Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

We aren’t living in Albuquerque, although that’s where I clearly left us in April on this blog.  I always seem to run out of blogging steam in the last weeks of a trip.  It’s now mid-September, and we’ve spent the entire summer in Maine, on the boat and in the cottage.  But before that, we finished the  Spring Trip 2012!  I’m going to do a quick wrap-up to jog our memory in later years, and allow me to leave on our next trip, later this week, without a previous trip’s unfinished business hanging around my neck like an albatross.  

St. Francis dancing in front of the Santa Fe Cathedral on Good Friday

We spent a few days in Santa Fe, toured the historic sites/museums, walked the beautiful downtown and, oh yeah, ate extremely well.  Great parking for RVs (or anyone) in the city lot next to the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, where we attended their Good Friday Service. Then, we headed to Taos for Easter, via El Santuario de Chimayo, passing hundreds of pilgrims of all ages, on foot, making their way to this tiny church.  We learned that many New Mexicans were part of the Bataan Death March (and prisoner-of-war camps) during WWII and prayed to Santo Nino for their safety.  In thanksgiving, they made the pilgrimage, some walking barefoot, to the Santuario when they returned.  The lines were too long for us to enter the church while we were there, but we walked the grounds and visited the Santo Nino Chapel, dedicated to children. It was an amazing sight (and site).

On to the main event in Taos!  We’d learned that the beautiful, historic adobe church, San Francisco de Asis was going to be having the Saturday Easter Vigil Mass.  So, instead of just seeing one of the most photographed and painted churches (Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Georgia O’Keeffe, etc.) as tourists, we’d be able to celebrate this most important day in our church year, as part of the congregation. We checked into our campground (beautiful and minutes away from the church), but we were worried about getting a seat (the church is very small) so we arrived an hour early.  Add that hour to a Vigil that lasted three hours!  Half in English, half in Spanish, and most of it holding candles, seated on hard wooden benches, kneeling on hard wooden kneelers, in darkness. It was historic, alright.  But totally worthwhile.

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico

San Francisco de Asis Church

Hung around Taos for five or so days, toured Kit Carson’s home, wandered the pretty little streets, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery at our campsite.

Taos campsite- Site 51. Seriously, Site 51 in New Mexico.

Kit Carson’s courtyard and horno (adobe oven)

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Albuquerque Museum of Natural History

It’s raining when we wake up our first morning in Albuquerque, so we head down into the old section of town and tour the only museum that’s open on Monday, the wonderful Museum of Natural History.  It wasn’t on our lists of things to do and see here, but it kept us busy and interested for the better part of the day, with a lovely lunch in their cafe.

We fall asleep to the lulling sound of rain on the roof.  Sometime during the night, it stops. When we wake up in the morning, in silence, it’s all white outside.  We’re blanketed with snow.  We cozy in (after another great continental breakfast) and watch the snow build to four inches on our side view mirror.

April 3, 2012, Albuquerque, New Mexico

This will not prevent us from, later in the afternoon, when the snow is beginning to melt away, heading to a restaurant Dick has found, the  Monte Carlo Steakhouse.  I read the review/description before we head there and they’re proud of their meat and potato reputation, i.e. no vegetables. And lo, and behold – when we’re seated in a cozy booth, there’s a plaque behind us, with a joke about people who’ve asked for vegetables here.  And, Dick,  oblivious to it all, asks, in the middle of his order, if they have any vegetables he can substitute or order on the side. There’s no picture for that, although I wish there was. ; )

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The First Smoke Plumes, near Lincoln, New Mexico, April 1, 2012

As we leave Lincoln and Billy the Kid behind, we see plumes of smoke on the horizon.  The winds are really picking up.  I find it a bit scary to head forward on a road that leads towards fire, with basically no roads leading off in any other directions.  It boils down to making a decision to go forward or turn around.  My poor iPhone doesn’t even want to vote in this game. WAZE has quit altogether.   We keep going. We finally see dark, burned-out areas, and then around a corner, live, red, blazing fire.  There are fire-trucks there, with firemen fighting the fire and more trucks turning in front of us. And more emergency vehicles with sirens, lights on coming down the road.  We forego a gorgeous Bureau of Land Management campground site a little bit further down the road, because of the winds and the unknown danger and drive a few hours longer, in the dark, to the safety of the American RV Park, where this is no haunting, blowing, natural beauty, but a nice safe site on the outskirts of Albuquerque – with a lovely continental breakfast in the morning. ; )

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Lincoln State Monument

The national press once dubbed Lincoln, “the most dangerous town in America”.   It definitely feels like stepping  into a time capsule, this dusty, Old West Village,  more a street, really, where the Lincoln County Wars (1878-81) waged over two dry-goods stores. Yep, a war over two stores in the same town.   The establishment store didn’t take kindly to a new-comer who tried to set up shop across the street.  People took sides and the bullets flew.  Today, it’s an open-air museum, and we walk up and down the main street, where the historic buildings house exhibits.  Even Billy the Kid got involved, throwing his lot in with the newcomer,  and we tour the jail where he was imprisoned and escaped, killing two guards.  He’s going to wind up being hunted down and killed for this.

Town Jail, that housed for awhile, Billy the Kid

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Entrance Into Carlsbad Caverns

Both Dick and  I didn’t see how a cave we’ve been reading about since we were kids (good grief, make that 45-50 years ago!) could possibly live up to its reputation. Carlsbad Caverns is as great today as the iconic images we remember.  We choose to forego the elevators and follow “The Natural Entrance Route, for visitors with plenty of time and in good physical condition.”  It’s a mile- long walk that follows the traditional explorers’ route, descends over 750 feet into the earth (the equivalent of a 70 story building) and our jaws drop at every turn.  THE SIZE!!!  It’s almost impossible to take in- and even more impossible to photograph, even with my beloved iPhone 4s. The wonderful thing about this cavern is that people are encouraged to whisper – and we’re in darkness, only illuminated enough to be able to walk on steep slopes and view some of the outstanding sights.  So, it’s eery and surreal and absolutely breath-taking.  Ultimately we wind up at the Big Room, where the elevators bring most people.  It takes about an hour and a half to tour. My camera can’t capture it, but I’ll post some for the memories they’ll evoke. I’ve struggled to get some pictures into this format unsuccessfully, so will toss a few into the next post.

Entering Carlsbad Caverns

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