Tag Archives: Mesa

Touring New Mexico: Roswell to Acoma Sky City pueblo

Thursday we drove with our WBCCI Airstream Caravan from Carlsbad KOA to Roswell Elks Lodge.  We both were parkers, part of a team helping arrange where all the Airstreams would park upon arrival.  The Elks Lodge has 22 parking spaces with water and electric service, and a full-service restaurant and bar in their lodge.

We arrived two hours before the rest of the crew so we could receive our various assignments and organize how we were going to work this.  Some were flag people at the last two intersections to bring people into the correct driveways.  Three of us worked within the camping sites, directing the RVers into sites best suited to their rig’s lengths.

The weather was trying.  The sun was shining hotly and we peeled our coats and rolled up shirt sleeves.  Rain started falling, and we donned our rain coats or held umbrellas over our heads.  Rain would stop but the sun hid behind the clouds and we pushed our sleeves back down and put on sweaters.  Repeat; repeat.

Friday the day started very cool, 46 degrees, and warmed to 66 degrees with constant winds and sunshine.  Forecast calls for gusts to 55mph in the afternoon.  We visited the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, NM.  This museum claims impartiality, presenting what is known and what was reported, and purports to let the visitors form their own opinions.

Deb has found my alternate for long distance trips

We’ll probably never learn the full background and purpose of the government’s operations.  We are convinced the U.S. government conducted apparent cover-up operations regarding some event. Jim’s poli sci studies included a class on Machiavelli’s The Prince.  The story essentially reads: the ends justify the means whenever preserving the republic and cementing the peoples loyalty to the leader.

After museum and lunch we took our truck to fill the gas tank with some of the $2.73 gasoline we saw on the way in yesterday.  Not available, least expensive is $2.84 — we bought anyway, 26 gallons, so spent almost $3.00 extra from waiting a day.  Lesson learned: don’t procrastinate.

young rider stands below much older one in Lincoln, NM, museum

Saturday is our fifth consecutive very windy day.  Spring is roaring in like a lion, it seems.   We drove an hour to Lincoln, NM, a very well preserved old town of the west. Our Lincoln walking tour and museum browsing occupied several hours and we could have spent longer in this neat little unincorporated settlement.

nice little museum honoring Smokey Bear

Our caravan requested we arrive at our campground by four o’clock, so we saddled up and drove toward BLM’s Capitan, NM, has a must see attraction, though. We visited the Smokey Bear Museum and Park, and actually viewed Smokey Bear’s gravesite. His successors have ably carried on the courageous and important work Smokey started in 1950. This is a nice little museum with plenty of on-street parking for RVs, nice displays and an informative video show, and with a short nature trail.

BLM's Valley of Fire campground

From Capitan we had a short drive to Valley of Fires Recreation campground. This is a gorgeous but not-so-large campground especially for 32 Airstream trailers and motor homes. Our caravan’s parking committee had their hands full spotting our entire group in a campground organized for 19 RVs, but they did a fine job and we all had fine spaces.

Resembles an asphalt dump?

Valley of Fires is the site of New Mexico Department of Transportation’s (and possibly the USA’s) largest surplus asphalt paving dump site (no, not really). You can see in the picture this huge gnarled hunk of black basalt rock. The valley contains a forty-four mile stretch of this extremely rough volcanic rock and looks as though it could have been a decades-long collection of asphalt debris. The stuff looks tough enough to tear the treads off an army tank.

Sky City (Acoma) pueblo

We stayed two nights at the Sky City Casino and Campground. The casino effectively refunded each of us a night of camping as credit for ten minutes worth of a nickel slot machine ($20). The real attraction, though, is the Sky City pueblo and cultural center. Our caravan arranged a guided tour of the Acoma Sky City pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited village in the United States.

Our tour guide shows us the interesting points on the mesa

Our tour guide for this 3/4 mile walking tour explained the history and current lifestyle of living almost 370 feet above the desert floor. No running water then, nor now. Water is carried up from drinking water cisterns far below. No electricity then, nor now. Food was cultivated far below, and now Wal-Mart vends food to the inhabitants. But religious practices have remained largely unchanged, according to Conran, our guide.

Thanks to the handholds, our trek down was reasonably safe

A dozen of us, at the end of our guided tour on the mesa, elected to descend by one of the seven paths down from the mesa. This path is less a path and more notched steps in ancient sandstone. Thankfully someone worked handholds into the stone. We doubt the Acoma Indians needed these — the handholds were cut to benefit tourists like us. And we found these very helpful in our descent.

We toured the Sky City Cultural Center (opened just two weeks ago on April 16, 2010) after our tour of the Sky City pueblo. The museum, gift shop, and building are beautiful and very nicely built. And the Cultural Center’s Cafe served very reasonably priced and delicious posole and lamb stews, both accompanied by fry bread or horno bread. The fry bread is tasty but neither good for regular consumption nor, apparently, truly traditional Native American food.

Our tours, short drives, and the weather all have been very nice, if windy. We’re enjoying the caravan and looking forward to more in the coming weeks. We head next to Albuquerque for five days of small tours including a Segway adventure and an i-House tour. We’ll tell you about it next time.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

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“The weather isn’t usually this _______.”

Our first week or two in Mesa, AZ, folks told us, “It’s not usually this hot in early November.” This past week the same folks told us, “This is much cooler weather than usual for Mesa.” All across Canada this past summer, locals told us “We don’t think we’ll have much summer this year — the weather is much cooler than usual, corn is late. We should go south.”

And tonight in Ft Stockton, TX, they tell us, “The weather here is usually warmer this time of year.” It is pretty cool, 39F. The forecast low temperature tonight is low 30s, which is okay with us — we’ll set the furnace on low and it will run a few times as sunrise approaches, just to keep the plumbing (and humans) from freezing.

We arrived this evening after thirteen hours very easy driving on as good an interstate highway as we’ve ever driven. Great pavement through Arizona, New Mexico, and our first quarter of Texas, and easy grades. Our plan was to drive 500 miles, sort of a break-in day into our 2,300 mile journey.

We left Mesa at 06:00 this morning, made it through Tucson’s rush hour without incident, slid across Las Cruces and El Paso, then discovered Texas has 880 miles of I-10. WOW! Did you know I-5, from San Diego, California, all the way to the Oregon border atop California above Mt Shasta, is less than 800 miles?

So Texas is wider than California is long. This realization may have been part of why we felt inspired to go beyond our planned 500 miles today. Everything went so well and traffic was so easy, especially after sunset, we just couldn’t stop for 681 miles. And we still have 620 miles of Texas I-10 before we get to Louisiana.

Tomorrow we will try to get through San Antonio just after morning rush hour so we can zip through Houston before their evening rush hour. This fine plan depends upon our getting up and out early tomorrow. The trailer is already all hitched up to the truck, so all we need to do is dress, brush teeth, wash faces, and climb into the truck to go.

A quick sandwich supper and showers tonight and we’re off to bed. We would write more, but really are ready to hit the sack.

And we hope we find out, when we get to North Carolina, the weather isn’t usually this NICE! A White Christmas would be fine, or an unusually warm week would be fine with us.

But whatever the weather, we suspect we’ll hear folks say, “The weather isn’t usually this ________.”

See You Down The Road!

Jim and Debbie
visit our website
locate us here

©2009 Dreamstreamr

Six weeks is a long time to stay

It hasn’t seemed so long, but we’d been in Mesa six weeks yesterday. We did have a feeling we’d been here awhile — we’ve both been getting itchy feet for the last week or two. So we started making lists to help get us ready for departure.

That’s right, we’re checking our list carefully before we head back East. We’d hate to get a couple of thousand miles down the road and then realize we left something behind, like the RV. These things are avoidable, you know?

We both are list-makers for any number of purposes. We’ve been accused of being extremely linear (I think it meant I always added 1 + 2 before I did anything to 3). You could, at any given time in our RV, find a couple of active to-do lists and a grocery list (for the things we didn’t find and the things we’ve since discovered we wanted).

We have a pre-flight list of things we’ll do before we leave Mesa. The big things are arranging the radio antennae for the trip, programming the amateur radios for enroute repeaters, setting tire pressures for all eight tires for highway driving, dumping the RV’s two holding tanks, securing all loose items in the RV, donating clothes to local Charity, and getting groceries for the 2,300 mile ride.

We have only a couple of loose ends with the resort park office, like turning in our mailbox key, paying our electric bill, submitting the mail forwarding request. Jim has one more tennis match tomorrow morning. Deb wants to play tennis one more time before we leave.

We’d love to get the truck (and maybe the Airstream) cleaned up before the drive. Clean windows, floor mats, and a clean hood are all we really need — we can’t see the rest of the truck from our truck’s seats anyway. And it’s nice to at least clean the windows and door on the Airstream, if we can’t get it all washed before we leave.

We’re facing a long four days, or we may take a fifth day, for the 2,300 miles from Mesa, TX, to Kannapolis, NC. Yet we’re looking forward to the drive, the scenery, the change. And we’re especially excited about returning to green North Carolina.

Mesa, and Towerpoint particularly, has been wonderful. We enjoyed so much here, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West to Scottsdale’s Old Town and the Sugar Bowl; desert hiking with friends from Towerpoint and visiting Tempe; finding our way around vast metropolitan Phoenix; playing tennis every day and having nice soaks in the park’s hot tubs.

We’ll miss the tennis club facilities and people, just 100 yards from our RV. We’ll miss the interesting and changing desert weather. We’ll miss our Towerpoint friends and our fun times with them. We’ll look forward to another season here, another time. Now it is time for us to go.

Let’s go somewhere. Six weeks is a long time to stay.

Jim and Debbie
visit our website
locate us here

©2009 Dreamstreamr