Pack up and get ready to move, well that was the plan, but seems we just didn't have the mood to do that. We would have had to do laundry, a bunch of getting ready to move, and so forth, so we just elected to sit tight for another couple of days. Went down town to a Vietnamese restaurant where we had lunch and said our good-byes to Aunt Cheryl. Then returned to ELTORO and relaxed the remainder of the day.
Went up to Santa Fe Today via the Turquoise Trail rather than I 25
The Turquoise Trail encompasses 15,000 square miles and is located in the heart of central New Mexico. The name comes from the blue-green turquoise first mined by the early Pueblo people, an agrarian based society dwelling along the Rio Grande as early as 900 A.D., The stone has become nationally recognized as a precious stone to be set in silver and gold. The Spanish arrived here as early as the 1500s. Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was the first of many explorers in New Mexico. Missionaries. Spanish settlers and Anglo-Americans all followed and joined the native American Indians already here. Today the National Scenic Byway is home to many modern day settlers and host to tens of thousands of visitors a year!
The Trail begins to the South in Tijeras and the Cibola National Forest, then heads north through Cedar Crest, Sandia Park, Edgewood, Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos, before ending in the San Marcos/Lone Butte Area. Along the 65 miles are homes, ranches, vacation lodging, restaurants, RV parks, a golf course, a ski resort, museums, horseback riding stables, shops/galleries and lots of respected craftsmen and artists. The Trail is also fast becoming known for its adventurous hiking and bike trails. In spite of the recent growth to the area, The Turquoise Trail remains historically quaint and Old West. Much of the effort to maintain the beauty and history of the area is due to the efforts of The Turquoise Trail Association, which applied for and received our National Scenic Byway status. In 2000, the Turquoise Trail was one of several nationally designated “Scenic Byways” in America. A designation to be coveted!
Once in Sante Fe we went to the Old Downtown Market where lots of local artisans display and sell their crafts. We also wanted and did visit Loretto Chapel, with it's legendary staircase.
|Actually a Hotel in Santa Fe|
|Just a mirror image of ourselves|
|Down Town Street|
|Selling their wares|
The Sisters of St. Loretto relate the story as follows:
Needing a way to get up to the choir loft the nuns prayed for St. Joseph's intercession for nine straight days. On the day after their novena ended a shabby looking stranger appeared at their door. He told the nuns he would build them a staircase but that he needed total privacy and locked himself in the chapel for three months. He used a small number of primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water and constructed a spiral staircase entirely of non-native wood. The identity of the carpenter is not known for as soon as the staircase was finally finished he was gone. Many witnesses, upon seeing the staircase, feel it was constructed by St. Joseph himself, as a miraculous occurrence. The resulting staircase is an impressive work of carpentry. It ascends twenty feet, making two complete revolutions up to the choir loft without the use of nails or apparent center support. It has been surmised that the central spiral of the staircase is narrow enough to serve as a central beam. Nonetheless there was no attachment unto any wall or pole in the original stairway, although in 1887 -- 10 years after it was built -- a railing was added and the outer spiral was fastened to an adjacent pillar. Instead of metal nails, the staircase was constructed using dowels or wooden pegs. The legend claims that the mystery had never been satisfactorily solved as to who the carpenter was or where he got his lumber, and that there were no reports of anyone seeing lumber delivered or even seeing the man come and go while the construction was being done. Since he left before the Mother Superior could pay him, the Sisters of Loretto offered a reward for the identity of the man, but it was never claimed.
After wandering arround the market for a while and visiting another old church, Saint Francis of Assisi Basilica, another very old church we returned to Albuquerque via I 25 just before dark.
A much needed Rest Day. Veg'd out most of the day but Chris (Aunt Cheryls son) called and asked if I would help him hang three big sign boards he had made for the school where his little daughter Sophia attends. I, of course agree, as it was a good oportunity to change our focus of sight seeing. At 2:00PM we went over and Chris and I loaded the 4' x 8' sign blank boards and drove to the school. They wanted these sign boards screwed to a cement wall surrounding the school yard where the aart teacher is going to draw murals and the kids are going to fill in the fill in the details. Chris had brought all the tools, complete with tungsten drill bits to drill into the cement. Well, this was old hard cement, but with a lot of perseverence we accomplished the job, but it took 2 hours when about 30 minutes should have been adequate. But now the good part! After returning to Carol and Chris's house we were treated to a great roast pork dinner, complete with a chocolate Birthday cake celebrating Chris's 40th birthday. Their 3 children, 2 girls, Sophia (7) and Makayla (5), and son Nathan (3) (ages approximate) all had a hand in decorating Dad's cake. It was Great!!
Today went to an area called Fire and Ice about 90 miles west of Albuquerque on I 40
For a real experience in contrast, visit the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano, "The Land of Fire and Ice." Situated on the Continental Divide you walk through the twisted, old-growth Juniper, Fir and Ponderosa Pine trees, over the ancient lava trail to the Ice Cave. Here the natural layers of ice glisten blue-green in the reflected rays of sunlight. Another trail winds around the side of the Bandera Volcano to view one of the best examples of a volcanic eruption in the country. Located in the heart of El Malpais, the historic Ice Cave Trading Post displays ancient artifacts as well as contemporary Indian artwork.
Old Time Trading Post
In addition to many contemporary Indian arts, the historic trading post has ancient artifacts on display. Most of these were found in the lava, and some date back 1200 years. The trading post deals in jewelry, pottery, rugs and other art of local Indian tribes. The Ice Cave, as well as volcanic Bandera crater, are spectacular sights near the old-time trading post.
800 ft. in depth, rose up in volcanic fury some 10,000 years ago. It is one of the finest examples of an erupted volcano in the country, and also one of the most accessible.
From there we went to Acoma Pueblo or Sky City. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States. Pictures are not allowed without a permit, but there seemed no problem to obtain a free permit. The Pueblo was built on a 70-acre site of the massive sandstone mesa which rises 367 feet above the valley and approximately 7,000 feet above sea level. Its location made it ideally situated for defense against enemies. In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado became the first white man to enter Sky City. He described the Acoma fortress as: "One of the strongest ever seen, because the city was built on a high rock. The ascent was so difficult that we repented climbing to the top."
|Acoma from a Distance|
|Inside the Community|
|From Sat Imgery|
|Rock Formations Near Acoma|
|Our Guide Linbert|
|From the village looking north|
|Merchants selling their Wares|
|Down a Street|
Went to Sandia Peak Tramway. The tramway ascends the steep western side of the highest portion of the Sandia Mountains, passing close to dramatic cliffs and pinnacles, from a base elevation of 6,559 feet (1,999 m) to a top elevation of 10,378 feet (3,163 m). A trip up the mountain takes fifteen minutes to ascend 3,819 ft (1,164 m), and the normal operating speed of the tram is 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) . Approximately four "flights" leave every hour from the base and top departure stations. The view from the tram includes all of Albuquerque and roughly 11,000 square miles (28,000 square kilometers) of the New Mexico countryside.
|That's where we will be going|
|Does She Look Scared??|
|Here We Go!!|
|Leaving the Bottom Station|
|From the Top|
|Top Elevation Sign|
|Looking to bottom from about Half Way Up|
|Rock Shelter used during Construction|
|Peak at the top - See Rock Building on top shown in last Picture|
|View from the Top|
|Just Leaving the Top|
|On Our Way Down|
|Back at the Bottom|
The tramway has just two support towers. The first tower, which is 232 feet (70.7 m) tall, is situated at an elevation of 7,010 feet (2,137 m) above sea level and built as an inclined tower with an inclination angle of 18 degrees. The second, just 80 feet (24.4 m) tall, is situated at the end of a major spur of the mountains at an elevation of 8,750 ft (2,667 m) and was built by helicopter aid.
The longest span is between the second tower and the top terminal. This span is the third longest clear tramway span in the world, at a length of 7,720 feet (2,353 m). Mid-span, the cables are 900 ft (274 m) above the mountainside. This span passes over Domingo Baca Canyon, part of which is referred to as TWA Canyon. This is the site of the crash of TWA Flight 260 on February 19, 1955, in which the lives of all 16 passengers and crew were lost. While much of the wreckage was removed during construction of the tramway, some still remains on the canyon floor and may be visible to riders of the tram.
Of course, Denice being afraid of heights, this was of a major concern, but since it was in an enclosed gondola with 20 other people she bravely endured. Of course the cable car conductor at one point when we were over 1000 ft above the ground quipped that we were about 8 seconds above the rock below, and that really made Denice comfortable. Once at the top the view is spectacular. Weather was slightly cool at about 40 degrees F with a brisk wind. There are lots of trails leading off form here but we only stayed a short time, long enough to go into the High Finance Restaurant for some fine dining desert. Then the return trip.
Picked up Denice's Aunt Cheryl and went down to Albuquerque Old Town Today. Wandered around the various "Tourist Traps" for a few hours, and yes they were able to entice us to buy some of their wares, a few t-shirts, some jewellery, and some art work. At noon we went to La Hacienda for some Mexican Lunch. We enjoyed.
|The Church at the Town Square|
|Intersection of I 25 & I 40 in center of Albuquerque|
Not a good place to stop !!!
Just a restful day today. Not much to report. Went over and picked up Denice's Aunt Cheryl and we went to Olive Garden for lunch. Olive Garden is always good!!
Came home and went and bought groceries. Too bad we have to eat. Sure would be a lot cheaper if we didn't!!!