Monthly Archives: May 2016

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May, 2016

I don’t think I mentioned that I purchased a Passport for the US National Parks.

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It has nothing to do with admission. Each time you walk into a park visitor center, they have a “stamp station”, if you will. ¬†So for each park we visit, I have my passport stamped. ¬†It’s fun, and it’s a great log of each park we’ve visited. ¬†There are 58 national parks. ¬†I had no idea – did you? ¬†Some I had never even heard of – but someday – bucket list – ¬†I’d like to collect stamps from all of them.¬†Please check out my Musings pages, as I have written my thoughts about National Parks.

We drove from Colorado to Page, Arizona. ¬†Page is a funny little town, in the middle of nowhere. But, it is a gateway to all of Utah’s National Parks, as well as the Grand Canyon. ¬†It also has the largest and most complete Walmart we’ve ever been to, as well as every ethnic restaurant you can imagine -except Indian. ¬†Why? ¬†I don’t know – I love Indian food (actually, I love all food except lamb, liver, and funky meats). ¬†But I digress…

Tim and I saw the Grand Canyon from the western rim a number of years ago. ¬†We completely alone stood right on the site where the Grand Canyon Skyway now stands. ¬†This time, being only and hour and 1/2 away, we decided to explore the southern rim, and have my Passport stamped. Please, if you’ve never been, you must get there !!! ¬†It is inspiring, breath-taking, and awesome. ¬†Our phone camera could never do this masterpiece justice, but I must insert just a few photos.

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Raining in the Grand Canyon, but not where we’re standing – cool!

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See?  We really are there!

Having a few days to explore Page, we checked out the Glen Canyon Dam area.

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The Glen Canyon Dam forms¬†Lake Powell, which is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona. ¬†Isn’t this splendiferous!!! ¬† We drove across that bridge.

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It is a major vacation spot that about 2 million people visit every year. It is the second largest man-made reservoir, by water capacity, in the United States behind Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam. ¬†However, due to high water withdrawals for human and agricultural consumption, and because of subsequent droughts in the area, Lake Powell is currently larger than Mead in terms of volume of water, depth and surface area. There are many vacation spots on Lake Powell – we visited the Wahweap area, which has a campground as well as a marina and lodge. ¬†It is just beautiful. ¬†Check this out – you can camp directly on the beach for only $14 per night. ¬†And if you’re a lucky senior, it’s only $7.

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There’s plenty of entertainment in Page. ¬†One evening we ate at Big John’s Texas BBQ.

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It was good, but the real attraction was the Res Necks, a local country/western band.

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There were plenty of real cowboys walking around, complete with spurs. ¬†I asked this one if I could take a picture of his boots – and natch, he said, “sure, ma’am”. ¬†I do like me some cowboys…

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Our cousin Joyce and her spouse Sarah flew in, and are exploring on their own for a while. ¬†In a few days, we’ll be taking a boat tour on Lake Powell to visit Antelope Canyon and ¬†Navajo Canyon.

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The boat ride was spectacular. ¬†Being a true “water baby”, the thought that passed through my mind as the boat began to glide across the clear, beautiful water was, “This is my bliss”.

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It was a 2 1/2  hour boat ride through ever-narrowing canyons.  Sometimes we wondered how we could ever fit.

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Here’s my cousin Joyce enjoying the scenery.

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It was a wonderful tour !!!

 We got home a little later than planned from the boat tour.  Oh no !!!  We had left the windows open while we were out playing, and I guess there was a sand storm of sorts.  Our bed was covered in sand.

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Kind of like a towel on the beach that you lay on after just getting out of the water. ¬†Too late to wash it, so we brushed and shook as much as possible. ¬†Barely able to keep our eyes open, we climbed in, and tried to find the least grainy, annoying spot. ¬†Sleep didn’t come easily, but when you’re dog-tired, you find a way. ¬†Next morning, before anything else, the sheets had to be washed. ¬†I think I’m making a short story long, so enough about the bed (yuck). ¬†Tomorrow, we’re off to off to Virgin, Utah, to begin our tour of Utah and it’s National Parks. ¬†Hope you’ll join us there…

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

May, 2016

The main reason we came to Colorado is to visit my cousin Cheryl and her husband Glen, in Castle Rock. ¬†And so, for your viewing pleasure, here’s the crew.

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I chose this particular picture because this is my cousin, full-out.  Smiling and laughing.  I love her, and her sense of humor.

Cheryl and I had an opportunity to spend a day by ourselves.  We went to Garden of The Gods,  such a beautiful place.

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This is called “Balancing Rock”. ¬†(duh)

We also went to historic Manitou Springs, a lovely little town with lots of boutique shops.  We went to The Olive Tap, and tasted all kinds of olive oils and vinegars.

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My favorite was called Benizal, so of course I purchased a bottle. ¬†The vinegars were outstanding, especially the pineapple and the pomegranate. ¬†Unfortunately, I did not bring any home with me. ¬†Where am I going to store all of this stuff? ¬†You’ve seen my “home”.

Our last stop was to ¬†Emerald Fields – A Cannaboutique,¬†a medicinal and recreational marijuana emporium, which is legal in the state of Colorado. ¬†It was a pretty amazing operation. Very up-and-up. ¬†The first thing they do is ask you for a photo ID. ¬†And the first thing you want to do at that point, is run! ¬†Of course, we stayed and checked it out, but no purchases ūüėČ

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On to the scenery of Colorado.  This state is breath-taking, jaw-dropping, gorgeous!!!

On Interstate 25, ¬†we ran into snow – again. ¬†We did ok, but it was a little scary at times, driving into this…

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This is a rest area.

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Our second stop was Cedaredge, Colorado. ¬†We had met a couple in Port Aransas, Texas, from Cedaredge – Lee ¬†and Marsha. ¬†They said come visit them sometime to see “God’s Country”. ¬†So we did. ¬†What a charming and beautiful little town. ¬†One of the things that makes it so special is the¬†Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, and the Grand Mesa National Forest.¬† It is only a 20 minute drive from town. ¬†We are¬†sooo glad we checked this place out. ¬†The views – oh the views.

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Next, we’re on the spectacular road to Telluride.

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We stopped in town. ¬†It looked very pretty, but like Taos, it was “closed”. ¬†¬†Very few shops were open, and roads in historic downtown were being repaired.IMG_0433

 

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Here’s my man with slopes behind him.

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Next up was Mesa Verde National Park.  WOW!!!  We camped in the park for just one night. Sites with hook-ups were unavailable, but we stayed anyway.  We saw some pretty amazing scenes.

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The picture below is of cliff dwellings.  This particular one is called Cliff Palace.  It is the largest and most famous cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde, and has been remarkably well preserved from the elements for the past 700 years.  History tells us that Cliff Palace contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas, and had a population of approximately 100 people.

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I love this sketch from the National Park Service Brochure.

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Leaving Mesa Verde on the way to Four Corners, there were many rock formations along the road.

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Our final stop in Colorado was Four Corners. Actually, it’s called Four Corners because it’s the only place in the USA where four states meet – Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. ¬†I was surprised that there was a fee – $5 per person. ¬†It didn’t really matter because we both wanted to see it. ¬†And so –

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This is the plaque dead center that marks the spot where the states meet.

And here’s me doing my best to to put my four limbs in the four quadrants.

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Full disclosure – I did squat down and put two hands and two feet in the four quadrants, kind of like playing “Twister”. ¬† But after looking at that picture, I decided it was a sight that you just wouldn’t be able to ¬†“unsee”, ¬†so I took the one above for your viewing pleasure.

Next up- Page, Arizona, and Utah’s National Parks, with Joyce and Sarah -stay tuned…

HOLY FAITH, NEW MEXICO

May, 2016

Santa Fe  (Holy Faith), the capital of New Mexico, is an absolutely beautiful city.

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Tim and I both think this is our favorite city so far on our journey. ¬†There is way too much info to put in this one tiny blog, but I’ll try to give you a tiny taste.

Culture РThe population of Santa Fe is very diverse.  There is a very large population of Caucasians.  But of more interest to we  travelers are the indigenous people.   There is evidence that Native Americans have inhabited New Mexico for over 2,500 years. Early ancestral Indians lived for centuries as hunter-gatherers throughout the Southwest. About 1,500 years ago, some of these groups, commonly referred to today as the Anasazi, established permanent settlements, which are now known as pueblos.

There are 19 pueblos and 3 reservations in New Mexico, eight of them are in or near Santa Fe. ¬†The difference between a pueblo and a reservation is ¬†that the Pueblo Indians had their land granted to them, whereas most Indian reservations were established via treaties, and may not have been the land they were formerly living on. One of the better known is the Santa Clara reservation, which contains the famed Puye Cliff Dwellings.¬†These cliff dwellings were ¬†communal houses with hundreds of rooms, often four or five stories high, accommodating thousands of people. ¬†The Spanish ¬†called these communities “pueblos”, the Spanish term for villages.

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The Spanish first came to New Mexico in 1541. The Spaniards and other Hispanic cultures have influenced how New Mexicans work, play and live, for over 500 years.

Interestingly, there are a large number of Caucasian men walking around with long white beards, and white turbans.¬†Hacienda de Guru Ram Das (HGRD) is a ¬†spiritual community of 350 people living in Northern New Mexico just outside the city of Espa√Īola. While many of the members of this community practice Sikh and 3HO lifestyles, the ashram welcomes all faiths in the philosophy that an ashram is a place where spiritual seekers join together to study, grow and excel. 3HO stands for ¬†Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization, and was established in 1969. ¬†It’s ¬†a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing the teachings of kundalini yoga, as taught by Harbhajan Singh Yogi, referred to as “Yogi Bhajan”, the founder of the group, who is now deceased.

Art– We were astounded by the number of art galleries both large and small. ¬†In fact, Santa Fe is the city with the 3rd largest collection of art in the USA. ¬†It boggles the mind. We were able to visit one gallery this go-round, and I am so pleased it was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. ¬† It’s small, but it’s mighty. ¬†We watched a short documentary about her life, then proceeded to the 9 viewing rooms. ¬†We truly were in awe. ¬† We took great delight in “Starlit Night, 1917, because it reminded us of Marfa, Texas.(See Post – ¬†“The Stars At Night Are Big And Bright”, Feb. 2016).

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¬†“City Night”, 1926, was a favorite because O’Keeffe captured the New York skylines at night with such clarity, while still being an abstraction.

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I really love “Pink Ornamental Banana”, 1939, mainly because I like bananas, and I love the color theme and the simplicity of the painting.

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Finally, ¬†“Blue Flowere”, 1918. ¬†This is a wow! painting. ¬†I love it because it depicts some of the sexual expression that she brought to her art – even though she vehemently denied it.

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Food – New Mexican food is not the same as Mexican food, as the locals will tell you quickly – and it certainlly is not Tex-Mex. ¬†It lives somewhere between the two, only with a lot more cheese. ¬†I’m told that¬†New Mexican food is a problematic thing to understand if you didn‚Äôt grow up with it. ¬†Some people say that New Mexican fare is the perfect blend of Northern Mexican and Pueblo Indian foods.¬†It is characterized by its use of green chiles, as well as chiles that are roasted over a fire. Red and green chiles are served with typical Mexican staples such as beans, rice, tortillas and cheese. Green chile is made into a spicy sauce that is then poured over ¬†everything. ¬†Even McDonalds features a burger with green chiles.

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There are more vegetables in New Mexican dishes, as well as more whole kernels of corn. Blue corn is also distinctive element. ¬†It comes with its own set of peculiarities. ¬†For example, shredded iceberg lettuce and tomato are compulsory garnishes. ¬†You may be offered anything on a tortilla, including burgers, PB&J, melted cheese, chocolate sauce ‚ÄĒ anything goes. ¬†One important thing I can’t forget: everything is served spicy — hot, hotter, or hottest. ¬†Make sure you order water with your meal.

We had dinner at an old establishment named¬†Maria’s, that boasts a bar menu with 200 different kinds of Margarita. ¬†Yes, 200 !!! ¬†This place was not much to look at on the outside. ¬†in fact, we thought maybe it was the wrong Maria’s, or perhaps that they were no longer in operation. ¬†We found the entrance and Holy Mol√©! ¬† The food was terrific, and so was the Margarita we chose. ¬†All drinks are mad from scratch – no mixers ¬†Note: ¬†the owner,¬†Al Lucero, wrote a book about Margaritas, and the one and only Robert Redford wrote the¬†foreword.¬† “The Great Margarita Book: A Handbook with Recipes Paperback” ‚Äď July 1, 2004.

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Architecture

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Santa Fe has a distinctive architectural style all its own. No other city in the country has so many low-slung, earth-colored buildings made of adobe bricks, composed of a mixture of sun-dried earth and straw. ¬†Santa Fe’s unique architecture is one of the reasons for the ¬†popularity of this ¬†city, which is surrounded by majestic mountains with gentle slopes that resemble the soft curves of adobe walls. When you meander streets of downtown and nearby residential neighborhoods, you discover hundreds of historic adobe homes, built primarily in the Spanish Pueblo style. ¬†These architectural styles are rooted in ancient history. ¬†Government officials have worked very hard to preserve the flavor of the city and its roots, by developing strict building codes. ¬†Everywhere you look are adobe styled and colored buildings, most of them blend right into the landscape. ¬†Even city center and the government buildings have no skyscrapers, and all are built with the appropriate color scheme. ¬†The result is awesome.¬†This is a picture of downtown Santa Fe and the round state capitol building.

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And this is a picture of the “oldest house”.

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Religion¬† –¬†Religion played a significant role in New Mexico‚Äôs early history.¬†The Spanish king and ¬†the clergy ¬†had one main purpose for settling New Mexico. They wanted to convert all the Indians to Christianity. ¬†In 1607, ¬†reports to the Spanish king from missionary friars, included the fact that New Mexico already had 8,000 Indian converts. ¬† How was this accomplished? ¬†The friars would not allow the Indians to practice their cultural religious ceremonies and flogged them when it occurred. So native religious practices were held in secret for fear of punishment. ¬†Converted Indians obeyed the mission priests regarding religious matters and worldly matters. ¬†The Indians were made to build large adobe churches for the missionaries. Other Indians were given tasks that were against the beliefs of their culture. ¬†If they didn’t obey, ¬†they were whipped or put in stocks. Some Indians had their heads shaved, and were made to leave the pueblos in disgrace. Indian religious artifacts and kivas were destroyed by soldiers following orders from the missionaries. ¬†In 2010,¬†¬†there were approximately¬†69,552 ¬†Indians who were Catholic. ¬†It is ¬†known that they continue to practice their Pueblo rites and rituals. ¬†Good for them!!!

Today, there are beautiful churches and missions everywhere you look in Santa Fe.  Most notable are The Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, the Loretto Chapel, and the San Miguel Mission.  The Loretto Chapel, below, was completed in 1878.

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Specialty Shops and Side Trips – ¬†In Santa Fe, there are hundreds of them. ¬†Due to time constraints, we could only visit a few. ¬†We did take a side trip to Taos. ¬†This is primarily a ski resort town. We visited a few of the resorts. ¬†I imagine in the winter it’s a bustling village with the beautiful people dressed in their ski togs, making merry. ¬†Not so much in May. ¬†Many of the towns were in the process of road repair and all manner of renovations. ¬†I don’t think I’ll say too much more about Taos until I see it in it’s true glory – winter. ¬†But I will say that we crossed the Rio Grande River Gorge Bridge, and it was beautiful.

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Estrella del Norte Winery (Please see the full critique under WINERIES)

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The Tasting was offered by an extremely knowledgeable and friendly guy name Jason.

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Jason, the wine was delicious, and we’re only sorry we didn’t buy more. ¬†We took your suggestion and had dinner at “The Loyal Hound”. ¬†We were a bit¬†skeptical, as the name doesn’t sound like a place one would find in New Mexico, but it too was delicious! ¬†Thanks!

Kakawa Chocolate House is a chocolate shop that sells candy and different kinds of hot chocolate. ¬†And – they do tastings. ¬†Although TripAdvisor listed several, this was number one. ¬†We sampled hot chocolate, and it was sooo good. ¬†There were also display cases of the most beautiful truffles. ¬†Unfortunately we got there at closing, and were unable to sample any. ¬†The young lady who manned the front said it was “no problem” to try, but hey, I remember wanting to leave work at closing time, so we did not stay. ¬†If you get to Santa Fe, please try a few and let us know what we missed (especially the golden peach, champagne truffle).

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We also visited Barrio Brinery.  This is a small little place where Pat Block makes and sells pickles.  The difference is that they are made without vinegar, and they are really great.  We bought some Kosher dills, and a bag of Dill Gator-Taters for the car.  Yum!

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Why I felt I needed a picture of me holding a pickle, I do not know.  And yet, here it is.

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Next up – ¬†the Santa Fe¬†Honey Salon. ¬†It is owned by a man named Gadiel and his family. ¬†It is another boutique shop that specializes in – of course – honey. ¬†It’s a very unique little place. ¬†Gadiel, the owner, was friendly and helpful, and knew an incrediblele amount of information about his products. ¬†Plus, you can taste as many of the many, many flavors of honey he stocks in the shop. ¬†I wound up purchasing a jar of – ready for this – whole, peeled pistachios, in a jar of wildflower honey, with a hint of chile. ¬†Now that is something you don’t ¬†see everyday. ¬†And I guarantee, you will love, love this place.

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Finally,  we visited El Santuario de Chimayo.  I guess I could have put this in the section about religion, but I wanted it to stand alone.  This sanctuary is worth the ride from Sannta Fe.  If you go, plan on spending at least an hour.  Reportedly, this holy place is a bit like Lourdes, only on a much smaller scale.  The devoted come here in the hopes of being healed from whatever condition they may suffer from, and to pray for the healing and souls of loved ones.  The sanctuary sits on a lovely few acres, which are sprinkled with statues and tributes to the Catholic religion.  My favorite statue is one that I have never, ever seen before.  It is a statue of Mary, pregnant with child.  I absolutely love this!  Do you?  Have you ever seen this before?

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Also on the grounds is a chapel for Indians.

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We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the main chapel, but we do have one of the outside.

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It was strictly forbidden to take a picture of the “holy dirt”. ¬†So we didn’t – ¬†but someone else did! ¬† ¬† I got this picture from the internet.

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The story goes that if you rub some of this “holy dirt” on the part of your body that ails, it is possible that it will be healed. An adjacent Prayer Room displays many ex-votos — discarded crutches, photographs, and other testimonials of those purportedly healed. ¬†Strictly speaking, I’m not a follower of any particular religion, but I can’t discount miracles. ¬†So we both took a little dirt, and rubbed it on what ails us. ¬†You just never know – right? ¬†Holy Faith…

Tomorrow we leave for Colorado. ¬†We’re visiting my cousin Cheryl and her husband Glen. ¬†Family — there’s nothing quite like it !!!

 

 

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

May, 2016

It’s pretty safe to say that today’s travelers are mostly in a hurry to get to their destination. ¬†Interstate highways were built to make travel fast. ¬†That usually means traveling at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour, certainly not just for travelers, but for interstate commerce. ¬†For those of us lucky enough to be traveling so that we may absorb the surrounding beauty, culture, food, and people – we choose roads less traveled. ¬†These roads are often referred to as trails or traces.

NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY 

In Natchez, Mississippi, we traveled on a section of the Natchez Trace on our way to Louisiana.

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The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through beautiful scenery, that goes through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. ¬†It was used ¬†primarily by American Indians, “Kaintucks”, and settlers. The Old Trace played an important role in American history. The Kaintucks were frontiersmen from Kentucky who operated flatboats on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. They would load their boats with merchandise in the Ohio valley and then oar down the Mississippi to Natchez. ¬†There they would peddle their goods and sell the boats for lumber, as rowing up the Mississippi was not an option.¬†Getting their money home was the challenge. ¬†Kaintucks were faced with the 444-mile hike back up the Trace ‚ÄĒ and they encountered lots of folks wanting to separate them from their money.

First came the gauntlet of booze, prostitutes, gamblers, and gangsters in “Natchez Under the Hill”, an important landing on the Mississippi River. Let’s assume the Kaintucks got out of town with their money. Now, they became fair game for highwaymen. It was open season on the rivermen and their cash. For this reason, the Natchez Trace became known as the Devil‚Äôs Backbone. Today the Trace is a beautiful National Parkway with no commercial traffic. ¬†It is a great ride – ¬†no potholes, beautiful scenery, and no traffic.

While driving, we came upon The Mount Locust Inn.  It is the only surviving roadhouse on The Trace. Mount Locust is about a days walk from Natchez, so It was the perfect stopping point for travelers completing their first day on the Trace. After walking just over fifteen miles, they would find a meal and lodging for the price of only 25 cents.

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A bedroom at the inn.

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The dining room.

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TALIMENA NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY

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Much farther along, we traveled the Talimena National Scenic Byway.  This is a 54-mile route that spans one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies, the Ouachita Mountains, which uniquely run east and west.  The trail winds along the crests of forested peaks between Mena, Arkansas, and Talihina, Oklahoma.

 

GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66

At least that’s how the saying goes. ¬†You probably know by now that we ¬†(read I) ¬†love things that are quirky. ¬†There may not be another stretch of road in the entire USA that is as filled with such unusual, and sometimes nutty, things as Route 66.

U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America, or the Mother Road, was one of the original roadways within the U.S. Highway System.  It was established on Nov. 11, 1926.

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Route 66 is an icon itself, although a crumbling one. ¬†If you want to see it, you best get a move on, because soon, ¬†there won’t be much to see.

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The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

US 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, but it was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985, after it had been replaced ¬†entirely, by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road have been designated a National Scenic Byway, named “Historic Route 66”. ¬†We tried to travel on RT 66 as much as was possible, capturing iconic structures along the way. ¬†Here are just a few.

The Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas was known as the home of ugly pie crust pies.  It is decorated with retro furniture and some other old doo-dads.

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Unfortunately, the new owner tells us that the pie maker walked out shortly after he purchased the cafe, and he has had to make his own pies.  The crusts Рno longer ugly.

The Route 66 Casino is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Check out the marquee, featuring Cheech and Chong.  That sounds about right!

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Cadillac Ranch is in Amarillo, Texas. ¬†It was the idea of¬†a group of art-hippies from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm. Their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh III. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle (and probably annoy) the locals. The hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt. ¬†They face west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle. ¬†That was in 1974. People would stop along the highway, and walk out to view the cars. ¬†Today, they still walk out to view them, but they also deface them or rip off pieces as souvenirs. ¬†As with many other things on the mother road, vandals who consider themselves artists have dismantled the cars, and spray painted them with graffiti. The Cadillacs have now been in the ground as art, longer than they were on the road as cars. ¬†IMG_0397

We were there on a cloudy and muddy day, so I shot the above photo from afar and took the close-up below from Google Images.  Thanks, Google.

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In a tribute to Cadillac Ranch, there is Slug Bug Ranch, also in Amarillo.  Five Volkswagen Beetles are buried nose down in the ground.  They also are stripped and covered in graffiti.

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Again, thank you Google. ¬†Maybe we should invest in a good camera…

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The Kimo Theater in Albuquerque, NM, is ¬†a Pueblo Deco picture palace, opened on Sept. 19, 1927. ¬†Click on the picture below to get a good view of the decor that graces the building. ¬†It’s pretty spectacular.

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Although not an official Rt 66 icon, I just had to show you this “bookstore”, right across the street from the Kimo. ¬†It is called The Library Bar & Grill.

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Some people are so clever; The Wrath of Grapes, Tequila Mockingbird, Lord of The Onion Rings, A Midsummer Night’s Drink. ¬†I love it.

The Groom Cross,¬†officially named “The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ” is in Groom, Texas. ¬†There you will see this 19-story high, 2.5-million-pound steel cross, which also is a heaven-scraping billboard, luring travelers. It was erected twenty years ago by Texas millionaire oilman, Steve Thomas, to counter XXX advertising on Rte I-40. ¬†It’s currently managed by a non-profit organization, Cross Ministries. ¬†There are other Christian shrines in the cross arena. ¬†You will see the Stations of The Cross, and the empty tomb of Jesus. ¬†There is a bronze Last Supper, and a man-made hill of Calvary with the crucifixion scene. Although there is a distinct Christian ¬†draw to this attraction, I think it’s a worthwhile stop for all travelers.

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The Britten Water Tower in Groom, Texas, was built with an¬†intentional tilt. ¬†That’s right, the lean was deliberate, a direct result of good, old-fashioned American marketing.¬†It worked like a charm, too. Passing motorists pulled off the highway just to make sure they saw what they thought they saw – just like we did. Next thing they knew, they were finding themselves in the parking lot of Ralph Britten’s truck stop and restaurant, where the as-long-as-we’re-here factor would take hold. The gas station and restaurant are gone, but the tower remains.

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One of our favorite stops was the RV MUSEUM, in Amarillo, Texas.

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It’s just off of Rt 66, and located on the property of Jack Sizemore’s Traveland. ¬†The Sizemore’s started collecting and restoring unusual vintage RVs more than 25 years ago. ¬†I promise, they do not try to sell you anything. ¬†They escort you to the museum – that’s it.¬†They have the 1948 Flxible bus from the movie “RV”, the 1st Itasca motor home ever built, the oldest Fleetwood in existence, and many many more. ¬†They also have a terrific collection of vintage motorcycles. ¬†The museum is free. ¬†Anyone with any interest at all in RVs or motorcycles should make this stop. ¬†You’ll be so happy you did.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed the trails. ¬†See you in New Mexico…