Sunday, August 07, 2005

End It

Sunday morning after the trip.
The Amarillo to Dallas leg of the trip was conducted mainly in silence. The usual joking, laughing, and ribbing gave way to us being in our own world and our thoughts to ourselves. Or we were just tired and played out. It rained a lot on this leg, which enhanced the somber mood.

Note the lightning, hard to do that kind of photo during daylight. There's a reason that most lightning photos are done at night!(and yes, this was during the day).
This weather was no picnic...

I always have this fantasy vacation in my mind where I go to a beach and lie under a grass hut and do nothing but stare out at the ocean for days at a time. I've never done that and there are doubts I ever will. When I'm on vacation, I seem to be constantly moving, shark like, devouring scenery and food. Thanks to and for some great ideas on where to eat. We really never had a bum steer due to those web sites. And New Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit. It's relatively close by and though at times rather hot, the evenings are cool and a nice break from the Dallas heat.

I like to go to locally owned diners. The food is usually better and so is the service. Chains are ok at times, but the local places have more local color, and you get to know a place better by going to where the locals eat. I like to support these places with my dollar. They are in a fight for survival against national chains. I'd hate to see the day when the chains win out over the local establishments. WalMart does it to the mom and pop stores, I'd hate to see the food chains as successful.

One alarming thing I noticed is the amount small town America is losing all it's downtown stores. ABQ and Santa Fe were the few places that had a vibrant downtown. Most of the places we went through at least 50% to up to 100% of the downtown buildings were abandoned. Maybe these businesses were ill conceived or poorly financed, but it was really depressing to go through some of these towns and for the most part be ghost towns. Many of the stores were recently closed this year. With the internet and satellite TV available almost everywhere, maybe some retiring baby boomers will leave the burbs and inhabit some of the small towns and revive some of these areas.

I always find the homeward bound leg of a trip depressing. My mind drifts to the upcoming reality, the horrors that await me at work, bills to pay, etc.

But we had a lot of fun on this trip. It was some 370 days ago we were in New Mexico last. We have dollar bills posted up on the wall of the Blue Gator in Amarillo to prove it. This year we added the date we were there on our respective bills, maybe next year we can do the same.

Oh, the bear story: when we camped out in the hills above Santa Fe, as we were setting up camp, the park ranger stopped by. He informed us that there had been a bear in the area that liked to visit the dumpster right by our campsite. Later on that evening as we headed down the mountain to go get a bite to eat, sure enough there was the small black bear in the road along with two deer scrambling up the embankment to elude our headlights. I didn't think too much about it until the next day, on the way to the golf course there was a modern looking sculpture on the side on the road- of two deer and a small bear.

A small technical note: if you double click on the photos it enlarges them. Didn't notice that until today.

Hope you enjoyed the journey, it was fun to stay connected even if it was just a quick e-mail or two.

See ya on the road!

Friday, August 05, 2005

...Amarillo by morning...

Friday morning and it's time to go. Dave has to be back by dinner and we've overslept again. So just a quick edition. I might write one more edition and have it ready by Monday. If nothing Monday then that's it. But I have a few random photos and comments (you do want to hear about the bear, don't you?).

We were in Santa Fe yesterday (sigh) and played golf at the place we wanted to on Monday. They had a 2 hour wait so we headed back to the plaza for lunch. We had a nice lunch at the Plaza cafe. Then we rushed back to played golf.

Santa Fe Country club

I didn't like this course as much as the Cochiti course we played earlier in the week. Cochiti was in better shape, more scenic, quieter(being in the middle of nowhere) and less expensive. One of the finest courses I've ever played.

After golf we went back to the plaza and had some appetizers at the Ore House on the square.
View of the square
from the balcony and our table at the Ore House.
After dinner there was a live band that played in the square.

The square a hoppin'

Then we milled about before heading back to the hotel and strolled in here. Been in operation since 1603. And the floors looked it!
Been here for 402 years!

Well Dave is pushing me out the door to get back to Dallas for his mandated time. Not looking forward to Dallas heat, it's 63 here. Maybe we will bring some of the cool temps with us.
I'll try to write again this weekend.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wed Morning

Had a few problems with getting some photos up on the last post so here goes:
On top of the mount

Cave man

Dave peaking out of his usual location

Have a seat at the Frontier.

The Hiltons have nothing on me!

When cultures collide: Two white guys drinking margaritas at a Japanese health spa.

Curb appeal at Ten Thousand Waves

Well, it's 10:30 am, haven't gotten a shower or checked out yet. Housekeeping is giving me dirty looks. So better get a move on. Not sure what's planned today. Haven't really discussed it. Might play golf at the course here in Santa Fe we tried to play at on Monday.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Back in the saddle again

Well I'm writing this from the parking lot of the Silver Saddle Motel. It's a cheap place to stay in Santa Fe. We've stayed here before. It's not too bad, beats camping. And the folks that run it all real nice. This photo is of me outside as I type this edition:
How's that for real time!
We overslept this morning (ABQ) and missed the free breakfast. Well most of it. Normally they have eggs, sausage, yougert, bagels, muffins, etc. Today when we arrived at the breakfast nook, they had two doughnuts left!We grabbed those and the last of the coffee and headed to the Petroglyph National Monument.

It's quite a climb!
View of ABQ from the top of the mount
Lewis and Clark on the mountain top.

Now they tell me!

After climbing all over the mountain, we worked up an appetite. We decided to go back to the Frontier again. If you pine away for Holiday House Hamburgers, the Frontier has an exact duplicate, including the Onion Rings. Made me think I was in Austin almost.
After losing a shootout with the Duke, Dave has to buy lunch at the Frontier.
Dave's char-broiled hickory burger. yum!
After lunch we headed over to the Route 66 malt shop on old Route 66 for a refreshing old time Phosphate and a home made rootbeer.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Photo day

Since I found a card reader, I'll post some of my photos that should have belonged to the previous posts. Then I'll post events and photos to bring us current.
Early birthday present
Bats leaving Carlsbad
Owl bar, 2nd home of A-bomb
Inside Owl Bar, lots of law enforcement badges from all over the country for some reason.
Dave and friend at the Crash In diner
New Mexico sky
Whee! Motoring back from VLA
Part of the navigation rig:GPSr on windshield that inputs our location to the lap top, updates every second. Gives our location, speed and elevation all within 10 feet.

Left ABQ Sunday morning. As a goof, at checkout, Dave jokingly complained that the shower head was malfunctioning and squirted him in the eye. The front desk clerk comped Dave his portion of the bill!

We motored on to Santa Fe, some 60 miles away. There was a large festival going on at the main square.
Street scene at festival

Some interesting objects d' art

Local color

End of the trail...

World famous carnitas, yum!

Pick a flavor

Refreshments at the festival

Roasted corn was popular...

After the festival we headed up the road, literally up the mountan above Santa Fe to camp for the night. It was a nice area, with a small babbling brook nearby.

Camp with shelter
Dave enjoying the camp site.

Babbling brook that ran thru the campsite

Part of the brook

Around our camp site.

Rock formation playing with light.

Better as art than firewood.

We broke camp Monday morning and headed out to play Golf. But the course we wanted to play at closes on Monday. We should have remembered because we made the same stupid mistake last year! So we decided to go back to ABQ to play golf. After a few minutes on the road, it was time to get gas, so as we were pulling into the gas station we noticed a sign for a local golf course some 15 miles away. We decided to chance it since 15 miles away from where we were was a bit closer then going all the way to ABQ for golf. Well as luck would have it we ran into one of the finest public courses that in consistently rated in the top 75 in the US. Not only that but they have reduced fees on Monday, when we were there.

Not bad for a muni course!

Dave addressing the ball.

My day at the beach

Watch out Tiger Woods!

A nice view of the home (18th) hole.

After golf we decided to go back to ABQ for the night were it's a bit cheaper to stay then Santa Fe. We had dinner here that is a well known stop in New Mexico food circles.

Then we decide to drop some change at the casino just west of ABQ. No one got really burned and we spent a couple of hours handling a lot of chips. Came back to the hotel for rest for tomorrows adventure. Tomorrow may find us at the Petroglyph National Monument, then possibly back at the Frontier for lunch (Dave keeps raving about the food and it is good) then to Ten Thousand Waves for a massage if available.