Search

Category

Gallup

2018-10-10 – Day 53 – Camp Verde and Sedona

We left Gallup at 8:00 am.  It was 36 degrees outside… We stopped briefly for a mid-morning snack.  We are driving west along the 40 through northern Arizona…

img_9844

At Winslow we turned south on tiny highway 89; the sign said, “No services next 51 miles”… They weren’t kidding:

img_6352img_6353img_6355

We turned west again and soon arrived at Camp Verde, site of Historic Fort Verde (1865).  Camp Verde is a working class town, a few miles south of Sedona.

We parked and set up at a very nice RV Park, then we drove to Sedona.  Sedona seems like they took Santa Fe and dropped it into the middle of Bryce Canyon…

img_6368img_6377img_6387img_6390img_6399img_6400img_9845img_9846img_9848

Sedona, like Santa Fe, consists of hotels and shopping areas aimed directly at tourists:  gift shops, art galleries, spas, restaurants, and bars.  Compared to Santa Fe, it has a little less Indian culture and a lot more spiritual culture…

Being tourists, we found a nice restaurant.  Lynda ordered a small margarita…

img_9847

I was still pondering the menu and the Yelp ratings…

img_6403

We had a nice, but small and simple lunch, then walked through the shops amongst the other tourists.  I was surprised by the number of families in town; I would have expected more well dressed ladies of a certain age (with tiny yippie dogs) and their equally well dressed male companions…

We returned to the Villa.  Internet service was bad, so I had to hang out at the office to get anything done.  We walked around the RV park.  It is very nice, mostly seasonal and long term visitors.  There were six other Airstreams in the park… Oh! Wait! We just noticed a brand new Airstream Atlas!  Make that seven other Airstreams in the park…

At dinner time we sought out all the fine dining options in the area.  There was one.

We went to Moscato, a fine Italian place in Camp Verde, about four miles from the RV park…

img_9849img_9850

We arrived early and we walked a bit in the town, such as it is…

We found a liquor store that carried all the essentials…

img_9851

We’re not in California any more…

img_9852

The restaurant was VERY nice – it soon became our favorite restaurant in Camp Verde…

img_9854img_9860

The food and service were great.  The room is beautiful.  They also have a lovely outdoor patio, but it was a bit cool for that.  There were several large parties and families celebrating something or other…

We made a reservation again for tomorrow night…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-10-09 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 52 – Caravan is over; we head for home…

We watched the balloons fly one last time… We walked on the field amidst the chaos…

img_9774

It’s always fun to see the special shaped balloons – later in the week they will have a special competition just for them…

img_9781img_6324img_9791img_9790img_6332img_9800img_9803img_6335img_9809img_9808

This is Bill Lee, the pilot who organized our balloon rides last week in Gallup.  His balloon is the official balloon for the State of New Mexico… We tried to talk to him, but I think he was preoccupied…

img_9817img_9818img_9819

So we walked on…

img_6338img_9823img_9827img_6346

After a few minutes we looked back and Bill Lee was aloft…

img_9829

Once all the balloons had ascended we walked back to the Villa, hitched up, and left our happy campground full of Airstreams…

Our destination today is Gallup, NM, back to USA RV Park, which we left less than one week ago… We are spending one night, to dump the tanks, take showers, and get re-oriented again for our trip home…

We stopped briefly to stretch our legs, and then traveled on…

img_9830

We crossed the Continental Divide (7275′ elevation) at about 11:00 am.  It was 44 degrees outside… And then the rain began.  It was not heavy, and it did not hinder our trip…

There is not a lot going on out here in western New Mexico…

img_6347img_6348

But soon we were settled in to our site at USA RV Park, just west of Gallup, NM.

img_9836

This evening we had planned to walk the 1/2 mile and eat at Virgies, a Gallup institution.  Literally seconds before we left the Airstream it started to rain in a giant downpour.  It didn’t last long, but we didn’t want to get caught in another such downpour… Also, the highway was too wet, in our opinion, to walk…

img_9837img_6351

We called Uber and 9 minutes later we were at Virgies:

img_9839img_9840

By the time dinner was over we were able to walk back to the Villa…

img_9841

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

Oh!  Here’s Evelyn:

img_9769

 

2018-10-03 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 46 – Traveling from Gallup to Cubero, New Mexico

Another travel day… These days are my favorite – driving down the highway, watching the scenery, going places that we’ve never been before… Today we took the long way around, choosing to drive the back roads for three hours instead of the interstate for two hours…

img_60681img_60691img_60701img_94631

We drove south from Gallup, towards El Morro National Monument, then through El Marpais National Monument.  This area is very volcanic, yet the mesas still exhibit interesting rock formations…

We stopped at a few historic markers…

img_94611img_94641img_94651img_94661

The road eventually turned east, then northeast, where it intersected with the 40; about 20 miles later we were at Cubero, site of the Sky City Casino, Hotel, and RV Park.  Sky City is the name for the Pueblo at Acoma, where we will go tour tomorrow…

img_60751img_60761

We had an easy time setting up in a very modern, but very bleak RV park.  Naps, then Happy Hours, and dinner ensued…

img_94671img_94691img_94701img_94711

As Happy Hours were transitioning to Dinner we were hit by a sudden thunderstorm, followed by a rainbow…

img_9475

News flash!  This morning it dropped below 70 degrees in Los Angeles, and rain MIGHT happen.  Erin quickly dressed Evelyn in all her winter clothes:

img_9460

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-10-01 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 44 – Gallup, New Mexico…

img_9333

The figure above is “Kokopelli”, and this image is all over the Southwest USA; in fact, this caravan uses it as the caravan logo.  The oldest images of Kokopelli appeared between 750 and 850 AD.

There are lots of stories of Kokopelli being a fertility deity, holding forth over childbirth, or being an agricultural deity, or being in charge of livestock… My favorite story is this:

A little man named Kokopelli used to travel to the various villages of the Southwest long ago.  He carried a bag of corn seed on his back, and he taught the people to plant corn.  At night, while the people slept, Kokopelli roamed the corn fields, playing his flute.  The next morning, villagers would arise to find the corn four feet tall, and there would be no sign of Kokopelli.  Also, many of the young women of the village would be found to be pregnant…

Today I tried to get caught up on my this blog; the only activity was to visit another Trading Post and learn, again, about the practice of Pawn, and to have the opportunity to buy rugs, pottery, and silver and turquoise jewelry.  No thanks.  Lynda went along with another couple; I stayed and tried to find good internet access, with little luck.

Lynda and the others returned about 5:00 pm.  It was raining, and many people had gone out to dinner.  We stayed in and had a quiet evening…

Tomorrow we return to the Pueblo of Zuni; this is the sacred Zuni Mountain…

img_6049

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-30 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 43 – Gallup, New Mexico – Hot Air Balloons and the Zuni Pueblo…

Today is the day!  Hot Air Balloons!

We drove in the dark to meet at Red Rock State Park, just east of Gallup.  We met up with the balloon pilots and their crews.  There will be 6 balloons going up today.  Weather conditions are perfect!

We drove around to the launch site, in the first of several canyons we would be seeing today.  Then the work of setting up the balloons begins.

The basket is assembled, and the burners are installed and tested…

img_9081

The balloon is inflated with a large, loud fan…

img_9106

The the burners are fired and the air in the balloon is heated…

img_9124

As the air in the balloon gets warmer the balloon rises…

img_9131

We all climb in the basket and away we go!

img_1357

As we ascended we could look down on the ground crew and the chase vehicles.  These people will follow us along our route and pick us up when we land – wherever that might be…

img_5966

Riding in a hot air balloon is an ethereal experience.  Everything is VERY slow.  It is silent, except when the pilot hits the valve to fire the burner to add more heat.  There is no steering wheel and there are no brakes – the balloon simply follows the wind… There are some vents in the balloon to let the pilot release air, and this allows him to rotate and adjust the balloon’s trajectory.

So we flew over five canyons, soaring over the plateaus and dropping deep into the canyon, then back up again…

img_9152

Part of the fun is flying along with other balloons…

img_9165img_9166img_9192img_9194

This is the official balloon of the State of New Mexico…

img_9200

Looking up into the hot air…

img_6008img_6006img_9216img_9235img_9258

After about five miles and one hour or so the first balloon lands…

img_9263img_9279

Our chase crew has arrived…

img_9281

As the others are starting to deflate and pack up we are still searching for a place to land…

img_9286img_9291

And we are on the ground!  This is our pilot, Jeff.  He has over 30 years experience flying balloons, and he set us down flawlessly!

img_1392

As the balloon deflates we all pitch in to pack it up…

img_9301

The basket is disassembled…

img_1411

The burners are stowed…

img_1413

And we returned to the original meeting spot.  We had a traditional ceremony and we shared a little champagne to celebrate our flight…

img_9314

And, with that, our ballooning was over.  On to other adventures…

After such an exhilarating morning, we celebrated by having breakfast at the Railroad Cafe – in a remodeled mid-70s era Der Weinerschnitel.

img_9316img_9315

And then we headed south about 45 miles to the Pueblo of Zuni

When Lynda retired from Valley Christian High School in June, 2017, another colleague, Tim Becksvoort also left.  But Tim didn’t retire – he moved, with his wife and three children to Zuni, NM, to become Principal of the Zuni Christian Mission School.  We set out today to visit the Becksvoorts and the Pueblo of Zuni…

img_6050

In 1897, Andrew and Effa Vander Wagen established a permanent mission in Zuni on behalf of the Christian Reformed Church.  Their passion and love for their Indian brothers and sisters made a lasting impression on all they touched.  They became fluent in the Zuni language and persevered in spite of physical threats to their lives.

The breakthrough for the fledgling Mission came when the Vander Wagens (with their infant children) refused to leave Zuni during a serious smallpox epidemic.  Instead of fleeing, as did the officials at Bureau of Indian Affairs, who were responsible for medical care in Zuni, the young couple went door to door caring for and administering medicine to their Zuni neighbors.  In that and later acts of mercy, the Vander Wagens pioneered the then-revolutionary mission concept that in order to minister to people’s spiritual needs one must also be willing to demonstrate Christ’s compassion and care for their physical needs.  With that groundwork laid, the first ordained missionaries were assigned to the Zuni Christian Reformed Mission in 1906.

In 1908, so that the missionary children might have Christian schooling, Miss Nellie DeJong came to Zuni as their teacher.  Along with the missionary children, four Zuni children were also enrolled.  From that humble beginning, the school expanded rapidly and soon claimed an important role in building relationships in the community, in educating the children and in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the children and their families.

Although the church and school have been housed in the same location within the Pueblo since its inception, there have been many changes in the facilities.  A major setback occurred in 1971 when a devastating fire raged through the Mission, completely destroying the church and school.  Portable classrooms were brought in and “temporary” facilities were constructed.  Forty years later, an amazing venture to rebuild the entire mission campus was begun.  Today there is a beautiful new school, a worship center for the church, residences for up to six families of staff members, a playground, and a gymnasium.

Zuni

The school is located across the river from central Zuni, the oldest part of the pueblo, “Middle Earth”, as they call it.  However, the village has, over the past 100 years, grown and now surrounds the school and church.

The Becksvoorts live in this very nice two-story apartment…

img_9317img_9321img_9320

We had lunch with the Becksvoort family, chatted with their three children, and walked around the “Middle Earth”…

The A:shiwi have lived here “forever”.   When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in about 1620 they gave the natives the name of Zuni… The Spanish built a church:  Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the Spanish left and fled to Santa Fe when the American frontiersmen started coming through in about 1800 as part of America’s western migration.   The church was rebuilt in 1960, but, due to benign neglect, it has significantly deteriorated, making it uninhabitable today…

img_9346img_9345

The church even has vigas, which are, of course, rotting…

img_9327

We walked about the newer (1960s) buildings (with vigas…), and saw one of the Zunis’ ceremonial courtyards, and their traditional adobe ovens, used mostly to bake bread…

img_9330img_6045

(We will come back to Zuni in a few days with the caravan; we will have a native meal with the Zuni people and an official tour… Stay tuned…)

We returned to the RV park in the late afternoon, and enjoyed happy hours with our fellow Airstreamers…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-29 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 42 – Gallup, New Mexico…

Another quiet day on the caravan.  We began by visiting an Indian Trading post and learning about Pawn.  Among the Indians, Pawn is nothing like the typical pawn shop where folks down on their luck borrow a few dollars on something semi-valuable that they own.  For the Indians, Pawn is a combination bank and safe deposit box.  Since there is little private ownership of land, and semi-communal living is common, there is no place secure for the Indians to store their valuables.  So they bring them to the Pawn and Trading Post; the trading post will store the valuables and give a token “loan” to the owner.  The owner then comes in every 2-3-4 months and pays a fee to keep the items in pawn.  When they need their possession back, they pay back the “loan” and claim their goods.

This trading post has over 1,800 saddles in Pawn.  I doubt there are even 1,800 horses in this part of the reservation… There are also guns, ceremonial head dresses and boots, lots of jewelry, and many other things the Indians deem valuable…

The saddles…

img_90701

After listening to the Pawn explanation we saw an artist demonstrate his craft.  He showed us how he sketches and etches his design (in this case a silver bracelet) into a piece of soft stone.  This makes a mold, into which he pours the molten silver.  Out comes the rough bracelet, which he then polishes and finishes into a fine piece of jewelry…

img_90721

Most caravaners then proceeded to spend lots of money…

We returned to the Villa.  We enjoyed a Saturday afternoon watching college football.  While the internet service is terrible here in New Mexico, the satellite TV is great!

We had many Happy Hours with our Airstream neighbors, then watched football again well into the night…

And again we have a short day, so here I present Erin and George expressing their feelings about spending all day Saturday watching T-Ball…

img_9071And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-28 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 41 – Driving to Gallup, New Mexico…

We left Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam and headed roughly Southeast across some of the most remote and desolate terrain I’ve ever seen.  This is mostly the land of the Navajo Nation…img_5963img_59611img_90631

We drove for miles and miles… and saw nothing but miles and miles…

At Kayenta, AZ, we stopped at a Burger King, home of a great exhibit telling the stories of members of the Navajo Nation who served in WWII, and, particularly, the story of the Code Talkers.

By the time we had finished looking at the exhibits other Airstreamers had also arrived…

img_90602img_9059

And then we left and drove to Gallup, NM.  Nothing too exciting.  In the evening we enjoyed a BBQ dinner provided by the RV park in their dining pavilion…

img_90651img_90661img_90671img_90681img_90691

We were visited by the representative of the ballooning folks to brief us on the coming days’ activities – we are going to be riding in hot air balloons!  We are scheduled for Sunday…

So, as is our tradition, on slow news days, we present some of our great grandchildren…  Maybe you’ve seen these before…

Roisin, age 5:

img_58691

Ian, age 4, and George, almost 3:

img_60551

Ian, Roisin, and Evelyn, age 6 months:

img_58681

Ian:

img_84591

Evelyn

img_89111

And, finally, Evelyn:

img_57751

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-08-18 – Traveling East – Day 3 – Gallop and Albuquerque

We pulled out of Williams, AZ, this morning at about 7:30.  We are headed to Albuquerque today to meet up with other Airstreamers.  The caravan officially starts tomorrow, but we wanted to arrive one day early. (Many caravaners arrive several days ahead of the official start…)

The drive was uneventful across the rest of Arizona.  We are in the mountains of Flagstaff, Winslow, and Winona, with elevations from 5,000 ft. to a maximum of 7,275 ft.  The countryside was beautiful – so much more green than it was last year when we came through here in June…

The good news!  Many of the worst roads that we experienced last year have been repaired, or were being repaired as we detoured past the construction zones.

As we approached Gallop, NM, we saw billboard after billboard advertising the El Rancho Hotel .  Since we wanted to stop for lunch, we pulled off onto another remnant of Route 66 and drove through Downtown Gallop.  Our GPS led us to the hotel; it has obviously seen better days…

img_6513

We soon realized that we had come in through the rear… The front looks a little better…

img_6517

The hotel was built in the 1930s, and for the next 20 years was heavily used by the Hollywood film industry as headquarters for various movies being filmed in the rugged areas around here.  The lobby was very “old west”…

img_6515img_6516

We had lunch in the restaurant… Not quite the same scenic view as yesterday…

img_6514

It was a fascinating place.  We peeked into the bar and also the “49er Room” – a night club type of space that must have been really  hopping in the olden days of the 1950s.

After lunch, as we walked back towards The Villa, it started to rain.  For the next 2 hours or so it continued to rain, with some extremely heavy thunder and lightning showers and amazing cross-winds blowing across the freeway.  A trailer traveling ahead of us was being blown all over the road, but The Villa held firm – sort of like an anchor.

The rain stopped, the skies cleared, and we pulled into American RV Park in Albuquerque.  We beheld a wondrous sight:

img_6519

We parked The Villa and set up – we are here for 4 nights…

img_6518

We had a little Happy Hours and met a few of the other caravaners.  We also received our Drivers Manual, so we now know where we are going to be for the next 51 days.  We watched the sun set…

img_4488img_4487

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑