Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wide Spaces: New Mexico

We who live in urban areas live very different lives from those whose nearest neighbor is 10 miles or more away. I had read about this New Mexican lifestyle in Tony Hillerman's novels, but seeing is truly understanding in this situation. On one hand it was interesting to see and experience the vastness of the land. On the other hand, I had a better understanding of the self-sufficiency concept. As we were driving, the back of my mind was filled with thoughts of, "What do we do if the van breaks down? (I'm not mechanical in nature.) Do we have enough water? Is there cell phone (mobile) coverage that will reach AAA? What do you do if the roads are impassable if it rains?" No problems happened while we were driving, but the distances and the emptiness in terms of people gave a very different perspective.

In spite of my partial nervousness towards it all, it was a good experience. When riding as the non-driver, my camera was constantly ready for action. Still, it is hard for me to imagine what it is like to live in one of the settings. A person would truly have to be an independent person. The setting would give ample opportunities for reflection and introspection-not necessarily a bad thing, but a constant situation without much chance of relief. I don't think that I would be happy if I were permanently settled in such a place, I need contact with others.

I hope that you have enjoyed the post. It is hard to capture the vastness of the landscape and the beauty that is found there. Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment if you are so inclined, I enjoy reading what you have to say. As always, enjoy your own travels. Dare to venture beyond your present horizon and experience what is there.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

It's been less than 24 hours since we returned from our 3,600 mile trip. It's also cold here with mixed rain and snow! Rather than pay attention to the present weather, I'd rather think about the sunnier and warmer places we we've been in recently. This posting is about Old Town, Albuquerque-one of my many favorite places, and one I'd like to explore again in the future. Here are some snapshot impressions; I hope that you enjoy them.

Old Town is vibrant in colors, people, and activities. While the action centers on the plaza area, wandering down side streets can result in pleasant discoveries. One of the areas was a court yard in which you could just sit and peoplewatch while you listened to instrumental music in the background.

No, New Mexicans do NOT put traffic cones around the bodies left behind in a shoot out. The reenactors wore traditional "Wild West" costumes and also promoted gun safety habits among young people.

Along the columns of the walkway you see Indians selling jewelry and other handcrafted items. (I learned that "Indian" or the name of a specific cultural group was preferred to the politically correct "Native American", as anyone born in the Americas is a "native American".)

The plaza, itself, has a church as a central feature-an aspect of the city's Spanish heritage. How green it seemed after a loooong winter in Wisconsin!

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment, they are always appreciated. As I go through the photo editing of the 700+ photos that were taken during this trip, I'll share more images of people, places, and landscapes. In the meantime, may your own travels be enjoyable and interesting.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Mexican Roadscapes

Imagine a land where you can drive for mile after mile without seeing a river, pond, or lake. Imagine a land where rock formations resemble blocks that a giant child has strewn around and forgotten. Imagine vast distances with with snow-capped mountains defining the horizon. These are the images that I have seen in our drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

I would like to share with you some of the impressions that I have captured over the last few days. Perhaps you can then understand my mixed feelings as I think of leaving this land behind me in the next few days. You can certainly understand why a person who loves large bodies of water could not really stay here permanently. Yet, the contrast from my home is so great that I want to return and probably not just once. In other posts, I'll connect you to the people of the region. For the moment, I give you images of the land that shaped them.

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment if you are so inclined, I enjoy reading what you have to say. As always, enjoy your own travels. Dare to venture beyond your present horizon and experience what is there.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Acoma Pueblo

A few days ago we visited the Acoma Pueblo (known as Sky City) a few miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The experience was incredible! The Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continuously settled pueblo in the Americas-people still live there full time. The day was perfect with its cloudless blue sky. The hour and a quarter tour was excellent.

A couple of the photos need to be explained. The pool of water is a natural sink hole. At once time the plateau, thousands of feet above sea level today, was covered by ocean. There are now fresh water crabs that live in the sink hole and remain dormant until the waters come.

The church was built at the command of the Spanish colonists. It was later a focus of resistance during the Pueblo Revolt. Today 85 % of the pueblo dwellers practice both their traditional religion and Christianity.

The ladders were pulled up in the event that invaders fought their way up the mesa. Traditionally there were no doors on the lower level of the dwelling.

At the end of our tour, we sampled grilled pork with red chili paste-delicious.

I am mentioning the Acoma web page for those interested in exploring more:

I'll share more photos of the trip later. At the moment, there are five days to explore Santa Fe and the surrounding area.

As always, that you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment, they are always appreciated. Dare to explore beyond your present horizon and, may your travels be interesting.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Westward on Route 66

Seven days and about 1,500 miles later, we are finally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Part of the reason for the slowness of the trip is that we got off of the highway and followed old Route 66. A store owner in Tucumcari, New Mexico said that she met Paul McCartney in her store when he followed Route 66 on his 66th birthday. (She had a newspaper article as evidence of the visit.) The other reason for the delay in travel was that twice we had to stayover in a place due to extremely high winds (up to 60mph) that swept over the flatlands.

We're now in Albuquerque for four days and then the same in Santa Fe before turning around and starting our journey back. I've already taken over 50 photos in Albuquerque in the few short hours that we've been here. Once I find time to do a bit of photo editing, I'll share some of what has been seen. In the meantime, here are sample views as one travels westward on Route 66.

Thank you for visiting,please come again. May your own travels be interesting and enjoyable.