Monthly Archives: October 2013

Day 126 – Galluping away from Chaco

Day 126 – Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last night was very windy. There was a wind warning in effect and the temperature was much cooler. It was around 8C at 11:00 AM this morning. Before leaving Chaco Culture NHP today, we toured one more site called Chetro Ketl. It is a site beside the more famous Pueblo Bonito. Between the two sites is a trail along the cliff face containing many petroglyphs. We spent an hour or so touring the site and the trail. We saw 11 of 12 of the petroglyphs but could not find one of them. Julie notes “I love these National sites, as most have self-guided tour books that you pick up at the beginning of the trail and drop off once you’ve completed the loop. Also now I know Karen S.’s joy of reading out loud to someone who isn’t really listening and is trying their best to get away from you. These National sites have taught me how to speed read out loud through pages of informative and sometimes difficult to pronounce literature while walking along trails, up and down stairs and rock steps, on the brink of great kivas, beside looming delicate walls, in gale force wind, wearing progressive lenses, all the while trying to keep up with the long legged windmill man and enjoy the beauty of the sites as well. I think I have developed one more skill to add to my resume. But we do have fun. And man we would still be standing there staring at the blasted (well mostly chipped and pecked) petroglyph wall trying to find that last inscription if the call of granola bars and a warm truck hadn’t finally broken the spell. Another reason to go back and visit in the future.”

We then headed south the 150 or so kilometres to Gallup, NM. We hit some weather as cool as 2C at the Continental Divide, which we’ve crossed many times. It is somewhere around 7,300′ above sea level.

We found Earl’s Family restaurant in Gallup for a late lunch. It was rated by Trip Advisor as #9 of 51 Gallup restaurants. The local native artisans bring their wares through the restaurant trying to make a sale. Julie bought a few items from one of the native ladies who hand makes her jewellery. Julie notes “There were some beautiful wares and the artisans are very polite and non-intrusive. I bought one little bobble from one older woman and I forgot to ask her name. Then Kathy Lee approached us and her infectious salesmanship hooked me. Her silver goods were lovely and her seasonal sale prices tempting but she had me at ‘Hi I’m Kathy Lee, but I’m not here with Regis.’ Nice doing business with her. I forgot my brother’s sage advice on how to order liver so it doesn’t arrive as shoe leather. No nothing to do with sage but ask for it medium rare. But the yummy fried onions and not bad gravy made it pretty tasty anyway.” We then checked into the USA RV Park. We got set-up, checked some email now that we have wifi again, checked a few phone messages, and got caught up on some banking. The temperature in Gallup was about 6C cooler than Grande Prairie, AB when I checked the weather network. It was 3C in Gallup and 9C in GP. Julie notes “Something’s wrong with that picture. Is Jim Bob o.g. (Outside’s Glacial) playing a practical joke on us GP’ers? But it is still a dry cold as Jim Bob would’ve said.”

Once it got down to 0C, we decided to walk to a nearby restaurant, the Ranch Kitchen, for supper. Number 12 of a short list of Trip Advisor rated Gallup restaurants. The restaurant is called Ranch Kitchen, advertises Mexican food, and is run by a Middle-Eastern couple. I ordered the Mediterranean starter salad and beef shish-kabobs with humus and rice. It was very good. The beef was cooked perfectly and the humus was nice and garlicky. Julie went with the Mexican side of the menu and ordered a taco salad. Not so good. Julie notes “I was still full from my shoe liver lunch so thought I was playing it safe and would get a big pile of lettuce and a sprinkle of hamburger with the rest of the fixings. It is not often that I don’t clean my plate but I just couldn’t eat the taco shell full of hamburger/potato/carrot mixture (the standard New Mexican taco filling) with just a sprinkle of shredded lettuce melting on top. The opposite of what I was expecting. Oh well. Live and ‘burp’ learn they say.”

Chetro Ketl and Chaco. Julie notes “Another giant celebration kiva. My theory, not widely accepted, is that these were originally designed to be swimming pools but then had to change plans when they realized they only get 9.5 inches of rain per year. So they covered them with wooden roofs and began planning elaborate ceremonies which are still honoured and practised today. It all worked out.”

Julie notes “The beautiful Fajada Butte again through the doorway. This was used as a signal tower and a manmade ramp was made on one side. This made it easier for the fire starter to run up and invite the neighbours for a swim in the kiva (during rainy season if you are a supporter of my theory) or for a grand celebration if you wish to believe the many archeologists and anthropologists who have spent their lives studying this site.”

The road south from the park towards Gallup. We had been warned that this road was mostly unmaintained and extremely rough. Supposedly, it was in worse condition than the road in from the north side of the park. We found out that this road was actually much nicer, and smoother to travel, at least today. Julie notes “My theory, again not widely accepted, is that the people, including the park service, who recommend using the north route, have a brother-in-law who owns a tire shop close by.”

Threatening skies.

Red rock cliffs along I-40 towards Gallup (and more threatening weather).

A little taste of home! Julie notes “Jim Bob o.g. (Obviously Guessing) however started the day wearing sunglasses under a mostly sunny sky, smiling like a warm fool.”

Some of Gallup, NM along old Route 66.

Many of the old signs and buildings have been preserved from the heydays of Route 66.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “We have been trying to catch some wildlife shots for our nature lover followers. So far we have a great shot of a praying mantis and snake. We were being very stealthy and they were being very co-operative and after posing for some great money shots we finally realized they were dead. So out of respect for all, we will not post those. We have seen another ‘road-flyer’ or a ‘ditch-runner’ (we refuse to call them roadrunners as they have refused to run down the road like on the cartoon.) Speaking of roadrunners we have been serenaded to sleep by coyotes in the Chaco canyon, wonderfully eerie. And Brad and I each have identified a WTF bird. Brad’s was a ‘Weally Terwiffic Fwyer’ (not to be confused with a Prairie chicken he says, which would be a Weally Terwiffic Frier’). I looked out the window one morning at a bird pecking a tree and said WTaF? Was That a Flicker? By the time I got the binoculars out, looking through them with one lens cap still on it and exclaimed ‘WTF?, WTF! Where’s The Focus?, Where’s That Flicker!’ the elusive WTF was gone With The Flock.”

Day 125 – Blown Away!

Day 125 – Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another day at Chaco Culture NHP. We planned a few more site visits to various ruins and a hike to the Pueblo Bonito overlook high up on the mesa above the valley floor.

Our first stop was a site called Hungo Pavi. We followed the trail around the ruins in awe of what the Chacoans had built here and amazed at what was still standing after 1000 years in the desert.

We then headed down the road to the trailhead for the Pueblo Bonito overlook and the Pueblo Alto Complex trail. The hike had an elevation gain of about 270′ and was about 5.2 kilometres. The elevation gain all happened in the first 200 metres. You were then on the cliffs and mesa above the valley floor. But first, there were the Kin Kletso ruins to tour after hiking a short distance from the trailhead.

After a rewarding and exhilarating hike in some pretty strong winds we made it back to the camper for a late lunch. After lunch there was one more site we wanted to tour. Right next to the parking area was the Pueblo del Arroyo ruins.

We were tired and wind burnt and ready to head back to the campsite to relax and have drinks and dinner. I think we earned both today.

Hungo Pavi ruins.

Kin Kletso ruins.

The hike to Pueblo Bonito overlook and Pueblo Alto complex.

The trail requires some scrambling over large boulders and then follows a narrow fracture through the cliff. Julie notes “Yes I know what you’re thinking ‘Julie? scrambling over boulders? With two left footed hiking boots? Bad idea!’ But I made it, not without a few ‘OMGs!’ though.”

Julie notes “Yes this is the trail. You can imagine my face when I realized that.”

Julie making her way up the trail. Julie notes “But I managed to squeeze through.”

Pueblo Bonito from the overlook.

Happy tourists. Julie notes “Jazz hands for Robbie.”

New Alto in the Pueblo Alto Complex on top of the mesa.

Another shot of the happy but windblown tourists. Julie notes “No wonder I was so thirsty. Note to self – close my mouth in a dust storm.”

Julie hiking along the edge of the cliff. Julie notes “Luckily the wind was blowing me into the cliff and also my gazelle like surefootedness helped as well. These Chacoan people also never wore progressive lenses obviously.”

The one-legged muleskinner. Julie notes “Okay back up, just a little further, one more step, keep going…”

A view of the valley from the cliffs.

Now we just have to make it back down to the valley floor – the right way! Julie notes “I told Brad I could always parachute down using my underwear. But he was out of luck because his have too many holes. Looks like he’s ready to catch me if I jump.”

Julie notes “Brad told me to just close my eyes and feel my way down. Hmmmm.”

And finally, to end a big day, we visited the Pueblo del Arroyo ruins. Julie notes “Crazy cool place. One of the park restoration fellows who was working inside the building showed us a few interesting things. He has worked here for 22 years and grew up in a nearby pueblo. Very proud of his heritage. And he reminded me of Brad’s dad Albert.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Speaking of dads, Jim Bob, o.g., our newly named thermometer man, told us that the temp got down to 3 C outside and 7 C inside last night. We decided on the name Jim Bob, one of Dad’s many nicknames, as Dad was always the first on the email in the morning with the weather report from Moscow. Often followed by a potato report. He always signed his emails ‘og’ for ‘old geezer’ but in the case of Jim Bob the weather man, the ‘og’ can stand for ‘often guessing’ ‘Oh goodness’ ‘outside’s groovy’ and so on.

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions. As you know we love comments, suggestions, chuckles and even gasps!

Aunt Lynne was very close with her submissions of Jim Boy (on nice days) and Herbie (on cold days) based on their preferred climates. So she will get the prize, which is our wish for her to have great weather for all of her ventures. And we will likely use most of your ideas and more as we get acquainted with our new electronic soothsayer.

Other suggestions: Hope I didn’t miss anyone. Let me know if I did.

Quentin suggests:

  • Mr. Tempers – (could this be reference to windmill man?)
  • Billy Bob Thermorton (very pop culturish especially with the whole Brad and Angelina thing)

Alison suggests:

  • Something Spanish after our southern travels like Jorge, Carlos or even Jesus (Hoppin Jesus it’s caliente out there!)

Suze suggests:

  • The Hippy Dippy Weatherman (who does not love him and what ever happened to him?)

Aunt Doreen suggests:

  • Your Fairweather Friend (optimistic just like my Aunt! Believe it and it shall be so.)

Karen S. suggests:

  • Thermy Hermy (love the rhyming and he is really quite Hermy looking.)
  • Hermy the Thermy (love the reverse rhyming, just like reverse psychology.)

Vickie suggests:

  • El morrow (as Annie always says, the sun will come out El Morrow, bet your bottom dollar…)

Jordan suggests:

  • Kelvin or Kelvin Pascal – initials K Pa. (classic! Appeals to the scientist in all of us.)

I suggested:

  • Mr. Weatherbee (Archie & Jughead agree, if you saw him with his pants pulled up over his shorts.)
  • WTF man? (What’s The Forecast man?)

Let me just tell you that it is VERY windy and dark out there right now, the camper is rocking, chairs are blowing away and Jim Bob o.g. (Overly Gusty) is still smiling and waving with a sun/cloud over his head and sun glasses on. And we love him for that. I wonder if the potatoes are in for the winter.”


Day 124 – Where’s My Firewood When I Need It?

Day 124 – Monday, October 28, 2013

We are camped in the beautiful and amazing Chaco Culture National Historic Park Campground. The night was perfect for a fire but alas, I am not allowed any more firewood after carrying the Yellowstone firewood across numerous borders. I think Julie even changed her mind though and may want me to buy some more firewood. Julie notes “Yes a fire would’ve been nice. I was even glancing at the firewood bundles for sale at the last gas station but the memories were still too fresh. And this park does not sell firewood, understandably so, as we learned today. The Chacoan people that built these amazing great houses about 1000 years ago, had to lug their wood in from 40 to 70 miles away. So there has been a wood shortage here for a while. The rangers frown on burning the wood beams and such that have been holding up the ruins for last 800 to 1000 years, go figure! However the first archeologists and other travelers through here actually used the wooden ladders and beams, etc. that they found for firewood. Whoops!”

After touring a few of the sites today, it is very clear why this was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We first checked in at the Visitor’s Centre to get some information and make a plan. See, we are learning. We checked first this time before wandering aimlessly through unknown territory.

Our first hike left from the Visitor’s Centre and was about ¾ of a mile. It is one of 10 or 11 of the sites within the park. Una Vida was the name of this particular site. It was occupied between 850 and 1250 AD. We also hiked above Una Vida to view some petroglyphs. We then headed to the most famous site in the park, Pueblo Bonito for a 2 hour guided tour with one of the park rangers.

The sites are located mostly along a 9 mile road that loops through the Chaco NHP. Some of the sites however are in the backcountry and require some hiking to view.

It was then back to the campsite to relax (without a fire) and grill up a thick ribeye, red peppers, tomatoes, and boil some sweet corn. The feast we cooked tasted great after a big day in the outdoors.

Our campsite with cliff dwellings right behind us.

The cliff dwelling behind our campsite.

Una Vida.

Una Vida ruins with Fajada Butte in the background.

Una Vida tourists.

Tall Una Vida tourists who hit their head on the doorways.

Petroglyphs above Una Vida.

Pueblo Bonito is bonito! Julie notes “This is the most investigated and documented site here. And we could see why. It is also the largest. New research is suggesting these great houses were just big party places and homes of the big muckymucks not where the regular Joe Blows like you and I would live. Us working stiffs lived across the way on the other side of the wash. But as the ranger, Cindy, told us, for every 2 archeologists there are 4 different opinions.”

Julie notes “A great kiva for big celebrations and ceremonies.”

Julie notes “The famous 4 doorways. We hadn’t heard of it before but we’re learning there is a lot of stuff we have never heard of. Pretty amazing alignment. This is how they found these structures. They have been reinforced in some areas using different methods and drainage issues addressed to prevent further deterioration but this is what they found. Wood lintels and all.”

Pueblo Bonito tourists that have learned to duck.

Fajada Butte with a raven taking in the view from the overlook. Julie notes “I’m surprised he didn’t mention that he took this while he was waiting for the old crow to get her butte out of the gift shop.”

Grilled bread with oil and balsamic vinegar, ribeye, corn, peppers, and roasted tomatoes with parmesan. Delicious! Julie notes “This beat any of the fancy restaurant meals we have had of late. It also helped that I had worked up a good appetite.”

Our corn cooking Everything Pot. Julie notes “Thought we better include this as we saw a certain family Thanksgiving picture where a very similar pot was in use. A here we thought we were the only ones to buy one of these about 30 years ago.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “A little windy tonight so glad that we didn’t try and offer some other campers a large sum of money for their firewood. But as we’ve been wandering about lately I’ve been having cravings for turkey with stuffing. Could be that we missed Canadian Thanksgiving but then I realized that there are sage bushes everywhere and they are getting ready to dry up and blow away and smell amazing. Now I didn’t think I had a lesson for you today but this reminded me. Lesson 124; “Don’t open the vehicle window to take a picture (no matter how scenic it may be, even if it is the Windmill Money Shot) where there are large groups of turkey vultures. There is likely a reason they are all hovering there and that reason likely stinks.” Lesson 124a; This can also apply to large groups of human turkeys or human vultures.”

Day 123 – Chaco Culture NHP – I Like My Beer Shaken Not Stirred

Day 123 – Sunday, October 27, 2013

Before leaving Ojo Caliente, Julie wanted to hike the 4 mile round trip to the Joseph Mica Mine. Julie notes “Now this was a bit of a hard sell. I couldn`t get him to go the `Mine Museum` while we were at Grants a few days ago and couldn`t figure out why. Turns out he thought it was a `Mime` Museum and that today I was taking him to see Joseph the Mica `Mime`. Some kind of childhood trauma involving mimes I would guess but we finally got it all sorted out and laughed about the misunderstanding.” The trail followed an old road that is now used by 4X4’s, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, and hikers. We only encountered other hikers on the trail today. We packed some water and a nice picnic lunch and headed to the mine. The trail begins to glitter with mica as you approach the mine. Julie notes “I am pretty sure this is where that old saying originated “All that glitters is not gold.” So who can tell us what mica was mined for? The woman who we met in the mine shaft thought it was used for window panes and then offered us the mine shaft to eat our lunch in. But I`m not sure if you can trust someone who is trying to give you the shaft. (Sorry, I needed to get that out of my system.) And according to the Ojo Caliente spa people, mica is the “not so secret” ingredient in their skin creams that makes you glow with youthfulness (and also allows them to up the price tag). We have not had much for wifi lately but a real need to know what they did with all of this shiny stuff.”

Here is Julie on the trail. This is only a few hundred metres from the campground so the smile is still quite big. Julie notes “It was one of those `am I hot? am I cold? sweater on? just unzipped? is he going to slow down any time soon? is this a race? did I drink too much coffee again? am I hot? am I cold?` kind of hikes. I think that is my `yes I did drink too much coffee` smile.”

The three shafts at the mica mine. Julie notes “Insert theme song from ‘Shaft’ here.”

Inside the main shaft. A young family was also there having their lunch. There are still many sheets of glittering mica to be had for any energetic miners out there. Julie notes “Do you think that nice young family will give us the shaft? (Sorry again.) And if you are wondering about my outfit, my blue shirt matches my toenails and my hat matches my socks and hiking boots and well the rest is window dressing.”

A couple of hard core hikers. Julie notes “Just ignore the people above still trying to give us the shaft. (Sorry last time, I promise.)

The distant mountains near Taos, NM are snow covered at the higher elevations. Julie notes “Yikes are we heading that way? We don`t have our skis or ski jackets for that matter.”

After our hike and picnic lunch, it was time to head to our destination. The Corp of Engineers Riana Campground on the Abiqui Reservoir was only 65 kilometres away. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the campground was closed for the season. There didn’t seem to be many other campgrounds in the area so we headed to Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Abiqui Reservoir near the closed campground. Julie notes “It sure looked purdy as we drove by.”

Of course, we passed some windmills. This one was on the road into Chaco. Julie notes “I`m always excited to see what he picks as the `money shot`. I like this one. Not so close as to see the graffiti on the tank next to it, and an impression of the flat lands and big skies.”

We have been warned many times about the road into Chaco. There is about 16 miles of very rough seemingly unmaintained gravel road. The first mile or so was pretty smooth going and we were laughing at the reports of what they thought were rough roads. We joked that they obviously hadn’t driven the Dempster Highway as we had. (Julie notes “Or some Mexican and CA roads.”) The smirk was soon wiped off our smug faces when we hit the first washboard section. It lasted for the next 15 miles. haha We were glad to hit the pavement at the park boundary! Julie notes “I think the name Chaco, depending on your pronunciation, is the native name for either `Shock-oh` (as in Òh My shocks!) or `Shake-oh` (Oh-oh-oh-oh now I have-ave-ave the sh-sh-shakes!). But it is well worth having your fillings shaken loose.”

The view of Fajada Butte entering Chaco Culture NHP at sunset. Julie notes “Brad kept saying what a beautiful butte. A gal can`t hear that too often.”

My first cold beer at the campground had to be opened very carefully as it had been shaken, the way I like it. J Not stirred. It was a cold Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It tasted great, even after been shaken.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “I know some of you have been holding your breath worrying about how our iTunes have been behaving of late. Thank you for that, but you may exhale. The spell of over 2312 (out of 2908) was broken this morning. I would like to say that it occurred while `Morning Has Broken` was playing and that something like an earthquake or hurricane and not just the a mundane rattle of the plumbing set it off. But we have had some lovely times with the tunes. Last night we were lulled to sleep with some special songs. ‘Too-rah-loo-rah-loo-rah’, and ‘The Riddle Song’ both of which had been part of Dad’s funeral, the latter beautifully sung at the service by friends Vickie and Kathy. Plus 2 different and lovely recordings, almost back to back, of ‘Today’ by sister Krista, one recorded special for Mom’s funeral. We earlier had heard back to back ‘cousin’ songs – Roy Orbison’s ‘Leah’ and ‘Barbara Nan’ by the Beach Boys. And Ian and Sylvia singing ‘Mary Anne’ reminded us to answer your javelina question from way back when, Mary Ann S. No we didn’t really try to pet the javelina. They are as slippery as greased pigs so we weren’t able to catch it, let alone snuggle it. Hope that clarifies our sense of humour versus our sense of adventure. And one more maudlin musical reference, the song ‘Golden Years’ by Holly Dunn was playing while I watched 2 ravens soar and dance and play in a clear blue sky. Thanks iTunes for the smiles and tears. Now the new shuffle seems to have started off alternating between the Rolling Stones and Jann Arden. Trying to keep us both happy, maybe.












Day 122 – Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa – Salus Per Aquas (Health Through Water)

Day 122 – Saturday, October 26, 2013

We have been out of wifi and cell phone coverage areas for a few days. We will upload all the posts now that we have Internet connectivity once again. Oct 30, 2013

We spent the night in the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa Campground. We decided to do a short hike after breakfast and before our 1:00 PM massage appointment. We choose the Posi-Ouinge trail. It is a mile long trail that is steep and rocky to start and is level and sandy around the ancient pueblo site. We added on another ½ mile connector trail on the way back just to see something different. Julie notes “This was intentional this time. Plus we had packed a water and snack for this short hike and needed an excuse to eat it.”

Your daily windmill fix. Apparently, Julie is not the only windmill photographer in New Mexico. Julie notes “Hey what is he trying to say? This is definitely my own picture. Would I lie AND plagiarize? The ‘New Mexico’ at the top must have been one of those banners, pulled by a plane. I just didn’t notice it while I was focusing on the windmill. Now a couple of you may get a post card that looks very similar to this. Just a fluke. Weird that he/she also took the same shot as me. A money shot for them too.”

The hiking trail along a dry river bed.

The mounds and depressions in the earth are the only clearly visible remains of the ancient pueblo. Chards of pottery litter the ground all along the trail through the pueblo site. Julie notes “Thousands of pot shards cover the area. Now no-one seems to explain why. Was it some kind of wild teenage party while the parents were out of town visiting relatives in the next pueblo? Was it clumsy pot hunters who looted the area? Was it like the Greek tradition of breaking dishes and yelling Ooompah!? Ah maybe the practise area for beginning pot jugglers and plate spinners. But seeing the designs on the little pieces of pots and bowls and jugs that were made and used by these ancient people was way cool.”

A view of the river valley, with the Resort & Spa, from the site of the ancient pueblo.

Cairns marking the trail. It looks like everybody, except us, built a little cairn here. Julie notes “Modern day cultural phenomenon.”

The hikers on the way back with the expansive river valley in the background. Julie notes “Yes I know we shouldn’t be messing around with pointy sticks. Could put an eye out or attract a lightning bolt.”

It had rained quite a bit overnight and the ground was still muddy in places. The sidekick was trying to clean her boots off before going in the camper. It was without much success however, because the mud here is mostly clay and had hardened onto the boots like cement.

The small river flowing beside us in the campsite with the golden fall colours.

We headed over to the Spa to soak a bit before our massage appointments. We hadn’t tried the mud pool yesterday, so that was on the agenda for today. You get wet, slather with mud, dry in the sun, soak in the mud pool, and then shower off. It’s really just like being a kid again, except much more expensive. J Julie notes “The mud is very COLD and the sun was warm but not hot. A nice hot day exercise I think. But fun, as he said, brings out the kid in you as it dries and cracks and covers your own cracks, as in wrinkles. Hopefully other cracks have been tastefully covered. I am thinking the spa may want these photos for their advertising?”

The sign reads “Please do not get in the pot” but who pays attention to signs anyways? Julie notes “Like we said, brings out the kid in you. I’ve gotta watch him every minute. Notice the paddle on the left. I assumed that was to spank those who climbed into the pot. That made things crack!”

The unique outdoor mud pool showers. Julie notes “hmmmm In my mind I thought I looked more like Ellie Mae Clampett taking a shower. I think this picture puts me somewhere between Miss Jane and Granny.”

We had our massages and felt wonderful. It was then over to the restaurant for a late lunch. We both had the poblano chili and corn chowder soup special and shared an order of sweet chili “fries” with a vinegar based dipping sauce. Delicious. Julie notes “Honest, despite this look, I felt wonderful and am still sporting my greasy massage hair do. I think I am just pondering how much longer I would have to wait before tasting my Agave Wine margarita. And possibly marvelling at the fact that I had survived my first male masseuse. I forewarned him about Patchy and Perky. I thought that would be ‘breast’ just so he didn’t run screaming from the room if he accidentally caught a glimpse. He was very professional with good hands and a quirky South Carolina accent. To truly get into the mojo of this beautiful (and expensive) place I opted for a Native American Blue Corn and Prickly Pear Salt Scrub after my massage. Delightful and despite this picture Brad said I looked restored and radiant, just as the brochure promised. You are just going to have to trust me on that one I guess.”

After spending the rest of the afternoon lounging around the resort and the campground, we headed back to the restaurant for our 7:00 PM dinner reservation.

We shared a couple of appetizers. One was a grilled artichoke with sour cream. We had never had this before and were unsure how to eat it. The waiter wasn’t much help with his instructions, so through trial and error, I think we got it figured out. You really just strip the softer portion or the artichoke “leaf” with your teeth and discard the harder outer portion of the “leaf”. I think? Julie notes “We are a bit worried about how the ‘trial and error’ part is going to manifest itself tomorrow as we did our best to chew and swallow those first few leaves. Kind of like the first time I had edamame beans. The one hint the waiter gave us, that we didn’t notice ’til after our revelation, was the large discard bowl for the stripped leaves. We sure had a good laugh at our own country bumpkinness.”

We also shared an order of New Mexico pot stickers. Very good.

For the entrée, Julie ordered the pork belly carnitas and I had the chicken enchiladas New Mexico style – a fried egg on top. It was a really enjoyable evening sharing a bottle of wine around the fireplace and dining in style. Julie notes “I see another hike will be mandatory in the near future.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “We noticed in the daylight that the iron pool had less ‘stiffening’ qualities for the young couples slipping in and out, as compared to the night before. The age old darkness/libido ratio. Oh to be young again. We should keep soaking as one of Ojo Caliente claims is being the original fountain of youth.”

“Now you are all probably wondering what I do in my leisure time, when I’m not spanking Brad and getting my body scrubbed by young South Carolina men. Well my latest project has been trying to remove several months’ worth of yucky, slimy buildup from the lid of my Contigo coffee cup. Way back when during a coffee cup discussion, my brother Corrie asked me how we clean the lids as he had the same cup. ‘Oh just rinse it under the tap.’ was my glib response. Well it seems my mix of coffee whitener and sugar, heat and humidity, have made the perfect growing conditions for ick. I made the mistake of having a close look 3 days ago, and have been swabbing, probing, soaking, bleaching, rinsing and gagging as each time more chunks and floaties and nasty bits emerge. As a former micro-biology lab tech, I was interested to see what it might grow. Brad’s lid is clean as the first day he got it. The one cream, no sugar blend not conducive to slime growth I guess. So in answer to my brother, I don’t know how to clean amongst all of the working parts of the lid. I am going to take the pressure washer to it when I get home. And no I don’t want to think about all the goodies I have ingested over the last few months. FYI, another good breeding ground is water, Crystal Lite and heat and humidity. What is the lesson? You tell me. Oh maybe Lesson 122 is ‘You can take the lab tech out of the lab but not the scum out of her coffee lid. ”








Day 121 – Ojo Caliente Hot Springs or (loosely translated) Up To Your Eye/Holes In Hot Water.

Day 121 – Friday, October 25, 2013

We filled up on another free breakfast this morning thanks to American RV Park. After breaky, Julie did up a few loads of laundry in the nice laundromat and met a new friend from California. JuIie notes “Time flies when you are chatting and sweating, fluffing and folding. My new friend, Maurie, was a retired teacher and her husband a retired civil engineer. A perfect match of personalities she says, so take note Jordan and Alison! We bonded quickly over a dog hair in washing machines discussion and pretty much discovered that we were awesome. It was a fun distraction while the undies churned.”

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with AT&T trying to add more time and long distance to our phone. You would think that should be easy but because we don’t have a US zip code, I couldn’t use the automated systems. Like all the gas pumps here, they want to verify your credit card against a zip code for security. If you don’t have one, you are out of luck and move into the manual systems. Eventually, it was all processed and we were good to go. Julie notes “Who should we call? Besides the bank people who we have already called who won’t return our calls. Feel free to send us money if you like but Brad is growing out his scary eyebrows out to deal with them properly.”

We hit the road about noon for a 200 kilometre jaunt to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. We stopped for lunch at the Terra Restaurant at the Santa Fe Four Seasons. A very nice resort in the mountains near Santa Fe. Julie notes “Now this was my kind of truck stop. Luckily for me we had passed all the usual highway lunch stops and took a chance on this off the road surprise. Marvelous food, beautiful scenery and the valet was too adorable in his attempts to serve our every need. On our way out he was really selling the free hot cider on deliciousness and hotness and he was right, it was delicious and hot. Emily, I’m just saying, I think he might be available and he seems to be your type.”

After lunch, we drove the remainder of the way to the RV Park at the hot springs resort. We booked a site for two nights. After relaxing for a bit, we headed for the hot springs and soaked in most of the seven different natural pools; some arsenic, some iron, some soda. They tell us it is good for us. (Julie notes “We were slightly ‘depressed’ that the lithia stream was out of service. And despite the claims that it is good for gastric and other issues, I could not convince Brad to take a big swig of the arsenic water. Will have to sneak it in to his drinks, etc. as per usual.”) We certainly felt relaxed and re-energized. Julie notes “The RV park needs a bit of engineering so folks who intend on camping usually need a relaxing soak after they’ve finally circled the wrong way, been stuck at the dead end, scraped all of their sides with brush as they try to back into a site made for a clown car pulling a teeny clown RV and final unchained the ‘no exit’ gate and headed for somewhere, we’re not sure where. But it was a piece of cake for someone who has been stuck in the narrow 1700 era streets of San Cristobal. The pools were very soothing after dark. They were also apparently quite sensual and I guess the arsenic, etc. breaks down all inhibitions to public shows of affection or that is what several young couples would have us believe. We were tempted to show them a few moves hence probably getting a few ‘ewww yuck, what are those old people doing?’ but likely the pool to ourselves. We aren’t prudes but I’m pretty sure that is what you rent the moonlight private pools for.”

We headed back to the RV for a nice salad and some leftover roast beef. We should sleep well tonight after soaking in the hot springs, having a nice bottle of wine, and a good supper. Julie notes “Yes feeling delightfully water logged and there is a pitter patter of rain on the roof. Might have to apologize to Thermometer Man as we mocked him before supper for predicting rain with blue skies. Might have to name him Genius.”

Albuquerque Freeways. We didn’t make any wrong turns today. Julie notes “I had a different view of Albuquerque today and am impressed. They have made this overpass and boulevards, etc. very eye pleasing in a New Mexican style.”

My lunch was the special tuna tacos of the day with rice and beans.

Julie had the delicious sweet crab chili relleno. Julie notes “Can’t usually go wrong with the waitress’s personal favourite.”

Terra restaurant at the Santa Fe Four Seasons. Julie notes “Truck stop extraordinaire!”

Julie notes “Our suite at the 4 Seasons with kitchenette, queen bed, compact bathroom and wheels.”

The bridges are really interesting. Each has a unique decoration.

The sky and mountains near Santa Fe.

This is what I am travelling with! I was trying to figure out the new camera time delay photo settings. This is what I captured. Julie notes “I know all of the guys out there are wondering where to buy one of them there cameras so they can capture such a purdy prize.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Hmmm seems like someone ‘forgot’ to post the daily winning old windmill picture. So here it is. Not my best. Had a perfect one lined up but due to operator error all I got was the tail fin. Also in case you thought this obsession was controlling my life, I just want to mention that twice in the past few days I have refrained from ordering the ‘Old Windmill Cheese dip’ and ‘Old Windmill Cheese platter’. (I really wanted to though but I was strong, and so was the cheese, probably.”

Day 120 – Petroglyph National Monument – Join the Mile High Club, check

Day 120 – Thursday, October 24, 2013

We started the morning off with the complimentary RV Park breakfast. A nice touch. They serve a continental breakfast every morning between 8:00 and 10:00 AM like the hotels. Julie notes “They had one of those toasters where you put your item to be toasted on the track and off it goes and pops out the bottom. I put in 2 halves of an English muffin but only received one half out the bottom. The next guy pops in a bagel, our combined engineering thinking was that it would nudge out my muffin. Only half of his bagel surfaces. Now we can actually smell trouble brewing or rather toasting. He summons the kitchen staff and she comes over, gives the toaster a jiggle and voila. Gives us an eye roll and off she went as if she hadn’t saved breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The unsung hero! And it was really crunchy and delicious with butter and jelly in its crooks and crannies.”

We decided to walk down to the Camping World store located about a mile down the highway but on the opposite side of I-40. After walking the mile or so down the busy service road we realized we should not even attempt to cross the barbed wire fences, four lanes of high-speed traffic, and a median. We decided we didn’t want to end up as two little crosses on the side of the road. Back to the park we went. We packed up the camper and drove around to the store. Julie notes “Yes you are all thinking the same thing to yourselves, there is a lesson here. Lesson #120 ‘Before you head out on foot to parts unknown maybe check with the people who work here every day to see if you can get there from here, in one piece.’ And much to Brad’s chagrin, I was not wearing my barbed wire hopping outfit.”

Since we were out and about, we headed into Albuquerque to pick up some more groceries at the WalMart Supercentre. Julie got pedicure at one of the kiosks in the plaza and I hiked over to Home Depot to find a part I needed. Julie notes “Not the friendliest of staff and I felt a bit like Elaine in a certain Seinfeld episode as they were talking amongst themselves. But the pedicure was good and they were even able to tame my bush lady eyebrows and other facial fuzzies. Then they abandoned me for a long long time as my polish hardened under a light bench. Brad, thinking I’d gotten lost in the parking lot, or hand wandered back in Walmart land, came to check on me. I finally attracted the attention of one of the friendlier staff and she released me from my toe locks and gave me my shoes back. And I still tipped them. Crazy lady. But my toes look great and my eyebrows no longer scare small children.” We then went for lunch at Chili’s. We shared some buffalo wings, guacamole, and parmesan sweet potato fries with dipping sauce. Very good.

It was then off to the nearby Petroglyph National Monument to hike off some lunch. There are a few short but steep trails through the volcanic area filled with 400 to 700 year old petroglyphs. We spent an hour or so hiking through the various trails. It was quite warm this afternoon at about 26C. Julie notes “There was a marker on the trail amongst the boulders and petroglyphs stating the 5,280′ elevation so Brad and I fist pumped as new members of the Mile High club. I am wondering if some of the symbols we saw might have commemorated the same accomplishment by the Ancestral Puebloans.” Brad notes “I don’t think she understands the concept of the Mile High club.”

We can see it but we can’t get there. Although there is no traffic in this picture? Maybe we should have been dashing across the freeway instead of taking pictures? Julie notes “Remember I wasn’t wearing my barbed wire leaping suit. Plus I had to wait for the semis to pass so we could see the store in the picture.”

The long walk back to the American RV Park. Julie notes “No trucks on the service road in this picture either but there were many and all the drivers waving and wondering ‘WTF?(Walking The Freeway?) Where are those two yahoos going? Don’t they know Lesson 120?'”

But eventually we made it to Camping World. One of my favourite stores. They have everything an RV’er could want but alas, Julie kept me in check. Julie notes “Well he fails to mention they DIDN’T have the only 3 things he had on his list.”

Where else do you find prickly pears in the grocery store? Julie notes “And someone has already plucked the prickles. They are as smooth as me now.”

Petroglyph National Monument.

A view of Albuquerque. Julie notes “Trivia Question time ‘The city was named for a Duke but one letter was removed, to obviously make it easier to spell. Haha What letter was taken out?’ And if you want a chuckle go to Wikipedia for the history and painter’s impression of this Duke.”

The sidekick trekking through the petroglyph lava fields. Julie notes “I think someone wasn’t reading all of the signs and got way ahead of me. Plus we needed a bit of air space between us after that good but gassy lunch.”

We headed back to our site, had showers, a soak in the hot tub, and BBQ’d up a nice sirloin tip roast, baked potatoes, and carrots. Julie notes “More like a ‘warm’ tub, than a hot one. Went back to the showers to rinse off and warm up. Supper was excellent.” After a late supper, it started to rain for the first time in weeks. Julie notes “Oh well I guess the Thermometer Man should be called ‘Smarty Pants’ since he’s been telling us for a week to get ready for rain. But now that it is raining he has a sun poking through cloud prediction. I don’t know.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Day 119 – RV Park – A place to gather and compare your units

Day 119 – Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Starbucks morning for us. I had a very easy to order, large mild coffee and a blueberry muffin. Julie, on the other hand, had a very difficult to order, venti non-fat green tea latte, half the syrup, half the mache, low foam and a blueberry scone. And she wants me to get her coffee. I think not. Julie notes “Oh come on now. It just rolls off the tongue. Easy Peasy. Just be glad you’re not married to Peter Piper and you had to order that peck of pickled peppers for him over and over, or if I had a different job you would have to keep telling everyone that ‘she sells sea shells by the seashore.’ Compared to that my order is a breeze.”

Kristin, our daughter who works part-time at a Kamloops Starbucks, tells me my order is, and I quote, “the weak stuff for the dumb Timmy lovers.” J

Julie had booked a hair appointment for 10:00 AM. We wandered over to the AXIS Salon after our coffee. We were a bit early but they took her right in for her doo. I trundled off to find a bank, get a newspaper, and put in some time. They gave her a great cut. She looked terrific when I came back to pick her up. Julie notes “Aaaahhhh, she started with a delightful shoulder, neck and scalp massage and then a splendid scalp treatment followed by a very nice cut. This all seemed very luxurious after months of showering in parking lots and fixing my hair by wetting a wash cloth with cold water and drizzling it over my head in a bathroom the size of a postage stamp. Now if my hair gal Jessica is reading, Gola lulled me into a submissive state and then as I was ready to leave, cape removed and all, she whipped out the clippers and shaved my neck a bit. I needed to confess that as I know you will notice that when I finally make it back to you. It was against my will. I still do not like having my neck shaved (or my back for that matter.)”

We headed back to the RV after checking out of the hotel. It was another beautiful day and we lounged around in the warmth of the sun and enjoyed a couple of local drinks; a Route 66 Cream Soda for Julie, and a Route 66 Root Beer for moi, along with some chips and dip. I wandered through the RV Park checking out the big rigs and Julie read her book.

Some of the big rigs. They are very nice but pretty limited where they can go, I think. They are pretty much parked in a big paved lot.

The other section of the park accommodates most of the other smaller rigs (and some big rigs too).

Our setup. Julie notes “Looking pretty lonely. Nobody seems to want to park next to us. Why would that be? Uh Oh maybe I should turn down the opera music a tad. Not everyone has an ear for Andrea Bocelli.”

This is how I found Julie “reading” when I returned from my walk through the park. Julie notes “The Kobo got very heavy and fell on to my lap which caused my hat to flip over onto my face and my eyes to close. I am reading these Scottish sex stories that my Aunt Janet recommended. Och, Aye! I didna ken how reading about thee wee lassies and laddies carrying on could tire milady out. Canna ye be getting some ale and oatmeal parritch to revive milady? Or maybe just some cream soda and chips.”

Our treats.

Sporting a new doo! Lookin’ good. Julie notes “Brad didn’t even have to say ‘Ummm Ohhh, Call Emily to look at it. She will like it.’ Not bad for $12.87 plus tip. But I can feel the razor buzz when I do this. So I will try not to do that for a while.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Hotdogs for supper and a Skype with Melodie and her family was a perfect end to the day. She quite enjoyed her Grandpa Brad’s ballet dancing. Who wouldn’t though after all of his classical training. It is a delight for all of the senses. Names are still dribbling in for Thermometer Man’s naming. So don’t be shy. He has been steadily predicting a weather warning of rain for days. You’ve seen the pictures. Nothing but blue sky and a little fluff as far as the eye can see. I guess he is still learning. Sister Susan correctly and quickly answered the Four Corners trivia question. —– But she doesn’t know if we will go there. We don’t even know the answer to that. The question and correct answer is posted below;

“Quiz time ‘There is only one place in the US where 4 states intersect. Where would that be? And do you think we’ll go there?”

4 Corners Monument Rd, Shiprock, NM is where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona all meet at one intersection. The only such intersection in the United States. Do I get a prize? I hope it isn’t squash soup. Suze

Day 118 – Hyatt-Regency Albuquerque – Land of the Wiffy, and Dead Cell Signals

Day 118 – Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ah, the pampered life. We awoke in our beautiful room at the Hyatt-Regency. The room was very spacious and well appointed. It was so nice of them to offer a bottle of water to hydrate for only $5.00 US. haha It is a first class hotel, no doubt, but my only pet peeves are $5.00 for a bottle of water and no free wifi in the rooms (only the lobby). Wifi is $10.00/day otherwise. Doesn’t make sense to me in this day and age but I guess it’s a good money maker for them.

We had a terrific buffet breakfast in the Forque Restaurant with eggs cooked to order and all the other delights. Julie notes “My favourite was the sautéed veggie dish (squash included, Susan – you should maybe rethink your anti-squash position).” We used some of the free lobby wifi for a while and then headed out for a walk. Julie notes “The ‘free’ wifi was quite ‘wiffy’ and we were not the only ones waving our arms around trying to locate a cell signal, so before we slammed our many electronics to the ground in frustration we decided to walk it off.”

We got some directions to head to Central Avenue a few blocks from the hotel. There are some really neat old buildings and quite a few restaurants and shops, but also a lot of homeless people and some sketchy characters. It is an odd mix of well-dressed office types and some of the down and out people. I think we were in between somewhere on that scale and stood out as out-of-towners. We weren’t really too hungry but wanted something to eat for lunch. We hemmed and hawed over a few places and finally settled on Schlotzsky’s Delicatessen. Let’s say this was not our favourite lunch. Food was OK and the staff were friendly enough but the place needs some cleaning and food needs a revamp. Lesson #118: Note to Self: Use TripAdvisor ratings numbskull. Julie notes “This is part of the Historic Route 66 and many of the old style signs are still in use making places look unique and enticing. The interesting looking restaurants were always across the street and we wouldn’t notice until we’d crossed that they were closed due to all kinds of reasons. Lesson #118a – Don’t get desperate, just because you have been shot down a few times. Take a breath, remember that you’re not that hungry and don’t be afraid to walk away even if you’ve made your way to the counter implying that you might order something unless the order clerk is kind of scary looking.’ Not surprisingly I had half of my interesting pizza left and took it away in a takeout container. I had been wondering where I could leave it as we had no fridge in our room and it looked like someone in the neighbourhood could use it more than I, when we past another group of folks and one young fellow asked if he could have my left-overs. He had just been released from jail, was his story. I was happy to deliver them to him and he was grateful to receive so that was good.”

We smartened up though in time for dinner. We booked a 7:30 PM reservation at La Crepe Michel. A very good choice. It is tucked away in a small courtyard in some of the real Old Town area. It is a very small restaurant with only half a dozen tables in our room and some more in the back. The French food is all prepared fresh and is amazing. We enjoyed a nice bottle of French wine. We shared some mussels and pate as appetizers. I had the filet mignon with Roquefort sauce and Julie had the duck breast. Julie notes “Magret de sherry’ to be exact.” Both delicious. The #6 rated restaurant of 1,404 proved much better than the #622 rated. J Julie notes “Loved it there. Cozy and quaint and you got to hear everyone’s conversations. I figured our lives are very uninteresting compared to all of their stories but Brad says we just spill all of our juicy beans in the blog. I’m not sure we’re very juicy but I was definitely airing a lot of wet if not dirty laundry there for a while.”

Julie getting to know some of the locals outside our hotel in Old Town Albuquerque. Julie notes “Just asking directions to a good eatery for lunch but unfortunately we didn’t listen and went the other direction.”

One of the funky old buildings, the Kimo Theatre, on Central Avenue.

La Crepe Michel right next to the Cat House. Julie notes “Luckily the Old Town Cat House’ was closed for the day. Unusual hours for a Cat House according to Brad the Old Tom. He opted to return to the hotel with his Mouses I mean missus.”

Enjoying a great dinner. Julie notes “Yes I have a hair appointment booked for tomorrow.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Another tub soak! Aaaaaaahhhhh… And some Modern Family reruns from the comfort of the soft fluffy bed. If I can hear over someone’s ‘post bottle of good wine and French food’ snores.”









Day 117 – El Morro – the Snout

Day 117 – Monday, October 21, 2013

We left our site at Lavaland RV Park after our usual coffee and breakfast routine and headed west to El Morro National Monument.

El Morro is a sandstone cliff where, mainly Spaniards, inscribed their names and dates to record their travels in the 1600’s and 1700’s. There are also a few native petroglyphs dating back 700 to 1000 years. It is quite an amazing site and has been very well preserved and the site is well developed for tourists. After viewing the petroglyphs and inscriptions, we continued the 2 mile loop trail to the top of the mesa to view some ruins. It took us close to 2 hours to tour most of the site. Julie notes “Remember how smart we had been getting of late in regards to hiking? Well we set off on this one with no water, no snacks and no sun screen but we did have hats and I had a new box of TicTacs. We would’ve had fresh breath when they found our withered up bodies. The good news is we listened carefully to the instructions on ‘how not get lost’ up on the high mesa top and arrived back at the Visitor Center safely. The hike up left us breathless as did the views from the top. I had to keep remembering to stop and look around, of course not too quickly if you recall our prior lesson on the wearing of progressive lenses on rocky cliffs.”

From El Morro, we headed east to Albuquerque passing through the El Mapais National Monument lava fields. The area around Grants, NM and these sites has about 40 volcanoes. Julie notes “We could prove this all to you but keep reading.”

We stopped for lunch at Badland’s Burgers & Tortas in Grants on our way back through. It was rated #1 on Trip Advisor for Grants. They specialize in all kinds of homemade burgers. We were the only ones there at 2:00 in the afternoon but the burgers were excellent. Julie notes “Too much good food but we ate it all up. The proof was in the pictures. Keep reading.”

We had purchased a new point and shoot camera yesterday and got it all figured out. Julie took many amazing pictures all day long, including more windmills. Julie notes “Simply spectacular in my humble opinion.” However, I inadvertently deleted them all when I was trying to clean up the memory card we had used from our old camera. Sorry ’bout that dear. Julie notes “I’m not sure which was worse, losing all of the pictures or the poor man telling me over and over again how he lost all of the pictures and how sorry he was. There were some money makers on there I’m sure. But I suspect there were mostly shots of the hood of the truck as I was in ‘learning mode’ just like our still to be officially named thermometer man. That is what I am telling myself anyway. Trying not to get my ‘El Morro’ all out of shape over it.”

We booked the RV into the America RV Park in Albuquerque, NM for 4 nights. We are storing it there for the first two nights while we luxuriate at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque in Old Town. We will spend the last two nights, and maybe more, back at the RV Park. After checking into our room, we headed down to the restaurant/bar for some drinks and appetizers. The food here was also very good. Julie notes “You will have to imagine our delicious drinks and food because …well, you know what happened to those pictures. I did have a most delicious Elderberry Margarita and Brad tried some different beers.”

All the pictures today will be from El Morro National Monument because everything else was deleted. Sorry again honey bunch.

Julie notes “Yes they let these people near the National Monuments! Not much of a screening process eh? Just have to obey the signs that say ‘no loaded or unloaded firearms allowed’. If anyone one is wondering, I did wash my red purse thing that has sweated with me across all of these countries and states. It was one of those ‘Holy Crap, is that what colour it used to be?’ Tide commercial moments.”

One of the Spanish inscriptions from 1709. Many were from the 1600’s. Julie notes “They really frown on you leaning over and writing ‘Brad hearts Julie’ in amongst the other inscriptions. Not that we would know about that.”

One of the petroglyphs.

Hiking the trail to the top of the mesa. Julie notes “We decided switch backs were much easier in the dually than on foot. We blamed our panting on the elevation of over 7,000′ plus the gain of 250′ while hiking. Being old and out of shape had nothing to do with it.”

The park staff warn you to stay on the trail and now I understand why. Julie notes “Oh dear. I’ll see you down at the bottom then honey bunch, dearest.”

My tour guide. She reads everything and then explains it to me in simple terms. J Julie notes “Brad says, once we had reached the Visitor Centre again, that I read every sign except the important ones like the restroom signs and which way the door opens, ‘pull or push.’ Which is true. Luckily for the rangers, despite the morning coffee urgency of the situation I did not manage to ‘push or pull’ open what apparently was the staff door and eventually danced my way to the real bathrooms (with Brad’s help).”

The ruins built from 1275 to 1350. There was an estimated population of 1500 people and 875 dwellings. Only a few have been excavated.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Ahhhhhh, a nice soak in a real tub. Heaven! I have almost forgotten that someone deleted all of my prizewinning pictures from today. The TV show selection reminded us that we weren’t really missing much in that regard. We have so far refused to ‘buy’ internet here as that seems ridiculous in this day and age but they have made this building out of some impenetrable substance that does not want to allow the flow of cell signal so we shall see.”