Taos Mural by George Chacon

Mural by George Chacon

I really like this mural in Taos merges with the sky and the mountains, so I looked up the artist and learned a sad story: George Chacón died of an apparent massive heart attack 4 years ago after his performance at the opening night for a poetry event at SOMOS. “He died drumming, surrounded by people who love him. He finished drumming. Put his head on his conga. And died,”

Chacón was born in Saguache, Colo., on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, the third child of seven children. “As a young man fresh out of high school, I went to New York City to discover and explore the world of art which had always excited me,” he wrote in his online biography (georgechaconart.com). “While in NYC, I worked with the Boys Athletic League. After this exciting and enriching experience I went on to study at Colorado State University and Western Washington University.

“Culturally,” he said, “the traditions and the international connections that make Taos, New Mexico, an important art center was enormously appealing to me as an artist. As my wife Beverly and I had maternal and paternal roots in the area we felt that it was also the place we wanted to raise a family, so we moved to Taos in 1983 to pursue our dreams.”

St. Francis Cathedral

St. Francis Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is a Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Santa Fe, NM. The cathedral was built by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1886 on the site of an older adobe church, La Parroquia (built in 1714–1717). The new cathedral was built around La Parroquia, which was dismantled once the new construction was complete.

St. Francis of Assisi

I love this statue of St. Francis of Assisi, it shows so much joy! Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy, was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit, and without a sense of self-importance.

I love these doors on the cathedral. During the restoration of 1986, new doors were created, each with ten bronze panels that portray events in the history of the church in Santa Fe. Donna Quasthoff was the commissioned sculptor.

Earthship Biotecture

Earthship HQ

Taos, NM

An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials (such as earth-packed tires). Earthships can be completely off-grid or partially off-grid. Earthships can be built in any part of the world, in any climate (with a permit) and still provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production. To learn more, check out their website: https://earthshipbiotecture.com/

There is a whole community of earthships here outside of Taos, NM. If I am going to own a home again, this would be the type. I love the sustainability and off grid possibilities. I’d have to find one ready made or find someone to build it for me, since that is NOT my expertise.

Rio Grande and the John Dunn Bridge

Rio Grande

It was fun, once again, to be hiking along the Rio Grande. It was a perfect day, blue sky, light breeze, and cool temperatures. I enjoyed watching the kayakers practicing their Eskimo rolls, and a guy on a paddle board with his dog.

John Dunn Bridge

John Dunn Bridge crosses the Rio Grande near the confluence of the Rio Hondo. It was built in 1908 by John Dunn who transported travelers and mail into Taos and housed travelers overnight at his hotel near the bridge. It was sold to the Territory of New Mexico in 1912 and at that time the toll-bridge was made a free bridge to travelers. Recreational opportunities on the rivers include fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. It is near the Black Rock Hot Springs.

Old Town Albuquerque

San Felipe de Neri

The Old Town area of Albuquerque is where the city of Albuquerque first started over 300 years ago. Here you’ll find parks, museums, older quiet residential streets, and great restaurants. But at the heart of it all, is the historic Old Town Plaza, with lots of shopping surrounding the beloved gazebo and San Felipe de Neri church in the center.

Old Town Patio.

I enjoyed browsing the shops and all the “patios” although I thought they could do more to make them more inviting. This one got it right.

Just outside the town square was my favorite shop filled with so much art, fun and color.

American RV Resort

Albuquerque, NM

American RV Resort

Pros: Easy access from highway. Very secure – gated. Grounds are very clean, but the grassy spots need some work. Lots of trees. Large level concrete sites. Affordable rates. Easy access to Albuquerque. Free WIFI and cable. Good air tv coverage. Lots of birds visited my feeder and bird bath.

Cons: Very. weak water pressure had to fill up my rank, and use my water pump to compensate. Verizon coverage was painfully slow to almost non existent expire have several bars. The park was not filled, but they put me right next to the children’s playground. It was locked due to COVID but that doesn’t stop kids from jumping the fence. I felt like I was intruding on their fun.

Worth Noting: Everything was shut down due to COVID. No washrooms, showers, pool, hot tub or store.

El Morro National Monument

The Zuni Indians call it “A’ts’ina” (place of writings on the rock), the Spaniard conquistadors called it “El Morro” (The Headland), and the American pioneers called it “Inscription Rock”. El Morro National Monument is a fascinating mixture of both human and natural history. Rising 200 feet above the valley floor, this massive sandstone bluff was a welcome landmark for weary travelers. A reliable waterhole hidden at its base made El Morro (or Inscription Rock) a popular campsite. While travelers rested in its shade and drank from the pool, many carved their signatures, pictures, dates, and messages in the soft sandstrone cliff. Today over 2000 inscriptions and petroglpyphs are visible.

El Morro

El Morro is a Cuesta, a long formation gently sloping upward, then dropping off abruptly at one end.

The Pool

Travelers on the ancient trade route relied on El Morro’s source of water, a pool of runoff and of snow melt resting in the shade of the bluff. When full the pool holds 200,000 gallons of water.

Atsinna Pueblo

The NE corner of Atsinna Pueblo was unearthed by archeologists in the 1950s. Atsinna and nearby pueblos were built in the late 1200s. After only 75 years they were abandoned. (perhaps they were meant to be only temporary, unusual heat and drought may have driven the Zuni from the river valleys to the hill ground.

Petroglyph
Carvings

Rio Grande

Rio Grande

When I think of the Rio Grande, I think of Texas and the border of Mexico. I camped along side it in Mission, TX, I crossed it in a tiny rowboat in Big Bend National Park, and now I am happily getting acquainted with it here in New Mexico. It’s a beautiful river. I look forward to finding the headwaters in a few weeks when I visit Colorado.

Petroglyph National Monument

Albuquerque, NM

Petroglyph

As I walked among the petroglyphs, I was not alone. The landscape was alive with the sights and sounds of a high desert. Petroglyph National Monument contains over 24,000 images etched in stone. These images invited me to step back in time to think about the people who inhabited and travelled through the Rio Grande Valley long ago.

The park offers multiple trails, some easy access. You can spend as little as 30 minutes or up to 4 hours enjoying the park. There is no admission fee to enter the park.

Petrified Forest KOA

Holbrook, AZ

Petrified Forest KOA

Pros: Easy walk to several restaurants. The staff is friendly and helpful. Nicely landscaped front entrance and around the office. Cute little store with gifts, food, and RV basics. Dog Friendly, several places to run your dog. The pool was clean and the water was heated. The restrooms/showers were clean and cutely decorated. The showers had hot water, good pressure, and nice shower heads. Cabins look nice. Good free Cable service. Long pull-thru sites. I was happy to hear train whistles in the distance. Free WiFi.

Cons: Basically a gravel parking lot. Services are set up in the middle of the site, so my neighbors sewer was right at the door of my little airstream. The sites I was in were pretty narrow. Verizon reception was very slow, but it worked.