Always Have A Plan B

Over the Memorial Day weekend the whole Taos, and Questa, New Mexico area was overrun with motorcycle riders to the tune of 20,000 bikers descending upon this area. Good for the economy, but that did add to the already busy holiday weekend traffic for the area. So of course, the last thing we wanted to do was get out and add to the traffic congestion. We decided to stay put, and just hang out at the RV Park. But, whatever was I going to do to keep myself busy and entertained? Well, I did what I love to do best… I cooked.

On Friday I made a batch of paleo friendly sweet potato salad,

and a batch of sautéed cabbage and beet greens (a new favorite of ours),

and fried up a batch of crisp bacon to sprinkle on top of those dishes just before serving.

On Saturday evening Bill/papa grilled pork chops, and I served them with mashed cauliflower, with homemade mushroom gravy, and the sautéed cabbage and beet greens. YUM!

On Sunday, we tried to make paleo catfish nuggets, and served them on paleo tortilla’s with carrot slaw. I had to make carrot slaw because I used all the cabbage in the cabbage and beet greens dish.  Carrot slaw was my plan (B) that would have saved the day,

except that paleo catfish was the nastiest thing we ever made, and I could not even begin to gag it down. Bill, on the other hand, didn’t like it either, but managed to eat most of his. That boy has to have a stomach that will tolerate anything, even if he doesn’t like it.

Not me, I not only dumped the catfish out of my tortilla, and replaced it with some bacon I already had fried up, I dumped the rest of the package of frozen catfish as I wasn’t about to try making anything “paleo friendly” with it again anytime soon. Again, it’s good to have a plan (B).

As much as I LOVE to cook, I’m really not a big fan of cooking to this paleo food plan. I find it very difficult to make things taste good when you can’t use the “normal ingredients” that make things stick together…

On Monday, Bill/papa grilled brats, and I served it with grilled onions and red peppers, and the sweet potato salad I already had made. Winner, winner, fabulous dinner.

In the end, over the weekend we made three meals. Two of those meals were delicious, and one that I considered a complete disaster. Some might say two good out of three is not bad.  I say one bad out of three, is still BAD!

Tomorrow we will go grocery shopping in Taos. Thursday we will spend the day packing up, and Friday we will move on down the road to Antonito, Colorado.

Stay tuned!

 

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Earthship Biotecture

On our way to visit Echo Amphitheater this week, we saw some strange-looking buildings out in the middle of the desert, and I wondered what they were all about. So, on our way home, we stopped to investigate, and found out they are part of Earthship Biotecture.

 

So what’s that all about one might ask? Well, from the information we received, and what I could research on the internet, it is a community of people who live in completely self-contained, self-sustainable, structures that meet the “six needs for life on earth which are:

Buildings made with natural and recycled materials

Water harvesting

Solar and wind electricity

Contained sewage treatment

Food production

Thermal solar heating and cooling

 

They use discarded tires packed with dirt for exterior walls,

and recycled bottles and cans for interior structures.

Buried cisterns collect melted snow and rain, and the filtered water flows through sinks in the bathroom and kitchen. Each abode contains its own greenhouse, and blackwater, from the toilet bowl, hydrates the yards of the 70 residences. If you see a tropical bloom in that area of the New Mexico desert, you can lay your thank-you flowers before the porcelain throne”.

Apparently there are Earthship communities all over the country.  Who knew? This particular Earthship community offers internships that last 3 weeks, and they teach you all about how to build your own Earthship abode. They advertise the internships as “be prepared for serious fun”.

You can also rent a room for the night in one of the main structures if you want to experience a glimpse of what it’s like to live there. For 1-2 people it costs $245 per night.

If your interested in learning more, just google Earthship Biotecture, in New Mexico, and you will be able to see actual pictures of how the abodes look from the inside. They really are nice, and very interesting.

Well all that was fascinating, but we had to get moving, so on we went, until we came to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. I wanted to get out and take a picture of the bridge, and walk across it because, well it was there and I could… 🙂

The last stop, before we made it home, was to take a picture of this abandoned Tee Pee I saw just sitting along side of the road. I don’t know why, but it intrigued me, and made me wonder about who might have built it, lived in it, and what happened to them? So we stopped, and I took a picture of it too. Ha! 🙂

Our time in New Mexico is quickly coming to an end. We will leave on June 1st for a month stay in Antonito, Colorado. We so enjoyed New Mexico, but we are now ready to move on, and see what all Colorado has to offer. If you’re traveling with us, via this blog, I hope you enjoy sharing our journey. I love having you along, and especially enjoy your comments.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Echo Amphitheater

Yesterday we visited Echo Amphitheater. “a natural amphitheater located in Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico, about 17 miles west of Abiquiu”.

The drive there was absolutely beautiful. We didn’t see any Big Horn Sheep, or Deer, no, this trip brought us up close with roadside COWS! There they were, just grazing along side of the highway. That’s when I knew we were in for an interesting, and fun-filled day.

I just love the variations of colors in the mountains in this part of New Mexico,

and the way the wind is ever-changing the rock formations.

When we finally reached the entrance to Echo Amphitheater, the colors in the stone walls were even more vivid and stunning.

As I stood there gazing at all the beautiful colors and wind-blown formations, I almost felt like the stone walls were gazing back at me, and the more I looked, the more I began to see faces in the stone walls. Eyes, noses,

and even an open mouth with just one tooth showing.

I continued to study the stone walls, and started seeing more subtle images, like this image towards the bottom of the stone wall, that to me, looks like two people standing side by side with head covers or hoods.

The most amazing image I saw was in the amphitheater itself. The reddish color that appears to be running down the stone wall, looks to me, like a veiled woman. You might see her too if you follow the deep line in the stone wall (to the left of the reddish color in the middle of the picture) up to where the line meets the reddish color, and perhaps you will see her shoulder, then her neck, then just above that, I see her chin, nose, and the top of her head all of which is covered in a veil, and she is looking to the left as well. Can you see her?

I could have stayed there for hours just studying the stone walls.

There is a sitting area just below the amphitheater where you can just pause, relax, and take it all in. And, if you shout at the stone amphitheater, it will send your echo back to you…

This place is magical, and just draws you in, and makes you want to never leave,

but leave we must, but not without tucking the memories of this special place into my heart to carry with me. Good-bye Echo Amphitheater. Thanks for letting me see your spirit within your stone walls.

Big thank-you to my frissy, Robin, for telling us about this magical place. We most likely would not have ever known about it if not for your suggestion that we go there. It really isn’t very well advertised.

Stay Tuned!

At Last

We finally found a hiking trail, that I was able to do in this altitude, that was both fun, and beautiful.

The South Boundry Trail #164, just outside the Taos city limits.

This trail is 20.8 miles long, and climbs steadily, but not straight up like the last hike I tried.

This trail has lots of places along the way that are flat, allowing you time to catch your breath as you walk along,

and there are plenty of opportunities for you to just pause, and take in the beautiful views from high up in the trees.

This trail also has many spots where you can take a real break, sit in the shade and talk, or just sit and think about how grateful you are to be able to get out and hike on such a beautiful day, and in such a beautiful place.

The information on this hike says ” The trail climbs steadily. Starting in low cottonwoods along the Rio de Don Fernando, and climbing up through the Pinon-Juniper woodland, Ponderosa Pines, Aspens, and even above treeline on the way to its’ highest elevation of 10,770 feet, just south of Osha Mountain. The trail is a highly sought after mountain bike experience with many possible variations. Many mountain bikers ride this trail from east to west, from higher elevation to lower.” I know lots of mountain bikers that might enjoy this trail.

Every section of this hike that I saw was just beautiful.

But now, I have to be completely honest here, we didn’t hike the full 20.8 miles of this trail. No, I’d have to be a crazy woman to tackle a hike like that. Ha! 🙂 But we did hike 1.6 miles of it.  This next picture shows the spot where I sat down in the shade, and declared that spot “my summit spot for the day”.

Hiking is a favorite past-time for Bill/Papa and I. It felt good to be out hiking a fun trail again, even if we only hiked a small section of the much longer trail. For me, it’s not how far we go, it’s that we go as far as we want, and that we have fun while we’re out there. We try to stay as active a we can, and we’re hoping that will enable us to keep doing all the things we love to do, and living this retirement dream we’re loving so much.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Circle, Again

We loved driving through the Enchanted Circle, in New Mexico, so much so, we decided to do it again. But this time, we started from Taos instead of Questa. The scenery is so beautiful, I could never get tired of looking at it.

Well, not far into our trip, we had an “adventure” in the form of a flat tire. However, as Bill/papa was changing the flat tire, a very nice, older gentleman, stopped just to see if he could be of any help. Then, he gave us a great suggestion of where to go in Taos to buy some new tires. So off we went to get new tires, and while we waited, we walked next door and had lunch. Then, within 45 minutes, we were on our way again, to finish our Enchanted Circle drive.

The first time we came through here (going the other way), I hadn’t noticed this house that is set up to look like a big covered wagon. I thought that was very cool looking.

I love little country stores, so of course we had to stop in and check out this country store, located just outside of Angle Fire.

And, oh look, they happen to need camphosts! If we were looking for a hosting position for the summer, this could have been our home. The little store had all kinds of Native American sculptures and jewelry, and they even have a small restaurant adjacent to the store. I’m glad they are looking for help, because the lack of service we saw when we were there left a lot to be desired. No one greeted us when we entered the small store, but there was a woman on the phone (on a personal call) in the back of the store and she just kept talking even while ringing up our purchase. Another woman came from the opening to the adjacent restaurant, and asked if we needed help just as we were leaving, but no one said good-bye, thank-you, or come back again… I would for sure give better customer service than that. Ha!  I would even be happy to cook up, and sell, all kinds of homemade goodness in that little restaurant for the folks. Jambalaya, anyone?

The little RV Park, located right next to the country store, was nice and clean, and didn’t look like it would take too much to keep it up. We didn’t inquire about the positions, but it looked like a nice little gig to me, depending on the hours, and days, they would want you to work…

As we continued on our way, we saw two deer on the side of the road. We slowed down, and one of them turned and dashed across the road right in front of us, allowing me to snap two quick pictures.

 

The last time we came through this area, we saw the Big Horn Sheep right here. I just love the landscape in this particular area. I find it just so, so, beautiful.

Another fun-filled day on our summer celebration tour.

Stay Tuned!

 

Attitude vs. Altitude

I’ve been having problems adjusting to the altitude change since we arrived in Questa, New Mexico. We’ve been here just over two weeks now, and I have been itching to get out and do some real hiking. The past few days, I started feeling like I might finally be adjusting to the altitude, since I was able to take a deep breath while walking around the campgrounds, and/or when we were in town etc. So I told Bill/papa that I thought I might be ready to try taking a short, but real hike. We went to the local Ranger Station and asked for a list of local hikes. We were given 20 pages of hikes to choose from. One or two of them stated the hike was “novice to intermediate” and the rest were listed as “moderate, moderate to difficult, difficult, or expert hikes. Well, come on now I thought to myself, I walk or hike all the time in Arizona, so I certainly think I can do more than a “novice to intermediate” hike. Bill told me to pick the hike I thought I was going to be able to do based on how I was feeling with the altitude issues. I decided on the Cebolla Mesa hike. It is listed as a moderate hike and is only 1.25 miles long. The actual description of the hike read ” this trail is moderately strenuous to the confluence of the Rio Grande and Red River. The trail is steep and rocky, at the top, then switching to moderately steep with 22 switchbacks. The views of the gorge and the desert landscape are spectacular”. What on this earth would ever make that sounded easy enough to me to start out with? STUPID comes to mind!! The altitude must have really affected my brain, and clouded my normally good judgement. 22 switchbacks, I don’t even like switchbacks when I’m in a car! Mix in the fact that I have a PROFOUND fear of heights, and I for sure had the perfect set-up for a close call with disaster!!

But, off we went, into the wilderness as far as we could go until we reached

 

the trailhead that I, in my lost state of mind, thought I could tackle…

Oh, the views were “spectacular” at least what I could see of them seeing how I was too busy climbing over boulders and slipping and sliding along steep cliffs..

OMG, Bill/papa I said, I’m not so sure now if I’m going to be able to do this or not. But we decided we would just take it real slow, and easy, and if I felt at anytime I can’t go on, we would just turn back…

OK, I thought to myself, as we rounded the next switchback, it does look like it is starting to level out, somewhat. Maybe I can do this. I’ll just adjust my attitude and think positive. I always try to think positive and it usually serves me well…

Then we hit the next switchback, and I looked at the huge rocks, and steep slopes, and thought, “oh, HeLL, NO” if I go down there any further, that will for sure become my final resting place. I somehow had enough sense left to know I was never going to make it back out of there alive..

And not one minute to soon did I make that decision, because the climb back to the top was slow and painful, and I felt like I had an elephant riding on my back every step of the way.

I am convinced we are lucky we didn’t make it to the bottom of that trail. Because, let me tell you, when we finally made to back up out of there from the point where I decided I couldn’t go on, I was as spent as this dead tree, that also gave up the spirit, and the “I can do it attitude”, and just laid over.

I now have a very healthy respect for altitude changes, and what it can do to your body, and your attitude. Ha!

As Bill/papa always says when things don’t go as expected… “we had an adventure”. That for me was an adventure I won’t be repeating anytime soon.

After attempting that hike of doom, we found out there are other, more “normal”, hikes around the Taos day use areas. They aren’t even listed on the hiking list we got from the local Ranger’s Office. What’s up with that? Perhaps next week we will go check out some of them.

Stay tuned!

Visiting Local Lakes

The RV Park we’re  staying in for the month of May, in Questa, New Mexico, is nestled between the Carson National Forest, and Rio Grande del National Monument. We love spending time in the great outdoors, and this is the perfect place to get your fill of forests, rivers, and lakes, that for me, fill my soul, and make my spirit soar to new heights.

Within five miles from where we’re staying, is Eagle Rock Lake. It is a small, day use area, that was designed to be a Fishing Lake. No overnight camping. No boating, swimming, wading or float-tubing. Just fishing, picnics, and/or walking or hiking around the area to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

But, WOW, look at the size of the fish they advertize you can catch in this little lake! That looks like “a whale of a tale” to me! 🙂

The water is a lovely green/blue, and there are lots of shade trees and benches, all around the lake.

The views as you make your way around the lake are spectacular.

Part of the Red River runs along side of the lake area. I so love to listen to the sound of water running over rocks. When we were first married, we lived in a small, one bedroom apartment, on the second floor. Right under our bedroom window, was a big water fountain that ran day and night. It was such a calm, and soothing sound, to listen to as we would fall asleep.

The lake takes on different colors, and shades, as you look at it from different angles.

Picnic tables are placed around the lake, and they just beckon you to come, sit, eat, and stay awhile.

You never know what you might see as you make your way around the lake, so be sure to look down, as well and up, and across…

Shantel, I just happened to notice small rock, painted yellow with red lettering, that read “New Mexico 2018”. It was laying on the ground among some bushes and a few wild flowers. I took a picture of it and left it where I found it.

After we left Eagle Rock Lake, we took a drive to check out Cabresto Lake, which is within ten miles of Eagle Rock Lake. It’s a lovely tree-lined drive,

with spectacular views of the Carson National Forest area. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to Cabresto Lake, because the last two miles are very rough forest roads, and it was posted that the road is not suitable for passenger vehicles, and our KIA is not four-wheel drive.

But, it was well worth the attempt, because, once again, one never knows what one might find along the back roads… Check out this cool house.

Shantel, this house looks like two big metal balls, which are the living areas, connected together by a large tube, and both living areas have big round windows.The living areas are elevated above ground, so they have wooden steps to get into the living areas. The whole structure reminded me of a giant red ant. All it needed to complete the image was a pair of black antenna’s. But oh, how I would LOVE to look inside that gem.

And how cute is this?

Shantel, it’s a small house, that looks like a train caboose. It’s painted red with black trim, and at first glance, it really looks like part of a train sitting in the middle of the forest. I thought it was just adorable.

Speaking of trains, we booked our tickets for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad train ride for when we get to Antonito, Colorado. And, SCORE, they are having a Father’s Day Special, where Papa/Bill gets to ride free with my full-price ticket. The train ride also includes lunch. So, YEAH, we will be taking that train ride on Father’s Day, and we can’t hardly wait!

Another great day, and another great way, to spend our time here.

Stay tuned.

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