called us back and told us to go see Taos Pueblo and while he was talking he wove two "magic wands" out of red willow and gave us each one.

Before driving to the Pueblo we went to the Rio Grande Gorge and stood on the bridge watching rafters in the rapids several hundred feet below.  A few miles past the bridge we stopped at Earthship, a self-sustaining community off the power grid, and learned how the houses are built how water is gathered processed conserved and reused several times.  Much of the tour was a sales pitch to invest in the place but it was still really interesting.

Taos Pueblo is again tourist focused but the old adobe is fascinating to see.  We walked around for about an hour before wending our way back to Santa Fe by various back roads.  After an early dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe we came back and rested for a bit then went to the gym for a workout.  We are now chillin' in the room.  Tomorrow is an early and long day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Mexico morning

Our Grandson Nick and I arrived in Santa Fe yesterday afternoon to begin our five day New Mexico tour, a present for his high school graduation.  Both of us were exhausted from the graduation festivities: the ceremony at 7:00 pm on Friday, Senior Night at the civic center from 11:00 pm that night until 5:30 am on Saturday morning (I was photographing the fun), two baseball games starting at 1:00 pm where he played third in the first and pitched the final three innings of the second, and a home run contest which he entered.  Our plane left Lafayette at 7:15 Sunday morning so we were up at 4:30 to make the flight.  You can do the math and see there were not a lot of sleep hours left in the weekend.

Anyway, we're here and it's now Monday morning a little before seven, mountain time.  I've been awake about an hour but Nick's still out.  He's breathing through his mouth as he sleeps due to getting kicked in the nose at one of the Senior Night activity stations.  Considering there were over ninety kids exploring a dozen activities over six hours with only two minor injuries, it was a pretty safe night.  Nick's nose is hurting some so he's been taking Tylenol and using an ice pack regularly, but he was eager to take the trip even though I offered to postpone it until later in the year.

I am amazed at the growth in the city since the trip Carol and I made here ten or fifteen years ago.  There's a lot of sprawl in all directions but The Plaza is still much like I remember.  We're staying at the Old Santa Fe Inn, just three blocks away.  We walked around the area for a couple of hours before checking in because we arrived at the Inn a little after one and the former tenants had left only minutes before.  They had the room ready by three and both of us napped for a couple of hours shortly after checking in.  When we finally woke, we dined at a cafe a block away then came back to the room and watched TV and fell asleep around eleven.

The weather is magnificent!  It was about eighty, sunny, windy, with almost no humidity yesterday and I believe that's today's prediction.  Nick remarked that it was a funny feeling to be hot and cool at the same time.  When he rises, we'll decide what to do today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Teasure in the Blue Ridge Mountains

This is another one of those months when we're home mostly to say "hi" to the cats and do laundry and then gone again.  We just got back from a six day jaunt to Birmingham in the new camper and are headed out again to Louisiana. 

On our way home, we stopped in Lexington, Virginia, a favorite place of ours in past trips and the location of Boxerwood Nature Center ( to finally meet KB and Hunter, friends of Carol's sister Beth.  KB is the garden steward and they own a house on the property.  We had a relaxing evening, spent the night camped in their parking lot, and enjoyed a terrific breakfast cooked by Hunter the next morning.  Check out their website and visit the place if your ever in the area; it's a real treasure.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Catching up

I've been away from this much too long.  Between travel plans and carpentry projects I haven't had the inclination to sit down and write very often and then I work on the stories I'm writing/editing rather than this blog.  Speaking of writing, the Millrock Writers have an anthology out called A Millrock Writers Sampler.  You can find it on  It's got stories and memoir pieces from eight of us.  Check it out.

This month is incredibly busy for me.  I'm in Birmingham now, leaving for home Sunday which will get me there Monday.  Thursday I head to Louisiana for Nick's graduation and from there to New Mexico with him for five days.  That pretty much eats up the rest of the month.

We're traveling in the new camper this trip.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wow!  I didn't realize I'd been away from this so long.  Not that I have much to muse on just now but we'll see what develops. 

We were up on the Walkway Over the Hudson this evening.  Every time I go up there I am struck by the beauty of the river.  I don't know whether it's seeing things from a different perspective or what but there's something really special about it. 

On the Poughkeepsie side, there's a place on the north side of the walkway just past the gate where someone has spent an outrageous amount of money to mask their back yard from view.  I mean they had huge phone poles planted and green screening strung along them.  I can't imaging what that cost but I know it doesn't work.  It only attracts attention to the place and you can see fairly well through the screening.  Weird.