Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I have been absent from my blog for several months, and many people are asking where I've been. Well, my world changed dramatically with the sudden death on May 1st of my youngest child, Joe. He was 29 years old, a neuropharmacological research scientist, a loving brother and uncle, a intrepid snowboarder and a friend to many. I am not a writer, and when I've attempted to update this blog, I fail miserably. Our family is devastated by the loss of Joe. At this time I cannot foresee when I will return to traveling, or when I will have the mental energy to write this blog. Eventually I will return, but it may take a while for the shock and sadness to ease. Our family is close, and we are all helping each other through this most difficult time.

Monday, May 11, 2015


I have been away from my blog for a while due to a death in my family, but I promise to return soon...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a town blessed by the beautiful landscape that surrounds it. The beautiful red sandstone rock formations glow red and orange in the sun, and are especially colorful in the evening. I camped just south of the town, at Lo Lo Mai campground, and it was peaceful and quiet. It was a great place to stay for a few days after a lot of driving.

The trees were a bit close, but it was nice to have trees in this desert area!

Camp animals

This is a very old Native tie-down tree. The Native tribes in the area used these trees to demarcate property. The trees would be tied down to form a fence-like form, and examples can be found in many places around Sedona.

Some scenes around Sedona -

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon - an amazing place! The scale of the canyon is massive, and difficult to comprehend when you stand at the edge. If you have seen it from the air you can better understand just how grand it is! In places it is 18 miles wide, and at it's deepest point is 6000 feet from the rim to the Colorado River at the bottom. The Canyon was formed by erosion, and the oldest rocks at the bottom are estimated to be 2000 million years old. It has been a National Park since 1919, and receives almost 5 million visitors each year. The south rim is easily accessible, but the north rim is more difficult to reach, and sometimes the roads in the north are covered with snow. As you drive along the south rim there are many overlooks with spectacular views.

Before reaching the main part of the Grand Canyon, I drove past several large fissures. These fissures are the beginning of the erosion that formed the canyon.

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!

The Desert Watchtower is a 70 foot tall stone structure designed by architect Mary Colter, and built in 1932. It was constructed in the manner and style of ancient Pueblo buildings, though it's size is far greater. Today it contains a gift shop and a viewing area that looks out to the eastern end of the Canyon.

Some views into the Canyon -

The next time I visit the Grand Canyon, I hope I'm on a raft on the Colorado River!

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Before I post photos of Santa Fe, I just have to post this one that Mary sent to me. I love this photo! Two beautiful little girls, big sister Celia and baby Olive.

Part of the way from Taos to Santa Fe the highway follows the Rio Grande river. There were many people on rafts, having fun riding the rapids!

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. Built in 1869 - 1886, it stands on the site of a 1626 adobe church, which was destroyed in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt, when the Pueblo Indians revolted against the Spanish Colonizers.

The Central Plaza is located a block from the Cathedral, and has been the focus of life in the center of the city for over 400 years. It was originally built as a presidio, or fort. The day I was there it was quiet, but other times it is the site of Native markets, with booths selling jewelry and other crafts.

The Plaza is surrounded by shops and cafes, and sidewalks shaded from the hot sun by arcades.

There are many gardens behind walls like this one. Peaceful green spaces. In the corner you can see the chimney of the Spanish beehive outdoor fireplace.

Santa Fe is a fun town to explore, and I enjoyed walking the narrow streets of the historic center.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Taos, New Mexico

It was another pretty drive on the way to Taos.

I passed Wolf Creek Pass ski area. This ski resort receives more snow than any other ski resort in Colorado. If I pass this way again in the future, I will stop for a few runs down the mountain. It's a beautiful location.

Ever heard of Earth Ships? The headquarters of this fascinating "biotecture" is just north of Taos, New Mexico. These house structures are the greenest form of architecture there is. They are individually self-sustaining, and are built of discarded tires filled with rammed earth, bottles, and other things one might consider trash. They are heated and cooled without being on the "grid", and water treatment systems are onsite. For more information google Earth Ships.

These photos were taken from the road. There is a community of these homes here, and an information/headquarters close by. I stopped to look around but there was a seminar of sorts going on, with vans from several colleges parked in the lot, and lots of students. Next time I'll poke around a bit! Could I live in one of these? You bet!

Taos Historic Town Plaza, settled 300 years ago by Spanish Colonists. Doors and windows face inward to the plaza, allowing few entrances into the center, for defense. Today the plaza is surrounded by shops and cafes. This plaza is still the center of the town of Taos, and is the scene of music concerts and art festivals. The statue is of Padre Martinez.

The Plaza in the old days. What a busy place it must have been!

An art gallery - bells and metal flower sculptures. There must be hundreds of art galleries in this town!

Typical Taos houses

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is simply amazing. The drive through the park goes on and on, and then you come across places that take your breath away. I'm glad I was there in the off-season (except the campground was closed) because the road was mostly empty and there was plenty of parking. It was pleasantly warm, and must be very hot in the summer. Some of the sites were closed but the famous Cliff Palace was open.

Every time I see a National Park sign I get excited!

This ruin of a ceremonial site sits atop a hill. It's difficult to photograph because there is no higher place to climb to, and the walls are tall.

Floor Plan

The Cliff Palace - it's a very elegant work of architecture. Some of the photos I took from across the canyon, and others from a nearby overlook. From the website - "The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in the North American Continent. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa top for 600 years, many Ancestral Puebloans began living in pueblos they built beneath the overhanging cliffs. The structures ranged in size from one-room storage units to villages of more than 150 rooms. While still farming the mesa tops, they continued to reside in the alcoves, repairing, remodeling, and constructing new rooms for nearly a century. By the late 1270s, the population began migrating south into present-day New Mexico and Arizona. By 1300, the Ancestral Puebloan occupation of Mesa Verde ended."

I hope to return here someday.