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Old 10-27-2011, 10:11 PM   #239
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We spent two days last week in Taos. I thought the WalMart was worth at least a Discovery Channel documentary.

The people at the Emergency Care place there are great. I had four stitches put in my thumb there. Nice people.

Saw the Kit Carson house, and then got the hell out of town. That was enough for us. We did spend a couple hours at the Earthship place there a few miles west of town toward Tres Piedres.

We were in Ft. Collins for the storm. What a way for a couple AS newbies to finish up their first trip. about 10" of snow tuesday night and wednesday. Lost power at the KOA. Everything froze. It was still without power when we left today. 17 deg. this morning.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:21 PM   #240
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Photos:

1. A little snow is visible in the bushes and in the distance on the Sangre de Cristos. A grey day in the 40's.

2. Wengert Patio about a half block east of the junction of US 64 and Kit Carson Rd.

3. The placita. The sculptures and the building in the middle are recent additions. There used to be a well in the center. A placita is usually surrounded by buildings—maybe a house, business, stable, maybe servants quarters and storage. There would be a gate closing it off and the whole thing is to keep thieves and marauders out. The trees make it a peaceful place close to the busy town, but years ago it probably would be bare with livestock held there. Consider that livestock leave many deposits on the ground next to the well and the wells weren't all that deep in that area

4. Kit Carson House. It also had a placita with a well. The well is gone and the placita is bare. Carson did not own all four sides of the placita.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:39 PM   #241
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More:

1. The Taos Plaza is well known, but seems like a letdown when you see it. I think the La Fonda Hotel is on the center left.

2. The mechanical horse, probably not the same one from long ago when Barb rode it. It only costs 25¢, but I couldn't get her to ride it.

3. An alley near the Plaza.

Gene
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:12 AM   #242
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Gene, if my bearings are right, then further up that alley is the pedestrian area of the plaza:



If you want to know more about Kit Carson and the southwest, then I'd very strongly recommend Hampton Sides, Blood and Thunder. One of the best books I've read in a long, long time.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...on+sides+blood+


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Old 10-28-2011, 09:48 AM   #243
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Lynn, I saw the book at the Kit Carson house. Between reading the Times and other periodicals and spending too much time on the Forum, and fixing things, cutting wood, taking trips, planning trips, reading books seems to come last. I am reding the Oct. 18 hard copy of the Times and there are several digital copies on my computer. I need to live another hundred years to catch up.

I think we wandered aimlessly through the pedestrian area while we killed time waiting for the restaurant to open.

Today we go out to breakfast somewhere and I'm not sure what.

Gene
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #244
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Today we went back to Graham's to try out their huevos rancheros. Though a complex dish, it was very good and everything worked together. Next time we go there for dinner we will try something besides the southwestern entrees as they were kind of heavy last night. The decor is café like and seems like a touch of NYC.

We hung around the plaza today while Barb explored the shoppes. Most are tourist shoppes ranging from T shirts to high end galleries. The plaza looked better today with more sunlight, but it is a hodgepodge of memorials and a pine tree given to the town by the Taos Pueblo. The Veterans memorial has a large cross, so I guess non-Christian vets aren't honored.

The most interesting store was just off the southeastern corner of the plaza in a small mercado. It is called Maison Faurie and has a large variety of antiquities. The owner is French, but goes by Roberto, and he seems more a collector than a seller. He has a photo of Mata Hari, mostly nude, that helps understand her appeal to Germans and French during WW I. She was shot by a French firing squad for spying.

He, like some store owners, is willing to talk about living in a small town and the issues we have—traveling long distances to get things being a major one. So we talked to him and the gallery owner next door, Charles Collins, for a while about Taos and western Colorado. Collins sells paintings and sculptures, though he started as a potter. His work is imaginative, though mostly not to my taste. He has been doing painting of Indian pottery lately and I liked those, but wasn't in a buying mood.

Then it was time to get more bread and gas. Gas in NM is now the cheapest in the country. We paid $3.19 and we hear it is below $3.10 in Albuquerque.

Photos:

1. The north side of the Plaza. One store there sells Pendleton blankets at prices higher than on the Pendleton website. We have seen that before.

2. Looking north from the south side of the Plaza. The building on the right center used to be the county courthouse. It was built in 1934.

3. The view from the mercado on the southeast side of the Plaza into the Plaza.

Gene
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:01 PM   #245
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I recall that antique shop on the plaza. And yes the shopkeeper was very talkative and pleasant. I can't recall right now but there was some common denominator that got us in a conversation. The rest of the tourist traps didn't interest me at all though my wife made the cursery walk through. We left town and stopped at the suspension bridge. While there we ran into a couple of travelers from Holland ( I think). They were fascinated with our AS and asked for a tour. We then had a lite lunch and hit the road. Seems like you're enjoying yourselves. Keep it up.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:26 PM   #246
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one time only

Only went on one trip this summer after 3 1/2 years of getting it road worthy thus far. Did not even get to sleep in it. The kids and grand kids took it over. Or should I say I let them sleep there. It was a good central for the fridge,bath,stove,water, ect. I went home to make modifications for next trip.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:05 PM   #247
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No trip to Taos is complete without going to the church at Ranchos de Taos about 4 or 5 miles south of Taos. It is called the Church of San Francisco of Assisi (Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis) and is almost 200 years old. The church was locked today, but last time we were here it was open and is a good example of the architecture of the period and the way churches were decorated inside. Some of the town surrounds the church with a plaza in front and back with a number of shoppes and a restaurant. We ate at the restaurant some years ago with some friends who used to live in Taos and it was pretty good.

Photos:

1. The north bell tower.

2. Looking through the two side windows into the church and out to the other side.

3. The buildings along the north side of the church looking east. Barb and her blue coat have been all over North America.

4. The front of the church. The back of the church faces the highway and some people were telling me they couldn't figure out where the church was; they figured it out eventually. A shop owner across the street from the church told me people were always asking him where the church was.

Gene
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:23 PM   #248
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You are killing me Gene. Give my regards to your lovely bride though.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:32 PM   #249
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Tomorrow we return home and the trailer goes to sleep for the winter. We have a leaking bathroom fan/vent and maybe one at the front Fantastic Fan. The fan doesn't seem to be working right either, but we aren't sure. We just found out there's a balloon fiesta here tomorrow, so we may see some before we leave. It is supposed to be 23˚ tonight, but well up in the 50's tomorrow. We've heard there was no snow at home and the roads should be clear.

More photos:

1. This is a section of the low wall surrounding the church. Adobe is made with mud, preferably clay mud, straw and other stuff. They cover it with a mud plaster, but I don't know what the differences are between the composition of the brick and plaster. There are probably adobe bricks underneath. Because the top of the wall gets direct rain, the mud washes away leaving more and more straw as seen here.

2. This is part of a building where the roof has fallen in near the church. If it had been plastered, all of it has fallen off and these are the adobe bricks. The weather is wearing them away and eventually the building will become rubble and years later, a pile of dirt.

3. Near the church was another place of worship, Andy's La Fiesta Saloon. It featured drive up service. A zoning application on the building indicates a zoning change was initiated in 2007 but nothing seems to have happened since, so it doesn't look like drive up service will be available any time soon.

4. One more view of the church with the south side in the late afternoon sun.

Gene
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:12 PM   #250
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We've been home for 2 weeks and the final statistics are in. The trailer has 42,044 miles on it. It has no dents except for one the dealer put in when we had it there for warranty work. It's pretty hard to see and they paid me a settlement. I haven't backed into anything, but I shouldn't write that down because is may jinx it.

This year we got a new solar system, new converter, new, bigger batteries, self adjusting brakes, repacked bearings, replaced one outer bearing, put venetian blinds in rear window. Other than that, there have been fewer repairs than past years. I have to get some slightly oversized black screws (one backed out and others will), stop leaks in bathroom fan and bedroom fan (maybe), solve the vinyl floor bumps that develop over winter. I'd still like to build a hardwood dinette table to replace the Formica one. Maple is pretty easy to get, so it might be maple. The best lumberyard for wood in Grand Junction closed so hardwood is hard to find here. I can wait until I'm next on the Front Range. I'd like to see something done with the cushions—the fabric gets dirty easily and cleans poorly; there's no backing, so the cloth slides around. Airstream employs people who sew this, but they sure don't do it well. The LED's I installed around 3 years ago are all working fine. Some people say they don't last, but I looked for the best quality and they have been no trouble. Haven't used the generator since the solar was upgraded.

We were only going to take short trips because we wanted to be close to home if someone made an offer on our house. Though there were some showings, no offers. The contract with the realtor expired 6 weeks ago and their signs are still here and no one seems interested in returning our keys, survey or other documents. My goal is to have it on the market ourselves by the end of the month. It is been good to forget about it for a while and not have to wonder if the realtor will call us saying they are coming up our driveway. Then we have to get the chickens out of the living room really fast.

But we did take longer and longer trips. Our first trip was to Ouray (183 mile round trip) to celebrate 25 years together. Then we went to Cortez and Canyons of the Ancients NM (385 miles), but after than trips kept getting longer. And Barb's family had two deaths and we brought the trailer to Albuquerque and to Pueblo for them. Getting itchy for real trips, we went to SW Montana and part of Idaho (1,968 miles), then the Balloon Fiesta and a final trip to Mesa Verde and Taos. The summer of short trips totaled 6,059 trailer miles. There were 8 separate trips and we found it takes almost as much trouble to pack and unpack for 3 days as for 15 or 30. We just can't stop.

The Michelin LTX tires now have 23,621 miles and look great. They don't lose air like the Marathons did, ride and wear well. We got rid of the Marathons when they had 18,423 and were wearing fast. If we had replaced them with Marathons, we'd be getting close to a 3rd set early next summer. I expect to get 50,000 miles out of the Michelins and that makes them cheaper than Marathons not counting extra mounting and balancing every time you replace tires. It also means I don't have to rotate tires as often because they don't wear fast.

Wheel bearings were repacked with almost 18,000 miles on them since the last repacking. This is far more miles and time than Airstream recommends. They were fine, the races were fine. One had a cage less than perfect, but the grease was fine and the bearing looked good otherwise. It may have been a less than perfect bearing (it was installed at the JC service center). It could have been left in for a while, but I changed it as soon as I could get to it.

The OEM truck tires were replaced with 18,000 miles on them because they seemed to be ready for replacement toward the end of a 6,000 mile trip and I didn't want to come home with bald Goodrich tires. The Michelin LTX A/T2 Load Range E tires now have 50,000+ miles and may make it to 60,000.

Since we came home we winterized the trailer and started cutting wood in earnest. There are always dead piñon trees. About 30 acres of our property is forested and there's been a lot of beetle kill since we moved here. It has slowed down, but so have I and am still catching up. We now have 2 cords cut and some to split. I have finally mastered the quirks of the Stihl chainsaw after two years of ownership We made a quick trip to Denver last week and bought the trailer a new wheel lock—one of those things that goes between the wheels, but this time I'm getting it a padlock so no one can steal it. We also got the sewer hoses and parts a new, stronger container. We keep those and the water hoses in boxes that live in the back of the pickup—convenient to have all similar parts together and easy to move around.

Next year is up in the air. Will the house sell? Without a realtor, we have to stick around a lot more and that may drive us nuts. We wanted to go to the Pacific coast, but it would have taken too much time, so that is on our minds. I want to go back to Newfoundland (and Labrador). When we do sell the house, we plan to rent one until we find one to buy. That will take time, so we can't make any plans. Besides getting the house on the market, I have two more late 19th century chairs to finish and cane plus another chair of undetermined age to work on and then maybe the dinette table. Do I buy an iPad and get the NY Times on it? So hard to give up the print edition. So many questions….

Before we know it, spring will be here and we'll be itching to go somewhere.

Gene
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #251
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Gene:

Thanks again for the great narrative and pictures of your travels. After the Balloon Fiesta we took an additional two week road trip to the Petrified Forrest NP, Grand Canyon - North Rim NP, Zion NP, and Bryce Canyon NP. We didn't have enough time to visit much more, but we have been to Taos, about 26+ years ago, and although some of the buildings looked familiar, it really doesn't seem like the same place.

Safe travels, Terry.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:32 AM   #252
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Terry, glad we met at the Fiesta and it sounds like you packed in a lot on your vacation.

Taos has grown south over the past quarter century as big box stores like Walmart and others have built along the highway to Santa Fe. The shops change, but it still looks pretty much the same to me since mostly everything is adobe (or fake adobe—stucco on frame). And it feels old and since I grew up in the northeast, I feel comfortable with old places. After having read John Nichol's New Mexico trilogy (it starts with Milagro Beanfield War), it is hard to even consider moving there. Certainly the town has a lot to offer, but I suspect it is cliquish and we'd still be driving lots of miles to get things we want in Santa Fe, just like we do here. And that drive would take us through Espanola traffic and slow speed limits to Santa Fe and that is not desirable.

We ate at two Taos fine dining style restaurants, Grahams and El Meze. Both push it with their meals to go places that you may not be used to. They can challenge diners with interesting but unfamiliar tastes. I liked them both, but thought they would really turn off some people and I was unsure whether I liked all of it. I'd go back though. When we returned home, there was a article in the NY Times about restaurants that try far out recipes and can be arrogant about it too, plus charge absurd prices. The two in Taos aren't guilty of the extremes cited in NYC, but they do operate close to the edge. If peas, corn, mashed potatoes and a piece of beef are your idea of dinner, these aren't the places for you.

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