Saturday 17 November 2007

A Different Sightseeing Day

I went out for my walk this morning and took this photo of our RV site as I haven't posted one since we arrived here at Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park.

We didn't do much this morning but this afternoon Gordon decided he wanted to go to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array located 50 miles west of Socorro, NM. Here's the sign.

And here's just a few of the radio antennas . There are three arms of nine each. We went to the Visitor Center and listened to their taped message of how and why this all came about. Gordon is interested in astronomy so he was enthralled.

On our way there we stopped in the little town of Magdalena, NM. It's a real old southwestern kind of town with a lot of dirt streets and lots of dust. It had some neat buildings. Here's one of the streets that's paved.

And here's some of the scenery coming and going on US60.

On our way home we stopped at the Walmart Supercenter in Socorro. It's a fraction of the size of most of the ones I've been in lately. Some you feel like they need a bus to get you around in them.

As it was getting late to get home and start dinner, we stopped at the Owl Bar & Cafe in San Antonio, NM for dinner. This place is supposed to be world famous for their Owlburgers and their green chili sauce. They claim to grind their own beef and prepare their chili sauce daily. There is a bit of history behind this place. The bar itself is originally from Conrad Hilton's first rooming house. Just a bit of local trivia to end today's blog.

Friday 16 November 2007

Another Day at Bosque del Apache NWR

Today started off slowly. Gordon went out for sunrise but was back early as it started to turn cloudy. I read a bit and just generally hung around although I did get up and do my walk at 7:00 a.m. At least I can breathe here unlike our previous stop. The altitude isn't nearly as high here.

Yesterday when we arrived we got parked next to Gordon's photographer friends, Gayle and Breland so they've been giving us tips on places to go in the Wildlife Refuge to see things. Gayle mentioned the Cactus Garden at the Visitor Center so away we went to see it early this afternoon. I took many, many photos. You wouldn't think a cactus garden would be pretty but this one is. I was raised with flower gardens, my mother and father were both gardeners so I love flowers but was suitably impressed with this garden.

We then decided to go into the Refuge and look for critters instead of birds. We wound up seeing a badger, a couple of mule deer and about 8 white tailed deer.

We also took a lot of photos of the sandhill cranes flying. They flew right over my head. Sure glad they didn't do anything on my hat! And lots and lots of snow geese swarming!

Also lots more photos of scenery!

And of course the usual sandhill cranes.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Now Near Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

I got up early this morning since today was travel day however the temperature here at 6700 ft. was in the mid 20's F (-4C) so we couldn't travel until the temperature got above freezing. I had no doubt that once we got down into Albuquerque the temperature was already above freezing but trying to pack things up (like electrical cables and water hoses) when it's this cold isn't easy!

Gordon has been rethinking our travel plans. Instead of going to Caballo Lake, he wants to spend 4 nights at the park in San Antonio, NM so he can take more time at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and from there our next stop just for overnight would be Deming, NM, then on to Arizona where it's hopefully a lot warmer than here. Plans change again!

We had an uneventful 2 hour drive from Tijeras, NM to San Antonio, NM. Our RV Park called Bosque Birdwatcher's RV Park is about 1/4 mile from the entrance to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge although the Visitor Center is about 5 miles from here. The park itelf isn't much, it's behind someone's house and it's all gravel but we have 50 amp service and a clear view of the southern sky so we're happy. We were set up by about 2:00 p.m. so off we went to the Wildlife Refuge.

Just as we entered we saw a couple of flocks of three sandhill cranes and then another pair.

We stopped at the Visitor Center but not for long and then paid our $3 to enter the park (such a deal!). We had just started down the Loop when I saw something in the middle of the road. It was Wily E. Coyote! He started toward the truck and just kept coming so Gordon opened his door and it came around to my side. Hence a full frame photo of Mr. Coyote!

This is an incredible place for birds and for beautiful scenery. The backdrop of a lot of photos is the mountains.

We saw flocks of geese flying and swarming, fields and fields of sandhill cranes. There must have been thousands of them. It's an amazing place to be and I'd highly recommend it. Unfortunately my camera didn't get a good photo but in the distance you can see dots, those are sandhill cranes and we saw at least three fields of these.

Those white dots in the distance are geese.

There was supposed to be a fly in at dusk but it was pretty disappointing so we started home and found this huge flock of sandhill cranes just inside the park boundary.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Chores are Done, Visit to Camping World and Old Town via Historic Route 66

I thought I'd include a photo of the trails that I've been walking on in the mornings since we've been here at Hidden Valley Resort. They are quite steep so my walks haven't been as long as they usually are.

I think this is tumbleweed but not 100% sure.

I've been complaining about the dirty windshield for days and it just keeps getting dirtier so this morning I got out the tools to be able to clean it so by the time we went out today I could actually see through the windshield!

After that was done and showers were over with, we set out to go to Camping World. It's at the other end of Albuquerque across from the RV Park where we stayed last year. We purchased a few items including a weather radio which I've been wanting so hopefully it will do what it's supposed to. With us having Canadian satellite TV, we have no idea what kind of weather is coming at us except for the internet. We had taken I-40 to go to Camping World so took Historic Route 66 back through Albuquerque. Here's a photo of us on Route 66 on our way into Albuquerque from the western side.

And here's the sign for Route 66 as you're coming into the downtown area of Albuquerque.

We decided to stop for a while in Old Town even though we spent an afternoon here last year. It was such a beautiful day with a temperature of 72F (22C) in downtown Albuquerque. Here's a photo of the square within Old Town.

And this is one of the shops.

This wreath made of chili peppers was for sale for $40.

And here I am sitting on a bench backing onto the Square.

As we were leaving Old Town trying to get back on Route 66 I saw this pretty decorative artwork on a building we passed.

The west has so many pretty buildings and even their bridges and retainer walls are very artistic as far as color and ornamentation are concerned.

This is our last day here, tomorrow we're heading south to San Antonio, NM. We made another change in plans and will hopefully be joining up with Gayle and Breland, Gordon's photographer friends there for bird photography at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge which is celebrating the festival of the cranes this week. The Sandhill Cranes stop by here each year on their way south so hopefully since we'll miss them in Rockport, TX this year, we'll see them here.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Getting Stuff Done

Today we got a lot on our list of things to accomplish while in Albuquerque done.
  1. Got the laundry done
  2. Mailed things that needed to be mailed
  3. Got groceries
  4. Got the truck serviced
That leaves washing the windshield on the truck, getting things ready to leave here on Thursday and going to Camping World for tomorrow.

I took a few photos just to have something to post. Below is the view from our rear window. Could be better, could be lots worse.

These are the mountains as you're heading west on I-40 going from Tijeras where we are into Albuquerque where the closest SuperWalMart is located.

Monday 12 November 2007

The Turquoise Trail, Santa Fe, Madrid, Sandria Peak & CIBOLA National Forest

After I posted last night we had a really pretty sunset.

I thought today would be spent taking the truck in for service and getting laundry done but that's not quite what happened, in fact, none of the above happened.

The truck needed a few more miles to get to the odometer reading for taking it in so instead we headed north on S.R.14 also known as The Turquoise Trail. It runs between Tijeras where we're staying and Santa Fe, NM about 50 miles north.

The Oritz Mountains to the east

We drove to Santa Fe taking photos along the way, stopping at a little town called Cerillos and then at a Taco Bell in Santa Fe for lunch. After lunch we drove downtown and took some photos but didn't stay this time as we had been there last year.

We do want to go back again even though the traffic was a reminder of Fort Myers , FL.

On our way back we stopped at an artsy little town called Madrid, NM. From what I understand Madrid was a ghost town for a while until the artists moved in and now it's a 'tourist trap'.

We also drove to Sandia Crest, (10,678 ft) the top of the Sandia Mountains through a part of the CIBOLA National Forest which overlook Albuquerque. It was 63F (17C) when we started up the mountain and 41F (5C) when we reached the top. Although the road is paved it has lots of switchbacks and is quite a drive to get to the top.

We arrived home about 4:30 p.m. and we're both pooped.

Here are some photos to illustrate 'you know you're in the southwest when':

You see entrances to ranches that look like this:

You see architechure that looks like this:

And you see this as a car passes you: