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Old 07-03-2009, 07:40 AM   #169
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Seems to be alive and well this morning, knock on wood. (I'm not a great fan of Qwest and their equipment, so almost looking forward to yelling at them a bit.) I've also noticed a bit of slowness in Airforums over the last month or so, especially with threads that contain pics.

Hey, 75 yards ain't bad. My computer is about 30 feet from Maria's, and we email one another. Wish she's learn to use IM.

We have eight arrivals today. I didn't know we had that many empty sites. Argh. I'm enjoying retirement too much for this.


Lynn
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:43 AM   #170
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The weather report has changed to 50% chance heavy rain today. Light rain started a while ago. The sky is grey and the clouds are getting low enough to touch the mountain tops. The roads to the ranch are partly dirt and that means clay mud in NM, the worst stuff to drive (or slide) on. Maybe we'll stay in Angel Fire today and visit with family. It's too bad because Barb used to visit the ranch when she was a child and has told me many stories—branding time, listening to a really old radio in the evening trying to get clear channel radio stations, and how boring it got as she got older (those teenagers!). A caretaker lives there now and cattle graze there. Years ago 2 families lived in a small abode house divided in two. When he was still in high school, Barb's father drove the school bus. That must have been in the early 1940's. I think the "bus" was a pickup converted to a "bus". Barb doesn't get many chances to see the ranch anymore—it's been 20 years since we were there. I always enjoy the stories she tells me about her experiences as a child in rural New Mexico visiting her relatives.

When the family used to visit family in Taos, they'd drop off all the kids—Barb has lots of cousins—at the Plaza in Taos. In those days the Indians from the Taos Pueblo used to hang around and there were few tourists. Today the Indians are gone and stay more at the Pueblo. The tourists are everywhere and a lot of the old stores are gone and have been replaced by places with tourist trinkets. The spirit of the changes in and around Taos have been documented in John Nichol's New Mexico Trilogy, the first book being The Milagro Beanfield War. The known history of her family in Taos goes back 150 years, but over time they spread out throughout northern New Mexico and to Pueblo, Colorado, and her generation has moved even further. I think it's great they get together from time to time. In my family, people won't even talk to one another, so this has always been different to me and I like it.

I see Lynn riding around on his mountain bike in the rain checking things out. He doesn't have his laptop on the handlebars, so he can't post while riding.

Gene
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:01 AM   #171
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I think I need to speak with the weather gods.

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Old 07-05-2009, 11:01 PM   #172
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Lynn's conversation with the weather gods did not work. We're on our last night in Angel Fire and it has rained every day, twice today. But, it keeps the temps cooler. This is a beautiful area—Ponderosa and Lodgepole forests and it's very green in the valley. And Monte Verde is a nice campground and Lynn and Maria keep a close eye on things to keep everything in good shape. He says he's "retired" but I don't see much evidence of it except for his addiction to the Forum.

There's a small ski resort here and it is not at all overbuilt like the well known resorts. In fact there's no center of town—development along the highway is classic sprawl and the road up to the ski resort still has vacant lots. This must be an anti-planning area. The second (or first homes) seem to be on fairly large lots and a lot of land and some houses are for sale. This is the way ski resorts used to be decades ago. Now they are excuses for real estate development because skier visits to large resorts are pretty much stagnant.

Even though I've been to NM many, many times, I still think of it as desert. It's true there's desert here and the Staked Plains are maybe not desert, but they're sure close. But the mountains in parts of northern New Mexico remind me of an area of Colorado where we used to live, except there are fewer people. Elevation is what counts—a several thousand feet and you have big conifers, much snow and a Colorado feel. A few degrees warming could change all that.

The 100th birthday celebration went off well even with the usual chaos—where is the next event, what is the next event, do I want to go to the next event? Seems like more than 125 people attended from a far flung family who don't get to see each other that often. Everyone says they don't know who all their cousins are. Grandma has 21 grandchildren, so you can imagine how many cousins there are. I've been meeting people in Barb's family for 23 years and I can't keep it straight—they keep making m ore, the kids grow up and have more kids. Made me feel old. We spent today mostly resting and took a short hike.

Tomorrow we are off to Santa Fe. We understand there are bad construction delays on the road to Taos—up to 45 minutes for a paving project. Not looking forward to that. Not as bad as what we heard of on I-25 in Colorado. Southbound traffic has had delays of 2 hours at Walsenberg. Seems like highway contractors can do anything these days blocking roads or providing bad detours any way they want.

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:30 AM   #173
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Gene, I think you pretty well nailed it in your description of the area.

But I guess it's the usual thing: Home is still home, and it's always great to get away. I'm biting at the bit to hitch up and leave!


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Old 07-07-2009, 08:06 AM   #174
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Gene, did you make it ok to Santa Fe? You're lucky to have left here. We had a really ugly thunderstorm yesterday afternoon: Tons of lightening crashing all around us and a lot of rain. No damage that we've found (well, other than our one bird feeder, which tried to take flight), but it sure was exciting.

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Old 07-07-2009, 08:56 AM   #175
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Hey Gene, we just got back from our 2 week trip. Heading west seemed to be good for weather. It was even sunny in Washington state. It's suppose to be in the 90's here for the rest of the week. So when you get home you can enjoy some sun...
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:41 PM   #176
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We're presently at Santa Fe Skies and the internet hasn't worked at the trailer since we got here yesterday. After a lot of complaining and one women telling me we could go to another campground, suddenly they are getting very nice. The guys here are a lot more sensible than the ladies who basically say to go away. Don't know if we'll come back here.

Then there was the tie up in Taos Canyon (US 64) yesterday. The state is chip sealing the road and had no reduced speed limit and no signs warning that traffic would be stopped. So traffic was backed up far beyond the signs and two 1 ton trucks, each with a trailer with lots of weight, came around a corner and had about 100' to stop—result one crunched car, one injury, one damaged car and two messed up trucks. That took over an hour to clean up. We drove a couple of hundred yards and had to wait 20 minutes for construction, and traffic backed up to the curve again, probably without anyone coming around that curve knowing what was ahead. Thanks NM highway dept.

Other than that, Santa Fe is always nice to visit. First thing here we went to Trader Joe's to stock up, and then came back, had a good meal and watched a DVD. Today we slept late, ate good again, went into town. I found parking spaces on the street I always do 2 blocks from the Plaza (a secret I will never tell) and the meter was broken, so we got to park for free! We had a good meal at the Blue Corn Cafe just a block from the Plaza and then went looking for a present for Barb's parents 60th anniversary. Found something nice for their yard. Tomorrow we go to the Folklore Museum and not sure what else—very little I hope.

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Old 07-07-2009, 08:13 PM   #177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
... So traffic was backed up far beyond the signs and two 1 ton trucks, each with a trailer with lots of weight, came around a corner and had about 100' to stop—result one crunched car, one injury, one damaged car and two messed up trucks. That took over an hour to clean up. ... Gene
Probably the same two jerks in one-ton trucks who rocked the MG a week ago on that same stretch. One of them managed to put a nice, new pock in the brand new windshield. I hope the both of them get fired.


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Old 07-07-2009, 09:51 PM   #178
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I think the 2nd truck was from a construction company, not the one doing the road. They had not enough warning and the speed limit was 45—not enough space to stop a large truck, an 18 wheeler, or me. With 4 vehicles, the state and the contractor involved, it'll be a merry lawsuit.

They sort of fixed the wifi here, but it is still it too weak to get out in the park. Three of us are typing away right next to the office building, now pretty much in the dark.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:13 PM   #179
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Yuk. Remind me of their weak wifi when we plan our next trip to Santa Fe. Or maybe I should hire myself out to set up a better system for them. (Yeah, right. The last thing I want to do whenever we leave here is to go work at somebody else's campground.)

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Old 07-08-2009, 08:37 PM   #180
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It worked this morning Lynn, probably because nobody but me was using it and then it only had a little better speed than dial up. I guess you got to hire the right people to put in a good system and know how to operate it. They told me they spent $1,400 last week on it after they hired a new outfit because they old one did a lousy job—money down the drain.

We went to the Folk Art Museum today and I wasn't all that impressed. Barb likes folk art, but this museum didn't get a good grade from her either. The road to it has about 15 speed bumps, so my back got a workout—every speed bump jerks my old back injury and hurts. The Whole Foods here has the worst speed bumps I've ever seen—they are staggered so one side of the truck hits them first, then the other side gets another one, jerking you side to side as well as up and down. Obviously designed by a fiend. We've liked the other Santa Fe museums, but they all can't be good. Then we had lunch at Zia, a restaurant in the railroad district on Guadalupe. The lunch wasn't as good as ones we've had in the past and maybe this trip to Santa Fe has a curse on it, or we were spoiled at Angel Fire.

And we noticed in the past year prices in the Plaza area are much higher. There was a big spike in prices in the mid 90's and the result was tourism dropped a lot. I asked a merchant just off the plaza about it and she said rents have risen a lot lately and that's causing retail prices to go up and business has dropped off. I feel like avoiding Santa Fe for a few years after this trip. It is a good place to walk around and look at things, but sometimes it feels like some invisible force has conspired against us.

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Old 07-10-2009, 03:12 PM   #181
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Yesterday we drove to Pueblo from Santa Fe. After the mountains around La Glorieta, site of a Civil War battle, and Pecos, the land flattens out. We stopped at Minnie's Cafe in Springer for a malt (it's just south of the north exit) and lunch. Barb has been stopping there since she was a kid back in the '50's. She used to visit the family ranch near Wagon Mound, a town about 20 miles south. Just north of Raton ("Rat"), I-25 crosses a mountain range and then back to the prairie. It was 97˚ as we drove through Pueblo on our way to the KOA. Plenty of trees here and the wifi works! But, also road noise and a coal train around 4 am. We spent today with my in-laws going to Costco in Colorado Springs and then taking them out for a 60th anniversary lunch. It's supposed to be 100˚ today in Pueblo. I've upped by water intake by a gallon a day. It's 119˚ in the sun and the AC is keeping the trailer at 81˚.

Some photos:

1. Monte Verde Campground in Angel Fire.

2. A Spartan at Santa Fe Skies Campground. The guy who owns it apparently stays there a few months each year. No one was around when I took the photo.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:25 PM   #182
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We did return home, 2 weeks ago. After a high of 102˚ in Pueblo, I was wasted, but we made it back to the western slope and proceeded to unpack, a lengthy process.

Since then, cutting up wood for the winter has been a major preoccupation. A lot of trees were killed in the Southwest several years ago during a major drought by the ips beetle and the blue fungus it carries. I've been cutting down and cutting up trees for years, some of them piñon 300 to 500 years old. I've never been able to keep up with it and a lot of the trees have fallen over, so it's necessary to cut them up before they rot on the ground. We have 37 acres and about 30 is forest consisting of piñon, cedar and juniper. The juniper is pretty much bullet proof and the piñon seems to be the most vulnerable, or maybe just the dominant species, so the most dead trees are piñon. All these species are hard on a chain saw (and the operator) and I have to sharpen the chain frequently, clean the saw, adjust the chain, etc., etc., so it seems a lot of the time is eaten by servicing the saw.

Getting into the forest can be difficult and I use a riding mower and tow a cart to get into some tight spots. A lot of areas we just have to walk in. We have 10 acres for sale, so we are trying to get all the dead stuff we can reach out of that area first. The way land sales are going, we probably don't have to rush. Barb has been helping by picking up the logs after I cut them, something that saves a great deal of time and saves my back since bending is very hard on it.

While in that private place cutting away at a tree, unable to hear much with earmuffs, I wonder how a city boy from New York finds himself with a chain saw at an advanced age sweating and dirty when I should be on a rocker drinking tonic, complaining about how things are different nowadays, and watching soaps. Apparently I didn't take that option. It does feel good to still be able to do this, even if I hurt all over. Maybe a chain saw is Viagra for the soul.

But I digress. Tuesday we take a short trip to Ridgway State Park, about 85 miles south. We'll spend 2 nights there, maybe do some hiking, hopefully be lazy and definitely not bring the chain saw. We will be taking 3 short trips in August—one to Grand Junction since I have some business to take care of there, to Lake City for 3 nights caravanning with friends who have a Class C, and 2 nights on Grand Mesa to meet friends there who have a conversion van. In between, there always plenty to do here besides wielding a chain saw.

We're making a new list of warranty items—I have no idea how many items there have been altogether over the past 1 1/2 years, but it's been a lot. We're still thinking of going to JC again just before the warranty runs out and then onward to the Florida keys. That would bring us to the Keys in early November which should be the slow season and hopefully the campgrounds and parks will be empty. Am I right?

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