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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Santa Fe Days

Our last day in San Antonio was actually spent in Fredericksburg again, a really lovely town in the middle of Texas Hill Country. Our reason for going there was to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. We were surprised to find this museum smack dab in the middle of a small town in Texas, but it turns out that Admiral Nimitz was born and raised in Fredericksburg, and in 1971 The Nimitz Foundation was created to provide additional funding for the Nimitz Museum which was established in the former Nimitz Hotel. The museum had evolved to become one of the most highly regarded military museums in the country. Al has always been interested in the Pacific War, so we decided to spend the day there. The dogs needed a grooming, so we made appointments for them at a local groomer, and we went off to visit the museum. Six hours later, they were ready to be picked up, and we had barely gotten through the main portion of the museum. Now I know why the admission ticket was good for two days; you definitely need it to cover then entire complex. I did take pictures, but unfortunately my laptop had a major "hiccup" while I was loading them and they disappeared :-(. However, over at Dave and Diane's blog, they have some wonderful pictures to look at (they happened to be there the day after we were). We enjoyed the museum very much, learned quite a bit about the war that we didn't know, and heartily recommend a trip there even if you are not a military enthusiast.

The next day we departed lovely San Antonio for new adventures in Santa Fe. It was a 700 mile trip, which we broke up into two days. We took a diagonal route in that direction, starting on I10 (we've been on that interstate a long ways!), then Hwy. 83, 153 and 73 until meeting I20 for a short ways in Sweetwater Texas (where I managed to get a little lost for a few minutes but then got going the right way and caught up to Al and the coach!). It was actually a very pleasant drive through some pretty country, much different from our drive two years ago from Dallas to Amarillo. After just a few miles on I20 we got off on Hwy. 84 and headed to Lubbock, our stop for the night. It was a long day at 400 miles, and I was happy to pull into the KOA right off the highway north of Lubbock. I know why not just stay at WalMart for free? We just don't particularly care for that, I feel more comfortable being in a campground away from traffic and noise for the night. Its better for me to get a good night's sleep before moving on than save the 23 bucks it cost me to stay.

Our second day of driving was only (!) 300 miles and we did get a fairly early start for it. We stayed on US84 all the way to I25 circling Santa Fe (through it's different name changes) and again it was a pleasant drive with nice scenery and little traffic. We had one little difficulty that day with the drive that has popped up now and then, and I'm wondering if anyone else has this problem with their Ford truck: Al likes to put it on cruise control when the driving is pretty straightforward. At one point I noticed him slowing down then pull over to the side. Apparently the truck started losing power. there were no error codes like when the sensor went bad, and the truck doesn't stop, just a significant loss of power. We could see there was a pretty good sized town about 20 miles ahead of us (Santa Rosa) so we put on the emergency flashers and headed that way. After pulling into the truck stop there and letting the truck sit while we ate lunch, the computer seems to reset itself and then we're fine again. Has this happened to anyone else? I believe it probably has something to do with the cruise control, as the three times it has happened since we've owned it the cruise control has been on.

We stayed at Los Suenos de Santa Fe RV Park and Campground, again for the convenience of visiting the sites we had on our "list". It certainly wasn't a pretty campground, but it was quiet and clean and the folks were friendly. It was certainly convenient for restocking food supplies as every store you could want was less than two miles away! I had seen awhile ago that our friends from Amazon, Wayne and Rhonda of Turn When the Road Does, were going to be in the area at the same time, and we made arrangements to meet. We had a great lunch at the Horseman's Haven Cafe, a locals place that had come recommended by other blog writers. We then did some walking around Old Town Santa Fe, before heading back to our coach (had to show it off you know!) and talking some more. Seems whenever you get RV'ers together there's a whole lot of talking going on. It was wonderful seeing them, and safe travels till we meet again!

So, onto the pictures of what we did and where we went while in Santa Fe!
Warning: this is a longer post than normal: I'm trying to play catch-up again!

Before meeting Rhonda and Wayne at lunch, we drove out to visit Pecos National Historical Park. 

Pecos Pueblo dates from the 1400's, when 2000 inhabitants occupied the site. 

One of the 20 kivas of the pueblo, you were invited to climb down the ladder and check out the inside.

The missionaries arrived in due course, starting in 1598. Primary church building took place from 1621-1634. The pueblo revolt of 1680 drove the Spaniards back to Mexico, and the Indians built this kiva in the mission's convento as a symbol of defiance. The Spaniards did come back, in 1692, re-established the mission, but the function of Pecos as a trade center died off as new towns were established to the east. Pecos was virtually a ghost town when the Santa Fe Trail trade began flowing past it in 1821.

After lunch with Wayne and Rhonda ( I did try a VERY small taste of green chili sauce, way to spicy for my taste!), we strolled around Old Town Santa Fe for a couple of hours. It was very crowded, being Sunday and a beautiful day, but we did see a few of the sights.

Loretto Chapel, home of the "miraculous staircase".

This is a spiral staircase going to the choir loft comprised of two 360 spirals with no center or side supports; apparently defying engineering logic! What was really scary though was that originally there wasn't even the banister to hold onto! 

Loretto Chapel is no longer an active church, but can be rented out for private purposes. 

Some interesting sculptures in the gardens

St. Francis Cathedral, home of the oldest Madonna statue in the United States

Santa Fe Plaza, the end of the Santa Fe Trail where the trade wagons were unloaded.

Our adventures over the next three days....
We drove the historic High Road to Taos; it was nice, but not quite the "magical" journey I expected. maybe we were just too tired that day :-). I forgot to mention earlier that we were now at a quite higher elevation than we were accustomed to, over 6000 feet and I think it was starting to take its toll on us. The towns along here were very picturesque, but I had hoped to stop at Nambe Falls and take a hike with the dogs. We got down to the start of the recreation area, and found it was closed Monday through Wednesday. Ugh.

We did drive up a forest road, and had a nice lunch among the trees, with a field that Casey could run around in and get out some energy. 

A nice view of the Rio Grande River.

Another day we drove the Jemez Mountain Trail. Now this was a beautiful drive. Along the way we stopped at Los Alamos, home of the laboratory famous for the "Manhattan Project", or the invention of the nuclear bomb. Little did we know, but one of the top five science museums in the country is located here, and Al stopped in for a visit. 

He spent about an hour here, looking at the exhibits. He said it was very nicely done and informative and again, well worth the visit. And, it was free!

What a view coming down from Los Alamos.

After lunch, a picnic at a wonderful overlook (windy though!), we next stopped at Bandelier National Monument.

Bandelier was home to the Ancestral Pueblo people, descended from groups of hunters and gatherers who came to the region over 10,000 years ago. 

Archaeological surveys show at least 3000 sites in Bandelier. For generations these people lived in small scattered settlements of maybe one or two families each.

By the mid-1200's, groups began coming together into larger settlements, with some exceeding 600 rooms by the 1500's. After this, the groups again began dwindling, as they settled in villages along the Rio Grand River.

 The Main Loop Trail (1.2 miles) goes past Tyuonyi and the cliff dwellings. Another 1/2 mile brings you to Alcove House, a cliff dwelling reached only by climbing long wooden ladders. 

It was another very interesting stop. Frijoles Canyon was beautiful.

As this has gone on quite awhile now, I will continue this post about the rest of the Jemez Mountain Trail and our trip to Petroglyph National Monument tomorrow...its supposed to be a cold rainy windy day, so we'll probably be hunkered down. At least we have no snow forecast for here! ( We are now in Cortez Colorado, within view of Mesa Verde National Park!)


  1. $23 for the night? That must be the cheapest KOA in the country.

  2. wow. . .you have covered a lot of territory, haven't you?

    Great pics!

  3. My, oh my...those last few pictures of the landscape are amazing. Can't wait until we can get back out west and see those for ourselves. Keep the beautiful scenery coming!!!

  4. So glad you enjoyed your visit to my home state of New Mexico. When I see your pictures, I am glad to be on my way back for a while.

  5. Not sure what the issue is with the truck losing power, except ours did that when the turbo sensor was going out, but we had an idiot light come on..actually the check engine light. Nice pics of the area!

  6. I'm with you on wanting a good night's sleep which I never seem to be able to get at Walmart. $23 seems a small price to pay. 300 and 400 mile days would be enough to kill me I'm sure. Don't know how you do that. Interesting that the chapel is no longer an active church but you can rent it out. Wonder who gets the rental fees. Love the look of Bandelier. Thanks. I'm putting that one on my list for sure. You've been mighty busy. Hope the truck issue gets resolved.