Where Did the Puebloans Go?

Puebloans Go

I visited Los Alamos to see what there was beyond the National Laboratory. There wasn’t much except a lovely and modern little town. What they had which was special was elevation with a view!

The first ruins I visited were inhabited from 900 to 1300 after which the populations “disappeared”. Today I visited ruins which were deserted in the period from 1500 to 1700 but whose populations just relocated. They had depleted the resources needed to live and needed to move to a new situation. Their decedents in these cases still live in the area hundreds of years later. Continue reading

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From Smokey Bear to Billy the Kid

Smokey Bear to Billy the Kid

My favorite place to hang out 750 feet below ground is at Carlsbad Caverns. It’s varied, it’s colorful, and it’s vast ... fifth largest in the world. I’ve now been to four of the five largest cave networks in the world.

Before we get to Smokey and Billy, browse a few shots from Carlsbad Caverns. Click to advance pictures.

Yesterday I visited Smokey’s grave and today I spent time at Billy the Kid’s.

But wait, Billy’s grave is the end of the story which spans from 1864 to 1881. Continue reading

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New Mexico is Spacey

New Mexico is Spacey

“I was driving toward Roswell when I saw a flash followed by a loud crash near by. Worried that someone might be hurt I pulled over and went looking. You won’t believe what I found ...”

The world capital of UFOs is Roswell where strange occurrences have been reported since the 1940s. It’s home of the International UFO Museum, UFO City, the annual UFO Festival, and the upcoming Alien Theme Park. Up and down Main Street are space-themed businesses: UFO & Alien Stuff, Alien Zone & Area 51, Not of this World Cafe, Alien Spacecraft, Landing Screen Printing, etc. The place is nuts for alien invasion. I asked the clerk at a gift shop what locals think of it all and she said “We don’t like being the UFO center of the universe but we do love what it does for business!” Continue reading

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Who names themselves “Truth or Consequences”?

Truth or Consequences

In October of 2009, Truth or Consequences won the right to host the Spaceport Visitors Center. In January of 2010 I went looking for that facility. The sign you see is all they had done in four months.

In 1950 the town of Hot Springs won a contest to rename itself after the popular game show Truth or Consequences. Crazy stunt, yes, but the town seems predisposed to such oddities. Sixty years later they won the right to host the Spaceport Visitors Center and today I went looking for it. Continue reading

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Rocks That Tell Stories

Rocks That Tell Stories

Petroglyphs National Monument is full of ancient (and more recent) graffiti. Finding it among the tens of thousands of rocks is like playing “Where’s Waldo?” Still it’s rewarding to find them.

Road closures killed my original agenda for today. No matter, New Mexico has plenty to hold my attention. Today became Rock Day. At two National Monuments I saw first-hand evidence in the form of graffiti of people long dead and learned their stories. I thought it might be boring … wrong! I capped the day with a drive to the top of a 10,700 foot rock called Sandia Crest. From there I could see forever. Continue reading

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Through Hopi and Navajo Nations

Hopi and Navajo

Window Rock is a sacred rock formation, is the name of a town, and is the capitol of the Navajo Nation. That’s quite a few achievements for a big hole in a wall of rock, don’t you think?

If living with great vistas causes your heart to swell then I envy the Hopi and Navajo who live atop mesas. These elevated plateaus provide a perch hundreds of feet above the canyons and valleys. As I drove across their nations, I climbed and crossed three distinct mesas and could see forever into the distance. The people who live on these raised setting enjoy stunning views. However, from what I saw, their living conditions are poor. Here are examples of what I saw:  Continue reading

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Magic Landscapes of Four Corners

Four Corners

Mexican Hat was one spectacle among many. That I was here during winter proved a real advantage for shooting. I could stop anywhere to take pictures, rarely was there any traffic.

Driving through the Four Corners district includes meandering among  the red rock regions that Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado share in common. Striking landscapes! The pictures here were taken at Shiprock, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Agathla Peak, Mexican Hat and others sites.

Magic Landscapes

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Four Gems Against the Odds

Four Gems Against the Odds

Famous for the high path it travels and for its steam locomotion, I knew the C&T was idle for the season. Regardless, I had hoped to drive the route. No go. The pass was closed to all traffic due to snow.

My plan was to drive west along the far north of New Mexico to Farmington. The remarkably useful NMroads.com showed snow had closed many roads. I couldn’t do the Enchanted Circle. I couldn’t drive north from Chama. Neither could I go along a key stretch of scenic route as I had hoped to. However, as evidenced by the fact that I’m typing this in Farmington, with patience and lots of detours I arrived and the day was a success.

Four Gems Against the Odds

Taos to Farmington

I drove through snow, hail, rain, and sun. I drove over ice, packed snow, slush, and dry pavement. The changes in weather and elevation and sunlight brought delight to the photographer in me. Never did I feel endangered but I always remained cautious. Today I drove through a picturesque New Mexico Weather Wonderland!

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The High Road to Taos

High Road to Taos

A horse in a pasture of fresh white snow. It’s one of those scenes I half expected to see here. All the pictures on this page were taken on my drive from Santa Fe taking the High Road to Taos..

High Road to TaosHigh Road to TaosHigh Road to TaosHigh Road to TaosHigh Road to TaosMy visit to New Mexico is to try to figure it out. Unlike other areas of the country, it’s history is seeped in a Spanish and Mexican experience and doesn’t appear to have later been overwhelmed by the British or French influences. Mingled with the ways of the indigenous, a distinct character emerged.

You see this character everywhere in the form of an aesthetic. Adobe is everywhere. The native style touches everything from architecture to landscaping to art and to anything that can be given a local touch. Even national brands adopt the local look. McDonalds has adobe restaurants, Starbucks adopts a local art theme, and Best Western takes on a rancho look.

Today was only a start but tootling around Santa Fe and Taos is giving me a sense. The snow storm reduced my day’s agenda but I still managed to come away feeling pretty fulfilled … and in one piece! Continue reading

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Summary: Toying with Tech

Toying with Tech

In the shadow of the Oklahoma City Bombing site stands a moving memorial. Here I recorded the inscription over the gateway using a tool called audioBoo. After 15 years this nerve is still raw.

My goal was to spend time getting to know New Mexico but I had to get there first. On this trip I chose to ease up on my pace, experiment with new blogging tools, and carry a bicycle with me. This provided me with the opportunity to learn, the luxury of taking bike rides, and the time to keep pace with my blogging. A mixed bag but a decidedly pleasant change.

The posts which together capture this ride include: Continue reading

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