August 24, 2016 – Oklahoma

Heading east from Amarillo isn’t much different from arriving from the west,

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DSC_2872with a few interesting sidelight.

Paralleling Historic US Route 66

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With more commercial buildings in decay since being by-passed by I-40

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An intentionally tilted water tower (we’d passed heading west several years ago)

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No idea what this represents

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Then, as the song goes,

DSC_2881 “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains …”

and, is wasn’t hard to see where the prevailing winds come from …

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the SOUTH!  

For most of the day we were buffeted by 20 MPH winds with higher gusts occasionally making it challenging to stay in our lane!

Other points of interest included:

Walking an off-leash dog along a remote section of I-40

Walking along I-40 with nleashed Dog west of Oklahoma City, OOK - 2016-08-24

Hilltops where the fragile vegatation has given way to  red clay and rocks

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Sheep

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More Historic Route 66

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Flat ranch and farm lands

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Astronaut General Thomas Stafford’s F-4 Phantom Jet

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Hitchhiker staing out of the sun

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Garth Brooks’ home town – in the Yukon … Oklahoma, that is

Home of Garth Brooks, Yukon, OK - 2016-08-24

Our first Texas Longhorns … although in Oklahoma

Longhorn Cattle, Oklahoma City, OK - 2016-08-24

We loved this trucking line’s logo

Hawk Trucking, I-40, Yukon, OK - 2016-08-24

This evening we had dinner at a local Pickles Restaurant with Larry Kelly, one of my first cousins whom I had not seen in years and whom Debbie had met only once many years ago.  It was great fun reconnecting and reminiscening about our family, family homes and those we in our generation who have apssed away.  It was extra special as of my sixteen first cousings, Larry reminds me most of my dad!  Hoping to get together with he and Susan, his brother, Don's widow.tomorrow evening.

 

 

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April 23, 2016 – Drive from Albuquerque, NM to Amarillo, TX

If the old adage that “a happy house is a happy home” …

DSC_2751is true, the people who live here just east of Albuquerque, must be in ecstasy!

I-40 initially continued through some still desolate and relatively flat country.

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Ever so slowly, however, the distant mesas begin to close in and vegetation becomes more abundant

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DSC_2785as the some of the rivers, which across the past several states have been little more than dry or shallow streams of muddy water now are running full.

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Paralleling Historic US Route 66, one sees ongoing evidence of abandoned towns, homes and businesses …DSC_2807

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Any takers?

victims of being by-passed when Interstate 40 was completed.

After a stop for gas in Tucumcari (best price we’ve paid on the trip … $1.969/gallon), we

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DSC_2804where trees are often a rare sight!

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Across New Mexico and the western part of the Texas panhandle, we’ve seen dozens of

DSC_2809over the past several days, and while a throwback to another bygone era are still in use by ranchers across the southwest.

Meanwhile, nearing the mid-point between the New Mexico border and Amarillo, we found ourselves amid miles of wind turbines … we estimated close to 1,000 …

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DSC_2814which share the land with cattle

DSC_2825and where the odor from stockyards

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Arriving at the Oasis RV Resort, we were greeted by

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However, this is one of the best campgrounds we’ve ever stayed at and when we do our on-line rating, we plan to give it a 10 out of 10 score!

 

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August 22, 2016 – Santa Fe and New Mexico’s State Capitol

The seat of government for more than four centuries, New Mexico has one of the oldest as well as one of the newest capitols in the United States.  The Oldest is the Palace of Governors which dates to 1610

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the Palace of the Governors chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the region.

Palace of the Governors (Original Governor's Office, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Early governors’ formal office

and is the oldest public building in the United States.  It served as the region’s capitol for colonial Spain, Mexico, the Pueblo Indians and the Confederacy (for a couple of weeks in 1862).

The area of Santa Fe was originally occupied by indigenous people, who had built a number of Pueblo villages about 1050 to 1150. One of the earliest known settlements in what today is downtown Santa Fe came sometime after 900.  A Native American group built a cluster of homes that centered around the site of today's Plaza and spread for half a mile to the south and west; the village was called Ogapoge.  Don Juan de Onate led the first European effort to colonize the region in 1598, establishing Santa Fe de Nuevo México as a province of New Spain.

New Mexico Supreme Court (b), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe (Rotunda), NM - 2016-08-22A shallow 60’ high, skylight-lit three story rotunda 49’ in diameter.

New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe (Rotunda Dome Skylight), NM - 2016-08-22

State Seal on the Rotunda Floor

New Mexico Supreme Court (State Seal on the Rotunda Floor), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as a sacred symbol. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun.

Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in:

  • the four points of the compass (north, south, east and west);
  • the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter);
  • the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening and night);
  • the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years and old age); and
  • the four sacred obligations one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others), according to Zia belief.

The symbol is featured on the Flag of New Mexico and in the design of both the New Mexico State Capitol and New Mexico's State Quarter entry as well as the state highway markers.

 House Chamber

New Mexico State Capitol, (House Chamber - b), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Senate Chamber

New Mexico State Capitol, (Senate Chamber - b), Santa Fe NM - 2016-08-22

Doors to House and Senate Chambers

New Mexico State Capitol, (Doors to House and Senate Gallery), Santa Fe NM - 2016-08-22

Backs of Chairs in House and Senate Chambers

New Mexico State Capitol, (House and Senate Seats Backs), Santa Fe NM - 2016-08-22

Supreme Court

New Mexico Supreme Court (a), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

The State Supreme Court does not meet at the Capitol but in a separate building in Santa Fe.

Governor’s Office

New Mexico Supreme Court (Governor's Office - a), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico Supreme Court (Governor's Office - b), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22We got to talking with teh Governor's receptionist and somehow she offered us two tamales … which were delicious!

Pie Town Exhibit in the Governor’s Office

A remarkable photo exhibit of a small rural community 7,800 feet west of the Continental Divide in Catron County in west-central New Mexico … photographed by Russell Lee for the U.S. Farm Administration in the summer and fall of 1940.   Many of Pie Town’s settles were “Dust Bowl” refugees from Oklahoma and Texas seeking a new start.Pie Town, NM (Main Street - October 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Filling Station and Garage - October 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Pulling a Car out of the Mud), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Family- September 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Faro and Doris Caudill's Dugout Homestead - October 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Doris Caudill and Daughter in her Dugout Homestead - October 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Pie Town, NM (Pumping Water- October 1940), New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM  2016-08-22

Throughout the Capitol building are more than 600 pieces of artwork on permanent display, all works of New Mexico artists.

Some we Loved and Understood

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (q) Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (m), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (p - Dialogue) Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (k), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (g), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (i), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (f), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (j), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (d), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (e), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (n), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (o - Paintings on Ostrich Eggs), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Painted Ostrich Eggs

Including Beautiful Furniture lining the Hallways

New Mexico State Capitol, (Public Area Furniture - a), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol, (Public Area Furniture - b), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol, (Public Area Furniture - d), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol, (Public Area Furniture - c), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22The model's pretty good looking, too!

Others Pieces are a Complete Mystery

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (a), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (b), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

But, Most Intriguing

New Mexico State Capitol Permanent Artwork (h - Buffalo), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22This buffalo has inspired art since the first cave drawings.  As the artist focuses his art on emphasizing recycling and environmental awareness; old paintbrushes form the bridge of the nose and old film is woven into the brow; pottery shards are also worked into the nose, connecting Native Americans and the buffalo through pieces of dried mud; news from the 1992 Super Bowl “Redskins Buffalo Hunt a Winner” newspaper clipping are found in the horns; One eye is a lantern, symbol of light, hope and strength; the other eye is a fishing reel with a horseshoe surrounding it; clear plastic spoons are the irises.

 

As the Capitol Grounds are minimal … and perhaps as there is an abundance of outstanding sculpture throughout Santa Fe, there only a few pieces on the Capitol grounds, all commemorating the State’s rich native history.

New Mexico State Capitol Grounds Monumnet ''Passages'', Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Grounds Statue (a), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Grounds Statues (b), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Grounds Monument (a), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

New Mexico State Capitol Grounds Statue (c), Stanta Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

After leaving the State Capitol, we wandered through Old Santa Fe, which we’d visited several years ago.  Some of the interesting things and people we saw included:

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Its congregation established and first church built in 1610.  The church was destroyed in 1680 and rebuilt in1714.  The cornerstone for the present structure was laid in1850.and finally completed in 1895.

St. Francis Cathedral (Entrance Doors), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

St. Francis Cathedral (Nave), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

St. Francis Cathedral (Apse and Altar), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

St. Francis Cathedral (Organ Loft Stain Glass Window), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

St. Francis Cathedral (Stain Glass Window Image on the Floor), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Note the sunlight painting an image of the stain glass window on the floor

The Tiled Post of a Parking Meter

Tiled Parking Meter Post, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Spitz Clock

Spitz Clock, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

San Miguel Chapel

San Miguel Chapel, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22The San Miguel Church is the oldest structure in the USA.  The original walls and alter were built by the Tioxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan Padres (Circa 1610)

San Miguel Church (Exterior Supports), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

San Miguel Chapel, (Interior) Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

and across the narrow street …

The Oldest House in the USA

Oldest House in the US, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Circa 1646

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A Local for who a Bad Hair Day is not an Issue

Mohawk, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Wall Murals

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Center for the Preforming Arts

Center for the Performing Arts (a), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Center for the Performing Arts (b), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Center for the Performing Arts (c), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Loretto Chapel

Loreto Chapel, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Completed in 1878, the Loretto Chapel is a former Roman Catholic church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel.

Loreto Chapel (Spire), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Loreto Chapel (Mary), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Loreto Chapel (Nave), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase.

 Loreto Chapel (Spiral Staircase), Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.  The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support.  Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Colorful Serapes on sale everywhere

Coloroful Sarape, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Coloroful Sarapes, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Building in Which Billy the Kid was Jailed

Billy the Kid JailThe notorious New Mexico, Billy the Kid, was captured and successfully imprisoned for the last time in the downstairs jail housed in the Cornell Building (above) from December 1880 to April 1881; after which he was moved to Mesilla, NM for trail.  He was found guilty and sentenced to hang and then moved to a Lincoln County jail from which he escaped.  He was later shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Ft. Summer, NM on July 14, 1881.

Bronze sculptures throughout the City

Elk Sculpture, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

Donkey Bearing a Load of Wood Sculpture, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22

A Musician playing a “Handpan”

Musician with a Handpan on the Plaza, Santa Fe, NM - 2016-08-22Sounding like a mariachi steel drum, the Handpan is a term for a group of musical instruments resulting from a growing worldwide interest in the Hang, an instrument invented and built by the German company PANArt Hangbau AG.

Late this afternoon, we watched a thunderstorm approach and then pass over us.  As the clouds began to dissipate and the sun reappear, a rainbow appeared … first dimly than morphing into an arc of truly brilliant color … to the east against the dark sky and Sandia Mountains which lingered for more than an half hour.

Ranbow (a), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33

Ranbow (d), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33

Ranbow (e), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33

Ranbow (f), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33

It wasn’t until we reviewed our pictures later this evening that we realized there was also a faint double rainbow.

Ranbow (b), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33

Ranbow (c), Albuquerque Central KOA, Albuquerque, NM - 2016-08-33Note how the colors are reversed in the secondary rainbow

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August 21, 2016 – Trip to Albuquerque

After refueling, we headed for I-40 East, we recalled the huge native pottery vessels amid the entrance and exit ramps from previous visits to Gallup.

DSC_2442Thirty miles down the road, we passed under the exit which straddles the

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Despite being a Sunday, I-40 was often a steady stream of commercial semis, all racing past us at or above the 75 MPH speed limit.

DSC_2449while just north of the highway, mile-plus long freight trains were moving both east and west.

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The landscape was not overly spectacular, although there were a few interesting rock formations

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DSC_2511as well as the El Malpais lava beds

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DSC_2481which were produced from eruptions of several volcanoes up until about 800 years ago.  They have since been gradually covered by scattered trees, bushes, cacti and grasses, making the vista slightly less impressive than other volcanic remains we’ve visited including Craters of the Moon in Idaho and Sunset Crater in Arizona.   Although numerous cinder cones and small craters are found within the national monument, not one was visible from the highway.

Other than several hill top mounted

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in addition to an emaciated dog wandering along the margins of I-40

DSC_2473and a mini travel Trailer.

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At a vista point where we pulled off for a break, we could see the Laguna Pueblo Mission on an adjacent hillside.

DSC_2505Dedicated to Saint Joseph, the mission was built in 1699.  San Jose Mission is built in the early Pueblo – style architecture, and unlike other missions of the same period, is constructed of field stone, adobe, mortar, and plaster. The interior white plaster is renewed regularly. The inside of the massive walls measure 105 feet by 22 feet, and the only openings in the fortress like structure are the  doorway and a small window in the upper  front below the twin bells, which are set in the parapet.  San Jose is famous for its interior decoration. Original Laguna art and rare early Spanish paintings adorn the walls and altar. The ornately carved wooden doors welcome visitors year round. Mural in red, green, yellow, and black decorate the earthen walls. The ceiling above the sanctuary is painted with Laguna symbols of a rainbow, the sun, moon, and stars. The large animal skin which covers the altar contains an abundance of multi-colored designs.

Laguna Church 2Photo from the Internet

Nearing Albuquerque, Sandia Peak, the highest elevation in the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque was disappearing into approaching rain clouds

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DSC_2530and ground-strike lightening was clearly visible.  The aerial tramway, which we took on our last visit to Albuquerque, runs from the city’s elevation of 6,559 feet to Sandia’s summit at an elevation of 10,378 feet is the longest aerial tram in the United States.

Tonight, several severe thunderstorms rolled over us during which we had a torrent of hail pounding on our motor home’s roof making it sound like we were inside a kettledrum.

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August 20, 2016 – Tonto National Forest Enroute to Gallup

Leaving the Phoenix metroplex, we climbed gently and found ourselves surrounded by a forest of Saguaros.

Saguaro Cactus Forest (b), US-87 North of Mesa, AZ - 2016-08-20

Saguaro Cactus Forest (d), US-87 North of Mesa, AZ - 2016-08-20

Saguaro Cactus Forest (a), US-87 North of Mesa, AZ - 2016-08-20

Saguaro Cactus Forest (c), US-87 North of Mesa, AZ - 2016-08-20

Some interesting facts about Saguaros:

  • They are the largest cactus in the US.
  • A 10-year old plant might be only 10” high.
  • Their branches normally begin to appear when a saguaro reaches 50 to 70 years of age.
  • They can grow to 40’-60’.
  • Their roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall.
  • There is one deep root, or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2’.
  •  When rain is plentiful, they can weigh from 3,200-4,800 lbs.
  • They can live to 150-200 years.
  • Saguaros are limited by elevation.
  • They are generally found growing from sea level to approximately 4,000 feet in elevation.
  • Saguaros growing higher than 4,000 feet are usually found on south facing slopes where freezing temperatures are less likely to occur or are shorter in duration.

As our altitude increased to between 3,500‘ and 4,000’ the Saguaros disappeared  and gave way to

Route 87 (a)

Saguaros Gone

At one point, we had the unusual situation of the opposing traffic lanes being to our right rather than to our left.  By the time we reached Heber, we were just shy of 6,000’ on a high plateau with few trees

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DSC_2382until we neared Holbrook, where several rock cones stood out from the plain.

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DSC_2384Holbrook,

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DSC_2399although there are some interesting building murals.

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Heading east on I-40, we were again driving through some barren country

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where an unfortunate RVer had shredded one of his tires.

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Nearby, we caught some glimpses of the Painted Desert (which we’d  visited on a prior trip) in the distance.

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 Along the way, we passed a long-distance biker,

DSC_2417sadly what is an all too familiar sight of decaying homes on Indian reservations,

DSC_2420and a real life cowboy and his horse!

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As we approached the New Mexico state line, there were some colorful cliff and rock formations.

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Almost as soon as we entered New Mexico, we were buffeted by some gusting winds causing flags to stand straight out and

DSC_2436and us to slow 30 miles per hour.   Fortunately, we had only 13 more miles before exiting the exposed highway.

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August 17 – 19, 2016 – Friends and Family

Despite the temperature hovering around 110o each day, we had a chance to visit with a Josh Slocum, a friend in Carefree, where we saw a number of things including;

A very rare Crested Saguaro

Crested Saguaro (a), Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Crested Saguaro (c), Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Barrel Cactus

Barrel Cactus, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Alamos Barrel Cactus, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickley Pear Cactus, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Toothpick Cactus

Toothpick Cactus, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Yucca

Yucca, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Two Bronze Statues

Bronze Stampede Statue, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

Bronze Statues of a Boy and Girl, Carefree, AZ - 2106-08-17

And … most interesting of all several sand sculptures made by Ray Viilafane, an internationally-recognized sculpture.  We learned that the consistency and structure of sand can make a significant difference in a sculpture.  Ray prefers a very fine grain sand, allowing him to achieve more details in his sculptures.  However, there is a downside to using small grain sands as the resulting sculptures are less capable of draining rainwater efficiently.  The secret of a sand sculpture’s longevity is in the preparation of mixing the sand with water and tamping it down to create a solid sand compaction that almost turns to stone.  

Ray Villafane Owl Sand Sculpture, Carefree, AZ - 2016-08-17

Ray Villafane Rabbit Sand Sculpture, Carefree, AZ - 2016-08-17

Ray Villafane Elephant (a) Sand Sculpture, Carefree, AZ - 2016-08-17

Ray Villafane Elephant (b) Sand Sculpture, Carefree, AZ - 2016-08-17These sculptures are now more than a month old and still retain an incredible amount of detail

We spent an afternoon and had dinner with Debbie’s brother, David Louis, who is recovering from a stroke.  She also spent a day with one of her two best girl friends from our years in Yardley, Jane Johnson, and had dinner at Jane’s daughter and son-in-law’s home this evening.

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August 16, 2016 – Mesa and Hot!

Just before sunset last evening, large cumulus clouds billowed up all around us.

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The relatively short drive to Mesa again took us through some pretty barren landscapes

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DSC_2282and found our elevation below 2,000’ for the first time since shortly after we left Sacramento some ten days ago … although we did finally see our first saguaros

DSC_2283A species of cactus unique to Arizona

DSC_2279before hitting the northern fringes of the Phoenix metroplex … when traffic and insane drivers cutting across lanes just in front of us and very few not using directional signals became our biggest challenge.

When we got in our car to run some errands this afternoon, the temperature stood at an incredible

Temperature

By sunset this evening, the temperature was still in the triple digits but we did have one more cloud show.

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August 15, 2016 – Hanging Out

After spending the morning hanging out … no driving, no sightseeing, no chores … we called for a shuttle to take us to

Cliff 1

cliff 2

where we wanted to have lunch at

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JR Debbiea chain restaurant with a retro-1950s look, feel and menu (famous for their burgers, fries and milk shakes) … complete with 5-cent jute boxes at each table … which brought back memories of our teenage years.

As for the casino, it held no interest for us!

Feeling totally stuffed and despite temperatures in the 90os we hoofed the mile or so back to Distant Drums RV Park

Distant Drums 1where we are staying.

Distant Drums 2

 

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August 14, 2016 – Leaving Utah and Arriving in Arizona

Heading south (actually east) from Kanab, we paralleled the Vermilion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument with more their spectacular cliffs and rock formations.

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As the road finally began to turn south, we passed through a narrow mad-made canyon and soon found ourselves in

Welcome to Arizona from Nevada along I-15 - 2102-10-23

Nearing Page Arizona, we could see of small portions of Lake Powell,

DSC_2173on which we’ve boated in the past, before crossing the Glen Canyon Bridge.

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A resort golf course provided the only real green grass that we’ve seen in days.

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Continuing south on US-89, which was closed due to a major rock slide when we were last in the area, the southern Vermilion Cliffs National Monument  with their almost pastel colors were amazing.

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After crossing another wide valley

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We began another climb to the top of a steep mesa

DSC_2196where we could catch occasional views of the valley floor we’d recently left.

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While the drive across the top of the mesa was much like that on the valleys below

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it took us to a pull off at the base of a gorgeous red rock cliff …

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just before the road passed through another very narrow cut

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and began a 1,500’ descent

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DSC_2216into Bitter Springs; population 452..

Along the next hundred miles or so, more huge sandstone, lava and other natural rock formations

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DSC_2226DSC_2225 DSC_2226 DSC_2223and a procession of small travel trailers were on display.

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The looming profile of the San Francisco peaks, gradually increasing road grade more green vegetation

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DSC_2242signaled our nearing Flagstaff.  An hour later, we arrived in Camp Verde, a little over a hundred miles north of Phoenix, where we’ll spend the next two nights.

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August 13, 2016 – Southward Bound to Kanab, Utah

Once through the erratic drivers from Salt Lake City south to Provo, urbanization gave way to farms

02.  Roadincluding many vast fields of hay.

08.  Hay FIelds

An hour-plus south, we pulled off the highway for gas and quickly discovered we were in Fillmore, site of Utah’s Territorial Capitol, about which we’d heard during our Capitol tour yesterday.  It was an easy decision to take a detour into the center of the small community to visit the original state capitol building.

Utah's First Capitol (b), Fillmore, UT - 2016-08-13The building was originally built to serve as Utah's state capitol, but only the south wing was ever completed. The existing portion was finished in time for the December 1855 meeting of the Territorial Legislature, which was the only full session held in the old statehouse. In December 1858, the seat of government was moved to Salt Lake City.

Today the building has been converted into a museum, whose exhibits include:

13.  Utah's First Capitol (Founder's Photos), Filmore, UT - 2016-08-13Photographs of over 500 of Fillmore’s earliest residents, including Brigham Young, (raft left)

12.  Brigham Young's VisionA map of how Brigham Young envisioned Utah’s boundaries (red line) and the eventual Utah Territory before losing what became Nevada, parts of Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming (blue line).  The start in the geographic center of the region is Fillmore.

13.  Utah's First Capitol (Mid-19th Century Camera), Filmore, UT - 2016-08-13

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15.  Prison CellPrison cell – see description and offences below

15. Offences

Further south on I-5,

DSC_2026we passed a forest fire warning sign

Forest Fire Warning Sign, I-5, Southern UT - 2016-08-13and soon thereafter saw the smoke in the mountains off to the East.

SMOKE

We then had a short, 20-mile “cross-country” drive which wound up

DSC_2046and over a 7,920’ pass then descending through a lane restricted area of road work some 2,000’

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DSC_2055before reaching the valley floor and eventually US-89.  It’s no surprise that once off the Interstates, you tend to see a whole lot more.

09.  Elk Statue, Fillmore, UT - 2016-08-13

Carved Wagon 1

Carved Wagon 2

Deer

Dome Home, I-89 North of Kanab, UT - 2016-08-13

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Skeleton 1

Spinning Wheel Motel, Fillmore, UT - 2016-08-13

Water Wagon, Panguitch, UT - 2016-08-13

Yellow Truck

Nearing Kanab, it was impossible not to become awed by the diversity of the rock formations and their colors … with the reds rivaling those in Sedona.

Red Rock Formation, I-89 North of Kanab, UT - 2016-08-13

Rocks 14

Rocks 16

Rocks 17

Rocks 18

Rocks 19

Rocks 20

 

UNKNOWNFrankly, other than assuming it is some sort of a home built into the red rock, we have no idea what we’re looking at in the following photo

 

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