Sky City

Today we kenneled the girls and went to the pueblo at Acoma (pronounced – Acama, I am constantly told not, A coma ;-). ). The actual pueblo is called Sky City. It is at the very top of a large Mesa. (See Mahgrit’s post for pictures.) The only way to visit this site is via a guided tour. Our tourguide was a young lady named Sparkle (her actual name in her native language is too much for me.) She explained all of the structures and gave a very good history lesson.

Talk about ” off the grid” Sky City has no water, no sewer, no electric, no utilities what so ever. All needs must be taken up. In the past everything had to be carried up by hand on steps cut into the walls; Mostly by the women on their heads. A road has been built so manually carrying things up the steps is no longer necessary. There are a few dozen people who live in Sky City permanently while some have homes there but live down in the valley. Our tourguide was one of these people. She showed us her house on the Mesa top and explained that she lived down in the valley. She owned the house because it is a matriarchal society and all property is passed down to the youngest daughter.

All in all a fantastic visit.

The drive into and back from Sky City was … ready for it … AWESOME! It is very interesting scenery. (Again see Mahgrit’s post for pictures). I seem to believe reading that all this land was under an ocean a million years ago or so. The rock outcroppings are all unique and interesting.

We also got to see an exibition of Zuni tribal dancing and saw some fabulous crafts in jewelry and pottery.

For dinner tonight we went to County Line Barbeque. We first found this restaurant in Austin Tx. We were excited to find one here in Alburquerque . I am sure Mahgrit will publish a picture/ pictures of this dining experience.

Tomorrow, the petroglyphs.

Exploring Acoma Sky City

Day 26: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Visited: Acoma Pueblo (Sky City)
Miles Driven Today: 178
Total Miles: 3,766

Today’s adventure took us to Acoma Sky City (thanks to Ken and to Pat for the suggestion!) We got up early this morning (6 a.m.), got the girls ready and took them to the Academy Kennel just a half mile from the hotel. We boarded them for the day (it cost a whopping $20…thanks!) and we were off. We weren’t sure how long it would take to get to Acoma or how long we’d be there, so we decided to get an early start.

As we drove on I-40, the landscape was beautiful, but severe. Dry mesas seemed sad and unforgiving in the 90-degree heat. There were a few towns along the way–mostly marked by truck stops and casinos. We took our exit and then drove the 15 miles to Sky City.

Today's open road

Today’s open road–on the way to Acoma Sky City

As we neared the Acoma Sky City, the landscape changed. Tall mesas, incredible rock formations, a valley full of trees and another breathtaking vista greeted us. We stopped at a scenic lookout and chatted with one of the community members about the valley. He had some pottery on sale, and we bought a piece–another hummingbird for our collection.

Acoma panorama

Panoramic view of Acoma (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Rock formations Acoma

Rock formations as we approached Acoma

We reached the visitor center and were immediately whisked off on the next tour. The visit to Acoma is an hour-long guided tour. The gal giving the tour was great, and the history was very interesting. This is a living community; with no running water and no electricity (except for a few generators) it’s a hard place to live. But it’s clear that the community is still active.

The views from the Sky City were amazing. But prior to the road being built, the only way to the Acoma Sky City were up some sandstone staircases. Imagine having to haul food and water up this huge bluff! Is the view worth it? Hmm…

Panoramic view from Acoma

Panoramic view from Acoma (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Million dollar view Acoma

Million dollar view at Acoma

Mesa View

View of a Mesa from Acoma

They don’t know how old the adobe buildings are in the Pueblo since there is no written history of the people–only oral histories. But the community is active, and these homes are handed down from mother to youngest daughter. The Acoma are a matriarchal people.

Adobe in Acoma

Adobe in Acoma

Adobes Acoma Pueblo

Adobes in Acoma Pueblo – No running water, electricity

All along the tour, there were vendors selling their acclaimed Acoma pottery. Many were handmade pots decorated in their unique style, while others were decorated bisqueware. Both were beautiful and affordable. Many people in the group went home with trinkets.

Acoma Pottery

Beautiful Acoma Pottery

After the tour, we were taken back to the visitor’s center (you had the option of climbing down a sandstone staircase, but I opted out). For Memorial Day weekend, there were native dancers (someone mentioned Zuni) demonstrating their dances. We stayed for a couple, toured the museum and decided to depart.

Dance Demo

Dance Demo

Tom was hungry, so we stopped at the local Casino and tried their brunch buffet. Mistake. But at least they had fresh veggies and fruit on the salad bar!

On the way to pick up the pups, we stopped at a local Quilt Shop. Yes, this is getting to be a ‘thing’ for me! However, this place was SO fun! Hip Stitch is a little quilt/fabric shop near I-25, just a few miles from our hotel. The gals who own the place are really welcoming and fun! They obviously love what they do and love to share their enthusiasm. They have an awesome ‘hangout’ room in the back where you can come and work on your projects. They even have sewing machines that you can use!!! I picked up some fabric and notions for a ‘road’ project that I’m going to start. But the best part was making new friends. They want to start art swaps with people. Are you game? If so, let them know!

With the Hip Stitch Gals

With the Hip Stitch Gals! What a great, fun store!

Tonight’s dinner was at County Line BBQ. County Line was one of my favorite places when I used to visit Austin on business, and it just so happens that they have a restaurant in Albuquerque! I found them on Yelp, and both Tom and I were SO happy! Of course, we ate way too much, but the food was so good! Tom really couldn’t contain himself.

County Line BBQ

County Line BBQ – Three meat platter with okra. Baby back ribs, brisket, smoked pepper turkey. YUM!

County Line BBQ

County Line BBQ – Tom’s 5 Meat platter, not including sides!

Happy Tom

Happy Tom, master rib eater!

Tomorrow’s agenda includes the Petroglyph National Monument and some down time. We have a long travel day on Monday, so we’re going to chill tomorrow. As you can see, Jasmine has recovered from the kennel ordeal. Both dogs were happy to see us, but it was nice to know that they were well taken care of while we were gone.

Jasmine recovers from her ordeal

Jasmine recovers from her ordeal

Albuquerque Day Into Night

Day 25: Friday, May 24, 2013
Visited: Albuquerque

Today was a sight-seeing day as well as a night out for us. We have been spending so many days out sightseeing and driving that we haven’t done much in the evenings. In fact, we haven’t watched a single sunset since we started this journey. Tonight, we decided to remedy that situation!

We started the day (late) in Old Town. Peppered with galleries, boutiques and souvenir shops, Old Town is a quaint historical district with a huge plaza, church and stores galore. It was a hot and dry day, and we spent much of it in the sun. The pups were in their stroller, once again eliciting interest and chuckles as we walked along the busy streets.

We had lunch at the Back Street Grill, a tiny little restaurant (a little more than a stand) in one of the back alleys around Old Town. The food was fabulous–Mexican Pizza, Pork Tacos with mango puree and Mole sauce and fresh and zesty salsa and guacamole. Fabulous! Unfortunately, all I remembered to take pictures of this morning was a tub of turtles next to the Rattlesnake museum, the dogs and our lunch. 🙂

Mexican Pizza at Back Street Grill

Mexican Pizza at the Back Street Grill. Delicious!

Tortoises

Tortoises. Nuff said.

Flirty dogs

Jasmine and Juliet were especially flirty today. Even Jasmine, who is usually shy, came out of her shell to look around!

We spent a good part of the day in Old Town and then went back to the hotel to take care of the dogs and get ready for dinner. (I did find time to shoot down to the local scrapbook store and take a look! :-))

I made reservations at the High Finance restaurant at the top of Sandia Peak. We drove over to the base of the mountain, passing the Sandia Casino on the way. We first had a quick drink at the Mexican restaurant at the base (yummy Coconut Margarita) and then took the tram up to the top. Even though the day was hazy, it was a dramatic and breathtaking view. I didn’t feel nervous…being enclosed in the gondola was fine. But it was a 2.7 mile trek up to the summit–a whopping10,387 feet! We got to the top and took in the view. It was about 60 degrees up top, while at the base it was still in the high 80’s!

Sandia Peak Tram

Sandia Peak Tram

Going up!

Going up!

Happy couple!

Happy couple!

Sandia Peak Panoramic View

Sandia Peak Panoramic View (CLICK TO VIEW LARGE VERSION)

We got to the restaurant, and after a hassle about our reservation (GRRR), we were seated a few minutes later. The food was okay, but the view was fabulous. Let’s face it…people don’t come to the restaurant for the cuisine. The Green Chile Beef Stew (soup) was pretty good.

High Finance Green Chile Beef Stew

High Finance Restaurant Green Chile Beef Stew

We watched a spectacular sunset and then headed down the tram to the base. It was getting dark, and we once again had a breathtaking view–this time of the twinkling lights of Albuquerque below.

Glorious Sunset at Sandia Peak

Glorious Sunset at Sandia Peak

Albuquerque at night

Albuquerque at night

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Sandia Casino. One foot into the front door and we were hit with the heavy smoke. Ick. The casino was bustling with people and was mostly comprised of penny slots. But given that a max bet is generally a dollar or more…it’s not really ‘penny’ slots! We stayed a few minutes (aka $40) and went back to the hotel.

Tomorrow, we’re kenneling the dogs and heading to Acoma Pueblo. They have a craft fair and native dancing for the Memorial Day weekend; we’re really looking forward to experiencing this pueblo!

Old Town and Sandia Peak

We spent the day today in Old Town Alburquerque .

It was a hot day and the girls attracted all the attention as usual. We had them in the doggie stroller and all of the shops let us take them in.

Old Town is a good shopping area. It has a Lot of good galleries and shops. It is laid out in little alley ways. You go into an alleyway and there are three or four shops in the alley. The products are all pretty good quality and not junk.

I bought a really cool piece of Navajo pottery and Mahgrit found a couple of nice pieces of jewelry.

We went to dinner at the restaurant at the top of Sandia Peak. To get there we had to take a tram up the mountain. The tram rises about 3300 feet in elevation and is about 2.5 miles long. We ha d a ice meal and got to see a really sensational sunset from the top of the mountain.

Tomorrow, off to the Acoma pueblo.

Rollin’ on down to Albuquerque

Said goodbye to Taos this morning. We had a few good days here.

We took a small detour to Bandelier National Park on the way. The drive in was … Ready for it … awesome! But, we were not prepared for the greater awesomeness of the park itself. Unbelievable sheer cliffs down to a pretty valley with a stream running through it. The Anasazi lived here in the valley about 10,000 years ago. These were people who lived in the canyon walls in caves turned into homes. This was a piece of history I have always wanted to see. I was able to climb up a ladder on the side of the canyon wall and look into a living space. We were high up on the canyon wall and Mahgrit had a little trouble with her fear of height but she troopered on through. This was another national park for free on my senior pass whoo hoo!

We left Bandelier and passed through Santa Fe on the way to Alburquerque. Let me tell you the Santa Fe drivers are as bad or worse than NE drivers.

We made it through Santa Fe and continued our drive on the turquoise highway a scenic route. It was another relaxing and pretty drive through the countryside. We were told to stop in Madrid and look around which we did. However, the people were not as friendly as we have become used to. Also there were no sidewalks and it was not easy to get around. Also, they would not let people use their facilities. They had porta-potties for visitors to use. Not very tourist friendly.

We are going to hang around here for the weekend. We don’t want to fight the crowds over the Memorial Day Weekend and getting reservations where we want them is difficult. We might even spend an afternoon at the pool and hot tub.

Bandelier National Monument and the Road to Albuquerque

Day 24: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Start: Taos, NM
End: Albuquerque, NM
Miles Driven Today: 183
Total Miles: 3,539

We left Taos today after a great few days. Taos itself has a bit of small town charm, but we really loved its proximity to some beautiful country.

Today's open road

Today’s open road on the way to Bandelier National Monument. Stunning vistas and sky!

ET Phone Home!

ET Phone Home! Dishes at Los Alamos.

We had originally planned to visit Bandelier National Monument yesterday, but since it was about half-way to Albuquerque, we decided instead to visit on our way. It was a smart choice! Luckily, the weather (and a shady parking lot) allowed us to keep the pups in the car while we were hiking the main trail at Bandelier; otherwise, we would have had to take turns walking the trail and, as Tom put it, they would have had to send a search party for me after I froze in terror on the way down. Hey, I can’t even climb a ladder without getting dizzy.

We snaked through some pretty country before arriving at Bandelier. We were also fortunate to get here before Memorial Day Weekend. Tomorrow, they stop allowing people to park on the property; instead, visitors must park at the closest town (White Rock) and shuttle into the park. Of course, dogs aren’t allowed on the shuttle. Our timing couldn’t be better!

Arriving at Bandelier National Monument

Arriving at Bandelier National Monument

Before we arrived at the Visitor’s Center, we stopped at a scenic overlook. It was deserted. But in mere minutes, there was a sudden horde of people at the edge of the bluff! We’re such leaders!

Scenic overlook at Bandelier

Scenic overlook at Bandelier. (CLICK FOR LARGER PIC) When we pulled up, this vista was deserted. In less than five minutes, about 15 people followed us in. Lemmings!

The trail started with a Kiva and the ruins of the Tyuonyi pueblo. The canyon itself is Frijoles Canyon, and were populated with Ancestral Pueblo people (once identified as Anasazi, which is now an outdated term).

Frijoles Canyon

Frijoles Canyon

View of the pueblo ruins

View of the pueblo ruins

The trail then wound up to the cave dwellings. The Ancient Pueblo people were on average 5′ to 5’6″…still large for the size of these caves. The people also built dwellings on the outside of the caves…often several stories tall. This was a fascinating place and well worth the visit! On the way up, the rock formations were fascinating and really beautiful.

Beauty in the rocks

Beauty in the rocks

Oooh! Scary caves!

Oooh! Scary caves!

We also loved the view from the caves down on the valley. However, I was getting a bit dizzy. I have no idea how these people scaled these walls, dug these caves and made a home in the side of a canyon!

View from Frijoles Canyon

Panoramic view from Frijoles Canyon cliffs. (CLICK FOR LARGER PIC)

Tom climbed up a wooden ladder to look into the cavate (official for cave room). He wanted to take a picture inside. This is the result.

Technical difficulties

Tom had, um, ‘technical difficulties’ when taking a picture of the cave rooms. Hahahahaha!

After we left Bandelier, we drove back through Santa Fe and onto the Turquoise Trail. Going through Santa Fe’s business district was a reminder of how lucky we’ve been with our open roads and lack of traffic. It was a bit of a rude awakening, and we were glad to hit the Turquoise Trail. We stopped briefly in Madrid, but we found parking to be sparse, and it was then too hot to leave the pups in the car.

We motored on to Albuquerque and arrived at our hotel. We’re now chillaxin’ in the room. The pups are totally exhausted from their hard day of riding in the car. Strangely enough, the wind started whipping us around when we got here, including pelting us with sand and rock. Welcome to Albuquerque!

Jasmine and Juliet

Jasmine and Juliet love the Drury. The paparazzi…not so much.

Jasmine and Juliet

Oh, riding in the car is SO exhausting!

Tomorrow, we’re going to explore Albuquerque and then have dinner at the High Finance restaurant at the top of Sandia Peak. We’re going to dine and then watch the sunset. Even in all the beautiful country that we’ve toured, we haven’t spent a lot of time out at night. This should be a lovely view. Saturday, we plan on going to Acoma, and Sunday we plan on visiting a few more sights as well as checking out the Art & Wine festival in town. It should be a nice weekend!

Exploring Taos’ Finest

Day 23: May 22, 2013
Visited: Taos Ski Valley, Arroyo Seco, Taos
Miles Driven Today: 53
Total Miles: 3,356

Today was a day of easy exploration and some great discoveries.

The first was breakfast. The waitress at the Downtown Bistro recommended Michael’s Kitchen for breakfast and lunch, so we headed over to the downtown Taos restaurant. Walking in, I knew that the food would be good. It was bustling with locals and the food smelled and looked great. We were immediately seated, and I looked over to the table next to us. I asked the man what he was eating, and he said, “Breakfast Enchilada.” SOLD!

So Tom and I both ordered the Breakfast Enchilada. It came with some yummy Sopapillas (fried dough). We also split an order of Atole-Piñon Pancakes–blue corn pancakes with pine nuts. Everything was exceptionally delicious!

Breakfast Enchiladas - Michael's Kitchen

Breakfast Enchiladas – Michael’s Kitchen

Atole-Piñon Pancakes Michael's Kitchen Taos

Atole-Piñon Pancakes at Michael’s Kitchen

Funny, but another couple was seated next to us, and it just happened to be a couple we saw on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge the day before! We chatted with them and shared notes. They are from Dallas and are headed down to Santa Fe tomorrow. We told them to go to Tia Sophia’s for breakfast! It’s funny how people keep intersecting with us on the trip. It’s really great to meet and chat with people on the road!

After breakfast, we headed up to the Taos Ski Valley. Just under 20 miles from downtown Taos, the Ski Valley is in the Carson National Forest. While it was off season, the drive itself was the draw; the open road views today were beautiful.

Today's Open Road Part I Taos Ski Valley

Today’s open road (Part I) on the road to Taos Ski Valley

Today's open road Part II

Today’s open road Part II – To Taos Ski Valley

Back to Carson National Forest

Back to Carson National Forest

Guest house

Guest house at a cabin on the way to the Taos Ski Valley. I’d love to stay here!

On our way up to the Ski Valley, we drove through Arroyo Seco. On our way down, we stopped to explore the many small shops and galleries in this very small town. One mercantile had everything from local art to Japanese Obi (which I bought…who would’ve thought I would find a vintage Obi in New Mexico?). Another gallery had wonderful sterling silver charms. It was a hot day, so Tom and I had an ice cream at Taos Cow. Caramel Pinon (pine nut) was the flavor of the day. We were beginning to see a trend here…

We drove into the Old Town area of Taos and did some gallery hopping and shopping. We took the girls around in the doggie stroller, once again attracting tons of attention. Of course, with faces like these…who wouldn’t love these cherubs? Juliet again asserted herself with the dogs who dared to venture close–except for one cute little Chihuahua at a leather goods store. “Lucky” the dog was cute and friendly, and Juliet didn’t seem to mind him one bit! We also encountered another Dachshund at one of the stores…Juliet wasn’t impressed!

Stroller Pals

Stroller pals. Squirrel???!!

Jasmine enjoying the day

Jasmine enjoying the day

We went back to the hotel, rested a bit and then headed out to dinner at Ranchos Plaza Grill. Lots of great Yelp reviews convinced us to try it…and we weren’t sorry we did. Tom had a Pork Adovado burrito and I had a tamale plate; we both tried both red and green chile sauces. The sauces were spicy, but SO flavorful; even the pinto beans were bursting with rich flavor. The dinners were served with Sopapillas…the best we’ve had thus far! And, of course, I had to try the Flan. It was tremendously silky and perfect.

Ranchos Plaza Grill Tamale Plate

Ranchos Plaza Grill Tamale Plate

Ranchos Plaza Grill - Pork Adovado Burrito

Ranchos Plaza Grill – Pork Adovado Burrito

We waddled out to the car and back to the hotel. I broke out the paints and canvases I bought today at Taos Art Supply and played a bit with a Wiener Dog version of a Mola. There needs to be more Wiener Dog Art in the world!

Tomorrow, we’re off to Albuquerque and the surrounding sights! I’m ready for our next adventure!

Last day in Taos

For our last day in Taos we took a drive up to the Taos Ski Valley. We went from 7,000 foot elevation up to 9,200 foot elevation. The temperature dropped about 9 degrees. Ok, here it goes, the drive was awesome. I know, every trip we take I say the scenery is awesome but, it is. There were some really cool ski cabins/chateaus on the way up. At the top, there were fancy condos and resorts. Actually, we didn’t go all the way to the top. It is 13,000 feet but you need to take the lift there. This is off season and no lifts were running.

On the way up we went through a small town, Arroyo Seco. We stopped there on the way down. An off the track little place but really cool. Mahgrit picked up some jewelry at one of the shops. We sat and had an ice cream. Everywhere we go, people are enchanted by Jasmine and Juliet. So where is all the doxy art? We think there is a market opportunity here.

After that we spent the rest of the afternoon in old town Taos. There are a lot of great shops and galleries. Mahgrit found an art supply store and is doing some painting tonight.

Dinner tonight was Mexican, a small family place, the food was delicious. The chile sauce had a smoky flavor. It was spicy but not overly so. It was some of the best Mexican food we have had since we left Ca.

Tomorrow we head for Albuquerque. We are going to go the back way on the Turquoise Rd. on the way we are going to stop at Bandolier National Park and what ever else we may run across.

I forgot to mention yesterday that we also crossed the Rio Grande. We walked across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Mahgrit doesn’t like heights and found it scary. She took some cool pictures. I helped her by holding the back of her belt. This gave her a feeling of stability. She took a couple of panoramic shots. We are going to have a cool photo album when this is done. Don’t worry, we won’t subject you to a photo night. 😉

We are going to a lifetime of great memories from this trip.

Pueblos, earth ships and red rocks

Cruising day today.

Started off at the Taos Pueblo this morning. The people of this pueblo have been here for over 2,000 years. The pueblo is open to the public during the day, and they give guided tours. The inhabitants live in much the same way as they did 2,000 years ago. It was built of adobe brick covered with mud and chopped straw. They sell jewelry from their front rooms. They invite you in to see their wares.

One guy called me over when he saw the girls. We chatted about the girls for awhile and then I got a history lesson on his people, the government, and WWII . It ended up with long bible quotes and praises to God. Mahgrit came by and rescued me. Really though, he was a nice guy. He just liked to talk

From the pueblo we went to the site of earthships. These are totally off the grid houses built with recycled materials. We were given a tour of the demo house and watched a slide show of how they are built. The foundations of these homes are built with old tires filled with sand which is pounded in with sledge hammers. Then this is covered with an insulation blanket and concrete. The houses are powered by solar and wind. The temperature is controlled by passive solar and geo-thermal. All the electrical is D.C. run off the batteries. Really cool, but not my style. Also, they are somewhat pricey to build about $250 per sq. ft. But, after they are built there are no utility costs.

After this we once again took the road less travelled to find Georgia O’Keefe’s studio at Ghost Ranch. We didn’t find it but we did find some incredibly beautiful country along the way including the Red Rocks area and the Abiquiu reservoir. (As always see Mahgrit’s post for pictures).

After seeing the landscape of today’s drive, I am inspired to paint some landscapes. Unfortunately the only painting I have done is to some walls. (And not that good at that.) oh well!

I said in yesterday’s post I am not impressed with Taos but it really is better than my first impression and the surrounding area is beautiful.

We went back to the Downtown Bistro for dinner and had more of his red chile soup once again, yum!

Tomorrow is a trip to old Taos Which is the downtown area with shops and galleries. Then on to Taos ski area about 20 miles up in the mountains. We should be in awe again tomorrow night.

Day Trip from Taos

Day 22: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Areas Visited: Taos, Rio Grande Gorge, Earthships, Ojo Caliente, Abiquiu, Red Rocks, Abiquiu Lake
Miles Driven Today: 159
Total Miles: 3,303

As Tom expressed in his blog post yesterday, we weren’t terribly impressed with the town of Taos. But we’re certainly enjoying the area around Taos, and the discovery of this beautiful landscape.

Today’s adventure was a testament to the phrase, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters.” Taos wasn’t our primary destination, but the home base we decided to use to explore the area. We definitely made a great choice.

We started the day at the Taos Pueblo. Incredible, but according to one of the inhabitants, the lands were only returned to the Native Americans that have been inhabiting the Pueblo for the last 1000 years in 1970. The lands were taken from the inhabitants in 1906. While the Pueblo is a tourist destination, it IS the primary residence for many of the tribal members. We loved the tribal members we met and the beautiful handcrafted items we saw.

Throughout the Pueblo, “Pueblo dogs” were running around everywhere. We had the foresight to put Jasmine and Juliet in the doggie stroller. While the Pueblo dogs were calm and friendly, our “non-barking” dog Juliet decided that she wasn’t too keen on some of the dogs; she barked at them. Juliet has become more bold and headstrong since we started this trip, and this assertiveness is another change in her. It’s fun watching her come to life.

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo. Breathtaking views, incredible adobes, friendly people.

Taos Pueblo Chapel

Taos Pueblo Chapel

Creek running through Taos Pueblo

Creek running through Taos Pueblo

After we left the Taos Pueblo, we headed for the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. We had heard about the beauty of the Gorge and the heady views from the bridge, and we weren’t disappointed! As I’m afraid of heights, I had a bit of a hard time walking across the bridge and taking these pictures. It’s disconcerting to be that high and that close to ‘falling over.’ I don’t get the people who bungee jump here; um….NO. But the view was spectacular.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. SCARY to walk across!

Rio Grande Gorge

Rio Grande Gorge

Just a small drop to the bottom

Rio Grande Gorge–just a small drop to the bottom!

After I stopped hyperventilating…er…admiring the view, we headed on to the Earthship community. Earthships are energy efficient dwellings that are self-sustaining and made with green materials. Their foundations and walls are built of tires and concrete. They are extremely energy efficient and built to naturally sustain a normal temperature of around 70 degrees without the need for additional heating or cooling. They have solar for electricity. They collect rain water and snow as water sources, and have a system to use grey and black water. There are three Earthship communities near Taos, but people all over the world have been building them. Very cool! You can rent one for a vacation stay; we thought about doing it, but the pet fees were too steep. It was fun learning about these unique homes and seeing one in person!

Earthship

Earthship Visitor Center

Earthship Front Door

Earthship Front Door – Fun, Functional, Funky

Earthship

Earthship – Beam me up, Scotty!

After we left the Earthships, we headed towards Ojo Caliente and Abiquiu. Ojo Caliente is known for its mineral springs and resorts. We stopped in to see the Inn and Spa, and then moved on to Abiquiu. While there wasn’t much to see at Ojo Caliente, we really enjoyed the drive and the open road.

Today's Open Road

Today’s open road

Abiquiu was the home of Georgia O’Keeffe. We stopped at the tour office of her home and studio at the Abiquiu Inn, but there were no tours open until the end of May! We tried to find Ghost Ranch, the place O’Keeffe loved to go to gain inspiration for her paintings, but…well…we couldn’t find it! It wasn’t where the GPS said it was supposed to be (from the address on their website). Oh well…again, it was about the journey, right? 🙂

However, in our search for Ghost Ranch, we came upon Lake Abiquiu and the Abiquiu Dam. All was not lost; in fact, I think the beauty of this place was yet another great discovery for the day.

Lake Abiquiu

Lake Abiquiu

On the way to/from Abiquiu, we passed through the Red Rocks area. On our way back, we stopped at a little turnout and saw this lovely view. We watched (what we thought was) a bald eagle soaring over this river, flapping vigorously to stay in place. It was a magnificent sight.

Red Rocks area

Red Rocks area

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

We took Route 68 back to Taos. We had gone up the High Road to Taos on the way up from Santa Fe. We were so lucky to not have missed the breathtaking vista of the Rio Grande Gorge going North on 68. Had we not gone to Abiquiu, we would have missed it altogether. My photo doesn’t do the view justice. When we came up over a ridge and saw this…Tom and I were both in awe and so happy to have seen this vista.

Rio Grande Gorge from Route 68

Rio Grande Gorge from Route 68

After a hard day of running around, we decided to go back to the Downtown Bistro for dinner. Once again, we had the Red Chile Soup…yum! This time, I remembered to photograph it before it was gone! I also had a couple of glasses of Stark Raving Red wine…yummy!

Red Chile Soup from Downtown Bistro

Red Chile Soup from Downtown Bistro

Tomorrow, we plan on checking out the Taos Mountain Ski area and sightseeing around town. We were going to go to Bandelier National Monument, but since it’s on our way to Albuquerque, we’ll visit when we’re on the road.