Travelogue Days 7-11

We arrived at the Abuquerque/Bernalillo KOA by 12:30, got set up and checked the place out. It’s a nice one, sweet pool and patio, clean and quiet.  Our first stop was to follow the signs for Kaktus Brewery at the other side of the campground and try some of their beer.  It’s just a quick walk to a really cool place and we went back several times.

Unfortunately, Sonnystone, too had a leaky tire.  The next morning we visited a Big O Tire to get it fixed — we had a good spare that we put on.  While waiting, we headed for the nearest grocery store and picked up some steaks to grill that evening.  After dinner a big wind blew through and I headed out to bring in some stuff.  Wearing my Nike slides, I slid off the bottom step and gave my left foot a really good twist, bruised my right foot, and skinned up my shin.  Whaaa???  Since we had planned to hike the next day at Petroglyphs, our plans had to change…

We just readjusted and visited the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center.

I want to say more in another post about what I learned from this place and how it affected me.  We also ate at their restaurant and it was delicious.

I had so looked forward to seeing the Petroglyphs, but the next day my foot was still sore.  We went down to the Visitor Center which is not adjacent to the hiking trails.  There we watched a 20-minute movie that explained how the volcanic escarpment was formed, why they were able to carve on them, how they carved on them and some ideas about what they mean.  We picked up some trail maps for the next day’s hiking.

Then we came back toward our campground and about 3 miles beyond to Coronado Historic Site.  This site has a large underground Kiva that used to be covered with murals before the archaeologists came in and carried it away to the University of New Mexico.  To their credit, they went through a big process to preserve them and 7 are on display at this facility.  You can also climb down into the Kiva to see one that a Native painted for them, but we missed the tour.  Not sure my foot was up to it, anyway.

Sitting outside were some Natives selling jewelry and carved cottonwood kachinas.  I talked with the carver for quite a while.  That, too, is something for another post.

Finally, yesterday we got up early and went out to see the Petroglyphs.  The foot was only tender, so I was ready for the main attraction…

I hate to admit it, but I was terrified the entire first hike, and that was the shorter one!!  It is like a rock climb.  I mean, I fall on 3 steps…we were a mile up in the air standing on ledges…!  The only thing scarier than climbing up was the thought of climbing down.  But I made it!  The second trail had more flat and more handrails, so I was only scared…

Old Town was just what I expected.  In fact, I had a feeling that I had been there before as we browsed through shops of junk-made-in-mexico.  We didn’t buy, but these were food for thought…

There was definitely more of a Spanish flair to the place with its tiny plaza.  The church is some famous very old church…  We ate at Church Street Cafe and appreciated the Mexican influence on our food, though!

They’re predicting storms all day today, so it’s time to start the drive back.  We’re packing it in and plan on leaving about 10am rocky mountain time heading toward Amarillo, probably arrive about 5 or 6p central time.  Then we’ll plow on through the next two days, stopping at the same KOA that we visited on the way here.

That’s the outline, but the story is so much richer, deeper, and enlightening for me. You can bet I have tons more pictures of big skies and Sandia Mountains and I’m looking forward to returning home and writing about what I’ve learned.

Peace

Travelogue: Days 1-6

I was soo ready to leave Sonnystone last Wednesday morning…we were up and out of the driveway at 7:27am.  470 miles and 8 hours later, we pulled into the Joplin KOA.  We’ve found that 450 miles/day is just about right.  Missouri was so humid that my hair turned into a bleached-blonde-brillo-pad, so I was happy to stop.  So was Wink…

We weren’t quite so spry the next morning, but still pulled out for the Amarillo KOA – another 460 miles – at about 8am.  Now, Amarillo stinks…I mean, smells bad, like cowshit or just plain cows.  Last time we were there I almost became a vegetarian, thanks to that smell and seeing the poor cows all herded up together…>shudder<  Our KOA was far enough away from the stockyards, though, and it was a dandy.  The humidity was still high and the pool was cool.  They had a lot of artsy metal sculptures around…our site was facing a field of wildflowers and there was a little pony grazing on the other side…

There were some long trains running just over the ridge, but close enough for me to count cars in the evening, and its mournful whistle was my morning alarm at 6:38am.  We didn’t leave until 9am or so…onlsy had 279 miles to drive, after all.

We stopped at Cline’s Corners Truck Stop, Travel Center, or however you want to describe the kitschy quirky place.  I love that place… you could make it an afternoon of wandering around inside.  Unfortunately, I didn’t carry my camera in, so you’ll have to visit someday.

There are lines of billboards heralding their history as you approach and you simply must sing these lyrics from the  Lyle Lovett song “Nothing but a Good Ride” over and over when you see each one…the driver loves it…

Cline’s Corners Truck Stop…Waitress with a wet mop…

Telling him to don’t walk…He tips his hat and don’t talk 

45 minutes up 285 from there was our first destination, the Santa Fe KOA Journey.  It’s okay.  I truly love where it is located, 12 miles south of the Plaza on a road that turns right into the Santa Fe Trail.  There are juniper trees dividing the sites that give you some privacy, but they really got in the way when we were trying to level our rig.  There is no cell phone service, but the wi-fi is strong.  (there is a cellular hotspot on the patio in front of the office) I’m used to just the opposite–plenty of cell, poor wi-fi–and I like this better.

We’ve been on the go ever since we arrived… First stop was the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, a small place.  They do have a small exhibit of Ken Price that “matched” well with O’Keefe’s style, but it is primarily Georgia’s art.  There is a cool documentary running throughout the day that gives you a view into who the Artist really was…  I read the biography, Georgia O’Keefe, A Life, recently and have mixed feelings about her.  That’s a discussion for another day. I know that I like nearly all of her work, my least favorite being her most-famous and my favorite is her last, The Beyond.

 

Santa Fe was having Fiesta!  Great, you say, you can soak up the local flavor…  I was/am kinda pissed.  The Plaza was surrounded by vendors with $7 lemonade and $10 burritos, mediocre music groups on a stage covering the beauty of the park.  It was grossly inferior to Eville’s Fall Festival and I couldn’t See the Plaza for all the people.

We went back to Burro Alley and ate at Maguey’s where there was a Mariachi band warming up for their afternoon performance down at the Plaza.  The food was great, margaritas a little limey, and we were stuffed when we waddled back to the car…

 

I loved the Pecos National Historical Park… from wikipedia:

The main unit of the park preserves the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, also known historically as Cicuye. The first Pecos pueblo was one of two dozen rock-and-mud villages built in the valley around AD 1100 in the prehistoric Pueblo II Era. Within 350 years the Pueblo IV Era Pecos village had grown to house more than 2,000 people in its five-storied complex.

The main unit also protects the remains of Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos, a Spanish mission near the pueblo built in the early 17th century. A 1.25-mile (2 km) self-guiding trail begins at the nearby visitor center and winds through the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and the mission church.

 

The long-awaited drive to Taos on the High Road was Lovely…

We stopped at El Santuario de Chimayó  along the road.  From wikipedia:

Each year some 300,000 people from all over the world make pilgrimages to the Santuario de Chimayó during Holy Week, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, some seeking blessings and some in fulfillment of a vow.[15] Walking is traditional; some pilgrims walk from as far away as Albuquerque, about 90 miles (150 km).

Many visitors to the church take a small amount of the “holy dirt”, often in hopes of a miraculous cure for themselves or someone who could not make the trip. Formerly, at least, they often ate the dirt.[6] (Likewise pilgrims to the original shrine of Esquipulas eat the supposedly curative clay found there.)[8] Now seekers of cures more commonly rub themselves with the dirt or simply keep it. The Church replaces the dirt in the pocito from the nearby hillsides, sometimes more than once a day, for a total of about 25 or 30 tons a year.

The Church takes no position on whether miracles have occurred at the Santuario.

 

We ate our lunch overlooking the Taos Plaza…

Only four miles down the Low Road from Taos is the Rancho de Taos and their impressive church…which is actually hemmed in by shops and is only impressive in the pictures, sadly…

There’s a whole other story about trying to get back to the Santa Fe Plaza and getting stuck in traffic because their Fiesta procession (parade) was going on when we tried to return on Sunday…Too Many People for these agoraphobes, so we made a last visit on Monday evening…

 

Today we are driving an hour down the road to Albuquerque. Check-out is 11am, so we’re taking our time getting out.  I’m glad to get you somewhat caught up on our adventures!  Hope you’re having your own kind of fun!

Peace

 

 

 

 

Postcard from the road…

We stayed at Wickham Park campground in Melbourne, FL for eight days, five of them covered in charcoal clouds and windy cold rain.  The last three have been perfect Florida weather, though.

We went straight over to see Aunt Shirley on Saturday and on Sunday Cousin Kim had a little soiree’ at her house.

L-R Me, Aunt Shirley, Shianne, Kim, and Jonathan…

Wickham Park is a beautiful place with miles of walking.  Our campsite, however, happens to be shitty, right next to a fulltimer who is spread out like backwater.  The wi-fi is non-existent. I burnt through all the data on my phone while we were stuck inside the trailer during those stormy days, in addition to reading three books…

When we could finally get out and about we made the most of it with a drive to Sebastian Inlet State Park.

We visited Melbourne Beach…

(We spent more time with Kim and Aunt Shirley, too, but I didn’t take any pictures!!! )

Today we are checking into Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground at noon.  The Jrs will be arriving at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort around the same time.  The New Yorkers will be fashionably late this evening, staying at Saratoga Springs.  We have a week of festivities planned and all of the kids are bouncing off the walls with excitement, especially JoJo.  It’s the first time the Entire Family All Together has done Disney since 2015!!

There will be pictures…and wi-fi Everywhere…

Peace

 

Photographs

I would have blogged more often this week, as I know you are just chomping at the bit to read my scintillating travelogue.  The internet, alas, as been only intermittent…to put it nicely.  Very frustrating…so I am now using my mobile hotspot and must keep an eye on my data usage.

The morning before we left Perry, Casey discovered a large lump on the driver front tire of our Expedition.  Luckily, we had only a 3-hour drive to St. Augustine Beach KOA.  This KOA is a nice one, 3/4 mile from the beach and just 3 miles from the Historic City of St. Augustine.

After setting up camp, we inquired as to a Tire Shop and got lucky…The Firestone Tire Center was smack-dab in the Historic City, so we dropped the car off for a new tire and walked around town.  Nice $135 free parking, eh?

We have been to St. Augustine Historic spots before.  There are reallyreally old buildings, forts, churches, the perfunctory tourist shops, decent restaurants, and the Fountain of Youth, of course…   We ate lunch and wandered around.

Our entire stay at St. Augustine Beach was sunny, highs lower 80s and breezy…in my mind perfect…  The beach had a nice pier and was just crowded enough with happy sun worshippers…

Saint Augustine Beach FL

Anastasia State Park was about a mile down the road, so we walked its dunes and hiked a short trail…

It’s only 123 miles from our St. Augustine Beach campsite to our current spot in Wickham Park, Melbourne, but since we made the trip and got set up, we haven’t seen the sun…  I am accustomed to everyday rain in Florida, and I remember a day where it actually rained all day, but this is running to 4 days in a row, with highs only up to mid-60’s.

And isn’t that perfect when you need to spend a couple of days indoors…?! I have already been to visit my Aunt Shirley and I’ll go back and spend another afternoon (doing laundry, too).  We are hanging out over at Cousin Kim’s house this afternoon, letting her feed us… I deliberately waited to shop for clothes until I got here and am thrilled to have a SteinMart and Bealls nearby, so shopping is a nice indoor activity.  Oh, and I need to get the witch nails cut back again, so there’s that.   By the time I get myself all prettied and cleaned, the Sun Will Return and we can head back to the beaches.

Uncle Junior died last Tuesday morning at 2am in the Linda White Hospice. He was a sweet man and I will miss our visits.   Aunt Shirley is the last of Mom’s brothers and sisters, 83-years-old and doing okay.  >sigh<

When the sun comes back, we’ll get out and Wow you with more photos…  Till then…

Peace

 

 

 

 

On the road…March 10, 2019

I like a little bit of Winter…cozy days by the fire, watching the birds at the feeders, the pretty snows that outline the branches, but I am always ready to head south in March.

I made my plans last year and got my reservations in order, but…changes.

We had to plan our departure date around the weather (we drive through Dixie tornado alley), so we left early to  sneak through on days between storms.  We managed to avoid winds or rain and it’s been warm and sunny since we arrived.

One of my complaints about trailer trippin’ is the lack of RV parks that have availability, especially this time of year in Florida.  The Snowbirds start to leave in March, (having been here since November) but they amble out throughout the month.  When we realized we needed to leave earlier than planned, there were few options, so we grabbed a convenient KOA here in Perry, FL.

There is nothing to do here…Nothing…seriously.  And they close down all of Nothing on Sunday.  It’s a decent campsite, though, and we’ve been organizing things in the trailer, which we couldn’t do in the 20-degree temperatures that we left behind.

I do love my Trailer…enough to name it Sonnystone2…but I was thinking about re-naming it “Like a Rolling sonnyStone”.  We  haven’t made the sign, yet, so what do you think?

We’re just relaxing, but there’s drama going on back in Evansville that I am dealing with.  My uncle Jr is dying and had I been there, I would be with him at the hospital. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the phone, but I could have been much more effective in person.  I feel guilty, but keep reminding myself that many, many things are not in my control and I’ve done the best I can.

Tomorrow we’re packing it in and making a little 4-hour drive to St. Augustine Beach (our original destination) to stay for the week.   There’s plenty to do there…

…So if you go from nowhere
On the road to somewhere
And you meet anyone
You know it’s me.

Peace

Finis

The week at Disney World flew by!  We arrived at Fort Wilderness campground on the 17th.  Our site was right on the corner, a little loud, but perfect for people-watching and listening from behind the trees…

We took in a nice sunset from the dock…

The Joses were due to arrive at 9am the next morning, but met up with faulty planes Twice, and didn’t arrive till 4 or so.  They stayed over at Wilderness Lodge, a quick boat trip away from our campground.  We met up with them at Disney Springs and bought our ears!! Then back to our homeplaces to rest…

(We use the Disney Memory Maker Photopass which pays for any pictures taken by the Disney Photographers who are placed all over all the parks, and even on the resorts…   These include the pictures they take from the rides and with many of the characters, and in the most iconic kodak spots.  Because I am an annual passholder, I get to keep all of the pictures forever in my Disney account, but that is a pain when you have to scroll through 400 pictures from our last trip to get to the new ones.  While Disney IT gets those deleted, I have to use the pictures taken from my camera.  Of course, this means you will have to endure the Movie made from the Disney shots later this week…)

On Monday we were in the Magic Kingdom…

Tuesday at Epcot…

Wednesday at Hollywood Studios, or as I like to call it, MGM… (Who knows what they’ll call it next)…

Wednesday evening, back to Disney Springs, where Eliza danced!!!

Thursday was All-Day-Magic over at the Kingdom…breakfast at 8am with the fellas from 100-acre Woods…

We had Terrific spots to watch the castle show and fireworks, but you’ll have to take my word for it, since I didn’t take any pictures this year.

After the fireworks, we braved the cold-ish temps to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train—this was the only time I could get a fast-pass, but it was a great way to finish off our trip! (pictures later via Disney)

We said our good-byes to the Jose’ kiddos  on Friday…

 

..but we stayed another day, so headed over to Epcot to dig in to the Flower and Garden Festival…  I’ll share those pictures in another post.

We haven’t seen the sun since we left Florida…

Peace

 

 

 

 

Fam, beach, & car trouble

I would have stayed in Melbourne much longer, but it’s that Snowbird infestation that snaps up all the good campgrounds.  The closest we could stay was here at space coast rv in Rockledge and it is not our style at all, with narrow alleys between crammed-in sites.  The cost is waayy more than it’s worth, and the wi-fi is extra!  We are in this particular area mostly because my Aunt Shirley lives here, very close to her daughter-caregiver, my beautiful cousin, Kim.

We spent Thursday afternoon with Aunt Shirley, took her to the grocery store, and enjoyed a little chicken together.  Kim came by and we followed her home and the evening flew by, jabbering and yacking and doing a Whole Lot of Laughing!  I love that girl! And her daughter, Shianne, too!  And her son, Jon-Jon!  We had a blast…

The next morning, we were heading down to the beach and as soon as we started the car we noticed it was running really bumpy, missing a beat kind-of.  We turned around, went to an Autozone near our camp and did a diagnostic scan: #3 cylinder mis-fire.  Back at the trailer, Casey got under the hood and found a hose was dripping antifreeze right on that spark plug.  He walked over to the Lowe’s right behind us and bought a hose clamp, put it on and tightened everything.  We proceeded to take a Test Drive down to Melbourne Beach…

The hose clamp stopped the leaking, but the mis-fire continues and will until we can get back home…  We drove by Aunt Shirley’s and gave her (and her dog, Leo) another hug.  Back at the trailer, we started to ready for leaving.

We toured a campground that is just what we are looking for — perfect location, lots of trees, and space between the sites.  Our current plan is make Melbourne our March home in 2019, maybe forever.  I really like it here!!

We’re leaving about 10:30, driving the 1.5hours to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, where we’ll be staying for a week.  The Jose’ family will be arriving Sunday morning and we’ll be there to greet them and kick off another Great Disney Adventure.

Peace