Thursday, October 08, 2020

Mesa Verde National Park

On our week of driving from Dallas to Seattle, we took a day of rest at the halfway point in Cortez, CO near the four corners.

Fires are a big topic this summer, but they are common and a part of the ecosystem.  Throughout the park, there are the signs (both burned trees and actual placards) that signify fires in previous years.  The fields of snags are quite beautiful.

The highlight of the park are the pueblos build into the cliff faces.  Here's the largest, Cliff House.  During non-pandemic times, tours are available to be able to go and visit the pueblos, but we could only see them from viewpoints.

This is the canyon that the Cliff House faces.

There are MANY of these dwelling found throughout the area.  This is Spruce Tree House, found near the Cliff House.

A structure found up on the mesa itself.  Speculation is that it might have been ceremonial.  Actual function is still in doubt.

Not only are the pueblos amazing, but the views are fantastic as well.  Here's the path up to the highest point on the mesa (and therefore in Mesa Verde)

Looking north.

To the northeast and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The view to the east.

South into New Mexico and with the naked eye, the Shiprock, but I couldn't really get a view of it from the phone.

Sunset to the west.


Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Fall In the Rockies

Arriving in Southern Colorado on the 1st of October meant that the fall colors were at their peak.  We took a day to drive and see the mountains and do some leaf peeping.

We started with a drive from the San Luis Valley over to Durango and then headed north on the "Million Dollar Highway"

The "Million Dollar Highway" connects Durango to the "Switzerland of America," Ouray, CO.  OOHH, a tree with red leaves!

Connecting Ouray to Telluride is the "Dallas Divide Highway"

We arrived into the Telluride area at sunset.  Telluride is in that valley in the distance.

We were lucky to catch the final rays of sunlight as we drove south into the town of Cortez along the Dolores River.

A PERFECT fall day!

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Day 2 of the drive from Dallas to Seattle had us cut through the Northeastern corner of New Mexico into Southern Colorado.  Here are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Nothing to do but take a selfie as Auggie is finishing his bottle in the car.

We were excited to finally reach the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  I visited back in the summer of 1992 with my Geology classmates.  

Proof that Auggie was here.

Back in 1992, my classmates and I climbed up at least part of the Sand Dunes and then rolled/tumbled down.  I remember unexpectedly finding sand in parts of my body during the post slide shower.  This time, we each took our turn enjoying the view, but no climbing and rolling.

Angle of Repose in action.

One of the great joys, other than the view, is the chance to be in complete silence.

The dunes around sunset!  The golden hour light produces the most perfect shadows on the dunes.

The dunes slowly recede towards the west.


Monday, October 05, 2020

Cadillac Desert


Thanks Henry for hosting us for two weeks!

After a couple weeks, time to pack up the car with personal stuff, camping stuff and baby stuff!  

Onions is particularly good at the 3-D Tetris of packing!

The most important cargo we put in the exact center of the card.

Day 1 was a drive from Arlington, TX to Amarillo.  Not much to see in the Panhandle, but this is a famous roadside sculpture, "Cadillac Desert."

Someone has some strong opinions!

Next stop....Colorado.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

A Second Week in Central/South Texas


Did you all know that there is a Stonehenge replica in Central Texas?  Well, here it is in Ingram.  Apparently some guy had an extra slab of concrete and put it in his yard and then decided to make it into a replica of Stonehenge.  When his land was sold, it was moved to this Arts Center.

It's Pi

There are also a couple Easter Island heads too.

On our drives on I-35 we passed the outlets in San we finally went.  And, as always, why does the brand Nautica exist?

One evening, we were invited to dinner with my friend Theresa, who was in town from Austin.

Ice Cream!  The heat is starting to break, so the evenings are nice to sit outside.

In Austin, we drove around and wanted to walk around and visit the Texas State Capitol, but, do I need to say...COVID-19 closed.

We wanted to eat BBQ, but the famous place Onions first found had a 3lb minimum of meat.  That's a lot of meat, too much for us to eat, so instead, we found a taco truck.  

The tacos were great, but I must say that not being able to sit in a restaurant and having to make the additional work of thinking about where to actually eat, and having to do all this contactless ordering is starting to wear on me.  Thankfully, Onions takes care of all the ordering.

Downtown Austin from Mount Bonnell

Looking across the Colorado River and the BIG houses!

San Antonio doesn't have any Asian Markets, so on our way back we took a trip to 99 Ranch!

Onions was impressed at the cleanliness (it felt like Whole Foods) and selection that he doesn't find in the Bay Area.

Remember the Alamo!!!

So, being a non-Texan, I had no idea what the Alamo meant.  But after the visit, it's basically a bunch of immigrants from the United States into Mexico who got unhappy and revolted.  The Alamo was where 186 of them were killed in a thirteen day siege in 1836 by the Mexicans.

This is the rear of the Alamo Church.  And that, pretty much, is a visit to the Alamo!

The buildings around the Alamo Complex are more interesting architecturally.

This is the gift shop.  Beautiful, but come one, even those of us with basic Art History knowledge see that there are CORINTHIAN columns on this building.  So no way it's original and upon further investigation, it was built in 1936. 

Proof that Onions joined me at The Alamo.

Posing like James Bowie, my phone is the knife and my mask (hidden) is the hat.

The Long Barrack, the oldest building in the Alamo Complex