Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Feliz Cuarto de Julio en Taos, New Mexico

31 July, Wed:  Here ends the month of Cynthia's, Little Carol Ann and auntie Carol's birthday celebrations.  Our daughter turned three, is a marvelous shot, can herd chickens with the best.

30 July, Tues:  Hot Springs was nice and so was the delightful conversation with Chinese couple

29 July, Mon: Pagosa Springs, Hillside Resort.  Visited AT Hiker Matthew, dinner with he and Elizabeth.  We slept so late we missed breakfast.

28 July, Sun: The night in Chama was fine but the breakfast at High Country left a whole lot to be desired including the arrogant omelet chef who was irritated because he had to do something so unusual.   The ride to Pagosa Springs, CO was interrupted by rain; we huddled with some unsocial Harleys from Houston in the Chroma PO veranda. Cynthia visited ER for x rays of hand.  Nothing broken but severe contusion.

View of the filming of Shootout with Gary Peck in 1976.

Cumbres-Toltec train

Cumbres Pass RR station

 The snobby Houston Harleys with our BMW


Happy Hiker in Pagosa Spring

27 July, Sat:  Ron returned the computer to Cynthia after doing such a good job of answering two months of email messages.   It will take an act of God to get his witticisms and wordsmything  working on the blog for awhile. Well.  It took a hurted hand and I am back only wishing I was as talented as Cynthia believes me to be!

Packing in earnest began early this morning: our gear took about an hour.  Rons recycling took three hours.  Cynthia cleaned the lovely log cabin that Has been our home for a month and off we drove with the BMW piled high.  It only needed a rocking chair on top of the piles of stuff on the top case to complete the picture until we unloaded the recycling.   and eat made it to breakfast at the Taos Diner by two PM.  
Turn around to see the Black Bear
Waving adios to Taos the bike headed north on old US highway 64 where we spotted a black bear. Whipping around we turned back only to see a pickup do the same only that goofball stopped by the bear causing him to  hightail it outta there.  Fabulous views.  Cynthia sprained an index finger.   A fox followed her at an overlook but she was busy on the cell phone.  Arrived in Chama at the train station T five PM in time to catch the Cumbres -Toltec sunset dinner train.  Oh what fun.  We saw two deer.   Five glasses of different kinds of wine... About  a sixteenth of an ounce each.  Hors d' oeuvre on board; dinner at Cumbres was interesting: prime rib or chicken, salads,  veggies and multiple desserts.   The super nice conductor phoned Chama to make lodging arrangements for this evening.   Tomorrow we go to Pagosa  Springs and tour until the 12th when the bike gets a 24,000 mile service in Santa Fe.

Excitement  builds as we prepare our "Raid on the Rockies" motorcycle tour with Walter and Pam, Jim and Joni, John and Holly.  We gather in Ouray the 19th and tour until the end of August traveling very light.  We thought doctors were busy people.  How do they get so much time off?

26 July, Friday:  Hike planned for the Long Canyon in the ski basin. Fabulous hike. One of the best trails in Taos and all creek side.

25 July,  Thursday, AT hiker, Matthew phoned from Pagosa Springs; we will see him in a few days.  A very lean, young coyote ran across the road in front of us as we drove to Taos for breakfast.  Cynthia mailed all of her extra clothes and stuff back to the lake house.  We will be traveling light during August.  The northside Taos Diner had been broken into last night detouring us once again in search of food.  The Plaza Taos Diner was open and ready to feed us.  After arrival at the Hacienda del Sol Select Registry for our 12th stay to earn the hundred bucks we were disappointed to discover they had us registered for the month of August.  Ron was captivated by the jigsaw puzzle for a couple of hours while Cynthia read an autobiography about the Dodge Luhans as they built their home that houses the B and B.  We toured the Millicent Rogers Museum admiring the Native American jewelry and pottery, the highlights of the museum.   Dinner at the Gorge restaurant is made doubly delightful with the addition of Sacha's twin brother Gabe.   "Sacha Gorge" is written here because Sacha plans to search for his name via Google.  One meets the nicest people traveling.   Walked the Plaza, the Kit Carson Memorial grounds, and had a long discussion about the appearance of poverty  because of gross neglect of streets, grounds even around the civic areas.  Is it poverty or a cultural mindset?  The conversation continued on the Piedmont Road walk to enjoy an incredible sunset with a palette of purple,  reds, crimson and blue.

24 July, Wed:  Packed and preparing to depart Taos Saturday morning.  The boot-maker won't have the old boots ready until that day. Ron caught up on two months of email messages before and after our lovely dinner at El Monte's with Susan.
Isn't she pretty?

23 July, Tues:  Taos is a terrific place.  We "hiked" the Plaza taking it easy on Cynthia's owwies.  She saw the chiropractor today who grimaced when he saw her knees.   The boots from Mark have been terrific but are quickly wearing apart with hiking, too.  The boot-maker will try to glue them; in the meantime Ron is sporting a new pair of  Chippewa boots and Cynthia has Vasquez (by Red Wing); both of us are tripping over our new "big feet."

22 July, Monday:  BMW  service at OCD motorcycles in Santa FE; departed Taos by nine AM; phoned Cynthia to let her know I arrived one minute late OK... except for the brain damage.  Mark V. will pick me up; meet Janie for lunch; dinner with John and Linda and home to my wi-fee at seven PM.

21 July, Sunday:   Avoid downtown Taos; huge parade this AM; plaza is blocked off - traffic in and out of the one road city is abysmal.  Today was even EVENTFUL:  Determined to conquer the wilderness path to the Devisidaro during DRY but overcast  weather,  we began on a positive note.  About 1/3 of the way past the microwave tower the path became a rutted, rocky, very steep incline. I was chatting with Beanie by phone while Cynthia followed; she must have slipped on a shoelace that became untied, fell and rolled down about 10-15 feet getting pretty bruised and wounded.   Fortunately, she has Fordetude and the bones of a thirty year old (according to the January bone density test); she was shaken but wanted to continue once the wounds were treated.  I climbed the rest of the way and did indeed discover the trail, but i was disinclined to have her climb further because I would not travel that path again.   The walk home aggravated the cuts on the legs and knee.  I made made a return trip to the trail and back in one hour and 7 minutes to retrieve the lost sunglasses.  Now, that was a workout.   Dr. Beatty's loving care wound management enabled her to go to dinner.

Kiddies doing Fandango in Taos Fiesta

20 July, Saturday:  En route to Taos for BREAKLUNCH - close to one PM  I espied a wallet on the center line of the highway.  Must have been dropped off the top of the owner's car moments before.  Cynthia got off the motorcycle and picked it up.  We called the owner when we reached Taos Diner.  From the contents of the wallet, this guy reads like a MAJORly nice guy.

About 2:30, in the bright sunlight and HEAT  we headed past the Carson HotShots (firefighters) at the end of Piedmont Road planning to hike UP to the Devisidaro Trail.  19 American flags hung on the gate (in honor of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives last month).  Ominous clouds to the north promised shade or wipeout in a rainstorm but one never knows.   About halfway up - fighting the wind and rain we turned back.  BRRRR!  Huge goose bumps on cold wet skin call for much food and warmth.   From there we ventured into Taos for dinner .  Now we need to search for protein powder and sleep.  zzzzz

19 July: Friday, cousin Carol calls Taos, and her estate in particular, a "thin place" based on the Irish legend about the spiritual place between heaven and earth.  Cynthia saw a chiropractor about her right shoulder muscle (very enlarged) that became visible after the car accident.  The chiro agreed saying her body torqued left just like the car locking her right pelvis and shoulder muscles tight.  She had one treatment and will have another Tues.  A pleasant, gentle rain started about two PM lasting three hours. We dined at El Monte rather than face the huge crowds at a fest in Taos tonight.

18 July: Devisidaro Trail in reverse searching for the side trail down to Piedmont Road.  We THINK we found it.  Time was about three hours.  We did find a rattlesnake - about two years old - green.  He let us know to stand aside: rattle rattle rattle.

Romeo the Rattler

17 July: Devisidaro Trail 6 mile loop  in 3.5 hours.  Mrs. Smooch is very pleased with how quickly we hike when we don't stop to rest.

16 July:  Smooch Smooch celebrates her birthday for a month.  What a fun month; what a fun day!
52nd birthday party at cousin Carol's Casa
beginning with a Birthday breakfast to include Carol and Rich before they departed for Denver.  Now,  errands to run, dinner at the Gorge and a tour of New Mexico crafts.  The evening sunset walk on Piedmont Road led us to new friend Suzanne that we met at cousin Carol's wine tasting.

To my wi-fi:  You're an amazing wife.  I could never pick just one reason why I love you.. so much...so here's a whole bunch TO WISH YOU HAPPY BIRTHDAY:
You're a great FRIEND
You're THOUGHTFUL
You make me HAPPY
You keep me from doing anything too CRAZY
You're FUN!!
You take care of ME
You're a GOOD Kisser
You're totally CUTE and Sexy oh ah!
You're there when I NEED YOU!
You're LOVING
You put up with EME!!

 Good news and bittersweet news from Texas: Everyone in Cynthia's family is gaga over Corrie and husband Alan"s ultrasound news: Think pink Dec. 1.  Bittersweet news: the end of February,  pink bundle and parents depart for Eastern China for three years of mission work building housing; Alan is an architect.  Lauren's good news was acceptance into the research neuroscience PhD program in Australia. The bad news arrived the following day: she did not get the full scholarship to make it possible.  Bright spot: Lauren moves onwards to Plan B: a two year MA program at HBU in Houston.

15 July: Wowie Zowie:  We started the South Boundary Trail at two PM and finished by 6:50 PM - 7.6 miles RT.   Mrs. Smooch has a photo of the finish trail sign post.  Extreme hunger brought us back  to the Gorge restaurant to devour TWO large orders of baked sweet potato french fries.

Photos from Ron's camera:
Devisidaro Peak

Taos from Devisidaro Trail

Taos from Devisidaro Trail


Cousin Carol's estate

Taos Mountain

Taos Mountain

Clouds over Taos

Rain Baptizing Taos

Taos

Cousin Carol's home in the open circular area - Rich's Pickup


Close up of Carol and Rich's property 

Rich's Pick Up

Smooch Smooch and Beautiful Fleurs

Taos from western slope of Devisidaro Trail


 14 July, Sunday:  Carol, Rich and the Smooch Family hiked 4.5 miles RT on Williams Lake Trail returning while it was raining cats and dogs.  The drive to the new  Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge proved to be fantastic.  It was windy but awesome. Nice lunch at the Bavarian Inn followed by a great dinner at Mariposa's.

Williams Lake Trail Elevation 11,000 feet

Mr. and Mrs. Smooch at the Gorge looking Northbound


13 July:  Saturday:  Bull in the Woods Trail: 4 miles RT; pleasant hike from Twining Road in the Ski Basin.  The white structure in the background is a Yurt.  Thanks to dear friend Linda:

Bull of the Woods yurt is part of the Southwest Nordic Center Ski system. Last time I was in there I used snowshoes to walk out, since the ski trail is so narrow. Got bleeding blisters on my feet because I hadn't calculated that XC ski boots are one thing when you're skiing, and another when you're walking on snow shoes.


  Cousin Carol had a Spanish wine tasting; we certainly enjoyed meeting a whole host of Taosites.  The food looked VERY good; BUT,  Cynthia found some chicken at Cid's with corn relish on top to feed the hungry Smooch.


Bull Man in the Woods



12 July, Friday: Gallegos Trail off HWY 518.  Wrong description in the Forest Ranger's trail maps.  This is NOT for motorcycles, ATVs or bicycles.  It does NOT have views.  It is UP UP UP.  We likely hiked about 6-7 miles RT.
Where is the promised peak?  The trail never ends.






11 July: Aqua Piedra Trail off Hwy 518

10 July: The South Boundary Trail once again today!  What happens when two smooches finish breakfast at two PM?  Despite the late start, we hiked 3.6 miles RT.  The computer has been used very little this past month until Smooch Smooch lays down the law.   It feels good not to be answering the hundreds of e-mails that fill the inbox.

9 July: Hiked south on 518 on an old wagon road rutted and rocky.  It ONLY took 2 hours to climb 1.3 miles.

8 July:  Boy, oh, boy are we worn out.  The hike up the South Boundary trail  was one plodding step after another all due to three days without hiking.  The Gorge restaurant is our favorite place to dine because the chef prepares BAKED sweet potato fries for us.  The wait staff is very accommodating, too.   The youngest staff member works on a ship part of the year and at the restaurant for this summer.  Super nice guy!

The Balancing Act 

Terrific "Emancipated" 16 year old working at the Gorge 


Map Reading and Eating Go Hand in Hand

7 July:  Fun Fun Fun!  With so much fun,  only rain causes the Smooches to slow down after sleeping and eating and eating and sleeping. Fortunately, rain is baptizing northern New Mexico with flooding now forecast for the forests closed by fires.  We will have rain for the next seven days in Taos.  The daily appearance of rain about three PM provides a new incentive to get out of bed before noon thirty and get to hiking.  We plan to do that one of these weeks.  Tonight we are on the veranda reading Blood and Thunder; it is the bloody story of Toas' Kit Carson.  Did I say it is bloody?  It is.

Carol and her grandson Joey are leaving today for Carol's  Denver home with Joey's friend from Taos Pueblo; early AM  Hawk and Joey knocked on ourselves  door pleading for "Uncle Ron" because a toy was accidentally thrown up on the rooftop.  A ladder, a climb, toy retrieved, happy boys.

Joey is an armful of boy joy
Here is a list of the greatest places to eat in Taos:
The Gorge - (they bake sweet potato fries just for us)
El Monte Sagrado (resort) high end but so blessedly quiet.
Taos Diner (on the north end) for daily breakfasts.
Lombard's Restaurant (small portions, and menu does not change)

We dined at the Love Apple Restaurant in Taos last night; don't bother.

6 July: Sat:  Slept, ate and went to a Taos art exhibit by America Morgan, a lovely post-modernist artist from Los Angeles.  Cousin Carol  bought a large Picassoesque portrait of a Taos Indian. One of the guests at the exhibit was a Georgia O' Keefe wannabe look alike: thin, elderly, flat rimmed black hat, gray long braid over one shoulder.  An elderly visitor to the gallery is Toas' oldest living artist dressed the part in leather vest, long, loose gray hair, mustache and goatee; most men wear the Mexican bolero and lots of jewelry.   One of the lines from the book Blood and Thunder "the frontiersmen dressed like the Indians; they were happy to be taken for an Indian brave."  So evident in Taos today.

5 July, Fri: South Boundary Trail until the afternoon rains came.  Dinner with cousin Carol, Rich and Joey at El Monte Sagrado.

4 Julio: Feliz Cuarto de Julio! Cousin Carol and her husband Rich have their 8 year old grandson who loves (Uncle) Ron.  Carol, Cynthia are 12th cousins to Ron; Carol is Cynthia's first cousin.  Carol is the executive director of the Sudan project for Colorado and a most interesting woman with fascinating stories to tell.

Carol's BBQ guests were Tiwa Indians from Taos Pueblo.  Hawk (8) and Joey (8) are best buds.  And the Cuarto de Julio ended with a lot of bangs at Eagle's Nest Fourth of July celebration.


Hawk, Joey, Moses

Cousin Carol and Flowers

Rich with the Smooch Fireworks

3 July: restful day enjoying the ambiance of cousin Carol's Casa in Taos, built in 1880 for John Young Hunter.

2 July: Devisidaro Peak Trail 6 miles round trip








1 July:  Let the month of celebrations begin.  Great hike 8 miles RT





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