Sunday, May 26, 2019

Always new Surprises!

As we headed out of town, we took a side trip to Trinidad Co.  We had been here several years ago,  so this was a quick trip through this time just to see it again, and what changes there might be, or what we might have missed.

One of the things we did want to go see this time was just out of town, in Ludlow.  It was the site of the Ludlow Massacre.  It was the Ludlow Tent Colony Site National Historic Landmark.  Jack had to enlighten me, as it was something I had not heard of before.  The coal miners called a strike in September of 1913.  The coal companies evicted thousands of miners and their families from their homes in company towns.  In January of 1914 the United Mine Workers Assoc organized a rally in Trinidad to protest poor working and living conditions.  Governor Ammons called out the Colorado National Guard to help keep the peace and by April 1914, membership in the local militia units consisted mostly of company employees, who sided against the miners.  On April 20th hostilities came to a head, which resulted in the Ludlow Massacre.  Lives were lost on both sides.  The tent colony burned and two women and eleven children suffocated in a cellar dug beneath their tent, know as the Death Pit.  The Death Pit and the monument serve as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the battle.

John Lewis officially became UMWA president in 1920 and remained at the helm for 40 years.  Lewis built the UMWA into a formidable union, raising the living standards of mine workers throughout North America and transforming health care in Appalachia.  His work in creating the Congress of Industrial Organizations (the CIO) in the 1930s brought millions of unorganized industrial workers into unions and led to an increase in living standards for millions of American families.

All this happened long before many of us were even born, and if it were not for memorials like this, we wouldn't know of the bravery of those before us.  That's why I believe it's important that statues, and memorials are important, least we forget...and therefore repeat our mistakes.

We are now in a new area of Colorado for us!  Alamosa!  It's home to a National, we got to go to another one yesterday!  This one said it was one that is "a least visited park"...well, I had to laugh as we waited in line for an hour just to get into the park!  ;-)  It is the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Colorado!  Well, it was worth every minute of the wait!  After all, we don't have little ones asking "are we there yet?", or anything barking, we had food and beverages, and nothing else on our agenda, so, we were just fine with the delay...The sun was shining and as we inched along, I got out from time to time and snapped pictures!  All was good!

Line ahead of us...line behind far as the eye can see!
Once we arrived, Jack's "parking karma" worked and we got a parking spot at the Visitor's Center, went in and checked things out, saw the video, purchased our postcards, etc. then drove on down to the dunes, and once again found another parking spot, had our lunch then walked on over to see the dunes.  Well, what a site!

First of all, coming from California, I'm used to seeing people experiencing dunes via "dune buggies" - right off the road.  Big white hills, with people driving all around, here and there, up, down, around and around.  So, I guess, that's kind of what I expected.  Nope, not here.

Here, it's treated more like the beach, only...up hill, a 700' hill.  First, you walk, play in a creek, a very cold creek (well, cold to me, not so much to the locals, they thought it was just fine).  Then, after crossing this creek (Medano Creek) you walk along the sand for quite a bit, this you hike up the hill as far as you want (the dunes go up 700') and you slide down on however you want...people bring wooden boards, snowboards, rubber tubes, or just tumble down!  Some just like to climb to the top to sit and look out at the mountains.
People come for the day, bring chairs, tents, buckets, coolers, beach stuff!  It's amazing!

We made it as far as the base of the hills, but by then I was out of steam, no way could I make it up those hills.  By then the winds were really blowing, stinging and I had, had enough.  It was beautiful, amazing, fun, and I was ready to leave.  Leave the "sliding" to the young ones.  Maybe 20 years ago I would have done it, but not today...but I had fun anyway!  Glad we came!  Interesting place, I must say!

...on the road in Colorado, Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A trip down a small piece of The Santa Fe Trail

We decided to take a day trip from Raton NM to Cimarron NM, which is a small part of the Santa Fe Trail.  They are not far apart, but for about 40 minutes, all you see between them is wide open land, with a few herd of cattle here and there, interspersed with some deer grazing.  Unlike the desert, it was all green though, so not bad to look at, I guess.  A few houses from time to time (always amazes me how people live “out in the middle of nowhere”?).  Anyway…our first stop, was Philmont Scout Ranch!

The National Scouting Museum at Philmont Scout Ranch is 140,177 acres (or 219 square miles).  It is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national High Adventure Base.  Since 1939 more than one million Scouts and leaders have explored the rugged trails, high peaks and incredible landscape.  All of the land has been donated to the Scouts, starting with Mr & Mrs Philmont, in 1938.  The museum was quite impressive, as was all the beautiful buildings surrounding it.  We have family that have been in scouting for many years, and hold it in high regard, as well as Jack was a scout in his youth!

On our way into the town of Cimarron, we saw an old cemetery, so of course I had to stop!  Mountain View Cemetery had gravestones dating back to the 1870’s, maybe even earlier, as many were wearing off.

Time for lunch, so we headed into to town, and having done my homework, knew to go to the St. James Hotel!  It didn’t disappoint!  You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but inside, this sweet 1800’s hotel was “done up right”!  The Lambert Restaurant was fully decked out in all it’s “cowboy finery” with steerheads above the large fireplaces and photographs of Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, along with a beautiful old safe that had been used at the “Unofficial Bank” - since Cimarron didn’t have one in the 1800’s!

After our delicious lunch, we strolled through the lobby and the lower floor of the hotel to see the rooms set aside that Jesse James, Bat Masterson and Pancho Griego used when they were frequent guests.  Quite nice, even for today, let alone back in 1872!

Afterward, we went to check out the Aztec Mill down the road, but it was closed.  Cool looking Mill, to bad…

As we drove out of town, we made one last stop at the  NRA Whittington Center.  Boy, did they have an entrance!  One very long drive, with every state flag, blowing in the wind (and was the wind blowing that day too!).  Super nice folks there, and quite a nice little museum and gift shop.  They had quite a collection of antique guns and rifles, including one of Annie Oakley’s.

All in all, it was a fun day, and I’m glad we went!  Tomorrow we are off to Colorado!

...On the road to Colorado,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

...and we are off!

We are finally off on our 2019 Summer trip!  It's taken weeks of  s l o w l y  getting ready to depart.  It's different now, having a house and an RV.  Having moved a lot of our belongings into the house, now having to move them back into the RV...remembering what to bring, what we don't have to now, etc.  It's all good...just different.  With a shorter trip, and with the weather doing it's wild and crazy things, we changed our plans (several times) too.  I had really wanted to do the eastern seaboard this year, traveling all along the coastline, all the way up to Maine...but after seeing what Mother Nature has been up to, we decided it was best we stay away from that, we will first head out to New Mexico, then over to Colorado to visit some friends, on to Nebraska, then in June we have a Tiffin Rally in Wyoming, then we plan on heading into Canada.  All this depends on the weather of course!  The only "reservations" we have is the one in Albuqueque because of the appointment for the RV and the rally...the rest is "go with the flow"! 

First stop turned out to be a bit more interesting than planned.  We just wanted an "over-night, no-frills" stop.  I found what I thought was a cheap, albeit, perhaps interesting, pull over, called the Crystal Forest Gift Shop in Holbrook AZ.  It was just outside of Winslow, which was about halfway to Albuqueque.  The write up said you could park for free, or it had electric for $10. It also said it had pull-thrus.  We thought for $10, the electric was worth it.  So off we went.  It was confusing.  On one side of the road was the boondocking, pull-thrus; on the other side was the electric, all back-ins.  Ugh.  Oh well.  The parking lot was surrounded by large petrified logs...different! 

We also  ended up visiting  Gray's Petrified Wood Company down the road, which was interesting. 

One thing about traveling to places you've been (a number of times), is a feeling of "coming home again", and finding your favorite places!  We have a mechanic in Albuqueque that we have gone to a number of times that knows our baby well, and we trust, so we come here every couple of years for an oil change and tune-up.  It's Advantage Automotive, and they are great!  While we are here, we always have dinner and breakfast at our two favorite spots too!  Range Cafe in Bernalillo for dinner, and Wecks for the best breakfast ever! 

We left there as soon as possible, as the KOA (right next door to the mechanic) was way to expensive! and headed out of town!  Best place we could find was another KOA, in Raton, on the boarder to Colorado.  Nothing much here, just a place to stay en route to our friends. 

We had planned on spending Memorial Day/week with our friends, but found out yesterday that plans have changed, and now we won't be seeing them until June.  So, I spent all afternoon trying to find us a place for the holiday!  After about 30 calls...FINALLY I got us a place that seems nice, and new to us, in Alamosa CO, so should be interesting.  Phew!

...on the road in New Mexico,  Marie