Wednesday, March 31, 2010


We slept a little later this morning and about 9:15am got underway. Barb and Ed left a little earlier. We would depart company at this point as we were both going to our non-mobil homes. We got to Taneytown a little past 12noon. We had a busy afternoon getting the motorhome cleaned out. We realized that we needed to move some "stuff" out of the motorhome. We just seemed to have accumulated things that we do not need to be dragging around the country. I like to wash all the bedclothes when we get home after a long trip so I accomplished that task. We are facing a very busy schedule in the next 5-6 weeks. Three weekends are taken for campouts, we have some motorhome maintenance that needs to be done and we have preparations to make to go to Alaska this summer.
We have had a great winter get away. We've seen lots of beautiful country, interesting National Parks/Monuments and have spent time with family and friends along the way.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Closer to Home

Another early morning (8am) start and another day of travel in hilly country. We went from Central time to Eastern time yesterday and for some reason both Tom and I felt worn out today. We were glad to pull in into a campground in Harrisonburg, Virginia a little before 4pm this afternoon. We are in Harrisonburg KOA and what a rip off. This is the most expensive campground we have been in our entire trip and it is far from being one of the best. For just about $47.00 we are in a site in a wooded area with roads and sites covered with stone, we have full hook-ups with 50 amp electric, no cable and the TV reception with the antenna is marginal. Believe me, there is nothing here that makes us say "wow this is a great campground". More and more I can understand why many people are staying away from the east when traveling by RVs. Our campground book quotes the price of this campground at $28-$32, now the book is a four years old and we expected a little higher rate but not almost $15.00 of increase. Tomorrow we should be home in a few hours so it should be a short day of traveling.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On the Move East

Sunday, Palm Sunday, we left Checotah, Oklahoma a little after 8am continuing on I-40 east. The winds were still brisk but not quite as bad as on Saturday. The countryside was showing signs of spring- green fields, trees in bud and some flowering trees in bloom. We had planned to stop for the night at a campground in Memphis, Tn. Ed had sent an email to the campground since there was not a phone number listed in the Passport book along with his cell phone number but did not receive a call back. When we arrived we found that they were full. Apparently about 5000 workers had been brought into the area to refurbish the refineries and many workers were staying in the campgrounds filling most everything in Memphis. Tom called a campground east of Memphis and they had sites available so we traveled a little further. We tried to find a Memphis barbeque restaurant but was unsucessful and ended up eating at "Cracker Barrel".
Today, Monday, we again got an early start about 8am and left the Memphis area going east across this wide state of Tennessee. We were traveling most of the day in the mountains. After spending the winter in the desert the green of the east was a real change. No matter where we are we are able to see beauty in the environment and appreciate it. When we were 107 miles west of Nashville we hit 100,000 miles on our motorhome. Aside from about 1000 miles that was put on the motorhome by the dealer before we purchased it, the miles have been our travels. The morning started out to be bright and sunny but the further east we got the cloudier it got. We are camped in a campground in Sevierville, Tn., close to the Smokey Mountains, tonight.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oklahoma and Wind

Wow, the winds blew all night. We had some rain during the night but no snow and the temperature did drop. We left early-8am- from the campground continued heading east on I-40 and fighting winds most of the day. We are camped in Checotah, Oklahoma which is east of Oklahoma City. The winds are still blowing tonight and predicted to continue tomorrow. The sun shone briefly this evening for about 15 minutes and then the dark clouds dominated the skies. As we traveled across Oklahoma it was nice to see some pretty green fields and water in riverbeds and lakes.

A Week at the FMCA Rally- Albuquerque, New Mexico

We have had a busy week at the FMCA (Family MotorCoach Association) and did not have internet connection in order to post so I will try to play catch-up.  The rally was held in 3 venues- The Balloon Fiesta Park was the campground area.   The New Mexico Expo (fairgrounds), about 10 miles away was where the seminars and vendors were located.  And evening entertainment for 2 nights was held at a casino a couple miles from the Fiesta Park.  Bus transportation was available but we found it more convenient to take our car.

Monday morning Tom went to the rally’s service center first thing.  First he needed to get Onan service for our generator.  Redland RV service was installing Koni shocks and we were in need of new shocks.  Our motorhome had a couple of areas on the roof that Tom asked Newmar to inspect.  The Onan serviceman  came to the motorhome before noon and assessed the problem and the need of a part, a voltage regulator, that he had to have wait for it to be deliver by Wednesday.  The Redland service people came later in the afternoon and installed the shocks.   Tom and I went to the Expo Center in the afternoon when the demo motorhomes were first put on display.

Tuesday started early for us.  We had prearranged to take a hot air balloon ride so at 6:30am we needed to be at a given area on the Fiesta grounds along with other folks to take the balloon ride. 

From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
It was a beautiful morning and not as cold as previous mornings.   After getting assembled there were 10 passengers along with the pilot in our basket.  
From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
Six balloons went up this morning. 
From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
We drifted in a northerly direction following the Rio Grande River most of the way.  
From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
After a little more than an hour and about 10 miles away we landed in a vacant lot in a residential area. 
From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
After returning to the Fiesta grounds we had the champagne toast along with a pastry.  
From 2010-03-23 Hot Air Balloon Ride
Shortly after returning the beautiful morning became cloudy and dreary.  Tom and I went to the Expo Center later in the morning.  We went through the vendor area and we each attended a seminar.  When we returned to the Fiesta park the Onan serviceman was at our motorhome installing the part that had been ordered.   In the evening Tom and I went to the entertainment at the casino.  The entertainment had originally been scheduled to be held at the casino’s amphitheater but was changed to a ballroom within the casino due to the cold weather.  A group called the Pink Flamingo Express that sang and danced was the entertainment.  

Wednesday morning we returned to the Expo Center to attend some seminars.  The weather was cloudy and it became colder and then it began to really snow.  And believe it or not in the afternoon the sun came out and became warm.  When we returned to the Fiesta park we had a note that a Newmar serviceman had been to the motorhome and inspected the roof  and noted a problem with de-lamination that is caused by a leak.   B. J.Thomas, a singer (“Raindrops are Falling on My Head”), was the entertainment for the rally this night.  We, along with Ed and Barb Perry went to the entertainment at the casino and enjoyed the show that B.J. Thomas did.  He sang many of his songs that were popular and made a comment about the weather in this area that we all agreed with- “it’s the only place you can have all 4 seasons in one day.

Thursday we returned to the Expo center for more seminars and a last swing through the vendor area.   Tom and I went to a restaurant Cecilia’s Cafe for lunch.  The food, Nu-Mex, was really good.  The restaurant was a small place with lots of character-it had been featured on the show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.  It was a real busy place.  We had heard from Linda and Woody Woodruff in the early part of the week that they were going to be in the Albuquerque area  this week and we were going to try to get together for a short visit but since that first contact we had had problems reaching one another.  Today we were able to make contact so we arranged to meet at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in the evening.  So we got Barb and Ed Perry and met Linda and Woody for a nice dinner together.  Linda and Woody are heading on west as we are headed east.   The entertainment for this evening was  a Western singing group and this was held on the Fiesta grounds.  After the entertainment a balloon glow was to be done on the grounds.  There were to be about 8 balloons but it was breezy so only 1 balloon was inflated and put on a glow.

Friday the day of departure from the rally.  We had planned to travel east with the Perry’s.  So about 8:30am Ed and Barb left to have their motorhome weighed and we left the grounds and Albuquerque on !-40.  Shortly after getting out of the Albuquerque city limits,  Ed and Barb passed us and we traveled together to Amarillo, Texas where we are camped for the night.  It was warm today but had gotten very windy this afternoon and colder weather with a possibility of rain or snow tomorrow is predicted.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday at Balloon Fiesta Park

After a cold night, we woke up to bright sunshine but it was breezy and chilly most of the morning. In the afternoon the sun really turned on the heat and temperatures got into the 70's. The motorhome heats up in this area where the sun seems so much stronger than at home.
We went to the non-denominational church service that was held in a large tent on the fiesta grounds this morning. Afterward we went to the Balloon Fiesta Museum just adjacent to the park. Interesting museum! We then drove to the Sandia Casino to see where the amphitheater was located. Entertainment on 2 nights of the rally will be held at this location. We stopped at an Indian store filled with Indian jewelry, pottery, rugs and Kachina dolls. For a late lunch, we ate at P.F.Chang's, a first time experience for us. It was okay.
Tonight we have electric hook-up. It was turned on as promised at 9am today. Electric makes life a little easier.

Off to Balloon Fiesta Park

When we got up this morning we saw that we had received several inches of snow during the night. Our friend, Ed, come over to discuss if we would move over to the Balloon Fiesta Park or stay at the Stagecoach Stop RV Park. After much going back and forth, we used a very logical method. We flipped a coin. It was Tails, so we were moving to the Balloon Fiesta Park. We were about 1/2 hour early for our scheduled entry time, but they had us come stright in as there was not many other motorhomes waiting to enter the park.

We had registered for the electric area, but the power would not be turned on until Sunday morning at 9 AM. Once we got our motorhome setup, we started our generator. Well, the generator started and ran fine. One problem, no power, so I guess that first thing Monday morning I will be looking for the Onan people to have a look at the generator and see what can be done to repair the problem. We are planning to go to Alaska in May and have to have a working generator to make the trip. In the mean time, Ed is letting us plug into his motorhome so we can keep the batteries charged up. Thanks Ed.

I forgot to mention that when we got to the Balloon Fiesta Park, the grounds looked like they had not gotten any snow and the grounds were in very good shape. It looks like the coin flip worked out.

This afternoon Leah and I went back to Old Town for Lunch and walked around looking in some of the shops. It was colder today than it has been for the past several days, but it looks like it will warm up for the next few days again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Petroglyph National Monument

The Petroglyph National Monument is within the town limits of Albuquerque.
From Sandia Tramway
Tom and I drove to this monument this morning. We walked a trail along the Rinconada Canyon seeing petroglyphs on the rocks along the way.
From Sandia Tramway
There is not a visitor's center at this monument, just a board with some information and a restroom. There were several notices about protecting your valuables as there have been some break-in of cars in the area. Some phone numbers were posted but only 7 digit numbers, no area codes. You would think that a national monument/park would realize that 10 digit numbers should be posted- folks from everywhere visit these places with cell phones from everywhere.
Hungry from our hike along the canyon we went to the Standard Diner for lunch.
From Sandia Tramway
This was a very busy diner. It had been featured on the TV "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" at one time. Food was good and not "standard".
From Sandia Tramway
The weather in the morning was pretty nice but as we returned to the campground after lunch the clouds became heavy and dark. It began to rain quite heavy and the temperature was dropping. We wanted to stop at the grocery store but waited until late afternoon to do that. A storm system is to pass through this area tonight and tomorrow with possible snow. We are scheduled to go into the FMCA Rally tomorrow at the Balloon Fiesta Grounds in Albuquerque. Sure hope things don't get too bad.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top of the World?

Today Tom and I along with friends, Barb and Ed, took the Sandia Peak Tramway from the desert floor to the mountain top at 10,378 feet.
From Sandia Tramway
The tramway is considered the world's longest aerial tramway at 2.7 miles long. At the top it is said that there is an 11,000 square mile panoramic view- it just seemed as if we could see forever.
From Sandia Tramway
At this time of the year skiers and snowboarders take the tram to the peak in order to ski and snow board on the opposite side of the mountain. There are several ski/snowboard trails that can be used. It was fun watching the skiers/snowboarders return to the top on the chair lifts and then starting their travels down the mountain again.
From Sandia Tramway
It was a beautiful day in the 70's at the base of the Sandia mountain but at the peak it was 30 degrees with a wind of about 18 mph.
From Sandia Tramway
The tram at its highest point is about 1000 feet above ground.
From Sandia Tramway
It is a breathtaking ride.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Beautiful Irish Day- March 17th

Today, Wednesday, was an absolutely beautiful day. After the morning coolness the temperature rose to the low 70's. We spent much of the morning in WalMart, imagine that! We needed some groceries and I needed a haircut so we got those things taken care of plus. Our lunch today was a good old Irish dinner- corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots- in honor of St. Patrick's Day
Ed and Barb Perry arrived today as had been planned. We will be going into the FMCA Rally together on Saturday at the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. It's good to meet up with friends from home. There are many people in the campground that will be going to the rally. The weather looks a little bad for Saturday, cold and snow or rain, but is to improve after that. Sure hope so.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bandelier National Monument, Albuquerque- Sunday through Tuesday

We had obtained a brochure from a visitor center last week with tours outlined in North Central New Mexico. We have been following several of these tours this week as most start in Santa Fe or Espanola and go north. The Jemez Mountain Trail goes in a westerly direction from Espanola to the Bandelier National Monument and beyond. Sunday morning was cloudy but we wanted to go to Bandelier and this is our last day in this area so we started out. Travis was not able to go along as dogs are not allowed on trails. As we got into the park area we saw a few snow flakes falling.
From Bandelier National Monument
We went into the visitor's center and when we came out the snow was really coming down. The only way to see the cliff dwellings and other ruins is to take a trail. With a guide pamphlet in hand we started out the trail ducking under trees at the various sites to read the information in the pamphlet. After the second or third stop the snow stopped and soon the sun was shining.
This National Monument is in the Frijoles Canyon. Ancestral Pueblo people settled here more than 600 years ago in pueblos of stone structures built in the canyon floor and some in dwellings built into the canyon walls.
From Bandelier National Monument
The canyon walls are volcanic ash that is compacted into a soft rock called tuff.
From Bandelier National Monument
This tuff is easily eroded and has a holey appearence like Swiss cheese. The small openings were enlarged by these Pueblo people and stone dwellings were constructed in front of these openings. We walked about these structures following the trail up to the cliff dwellings. The last cliff dwelling we visited was the Alcove House which is 140 feet above the canyon floor and involves climbing 4 ladders to get to the top.
From Bandelier National Monument
That is quite a climb but the view was well worth the climb!!
From Bandelier National Monument
As we returned to the parking lot we noticed the sky had become dark and threatening. We stopped in the visitor center briefly and when we came out it was beginning to sprinkle and before we got to the car it was hailing.
From Bandelier National Monument
As we drove on the precipitation turned to snow as we watched sharp lightning shoot across the skies and heard loud claps of thunder. Snow continued to fall all the way back to the campground and most of the night.
From Esponola_Old_Town
At 10pm we lost electric in the campground so we got ready and went to bed. Sometime after midnight the electric returned but only for a short period until it was gone again. About 7am on Monday we had electric again but the temperature outside was 24 degrees and 50 degrees inside. About 7 inches of snow fell during the night.
From Esponola_Old_Town
We planned to leave Espanola on Monday but weren't sure if we would be able as the campground was on a hill and we were on the lowest level. Tom and I went outside and started cleaning off the awnings and the car. The sun was brightly shining and it felt warm with just light sweatshirts on. It was beautiful outside the snow was hanging onto all the trees and bushes and, with the sun, was melting.
From Esponola_Old_Town
We did get out without any problem and went into the town of Espanola to have the motorhome serviced before heading to Albuquerque.
We got to Rio Rancho, just north of Albuquerque, in the early afternoon. It was about 75 miles of travel. Later in the day we drove around the area getting familiar with our surroundings.
Today, Tuesday, Tom and I drove into the town of Albuquerque and finally found the "Old Town" section. We had a nice lunch and then walked about the shops and around the street vendors.
From Esponola_Old_Town

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Today we, Travis also, traveled north on US 84 to the town of Chama. Along the way we passed rocky cliffs of reds and yellows. We made a short side trip to Los Ojos to visit Tierra Wools.
From Chama 2010-03-13
No weavers were working today but there were quite a few looms that had projects in progress.
From Chama 2010-03-13
There was a large assortment of yarns in multiple colors for sale. Rugs and some clothing items were also for sale. I thought the prices were really high - a 4 coaster set cost $45.00, at other places they were selling for $20.00. This area processes their wools including the dying unlike the weavers that we had been to in Chimayo. Obviously, this area is not the desert environment of the Chimayo area.
Another side trip we made closer to Chama was back a road in the Los Brazos area. The Brazos Cliff are most impressive. Brazos Peak is 11,403 feet one of New Mexico's highest peaks.
From Chama 2010-03-13
The stony peaks appeared to be ice covered. The road we were on had nice looking log homes and snow was piled high on many of the roofs.
From Chama 2010-03-13
Where the snow had slid off the roofs the snow pile was almost up to the eaves.
From Chama 2010-03-13
It was a real pretty area.
Chama is a western town that has the coal-burning Cumbres and Toltec railroad. The narrow gauge train makes one day excursions into Colorado and back from mid May to mid October.
From Chama 2010-03-13
As we drove through the town a mule deer came running down the middle of the road, too quick to get a picture.
After grabbing a bite to eat in Chama we headed toward the east on route US64 eventually connecting up with route 285 that returned us to Espanola. A skunk crossed the road in front of us shortly after leaving Chama. As we traveled east we were in Carson National Forest. The drive was indeed a winter wonderland, an enjoyable wonderland with snow free roads and beautiful views. The snow across the valleys were beautiful as it appeared to be untouched. We did encounter areas that snow mobilers were out enjoying the snow covered fields.
From Chama 2010-03-13
It was such a nice day with bright, warm sunshine, that we were a little envious of those snow mobilers.
As we continued in a southerly direction the snow covered areas lessened as we passed some ranches and housing developments. We did continued to have views of beautiful snow covered mountains as we traveled back to Espanola.
From Chama 2010-03-13

Friday, March 12, 2010

Santa Fe Revisited

A beautiful day today and the temperature was up to the 60's. We went back into Santa Fe today. After stopping at Sam's Club and Pet Smart to replenish some supplies, we went into the old area of town. San Miguel Mission Church was constructed in 1610 making it one of the oldest churches in the country.
From Santa Fe
There were 2 paintings displayed in the church, one done on Buffalo hide and one done on deer hide, that were done in the 1600's by missionaries teaching the Indians about Christianity.
From Santa Fe
From Santa Fe
A very old house located next to the church is considered one of the country's oldest residences was not open to the public.
From Santa Fe
We then walked around the state government section trying to figure out which building was the capitol. Unlike most state capitol buildings there was no dome. There is very little publicity or even signage about the capitol. The large circular building has the state symbol on the front.
From Santa Fe
We had lunch at the "Burrito Company". Tom had a Frito pie, which seems to be unique in this area. Frito pie has Frito chips covered with ground beef, beans and lettuce and tomatoes and who knows what else. I ate chicken and guacamole enchiladas. It was all pretty good.
We did return to the Governor's Palace and Plaza area and walked around the street vendors.
From Santa Fe
It is interesting to notice the difference in the vendor's ware. They each have their own style of designs.
Tonight will probably be chilly. The sky is clear and,at 9:30pm, it is 37 degrees

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The High Road to Taos

We got up this morning without snow on the ground and our water was flowing. It was a chilly morning but the sun was shining but there was some clouds.
We took the High Road to Taos passing through little towns and ascending mountains. We stopped in the town of Chimayo. El Santuario (The Shrine)was built between 1814 and 1816 and was privately owned until 1929 when some folks from Santa Fe bought it and turned it over to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. In 1810 a farmer, Bernardo Abeyta, while praying saw a light emanating from the soil. After investigating Bernardo found a cross. The cross is now kept inside the chapel. Legend says that there are healing powers in the earth surrounding the cross. Pilgrims come to touch the dirt in a pit inside the chapel casting off crutches and braces which line the walls. Photographs could not be taken inside the chapel. There were a series of sacred paintings on the walls and behind the altar that were colorful and somewhat primitive but beautiful.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
Our second stop in Chimayo was at the Ortego Weaving Compound. There were all sizes of weavings from small coasters to large rugs and also some clothing- jackets and coats for men and women. There was a room set up with about 6 looms but no one was weaving today.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
Weaving is done at this location as well as by others in the area. Not seeing any sheep in the area I question where they got the wool and was told it came from Ohio. There is not enough water in this area to handle the dying process of the wool.
We continued our travels further north and higher up the mountain. There was snow on the ground most of the way. As we got into the higher elevation the snow was fairly deep and the tall ponderosa pines were drooping with snow on the limbs. The roads were clear. It was an absolutely beautiful drive.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
When we got to Taos we stopped at the visitor center. They recommended a restaurant, Michael's Kitchen, that we ate lunch at and enjoyed it. We walked about the old town area stopping in some of the little shops.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
Our return route followed the Rio Grande much of the way back to Espanola. This is also a scenic route and a little shorter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow and Santa Fe

Oh my, what a surprise this morning when I got up and discovered we did not have any water. It had frozen. Could not believe it, it wasn't that cold when we went to bed. And then when I looked outside there was snow, about 3 inches. The car was completely covered. We were expecting a storm system to pass through this area but didn't expect the drop in temperature and snow. By 9am the snow was starting to melt and our water hose had thawed out. We did have water in our storage tank that we were able to use.
Tom and I went to Santa Fe. Along Guadelupe Street there are many shops that we walked about doing some looking and not much buying. We had lunch at Tomasita's, a very busy Nu-Mex restaurant. The common question at these Nu-Mex restaurants is "red or green" which refers to the chili that covers most of the dishes. Red is usually the spicer hot than the green but they are both good.
After lunch we stopped at another shop the Spanish Table where I purchased a paella pan and some paella rice. Can't wait to use the paella pan and rice when I get home.
We made our way to the Plaza area.
From Santa Fe
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis was built between 1869 and 1887 in the adobe style.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
There is a chapel area that was built in the 1700's that is incorporated into the cathedral.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos
It is considered the oldest church in the country. The Palace of the Governors, along the Plaza, had numerous Indian vendors selling their wares along the sidewalk.
From Santa_ Fe_Taos

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


The weather was better this morning, just a few snow flurries, than yesterday so we departed from Gallup. We drove east to Albuquerque and then north past Santa Fe to the town of Espanola. Why Espanola?? It is between Santa Fe and Taos- areas we want to visit so we should be able to do so from here. We picked up a brochure from a visitor center today that has several tours outlined and many start from Espanola. The weather here is much nicer than in Gallup. Espanola is a little more than 1000 feet lower in altitude than Gallup. It was in the low 60's today with sunshine. A storm system is headed this way but should be rain, not snow. We are staying in Cottonwood RV Park, a passport park.
This southwest area is great for train watching. Trains are everywhere and they seem to be miles long with multiple engines pulling and pushing. The sound of train whistles are somewhat rare as there are few road crossings in this area.
This part of the country is so different than our eastern home region. There a miles and miles of just beautiful vistas of wide open spaces between towns/cities instead of the continuous heavily populated areas of one town running into the next. It's not hard to see why some folks say they won't go east of the Mississippi River.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Gallup, New Mexico

We had a change of plans this morning. We were going to move the motorhome north to a town, Espanola, that is situated north of Santa Fe. When we got up the ground was covered with snow and the snow was still falling. The worse part was that high winds were predicted for today so we decided to stay put for one more day. Driving the motorhome in windy conditions can be difficult. We ate lunch at a local restaurant, Don Diego's. In many restaurants as you are eating people will come by your table selling Indian jewelry. I find this to be annoying and wonder why isn't stopped by the restaurant owners.
After lunch we stopped at some of the shops along Route 66 that runs through town. Most are selling Indian jewelry, pottery, Kachina dolls and blankets. Quite a few of these establishments are also pawn shops. Richardson's is a big store and pawn shop that we went into. The store was filled with jewelry, blankets, Kachina dolls, pottery, saddles and other stuff but the pawn shop area was indeed the busiest. We talked with the clerk. He said that Gallup was the last place he thought he would ever want to live but circumstances caused him to live here. Years ago the town had numerous bars and numerous drunken Indians hanging out on the streets. Since that time the big stores WalMart, Safeway and Applebys, among others, came in and bought the liquor liscenses from the bars at a real hefty price. This caused the bars to close, liquor is sold in these stores but not like the bars and the drunken Indians are not as commonly seen today.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Three Els- Morro, Malpais and Rancho

Today we traveled southeast from Gallup stopping first at El Morro National Monument.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
El Morro is a sandstone formation with a pool of water at the base which is fed by rain and snow, not from underground springs.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
Throughout time people traveled through this area stopping at this oasis to camp under the cliffs. Early desert hunter-gathers, from which the Zuni Indians are descended, left their mark here with petroglyphs.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
The Zuni Indians call this place Atsinna meaning "place of writings on the rock". This continues to be a sacred place for the Zuni Indians.
Spanish explorers called this area El Morro. The first inscription by the Spanards was by Don Juan Onate on April 16, 1605.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
Onate had officially colonized New Mexico in 1598. Spanish inscriptions followed were written by governors, soldiers and priests as they traveled through this area.
After the Mexican-American War (1846-48) expeditions were made by the U. S. Army into this Zuni country. This rock was called Inscription rock. Following the soldiers were folks moving to California, railroad-survey expeditions and a group that was called the U.S. Army Camel Corps. All these folks added their inscriptions on the rocks. Within the camel corps were P. Gilmer Breckinridge of Virginia and a E. Pen Long from Baltimore whose inscriptions are on the rocks.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
From El Morro 2010-03-07
From El Morro we traveled to the east to El Malpais (the badlands in Spanish). This area is covered with volcanic rock from lava that flowed from a crater 2000-3000 years ago. This National Monument has hiking trails. We were unable to go on the trails as there was alot of snow and mud covering the trails.
From El Morro 2010-03-07
From El Morro 2010-03-07
When we returned to Gallup we dropped Travis off at the motorhome and went out to dinner. This being Sunday we found that many restaurants were closed today. El Rancho Hotel, Motel and restaurant was open so we went there. El Rancho is an old hotel that opened in December 1937 by a brother of a movie magnate, D. W. Griffith. As films were being made in this area movie stars ( Ronald Reagan, Kirk Douglas, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn among others) were registered here. This establishment is still in operation as a hotel/motel. The lobby and restaurant remain in a southwestern decor. Interesting place.