travel tales for family and friends. . .

wild horses. . .Theodore Roosevelt NP - North Dakota

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September in New Mexico


We have been traveling constantly for the past month. We took a week off at Labor Day, and stayed in a small town named Chama, NM. The RV park was right on the Chama River, which was a clear, beautiful little stream, where you could see the rainbow trout swimming.

Although we swallowed hard and paid the exorbitant fee for an out of state fishing license, alas, we quickly discovered, we have no idea how to catch a rainbow trout in clear water. We only know how to catch catfish in a muddy East Texas river or lake, but we had a great time trying, and Dave got lots of practice with his new fly fishing rod.

Santa Fe, NM, pictured above, was my favorite stop of the entire trip. It was just a beautiful little city, and the downtown area was an absolute delight. We spent an entire Saturday just enjoying and taking in the entire place. We walked miles and miles.

The Fiesta on the Plaza was in full swing, and the street food was just great. I have even discovered that I prefer Indian fry bread over funnel cakes. I never dreamed anything could take the place of funnel cakes.

Once we left Santa Fe, we only did overnight stops on our way back to our home country of Texas, and arrived back in Houston, or rather, Dickinson a few days ago.

First thing on the agenda. . .seeing the grands, so we had two of them over for supper the first night back, and will have the other two spending next weekend. Then my trip will be complete. . .

When we leave here, we will be heading to San Antonio, where I have accepted the position of Activities Director for a large RV park. We are making every attempt to get together with Dave's family while we are in town, since we will not be back for six months. We made a stop by Toledo Bend on the way in to see my Dad, and brothers, and to let them know our plans for the next few months.

Dave will continue to teach fire and safety classes for A&M, so will just travel from SA to College Station, or wherever his assignments are. Since the college provides his hotel, I will hold down the fort while he is gone.

Hope everyone is doing well. Drop us a note to let us know what you are up to. Hugs, Janice and David

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Stranded in the Desert

Human nature is a strange phenomena, and being stranded in the Colorado desert for four hours brought forth the best and the worst of it. . .

Here we are, at least eight miles from the nearest civilization, and twenty miles from the nearest town of any size, the line is broken on the transmission cooler, and all of the fluid is gone, so allowing the transmission to cool down, and driving on for a few miles, is not an option. . .

but. . .we have a Roadside Service Contract, so we are not overly concerned. . .however, no phone service. . .now what. Here is a solution, walk 300 yards to the top of the hill, stand in the sun, and voila, Verizon came through. . .so, now we wait for the Roadside Service to find us a wrecker.

Since I am not very patient, I google a tow service on my phone, and start making a few calls myself. . .four tow services later, no wrecker large enough to bring the entire rig in, however, the service has found a tow company in Durango, 60 miles away, who will come out and pick up the truck, if we will unhook the RV from it. . .ummm. . .nope, not an option. Are you willing to leave your home parked on the side of the road, with everything you own in the whole world left inside? Probably not. . .but wait, I haven't exercised all my options yet. . .

We have already made plans to spend the night at the Casino RV Park in Teowac. . .so I call and ask if they knew of anyone there who would be willing to come and tow our RV in, so we would not be stranded in the desert overnite. . .we would gladly pay for their services. . .the girl at the RV Park stated that she did know someone, but they would only help tribal members. . .huh? did I hear right?. . .surely not, but OK, having that discussion is not an option at the moment.

Back on the phone. . .this time with the Cortez CO Police Department. . .nope sorry, that falls under the Colorado State Patrol territory, but here is a number. . .by this time it is beginning to get dark, so I tell the State Patrol that we are stranded in the desert, our Road Service cannot find a wrecker large enough to tow us, so we are going to spend the night in our RV. . .just wanted to let them know that we were there. . . in case anything happened. Their answer. . .OK! I'm not making this up, you can check the State Patrol records for August 27th around 6:15 p.m.

Continued making various calls. . .after about ten minutes, hear hubby yell, turn around, and there is a State Patrol Car. . .wow. . .that was fast. . .right. . .NOT SO. . .this is an Arizona State Patrol, who just happens to live right across the border of Colorado. . .and Dave has flagged him down to tell him we need help. . .this Arizona State Trooper radios Colorado State Patrol, and tells them we need a wrecker. . .the Colorado State Patrol says, NO, we just talked to them, they are going to spend the night in their RV. . .uh, no really, we would like to have a wrecker please. . .if possible. . .amazingly enough, the State Patrol has a call roster for tow services. . .not anything they offered when I was talking to them. . .and within half an hour. . .a tow service from Cortez was there to the rescue.

Now, this was the very first tow service I had spoken with three hours earlier. . .and had been told they did not have a heavy duty wrecker. . .so I tell the driver. . .hey, I talked to you earlier. . .his reply. . .NO, I just returned from Albuquerque. . .you talked to my son. . .I won't repeat the rest of that conversation. . .but I will say that this man is to be commended for awesome service. . .he had already had a very, very long day. . .but you would have thought we were the only job he had to do. . .hooked us up, towed us to Teowac, dropped the RV at the Casino Campground, towed the truck on to Cortez. . .and dropped it at the transmission shop. He deserved every penny of his fee. . .plus the thank you gift card that I have dropped in the mail to him.

The transmission service was likewise excellent, and had us up and running by the next afternoon. The owners drove to the RV Park, picked us up, transported us to their shop, stayed past closing time to get us back on the road. . .we could not have asked for more excellent service. Thank you so very much, for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Now, not one to just let things go, I had to know if it was really true. . .if you had the ability to help someone, would you really leave them stranded in the desert, because they were not a tribal member? Surely not. . .this simply could not be true. I asked the girl if I could just speak to this person. . .I just have to know these things. . .this simply can not be true, so she gave me the number of the Office Manager for their Public Service Department. . .

long story short. . .yes, it is true. . .from the mouth of the office manager. . .yes, they have the ability to help tribal members only. . .not a tribal member. . .too bad. . .now she said it much nicer than that, but that is the crux of the situation. . .doesn't matter. . .not a tribal member. . .stranded. . .too bad. . .in the South we have a name for discrimination. . .and we have laws to prevent it. . .but I guess on the Indian Reservation. . .well there you go. . .get your own help. . .or die in the desert. . .cause no help is coming from them. . .I guess that is why the Indian Police just waved and drove on by us, even though our hood was up, and Dave was trying to flag them down.

Now, when I spoke to a reporter at the Cortez News. . .I just had to ask if they thought that was OK. . .he said he guessed that was the risk you took when you chose to travel in an RV. . .he very quickly realized how that sounded, when I replied, of course, we were aware that was the risk we took. . .that is why we pay for Road Side Service. . .and he apologized, saying he did not mean that we deserved to be stranded in the desert. . .

We did not stay in the area any longer than necessary, but took our "Tourist Dollars" elsewhere. . .where they will be appreciated. . .

A huge thanks to the Arizona State Trooper who came to our rescue. . .I apologize that I did not write down your name. . .I called the Colorado State Patrol the next day, to ask for the Arizona Troopers name. . .they say they do not have it. . .if anyone knows who this trooper is, please send me the info. . .I would like to send him a huge thank you. . .

You sir. . .Mr Arizona State Trooper. . .are my hero!
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pagosa Springs Colorado

Yesterday, and today we have been parked in Pagosa Springs Colorado. . .located at the base of the San Juan Mountain Range, and in very close proximity to Wolfe Creek Ski Resort.

This little town is famous for it's hot mineral springs, and there are several mineral bath houses around town. . .

This adorable little fellow greeted us on our hike up to Treasure Falls. . .

Wherever we are, Dave goes off exploring. . .he's become quite the hiker. . .his cardiologist will be so proud. . .


This is the campsite I have been dreaming of finding. . .however, this campground is located in a National Forest, and is at least an hour off the main highway, down a gravel, forest service road. . .so I guess I will need to keep searching. . .it was beautiful. . .although I cannot imagine pulling your RV down that road to get here. . .

Off to Chama NM tomorrow. . .where we plan to spend a week. . .get past the Labor Day, holiday weekend, catch up on a few chores. . .and hopefully, get in a round of golf. . .
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Mesa Verde National Park Colorado


There is no escaping it. . .the Postal Service will always be in my blood.

Quarter mile hike down into the canyon to see Spruce Tree House wasn't so bad. . .the quarter mile hike back up was brutal.

resting. . .on the way down. . .lots of resting on the way up.

My favorite overlook. . .Square Tower House. . .

More beautiful pics of Mesa Verde in our Picasa Web Albums
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Sedona Arizona

Sedona Arizona was well worth the drive. . .we just took a quick day trip over there, because our tour guide for the Grand Canyon said it was a beautiful place. . .and the other couple on our tour had chosen it for their home base. . .

to be perfectly honest. . .I think Sedona could give the Grand Canyon a run for it's money. . .around every corner was a different and beautiful scene.

Someone's mansion in one of the residential areas.
A chapel designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright student . . .
Posted by PicasaI felt sad that Sedona made Palo Duro Canyon seem like a miniature . . .

more gorgeious photos of Sedona here on Picasa Web Albums

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

There are no words and no camera that can capture the awesome magnificence of God's handiwork in this place. . .The Grand Canyon. . .what more can you say?

It was our absolute privilege to share our day and our tour with Ralph and Dorothy from Orange County California. . .what a great time we had. . .

Marvelous Marvin picked us up at the RV Park in Williams, AZ in his MarvelousMarv van for a private, all day tour. . .highly recommended. . .Marv kept up a running commentary of info that you will never get taking the train or driving yourselves. . .

He took us from one end of the South Rim to the other. . .we enjoyed each and every lookout point. As Marv described what we were seeing, he would point out, and name each rock formation. . .at each stop, as Marv was sharing his marvelous info, other tourists would gather round to hear his stories. . .I'm pretty sure he made some up for their listening pleasure. . .

As I watched others struggle with their paper maps, I realized that is how we would have looked had we not had a private tour. . .although the Park Rangers also were giving limited talks, I am truly thankful that we invested in a living, breathing piece of history. . .


There was so much to see, and take in. . .you just needed to pause, and try to grasp the enormity of the entire place. . .I could have just stood or sat for hours and watched the play of light over the canyon. . .when you would walk from one point to the other, and then walk back, the scene would look completely different, in the angles of sunlight. . .it was amazing. . .

We were in awe of the spectacular beauty. . .

more pics and info in our Picasa Web Albums. . .
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Sandia Peak Tramway Albuquerque, New Mexico

Breathtaking views. The Sandia Peak Tram went from 5000 ft to 10,000 feet in about 15 minutes. . .I am terrified of heights, so all I could think was, if this thing falls, it's gonna hurt. . .but well worth the agony once we got to the top.

on a very, very clear day, you would be able to see Santa Fe, and Taos, which are also high on my list of places to visit in New Mexico. . .
relaxing and enjoying the view. . .it was a cool 67* at the top. . .felt like air conditioned sunshine. . .we would highly recommend this stop for anyone visiting the Albuquerque area. . .

More pics posted on our Picasa Web Albums. . .
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Palo Duro Canyon in Texas


Palo Duro Canyon is only about 30 minutes out of Amarillo TX. . .
called the Grand Canyon of Texas it was really beautiful. . .
this was our first view of the canyon itself. . .you are driving along on a State Highway, surrounded by farmland, and ranches, really nothing exciting, and then voila,
the canyon appears. . .amazingly gorgeous. . .
The "Spanish Skirts" in the background, were one of my favorite formations in the Canyon. . .

It just amazes me that water, wind, and erosion, could create something so beautiful.
Dave loved everything in the Canyon, and was much more adventurous than me. . .he would go hiking off down trails to get pics. . . he is quite the explorer. . .

I was quite content to sit in "The Beast" with the a/c. . .and enjoy the views.
The thermometer at the bottom of the Canyon registered 120*. . .I could not believe that was true until we got back in the truck. . .and the temperature read 116*. . .there might be something to that no humidity stuff, because while it did seem hot, it was not unbearable. . .
Dave remembered climbing these rocks as a boy. . .
Dave's Aunt Barbara lived in Amarillo, and brought them out to the Canyon for a picnic. . .
after eating at the picnic area across the road, he said he remembered he and his brothers climbing the rocks all the way to the top. . .I asked if they were concerned about rattlesnakes. . .his reply was. . .we were kids. . .we didn't care about no stinkin' snakes. . .sounds just like a boy, doesn't it?
I had to get out of the truck to take the pics of Dave climbing the rocks. . .and he had to get a shot of me taking his picture. . .


so it was mutual admiration going on. . .

Dave loved this rock pile. . .he thought it looked like a lizard. . .

This cabin was built for the workers in the Civilian Conservation Corp. . .this is what happens to wood when there is no humidity. . .and temps beyond 100*. . .
trying to see the Lighthouse Formation. . .three miles away. . .
the most well known formation in the park. . .
and I would say the absolute centerpiece. . .awesome. . .

Dave used the zoom for this shot. . .

and I cropped this shot. . .these two formations are called. . .
The Castle Peak and The Lighthouse. . .
aptly named. . .wouldn't you say?

a shot of the Lighthouse from the back side. . .looking up from the Canyon floor.
There was a hiking trail out to this formation. . .
the signs posted recommended carrying a gallon of water per person. . .
when your water is half gone you are to start back. . .

We enjoyed every minute at Palo Duro Canyon State Park,
and will return in the future to see the drama,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo TX

Cadillac Ranch
Amarillo TX

















The Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo TX, was located right around the corner from our RV Park. . .and was on our way in to town. . .so we felt compelled to stop. . .seeing as how it is listed as art and sculpture. . .


So sorry to tell you, I was not impressed, and found the entire project rather disgusting. . .


























The first time we passed it, I did not realize what it was. . .I just saw this whole group of people walking down this dirt road from a field. . .and thought it was a group of migrant farm workers returning to their vehicles, which were parked out on the frontage road. . .

However, I must also say, if you are in Amarillo, and find yourself near the Cadillac Ranch, you should go and see it for yourself. . .it is located on the west side, and is not marked in any way. . .

It seems to me, that if you are going to contribute to the graffitti, you could at least have the courtesy to take your empty paint cans with you. . .


Litter and trash were strown everywhere. . .I found it very sad. . .

Just one of the many lovely graffitti artists found on site. . .


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