Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Home feels so good!

We weren't on the road that long, but it's great to be back home in our own bed and house, with our own dog and cats. And waking to 25 degrees and snow on the mountains! We're definitely not in San Diego!

The trip back from the Sacramento area was a little quick, not much time for photography. Just pedal to the metal and drive.

However, we did cut up a side-canyon into the Canyonlands area north of Moab to catch the late-afternoon sun coming through the clouds and spotlighting golden cottonwoods in the canyon.

Anyway, we're home. Now, where were we? Oh, packing and getting ready to move to New Mexico! TV

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Waking in Wendover

Made it once again across the great, open, empty state of Nevada. We both agreed it was a nicer driving scene than going through endless LA!

We're in Wendover, Utah, should be home in our own bed tonight. It's been a good trip, but home is beckoning.

Some family pics attached. Saturday was Sandy's son Bob's 50th birthday. We showed up that day, which was pleasant but nothing special. Sunday morning we took Bob with us (Colleen faked miserable sick beautifully) to breakfast with Sandy's step-family, whom I hadn't met before (and vice versa). So, the bottom pic is, from left, Sandy Feutz, Curtis Feutz, Tina Feutz, Doug Feutz and the birthday boy, Bob Hughes.

In the next one up, Bob is coming back to the house (a little earlier than expected) after taking daughter Lyssa to buy cars and is getting the "Surprise!" yell. Bob's wife Colleen worked hard to make it a surprise, and it looks like she pulled it off!

Later, he had recovered enough for me to get a picture of Sandy between her two boys, Greg and Bob, and then with Bob sandwiched between Sandy and Colleen.

There was a big party with lots of people and good food, so it came off well.

We were thinking about taking US 50 across Nevada to Ely, but Greg advised us it was in poor condition, so we struck out on Old Reliable I-80 and that worked well. The temp got down to 31 degrees on the pass going to Truckee, and there was some snow on the ground, but it quickly warmed up to the mid-40s and stayed there the rest of the day ... except when it dipped down into the 30s and there was snow nearby before we came into Wendover.

Anyway, we got a room and went out to a buffet and I turned $5 into $11.10 in the slots (I never win anything at those) and came "home." Today we cross the salt flats and the sand flats and pick up the dog and breathe a big sigh of relief. Tomorrow we go back to getting ready to move! tv

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On the road again ...

Where do the days go? Like the miles, they slip swiftly by!

We made it to Silver City safely and spent two nights in the Silver City RV Park, which is very nice and right downtown, handy to everything. We met the previous owners while doing the walk-through and they were very nice and helpful. After closing, we left the Casita and the Mountaineer (and about 20 boxes of books and other stuff) there ... leaving us feeling like we were traveling in a limo with just us and our luggage in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The trip down was beautiful! We had wondered about color in the "southland" ... there was lots of it. We came down through Quemado and south of there, toward Reserve, there were these beautiful stands of cottonwoods glowing bright gold in the river bottoms. Further on south, the leaves hadn't turned yet, so we have that to look forward to.

We went around Silver City tending to utilities, etc., and in every instance people were just as friendly and helpful as we could hope for. We tried breakfast at Vicki's, which was good. On our way out of town, we needed one last coffee for the road, so we stopped at a coffee shop we'd been looking at ... can't remember the name, but it has a porch overlooking Bullard on the west side) and got great made-as-you-wait fresh coffee and pastries.

Tuesday afternoon we trekked out to the Bear Mountain Lodge on the northwest edge of Silver City, where the folks who owned the Blue Dome Gallery in downtown SC have relocated ... what a peaceful, beautiful setting. And the art they are installing in and around this renovated facility is mind-blowing. We will for sure be going out there for brunches and other events once we are in residence! More about the lodge at:

By happy coincidence, we were in town the day entries were being accepted for the Mimbres Region Art Council's juried show. So, we joined online (we had crashed their annual meeting/party at the opera house in Pinos Altos the last time we were down) and each brought two large photographs. Wonder of wonders, all four were accepted! We couldn't be there for the reception, but the show will still be up when we get back before Thanksgiving.

Anyway, after our busy but thoroughly enjoyable fall days in Silver City, we got headed west before noon on Wednesday. Took a few minutes to tour downtown Lordsburg ... don't think we'll be finding many reasons to go there. "La Migra" seems to be the biggest industry there ... must have seen 30+ Border Patrol vehicles in the yard there. (We also got stopped at two temporary-permanent BP checkpoints on I-10 in California; they eyeballed us old gringos and waved us on.)

Tucson was 3 1/2 hours away and we found our motel and got our "Outback fix." Unfortunately, we also got an odd auditory alarm from inside the car a couple of times. Couldn't figure it out, and that didn't make me rest any easier. Checked the owners manual; nada. Went online for help; nada. Went to a Chrysler/Jeep dealership in the morning; nada after an hour or two. I've concluded the sound is coming from the TomTom GPS device ... some sort of intestinal problem it has that we haven't been able to decipher.

Onward. I-10 would be my candidate for an experimental highway with built-in automated driving controls ... get on, set the car for your destination and go to sleep, watch a movie, make love, etc. Boring!

Lunch in Yuma, taking advantage of Denny's 20 percent offer to AARP members, and into Sandy's brother's place in Poway before evening. Great supper and visiting with Les and Saskia and the four kids! A good night's sleep and then out for breakfast with Les and Saskia ... good chance to catch up on family history, etc., over good food and coffee. Did some errands and headed north.

There's a lot of cars in California! We didn't get rolling till about 11, but it was (for me) heavy traffic and often rainy as we worked our way through the urban areas and up the coast. We had set TomTom for Morro Bay, but we called it quits at Buellton/Solvang.

For one thing, we had headed out to the coast and stopped to get our "ocean fix" at Hobson State Park. It was fun to walk along the exposed rocks and sand and watch the surfers and wildlife in the water. I didn't realize till later that the surfer dude shown was sporting a white mustache! The blonde beach babes in their wet suits were just walking out with their surfboards as we were driving out of the park. Oh, well, I enjoyed watching the hermit crab!

We indulged in Solvang's Danish heritage with a so-so smorgasbord at the Red Viking, then turned in for a good night's sleep after all the driving in traffic.

Rainy, foggy, overcast the next morning. We went north a ways, then out to the ocean again and found a few spots of sunlight. Had breakfast in Pismo Beach, where we walked out on the boardwalk and watched surfers, including the water-photographer with his halo of foam.

We did finally get to Morro Bay and walked along the shore there for a while, watching the birds running back and forth with the surf. Liked the clouds piling up over the coastline to the north.

Inland through LOTS of vineyards and some other truck-farm planting, through the brown hills and canyons and into the Central Valley and the boredom of I-5. We did enjoy the sunshine for a while, after being fog- and rain-bound along the coast. But, by the time we reached Stockton and Sacramento, it was raining and trafficky again. We reached Bob and Colleen's at our ETA (LIKE that TomTom!) and were most happy to tuck it in with family! tv

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beginning the big adventure!

We're off in a few hours to caravan to Silver City! I'll pull the Casita with the Jeep and Sandy will follow with the Mercury Mountaineer, both vehicles loaded with boxes of mostly books. We'll sleep in the Casita in an RV park in Silver City tonight and tomorrow night, while we do the closing, arrange for utility transfers, etc. Wednesday morning we'll park the Casita and the Merc at the new place, unload the Jeep, and head west, hoping to make Tucson that evening. The next night we should be at Leslie and Saskia's place in Poway, CA, giving us a chance to visit with Sandy's brother and his family.

From there, we intend to mosey along the coast for a day and spend the night in the Monterey area, then go inland to Sandy's son Bob's place in the Sacramento area. If we do that, this will be the first time in our tens of thousands of miles of driving together that we've been to either coast (not counting dabbling our toes in the Gulf at Corpus Christi).

After brief visits with family in the Sacramento area, we'll head back through Ely, NV, to the serious packing for the move.

We'll probably post pics along the way. tv

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Winding down

Monday we head south for closing. Things are falling into place here.

I have one more tour of Mesa Verde to give, probably the last tour ever, after 44 1/2 years. Tuesday was an opportunity for a wonderful experience. Late in the season, when I was a seasonal ranger in 1966, I studied the wall abutments on the ground floor of Spruce Tree House. Tuesday, to clarify and better understand a feature we often interpret (interior decorations in plaster), I had the opportunity to visit a second-story room. Very different experience.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the features in the room is the white handprint. Someone, more than 800 years ago, put his or her left hand in some wet, white plaster, then pressed that hand against a red-plastered wall a few inches from the lower left corner of the doorway. What a personal touch! And there's another white left-hand print under the doorway and another white design at the lower right corner of the door.

In the picture at the top, the whole doorway can be seen. It sits in the middle of the wall, in an intricate plaster context. What is being learned, thanks to plaster conservation specialists from the University Museum in Pennsylvania, is that the wall was originally plastered white. Then it had a dado layer of red plaster applied up to a point midway up the doorway. There is also a horizontal floor band of white plaster applied over the red at the bottom of the wall. The top of the wall appears black because smoke and soot from a hearth on the other side of the room seems to have adhered to the white more than to the red, turning the upper half of the wall black.

In addition to the white plaster designs under the door sill, there is an interesting step-stone set in the wall under the sill and there are additional designs worked into the edge where the red overlaps the white. A series of three red triangles sticks up into the (formerly) white plaster. Like a train of marshmallows, a line of little white plaster dots runs up the hill, down the hill, etc. Except they originally looked red, because the little white dots had little red plaster caps on them, most of which have worn off.

Pretty fancy embellishment, right? According to the archeologist I was with, this appears to be a treatment found in upper rooms, not ground floor rooms. Why? Dunno.

The other two pictures show the view south from that decorated room and the view north. In the lower picture, you can see an original roof of a first-floor room that has been preserved. In the far right corner of that roof, there is a hatch through which a ladder would have extended, providing access from the ground floor to that second-story room.

In the other direction, a three-story room block is visible. There was a ground-floor line of rooms right below the camera that is gone now; it wouldn't have looked like a straight, three-story face. There would have been ladders going up onto the roofs of those ground-floor rooms, and then one could step into the second-story doorways. In addition, there would have been a ladder or ladders going up to a balcony supported on that row of poles, giving access to the low storage rooms on the third floor.

All that aside, this is a place that, in the 13th century, was alive with people who expressed their concepts of beauty in - and on - their architecture, as well as in pots, jewelry and other artifacts of living. And unraveling that story is an exercise in ongoing revelation! tv

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, my aching back!

We've started to pack for the move ... books are heavy! Thought we'd get as many of those packed as we can carry down in the cars Monday, but I quickly discovered I need to keep the box-weights down!

We enjoyed a house concert by Lee Bartley at Burks and really had a good time. Got the other of his CDs and have been listening to it in the car.

Crew party at Pizza Hut last night for the ARAMARK tour guides; nice thought on Sara's part. Gotta get ready in a few minutes for what I expect to be my next-to-last tour ... ever!

Things are winding down. Last tour on Nov. 1. Last SWOS board meeting tomorrow. Switched e-mail addresses to Missed the last Artisans of Mancos meeting last night; we're outta there at the end of the month. Scrounging boxes here and there. Casting off books to the library. Sold a bed excess to our needs so we can pack into one room. Still hoping to sell, but have a contract with a rental agent to lease the place here. Brought the Casita down from Bauer Lake, so we're really kinda done with Bauer Lake; membership transfers at the end of the month. Etc., etc., etc.

On the bright side, we'll head down to Silver City Monday with two SUVs and the Casita in tow, plus everything that we can stuff into the vehicles. We'll camp in the RV park for a couple of nights till the closing takes place, then leave the Casita and the Mountaineer and sundry boxes at the new house and take off for California to see family. Maybe there'll still be some color in the southern mountains.

Time to go to work! tv

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Cozy Autumn Day

The snow is dusting the mountain tops and the high country color is creeping into the valley. Cool fresh fall air and thankful feathered friends at the bird feeder. A cup of campbells soup for lunch. Yep, fall is here in Mancos Valley. A wonderful season to relish, despite having already received my first Christmas catalog. Back off, holidays! Let us enjoy the weather and the beauty of the fading summer and crispness of the breeze and the cozy evenings. If you notice the slideshow on the blog you can reflect on the many photos posted there of our journeys into the surrounding mountains. Autumn colors come and go too quickly, but are there to enjoy for the moment! sf