SEE :New Photos - especially 16 June -25 June: a man with friends! See new best friend Isaac Elijah.
Almost impossible to keep our schedule and computer updates in a timely manner.
A good read: "Ragman" by Walt Wangerin, is a tremendous story of a man dressed in rags who offers new clothes in exchange for old rags. Who chooses or talks to a man dressed in rags? Wangerin's surprise ending points to those who live their faith see beyond appearances and receive a happy exchange.
30 June, Sun: Brunch at El Monte's, following breakfast our ride towards today's hike named Vista Verde 22 miles south of Taos on Hwy 68, then Hwy 570 along the Rio Grande was spectacular; lots of rafters, boaters; Cynthia promised bikini clad babes but I quit believing her. The ride was great ... OOPS! That is until we crossed the Taos Rio Grande bridge on state highway 567 where the paving came to an abrupt halt OH NOT AGAIN! The BMW 1200 RT does not do gravel roads. Way too dicey. We turned around - pulled into the parking lot and wondered what we were doing out in this heat leaving the bike without shade. The Picuris Trail did not sound promising. But, what the heck .08 miles? How bad can that be even if the sign said: primitive, rocky, steep??? In blistering heat we decided to give it a try. UP UP and UP. Fortunately a cloud cover gave us a break and some marvelous views of the Rio Grande as well as the road designated for today's hike bearing very few travelers. Even the one motorcycle turned around. Cynthia stopped about .07 miles; Ron continued another .01 only to return saying it was far rockier, steeper and more primitive. The steep descent covered with loose rocks that become ball bearings under our shoes made the hike a very slow return.
|State Hwy 567 crossing the Rio Grande|
|View of Wheeler Mountain|
|Hiker Chick with Helmet Hair|
|The Picuris Trail|
29 June, Sat: Taos Diner and back onto the South Boundary Trail by 1 PM Started out hotter than Hades but overcast skies with rain over the Taos mountains was a great relief. Many cyclists. The rain came whipped by wind. It rained over Taos! We did 2 miles RT turning back because of rain and cold. Dinner at Gorge followed by lovely walk on Piedmont Road.
|King Smooch overlooking Taos|
|Michael G. lunching at Vinaigrette|
|Ron at Aspen Vista (Santa Fe)|
28 June, Fri: The Southern Boundary Trail after breakfast at Taos Diner. We hiked 1.8 of the 3.8 miles to the junction thinking we had really arrived. But the guy who told us we were at the summit erred. Cyclist use the trail as well. Nice to see good cycling manners with bikers in control. Cynthia does not hear them from behind so it was a good lesson for the cyclists to know some people do not hear. Dust storm over Taos in photos. Dinner for the second night at the Gorge where the chef accommodated our request to bake the sweet potato french fries. Gorgeous sunsets as we walk the road outside the compound in the evenings.
27 June, Thurs: Check out Southern Living's current issue, page TX 4 (or about page 79) about Cynthia's daughter-in-law's unique purse company in Sealy, Texas called Stash Co.
Breakfast at El Monte's is very good! BURP! North to the ski basin and we are off. The guide book leaves a lot to be desired. The road signs look like the senior class had fun turning all of the signs. Cynthia asked the Alpine Lodge desk clerk for directions to Twining Road explaining we were going to Williams Lake hike. She said to take the gravel road. NO! Our BMW does not do gravel, thank you very much! "Oh" she said, that is just two miles if you are hiking anyway. We parked and started hiking the gravel road heavy with trucks and dust for 1.5 miles until we realized from the map that it is an additional two miles to the lake from the lodge; the clerk was in error. The distance is 4 miles to the lake We turned our dust choked bodies back to the ski village. The clouds were dark so we ducked into the Stray Dog for a salad and coke to wait out the rain which did not happen... YET. Time to depart whatever! Only to be stopped by an idiot taking a survey. "How are you doing?" he asked as the raid started to come down. "We are very anxious about the rain!" "oh, the rain..." and he looked up nonchalantly. "just have a few questions for you." "Please ask quickly so we can move on." Did he? Heck no. Finally, "Enough. it is beginning to rain hard. We are leaving." "you are???" DRRR!
26 June, Wed: The Smooches arose at their usual early hour of ten AM and tried eating at Michael's Kitchen which is not workable for us. Too much fat. Eggs looked greasy. We strolled Taos for several hours, went to a wine tasting, looked at galleries and dined at Lambert's once again at 5:45. They have moved since we ate at their restaurant several times three years ago. They still have small portions. We biked old Hwy 64 towards Eagle Nest to cool off and saw an accident of some sort with at least one body; Cynthia is trying to find out what happened.The sunset was glorious to watch as we walked on the road outside the compound for an hour or so.
25 June, Tues: The high road to Taos. We left Mark V's about three PM trying an alternate route that turned out to be a dead end, back tracking to Buffalo Thunder where we stopped hoping to see Nancy Bankston J. She no longer works at the Homewood Suites. Chugging down a couple of diet cokes we were off once again in horrendous heat. Cynthia was very hot in her motorcycle gear and helmet. Dinner at Lambert's on the veranda was pleasant. Good wine, slow service and small portions, but the food tasted very good. They agreed to cook for us so we made reservations for tomorrow PM, too.
We are staying at Cynthia's cousin Carol's Taos home in one of two guest houses. Our casita is a log cabin constructed in 1880 by the artist John Young-Hunter who was among the elite Taos artists. The cabin is beautifully furnished.
|Exterior Compound Walls and Gate to Carols' Casa|
|Entrance to Carol's Casa in Taos at night|
19-24 June: An entire week has passed with no time to spend on the computer.
It has been said a man's true wealth can be determined by his friends. I am a wealthy man.
Thanks to Jane E for the use of her guest house while in Santa Fe, for many breakfasts shared besides putting up with our incessant smooching!
To Maria, thanks for lunch on Saturday at Vinaigrette's; we are excited to hear about the twins at the rodeo; thanks, too, for sharing our wedding joy.
To Bob and Lupe, thanks for the pleasant visit! Enjoy the books Cynthia recommends: The Spinoza Problem, and Freakonomics (Ron completed this, too)
To Stuart and Judy for the lunch, for the lovely dinner at your home Sunday evening, plus sharing our wedding fun!
To Nina for having breakfast with us at Harry's Roadhouse and dinner with us once again at Ristra
To John and Linda for teaching us Bocce, for the wine and marvelous conversations.
To Mark V for two days of adventure and the departure lunch, to Carmela for sharing our special evening!
To Tony and June for an awesome dinner at their beautiful home.
To Michael G. for lunch, sharing good times and conversations Vinaigrette's, and his lovely wife, Claire for the good times at Ristra.
To Pat T. and Valerie for sharing the good times at Ristra!
To Jim M. for also sharing our good times at Ristra.
To Isaac Elijah a new best friend!
|ISAAC ELIJAH A new best friend|
18 June: Tues: Thanks to Mark V for a lovely lunch at Vinaigrette's, meeting his very lovely daughter, Gena, and taking us on a tour from Santa Fe to the old mission church: Sanctuaria de Chimayo where we kneeled in the dirt to scoop the "Holy Soil" that never runs out... onto our arms and foreheads. It is supposed to be healing soil. From there we traveled to Truachas, marveled at the Carson National Forest with pleasant, cool breezes as we climbed higher and higher. Beyond Truachas to Penasco, Trampas, Mora and Las Vegas (this city was once the largest in New Mexico). The old Plaza Hotel and architecture in the city is lovely; we enjoyed seeing huge, old Victorian homes that sell inexpensively because of the economic constraints after the departure of the railroads. Arriving back in Santa Fe by dark we dined at Harry's Roadhouse Grill. Pictures of our grand excursion to follow.
|Mark and Ron|
Cynthia learned that a variety of minor medical issues plaguing her since March are really side effects from Arimidex; the oncologist said today that she can stop taking the meds prescribed to suppress hormones. This is very good news. Oh BOY!
17 June: Monday: Breakfast with Jane E at Harry's; a quiet day followed by Bocce ball in the park with Nina, John and Linda. Oh, what fun!
16 June Sunday: Ron planned a Fiesta reception at Ristra's Restaurant for our Santa Fe friends who could not attend our wedding. He recreated our reception with a day of surprise upon surprise. Ron returned from Mark's house wearing a handsome suit, tie and white shirt looking drop dead gorgeous (which is NOT a surprise). Everyone agreed; they ooohed and ached! Mark tattooed Smooch on Ron's chest to surprise his Smooch Smooch! Everyone enjoyed viewing the DVD of our wedding on a wall at Ristra' followed by a champagne toast to his beloved Smooch Smooch. The crowd of Santa Fe friends reported a marvelous meal, grand fiesta and exciting evening.
|Sam! Bless your heart!|
|The gathering of the Santa Fe Clan|
|Beatiful Maria Tortilla and Ronnie Ponnie|
|Linda and John left|
|Charlie and Sam|
|Two more love birds like us'n|
|Tony, June forefront; Mark V and Carmela background|
|Stuart and Judy|
|OHHH! what fun! Pat T. and Valerie|
|CLAIRE AND MICHAEL G.|
|Charlie and Sam|
|RON IN THE SURPRISE SUIT!!!|
|Ron at Ristra's|
|Drop Dead Gorgeous|
|Ron and June|
|Tony and June with Ron|
|Ron, Jane E, and James M.|
|tony, Stuart, Ron|
|Mark B and James M|
|Stuart and Judy|
|Mark and Carmela|
14 June, Fri: GIRL Day.
13 June: Cynthia's hiking equipment arrived from Houston by UPS; she left the box of styrofoam peanuts outside. The box blew over in the wind last night. ALL OVER! Maybe all the way to China??? Horrified, we picked up styrofoam peanuts for half an hour in horrendous heat. Mark V arrived taking us away from the task at hand; off to hike for the day. Yikes! The Pecos Forest was closed because of the fires. Back again to Mark's house Mark searched maps for an alternative and announced we were going exploring: First to Chimico Pueblo. Mark just missed someone he knew but Cynthia found a cute 5 year old girl and her puppy helping her uncle and grandfather plant a tree. The little girl shook her head hard, 'No" when Cynthia asked her if she was mrried; again the same answer when asked if she was engaged. A shy smile lit her face when asked if she had a boyfriend. Hiking was nearby; we took a 3 mile RT hike through narrow slips where it felt cooler, although the wind blew up dust that stuck to our soaked skin. The day's exploration took us next to Indian ruins where we hunted for stones or pottery finding a few shards of black stone with carving marks. When Mark says exploring ... next time we will KNOW that really means adventure for we drove the La Bajahota (spelling?) or the original road from ABQ to Santa Fe. In Mark's new Ford truck we maneuvered boulders and ruts so rough Cynthia decided to walk through some areas with ruts three feet across. Mark and Ron turned a corner with the passenger wheel halfway off the road and a sheer drop down a few hundred feet.
Rain fell! JOY.
12 June, Wed. We needed Food. We love to eat. This morning's egg white omelets tasted even better outdoors at the Road House Grill. Jane E's casita remodel project is done with vivid color; she is a good designer. Up early - we were at Ristra's Restaurant by 10:33 to taste the wines and finalize details for the fiesta reception Sunday PM followed by lunch at Pasqual's with Cynthia's cousin Carol and her best friend Carol. At Mark's house we saw pictures of Pasqual's when it was a buick dealership ca. 1920-30; how fun to see photos of Mark's uncle Freddy who was the mayor of Santa Fe at the same time he owned a paint business and played jazz piano at La Fonda's with his dog sipping beer out of a bowl on the bar. The ca. 1900 black and white photos of his father and uncles hiking in white shirts, neckties in the heat told quite a story!!!Dinner at Counter Culture's healthy menu was an eye opener: Santa Fe is not filled with Mexican restaurants serving burritos and enchiladas. MMMM!
11 June, Tues. All is well! All is well. The Smooch Smooches are in Santa Fe staying at Janie's for two weeks IN the guest house and NOT under the Sequoia tree outdoors. Intriguing lunch at Vinaigrette's; Delicious dinner at new restaurant Midtown Cafe. Nice to dine out doors despite the record breaking heat.
10 June: Mon: Cynthia's flight to ABQ ... Oh! What Fun!
The insurance claims adjustor phoned Cynthia in the airport minutes before boarding that her car had been totaled; they needed the original title. Hmm. It was not in the files at the lake house but instead in our safety deposit box. She thought an immediate return to TX was necessary but the smartest Smooch suggested getting a certified copy of the title. It cost 2.00 instead of the 890.00 charge for a RT flight to TX in the AM . He is soooo wise.
Cynthia celebrates this weekend in Houston with family graduations. Ron will be in Santa Fe with friends after cleaning up paint and spackling compound at Jane E's.
|Daughter Julie 5'8",, Shrinking Grandmother Cynthia, Grandson Eric 6'5"|
7June, Fri: Granddaughter Lauren drove me to the hospital for a lumbar epidural steroid injection. The January injection delivered pain free five months. The nurse was intrigued with the book she is reading, Freakonomics, so I downloaded it on my IPad. Lauren is praying soooo hard for acceptance into four year PhD program neuroscience research in Australia with a full scholarship; anyone care to join us??? Ron is visiting Stuart and Judy tonight.
6June, Smooch is still spackling. Mrs. Smooch met with oncologist, neurologist and Ob-Gyn. This is a reminder for to record for taxes. AX card was left at Pappadeaux where I had lunch discovered at 5:30 PM!!!! Whaaaat??? 30 mile RT to retrieve card? ohhhkkkk. I deserved that pedicure, manicure plus a glass of Cabernet.
5 June, Wed: claims, car rental, re-scheduling appointments... Packing for return to ABQ/Santa Fe.
4 June, Tues. This day will go down in infamy. Did FDR say this or did I say something unique? The drive to the dermatologist began with a bang. Anyone driving Houston freeways during rush hour knows survival is a good thing. 8:00 AM: I turned west bound onto north I-610 east in the second of five lanes. The traffic slowed abruptly; the car in front of me stopped fully. I braked quickly, (Lexus will stop on a dime) leaving about 15 feet between us. SMASH! I was rear-ended by a high speed train (well, a 2002 Cadillac). My car was hit so hard it torqued left, with the passenger side's wheels off the ground, thrusting my car forward, left, and into the next inner lane; in doing so, my right front (passenger side) clipped the left rear (drivers side) of the Cadillac in front of me. Evidently the car behind, being lower, hit the hitch on our car causing our car to lift and torque left; this is why the front passenger air bag opened, according to the Lexus Collision manager. I hit the head rest and then flew forward hitting the top of the steering wheel knocking my sunglasses to the floor. Actually. The truth is... and I promise... Four angels descended from heaven dressed in white rainment to lift my car up and move it to the next lane left all the while singing hymns and praises; then all the vaults of heaven opened resounding as God's voice exclaimed, "Great job guys." Anticlimactic, the wrecker driver hauled the car to Westside Lexus for repairs while I rode along hoping for full body cosmetic re-do, too. No such luck! Son Paul drove to the collision dealer to take me to lunch and transferred me to son Jon to bring me home. I had a mild concussion. The young woman who rear-ended me was taken for medical check and released along with a traffic citation. Thanks for Smooch in Santa Fe, ever so faithful, phoning every six seconds. Now, to sleep after Thanksgiving to God for the many blessings of having a loving Smooch, two incredible sons, two awesome daughters and survival across the board.
3June, Mon. The day of the dreaded diagnostic mammogram has arrived. And GONE. The new 3D imaging that finds the earliest cancers plus immediate results from the radiologist was cause for rejoicing: No cancer. Whew. Whee. Wow. Now begins the third year of cancer Survival. Loved the evening phone call from Smooch in Santa Fe... Oops, ABQ... dining with the Shenk Family (Mennonite Pastor and family from York, PA). Ron treated them to dinner and HUGE chocolate sundaes. Hannah's chocolate covered face was endearing. Clayton and his three sons hiked the AT with Ron who became their loving Grandpa Shakedown. This trip is for the six daughters and wife Mary Lois.
2 June, Sun: Granddaughter Zoe, 12, is taller than I. Seeing her enjoyment for all things horse is pure joy. I picked her up from riding lessons, although it is her custom to stay late to help younger children who come for dressage. Zoe even cleans her horse's stable. Later, we stopped to visit a three week old cousin who watched a glowing Zoe intently. In the evening, Jon and Barb joined me for dinner at the Yacht Club. Ron reports from Santa Fe that he can see the red-hot fires burning out of control. He is returning to John and Linda's tonight with plans to have lunch tomorrow with Maria Tortilla and Michael G.
1 June, Sat: WHAAAAT? No updates on our blog? Smooch, you have the computer with all of the news about friends and fun in Santa Fe! No doubt, he is busy. Ron is working at hardly working by assisting friend Jane E. clean up a rental unit for our use when I return to New Mexico a week from tomorrow.
I, Cynthia, am desperately trying to reclaim my identity after a hacker re-directed my Gmail account last Wednesday. Banks, credit cards, email accounts, Life Lock, insurance companies, etc. have had password changes along with new email addresses. At the end of this third day it feels like Easter. Hence, timeout to update for my beloved smooch. 957 people read this blog during the month of May. They like reading about the crazy motorcycle guy who is a far better wordsmythe than I.