Monday, May 30, 2016

5/29 Taos, NM

Arrived here a couple of days ago, but had work to do.  Today, I decided I deserved a few hours break, so drove into town to the Taos Pueblo.  Native Americans built this structure and have lived here for at least 1,000.  It has been repaired and parts rebuilt over the centuries, but an amazing amount of it is authentic and original.  And in fact, it is still being lived in, although without power or running water, by many people.

This is said to be the oldest, continuously occupied structure in North America.

Cost is $14 - $16, depending on your age. There are restrooms and even motorhome parking.  You are asked not to open any doors as these may be occupied homes. Many of the ground floor rooms are occupied by small shops selling souvenirs and baked goods.

This is a VERY large pueblo! 



After visiting Taos, I headed west past my campground to the Rio Grand Gorge.  It was quite an experience as you will see by the last couple of slides.  In any case, it was worth pulling into the rest area and walking back to the bridge for some views.

This Memorial Day weekend was a motorcycle event of some sort, so there have been a lot of bikers in the area.  No where near as bad as it was the time I accidently scheduled a week at Gamble Rogers State Park, north of Daytona Beach during Bike Week where there were 500,000 motorcycles, but a crowd in any case.  This is the scene around the Gorge. (I was parked in the official rest area to the left of this photo.)

Time to go home to peace and quiet, don't you think?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

5/27 Bandelier National Monument, NM

Bandelier National Monument is near Los Alamos in Northern New Mexico.  This is a place I had never been, so I wanted to visit.  It is out of the way from Santa Fe to tonight's stop at Taos, NM, but worth going out of the way.  The first three photos are of the drive from Santa Fe to Bandelier.   Pretty countryside, but it looks like rain.

From mid-May to mid-September, you cannot drive into Bandelier because there is very little parking inside the park.  So the town cooperates with the park service to provide a visitor center and free shuttles to the park visitor center.  I was impressed because this county RV park was available for day-use parking while you took the shuttle into the park.  There are electrical hookups and a dump station and water, so you can also pay $20 and spend the night.  Very convenient. 

To stay overnight at the RV park, you pay here with a credit card.

Everyone must ride the shuttle into the park unless you are disabled, have a pet traveling with you, or have special permission.  Campers can drive part of the way into the canyon to the campground, but cannot go all the way to the visitor center.

We were told that this area is part of an ancient volcanic caldera, and it is pulling apart, causing all the canyons to form--sort of a rift valley in the U.S.

Some of these holes in the cliff face are blackened from cooking or heating fires, so they have been homes.  I will come back next year when I have more time to explore.

Most of the homes, however, were located in pueblo villages in the flat valley floor.  The following photo shows a kiva for one village.

This pueblo consists of about a hundred rooms in a semi-circular shape.

Can you see the people who have climbed up some steps to see the dwelling on the cliff?  I will do this next time, but since the last bus was in a little more than an hour, I felt I had to skip it this time. 

I turned around because I was worried about missing the shuttle and took the nature trail back to the visitor center.

This is an Abert's squirrel.  It is found in northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, and can be identified by its tufted ears and unique coloring.  Mostly, they eat pine nuts instead of acorns, mainly because acorns are scarce in this very high desert. I am not sure what he is eating here.
My, what big ears you have! 

He scampered off when a grey squirrel came up, but I caught up with him a hundred feet farther down the trail.  In this photo, he is definitely working on getting pine nuts from a pinion pine cone.

The biggest reason why the native American's settled and lived so long in this canyon is the streams here that provided irrigation for their gardens.  There were also springs along the canyon wall that provided water for drinking and home use.  

There was a very long line to take the second-to-the-last shuttle, but we all crammed in.  I will come back here again.   

The road north following the Rio Grand River back to Taos, NM.

This is the Gorge of the Rio Grande.  I had no idea the river even went this far north!

This Taos in the distance against the mountains.  They ski here and I am planning on spending a few days in this area--except no skiing!  It certainly feel cold enough to ski, however.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5/23 Santa Fe Palace of the Governors

Actually, I visited both this and the New Mexico History Museum, but I mostly took photos of the governor's palace because it was more interesting.  They are located next to one another and one ticket gets you into both.  The Palace of the Governors is the older building, constructed in the early 1600s and used as the seat of government for New Mexico literally for hundreds of years, so for me it is much more interesting. 

You can find more information here:

This is a view from the courtyard.  I would have taken more photos of the outside, but most of it was covered in modern scaffolding, as they were patching the outside and repainting it.

Now, here is a comparison of wheeled transportation.  Check out these wheels.

And compare them to this wheel!  This is a wheel from an oxcart from the 17th century. It is made from one enormously thick board with smaller chunks of rough wood added to make it rounder.  No wonder it needed an ox to pull it.

What I really enjoyed was the building itself.  While it has been rebuilt and renovated over the centuries, some of the older construction still exists, such as this beamed ceiling and adobe wall in the back.

The vertical chiseled out area on the back wall is due to a small fireplace and flue being added after the wall was built.

Another amazing ceiling.  Look at the size of those beams!

This governor's palace was a mix of the native American and Mexican missionary's belongings and life style.

Several "windows" in the floor showed some of the original stone and mud foundations.

A poster showing some foundations.

Another peek into the past.

This room showed the contrast between the Spanish and native American weapons and shields.  

The item hanging on the right part of this wall is a chain mail suit.

Some of the clothing owned by the priest.  Obviously, some items were locally made of leather and wool.

The town square near the museums. Lots of places to shop in this town!  I enjoyed some ice cream sitting on one of the benches.

Another view of the town square.