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March 29, 2018

Still Going Strong

As of today, we have been on the road 300 days.

We have driven approximately 25,000 miles, staying in 78 cities in 38 states or provinces. That doesn't include six states and countless cities that we visited or drove through without spending the night. We have taken thousands of photos.

Closeup of Steve and Rosemary

Sometimes people ask us: Are we tired? Are we still speaking to each other? Do we plan to keep on going? Where are we going next?

No, yes, yes, and we don't know.

Watch this space.


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March 23, 2018

Entering The Land Of Red Rocks

by Steve Winogradsky

Upon leaving New Mexico, we made our way to Moab, Utah, just outside the first of five national parks we intended to see in Utah. Moab is a small town that survives on visitors coming to see the two nearby national parks for sightseeing, camping, hiking, biking and off-roading. Up and down the main street were shops offering to rent ATVs or jeeps, guided tours of the area, camping supplies, rock climbing equipment, and other outdoor gear. Although we were there in the off season, many of these shops were open and doing business.

Fortunately though, the town was not that crowded, so the parks were also not crowded. There is nothing that spoils a visit to scenic areas more than crowds of people who always manage to get in the way of a photo op (all of whom seem to be wearing bright orange or yellow jackets) or cause traffic jams on one lane roads.

Our first stop was Arches National Park. As you will see from the pictures below, Arches got its name from the over 2,000 natural arches that have been created by wind and water over thousands of years.



Note the arch in progress on the left.

Some of the arches are huge!

A rare double arch.


"When you're weary, feelin' small"

A view from below the arch. Note the small amount of rock at the top that holds this thing together.

My co-pilot!



Some are "works in progress", where there are the beginnings of an arch that has not yet been completed.


Should be completed in about 10,000 years, so come back for another look.
In addition to the arches, there are enormous rock sculptures, also created by nature...





Balanced Rock
What is holding it up? Not much!
Hoo Doos
Named "Wall Street" due to the resemblance to the streets of New York.
...as well as canyons and incredibly beautiful vistas of the both the desert and the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the distance.


Could be the landscape of Mars!
Even in this hostile environment, there is still some wildlife living here.

A mule deer doe.

"Doe, a deer, a female deer"

A mule deer buck.
And some of the largest ravens we have ever seen.

This guy is so big, he has his own parking spot.
As we discovered (and you soon will if you keep following this blog), each of these parks has a unique look to it. More great sights to see and more photos to come!


Note: We were here in February.

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March 19, 2018

The Land of Enchantment

by Steve Winogradsky

Upon leaving Carlsbad Caverns, we continued on our trip to New Mexico. At about the halfway point between Marfa and Santa Fe was the town of Roswell, known for alleged sightings of UFOs and aliens from outer space. While we did not see any actual aliens, pictures of little green creatures were all over town and the local businesses capitalized on the theme.


As we drove across New Mexico, we saw much of the same barren, flat land that we had seen in West Texas. Without much surface water, wells were powered by windmills.


We also saw herds of deer and antelope, some of which were wild and some farmed.


As we approached Santa Fe, we passed through Clines Corners, where there were some very tired coffee shop employees.

To quote Steven Wright, "We're open 24 hours, just not in a row."
The city of Santa Fe was first colonized by the Spanish in 1598, although the area had been inhabited by Native Americans for many centuries, centered around the current Plaza, the cultural center of the city. After many years under Spanish rule (and mistreatment by the Spaniards and the Church), the local pueblos banded together in 1680, revolted to reclaim their culture and drove the Spanish out of the area, but the Spanish returned in 1692, reclaimed the city, and brokered an uneasy peace with the pueblos, which allowed the Native Americans to retain their culture while also integrating Christianity. A visit to the Taos Pueblo (discussed below) is evidence of that combination.

The city was named after St. Francis of Assisi and statues of St. Francis are found in many locations around town, including this one outside the first church in Santa Fe, which was named in his honor.


Note the circular "window" above the doors, which is stained glass behind the choir loft.

The baptismal font

Stained glass behind the choir loft, seen from the inside of the church.
Outside the church is also a statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American in North America to be promoted to sainthood.


Adjacent to the church is the Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden, with metal sculptures depicting the fourteen stations of the cross, created by local artist Gib Singleton.


We next went to the Loretto Chapel, known for its "floating" spiral staircase, which is not attached to the walls of the church, just the lower and upper floors. We saw a similar staircase at the Russell House in Charleston, SC.

Round and round it goes, how it stands up, nobody knows.
Walking around town, we saw a small oil derrick that paid tribute to the first oil well on State land. Oddly enough, it was solar powered.

Who needs fossil fuels?
That night, as we walked back from dinner, we saw that the Plaza was all lit up, even though it was well past the holidays.


Santa Fe has a large artist community, and many of the galleries are located on Canyon Road, a street devoted to displaying the works of local artists. We spent some time talking with artist Gregory Horndeski, whose unique style of painting caught our eye. Aside from beautiful paintings, his works were framed in a unique fashion, with stories or musical scores on the frames. A former professor of physics and mathematics, these stories reflected his background, as well as that of his musician wife. Had we not been on the road, we might have purchased a few of his pieces. For a better idea of his work, visit his website, www.horndeskicontemporary.com.

We drove about 90 minutes north of Santa Fe to Taos Pueblo.


A UNESCO World Heritage site, the pueblo looks to the outside observer much as it has for many years, the main difference being the number of SUVs and pickup trucks used by the pueblo dwellers for their employment outside the pueblo. The pueblo is a collection of multi-storied buildings that have been inhabited for over 1000 years, using adobe as the building material in what we have come to call the Santa Fe style of architecture.


For multi-story buildings, ladders are sometimes still used to get to the upper floors.



Outdoor clay ovens are used for the preparation of food, including baked goods which are sold to visitors.


Near the entrance to the Pueblo is a Catholic church, built in 1850 to replace an earlier church built in the 1600s but destroyed during the war with Mexico.


On the outskirts of the pueblo is the cemetery, with generations of pueblo dwellers buried there.


After having lunch in the nearby town of Taos, we drove out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the 5th highest bridge in the US at 650 feet above the river. On the banks of the gorge, we saw some big horn sheep and enjoyed some spectacular scenery.



All that climbing is exhausting!

Back in Santa Fe, we woke the next morning to find it had snowed during the night.


Walking around town, we saw a Scottish Rite Masonic Center, got some conflicting information, and toured the Capitol building, which had lots of artwork on the walls. We also visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, featuring over 3,000 works by the famed artist.


Open or closed - Which is it?


As we drove out of Santa Fe, we were reminded again of the beauty of this area making us eager to see our next location, the national parks of Utah.





Note: We were here in February.

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