Monday, November 14, 2011

The Final Stage of the New Mexico Road Trip

Please feel free to enlarge any photo by clicking on it.

Throughout the trip to New Mexico I had been searching for a ring for my baby finger on my right hand. Why? Because I had bought one during my trip to Arizona and unfortunately lost it. It was a cheap little ring but had meaning for me. My new mission was to find something similar. In every town I searched and searched for my new ring, Karen swears she was having nightmares about jewelry stores. I had great faith that I would find a ring in Sante Fe and I was not disappointed.

I found and bought this ring first. It looked similar to the one I lost.

Then I saw this ring and new it was the one, much more expensive than the old one but it spoke to me. All of the stones in it are native to New Mexico. I loved the little patch of orange.

From Sante Fe we headed to Taos. Taos has been an artists' haven ever since the Taos Society of Artists was formed in 1914. Later, art patron Mabel Dodge Lujan brought noted artists and authors like D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe, Nicolai Fechin, and Ansel Adams. The town is a treasure trove of old homes, museums, interesting shops, and art galleries. A few other famous residents were/are Lynn Anderson, Kit Carson, Dennis Hopper, Thomas "Doc" Martin and Julia Roberts.

We also visited the Taos Pueblo but we were not allowed to take any photos. They are considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the USA. The Native people who still occupy this beautiful village have a detailed oral history which is not divulged due to religious privacy. Archaeologists say that ancestors of the Taos Indians lived in this valley long before Columbus discovered America and hundreds of years before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. Ancient ruins in the Taos Valley indicate the people lived here nearly 1000 years ago. The main part of the present buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. They appeared much as they do today when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola.

The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway has a taste of everything that's New Mexico. It links the oldest continuously occupied residence in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo, with Angel Fire, which was incorporated in 1986. The movie industry discovered this area long ago, producing such films as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Easy Rider”. The road runs through Bobcat Pass, at 9820 feet, and descends into the high alpine Moreno Valley. The Valley is bounded by some of the most spectacular peaks in New Mexico: Agua Fria at the south end, Baldy on the north, and Wheeler on the northwest. Wheeler Peak, at 13,162 feet, is the highest point in New Mexico.

On the Enchanted Circle Trail headed towards Eagles Nest.

These birds were near a place called Eagles Nest along the trail. We sat here for a long time trying to capture photo's of these lovely birds.

View from the ridge coming out of the Enchanted Circle Trail.

Sign on the way back to Taos. That was one helluva bullet hole!

Back of sign.

An old homestead on the way back to Taos.

This is where we stayed in Taos, the Taos Inn is an historic inn. It is made up of several adobe houses dating from the 19th century, one of which was a home of Thomas "Doc" Martin. After Doc's death, his widow Helen Martin converted the houses into a hotel, which opened on June 7, 1936 as Hotel Martin. The name was changed to "Taos Inn" by subsequent owners. While we were at the Inn we enjoyed a great dinner and a fantastic night of new musical artists trying out their material on the audience. I also discovered Sante Fe Pale Ale...oh my that was a nice beer! Unfortunately I cannot get it here...must find a way!

The door is the original hand-carved wood door.

The main shopping square with Wheeler Peak in the background, at 13,161 feet, it is the highest peak in New Mexico.

A path leading to some shops.

An old cart in the shopping square. Love the duck!

Me, walking through downtown Taos.

Shadow of a tree on the side of an old Pueblo building.

Colourful mural on the top of a Taos building.

Outside Kit Carson home. Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson was born in 1809 and was an American frontiersman and Indian fighter. Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at age 16 and became a mountain man and trapper in the West. Carson explored the west to California, and north through the Rocky Mountains. He lived among and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes. He is vilified for his conquest of the Navajo and their forced transfer to Bosque Redondo where many of them were slaughtered. Breveted a general, he is probably the only American to reach such a high military rank without being able to read or write, although he could sign his name.

Windows at Kit Carson's old house.

The bullet hole was in a shop next to the hat shop. I really liked the pattern it made in the glass. Plus I have to admit I was fascinated by all the bullet holes throughout the State.

Loved this old hat shop called Horse Feathers. Enlarge the photo and read what the sign says.

While I was taking the shot of the hat shop above I heard a voice behind me asking me to come and take photo's of their room. I turned around and there was a woman sitting in an SUV smiling at me. For those of you thinking it, it is not what you think. She owned a room at a local Inn called the El Rincon and she wanted me to take some photo's of her room and email them to her. I wanted to see what the room looked like so I went, yes that is the truth! It was fascinating because she worked for a local advertising company who did the tourism brochures for Taos. She told me some of the history of Taos. She said that a lot of couples who move there end up breaking up. She also said that the local people believe that the mountain has to accept you. I must admit it was a very enchanting city.

Lots of decorative features in the room.

The building was an old Pueblo style building.

There was decorative painting throughout the room.

Taos graffiti.

Some of the decorative building features around Taos.

Taos at dusk.

The Rio Grande is not a typical river that has carved out its own valley. Rather, the valley appeared first and the river followed. This 'rift valley' is a separation in the earth's crust caused by faulting and other earth movements when the North American and Pacific plates scraped against each other some twenty-nine million years ago.

The Rio Grande is among the longest twenty-five rivers in the world and the fourth or fifth longest in North America. It starts near the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains, runs 470 miles through New Mexico to the border of Texas and the Mexican province of Chihuahua, and empties in to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Rio Grande Gorge reaches a depth of 800 feet just south of the Gorge Bridge. This shot was taken at the north-west side of the bridge.

The stunning view after we left the Rio Grande Gorge.

This shot was taken as we were travelling in the north of New Mexico just before the Colorado border. Absolutely stunning views!

Thank you for the wonderful welcome to Colorado! I love Colorado, such a beautiful State. This was my second time here and unfortunately did not get a chance to explore more.

Not sure why they don't snowplow between those hours but I would not want to be on that road at night in blowing snow!

A beautiful old barn in the fields of Nebraska. I would like to explore this State more sometime in the future. As we were driving we saw thousands of Sandhill Cranes migrating back up north. It was such a beautiful site especially as they were taking off and landing. Unfortunately we were on the highway and there was no place to pull over.

As we were driving through Nebraska the sky was mostly clear except for this little tiny cloud formation.

This is the name of a gas/rest/travel station chain throughout Iowa. Love the name...what can I say!

Madison County, Iowa – The birthplace of John Wayne and Madison County originally boasted 19 covered bridges, but just six remain today. The bridges were covered by order of the County Board of Supervisors to help preserve the large flooring timbers, which were more expensive to replace than the lumber used to cover the bridge sides and roof. Usually, the bridges were named for the resident who lived closest. The bridge above is the Hogback Bridge. The Roseman Covered Bridge was built in 1883. In Robert James Waller's novel, The Bridges of Madison County, and the movie of the same name, Roseman is the bridge Robert Kincaid seeks when he stops at Francesca Johnson's home for directions; it is also where Francesca leaves her note inviting him to dinner.

This is the sunset we saw as we were leaving Madison County.

That is the end of the photo's for this trip, the weather started turning nasty, rainy and foggy.

Thank you for viewing the New Mexico road trip photo's and for reading the stories. I hope you enjoyed it!!

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