Earthships, Mud Baths and The Taos Pueblo

We have been to New Mexico every year for the past six years. We normally stop in to see some of our favorite kinfolk in ABQ. We love New Mexico and as residents, they obviously love New Mexico too. Inevitably our conversation drifts towards other great places in New Mexico to visit and Taos always rises to the top of their list. So, this time around, we decided to stop in Taos to see what all of the hoopla was all about. We are glad we did! What a fantastic place!

We only had two days up our sleeve so we decided to book an RV spot at the Taos Monte Bello RV Park, which sits about fifteen minutes northwest of the city center. The park was clean, gated and provided a beautiful backdrop for our big ol’ rig, “Celu.” We paid with cash and used our Good Sam discount, paying a total of $76 for the two nights.

We pulled in to our site around 2 pm and spent a few hours settling in, putting together a picnic. At 5 pm we drove 40 minutes west, popping in for a quick view of the Rio Grande Gorge, then on to Ojo Caliente’ Spa and Resort to enjoy a sunset soak.  We arrived at Ojo Caliente’ at 6 pm. The sunset soak runs from 6-10pm and is $17.50 per person. It includes 7 different mineral soaking pools, a mud bath that stays open for the first half hour, as well as, a sauna and eucalyptus steam room. The price also includes a towel, the use of a locker, fancy essential oil soaps, and other amenities in the locker rooms.

The facility was clean, beautiful, quiet, and the calm incense of sage wafted through the grounds. We soaked, laid in hammocks, read books and soaked some more. Then about 8 pm we dried off and went out to the picnic area to refresh with veggies, hummus, cheese and crackers and a fruit bowl, then we went back in for a final soak, sauna, and steam. We made it back to the bus about 11 pm and slept hard through the night.

The next morning we enjoyed a lazy start, eating breakfast on the bus before heading into town to do a little thrifting.  We found a few great thrift stores but our favorite was Pieces. The items were higher end and the prices reflected that. So, we went straight for the sale tags and found a few reasonably priced treasures, including a beautiful tunic from India and an NM Turquoise ring.

After our treasure hunting thrill, we drove through the touristy downtown and snapped a few pictures, then made our way to The Coffee Spot to refuel. I ordered their house made Chai with Almond Milk and was pleased with the blend of spice and flavor.

Craig had looked up things to do in Taos and discovered the Earthship Village. An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires, pioneered by the architect Michael Reynolds in the 1970’s. Taos, NM has a large village and a building school where you can go to learn the craft. Craig, being the learner and builder that he is, was very interested in hearing the inside story of this place.  We inquired about a tour but found that the cost was prohibitive for us wanderers. We decided to trek over anyways, just to have a look and despite the signs that read “no trespassing,” we ended up doing a drive through the neighborhood. Our roadside view allowed us to see just the tops of the homes but we were fascinated and declared that next time around we’d seek out a local to show us the ropes.

Another finding of Craigs was the Taos Pueblo, which is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. This special place is the only UNESCO Site in the United States and the Taos Pueblo has been one of the only continuously inhabited neighborhoods since time immemorial. We found it a remarkable example of preserved traditional architecture from the pre-Hispanic period of the Americas and learned it is unique to this region. We also learned that because of the living culture of its community, it has successfully retained most of its traditional forms up to the present day. And so, we trod lightly through their neighborhood, respecting their desire for tourist to withhold from taking photos. In fact, the only photo I took was a view from the parking lot. However, there are several really good shots on the UNESCO Site.

After a quick bite to eat we made our way a few miles down the road to the Taos Mesa Brewery to see our friend, Nahko, and Medicine for the People, perform at the breweries amphitheater. The facility and grounds were artsy, industrial and funky with mountains off in the distance and the staff was laid back, which made for a very relaxed evening. While at the concert, we met a few locals around the bonfire and had an opportunity to hear stories about what life was like in Taos. We also met folks from the Earthship school and were able to pick their brains about what they were learning, which rounded out our curiosity and made some of the things we had seen in our driving tour make more sense.

The next morning, we sat and had a coffee, enjoying our view one last time and then drove off into the distance towards Colorado Springs.

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When in Roswell

20140520-144206.jpgWe stopped for a night in Roswell, NM to see what all of the alien hoop-la was about. We visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center, which is a museum that provides information about the 1947 Roswell Incident, as well as other phenomenon’s relating to UFO’s.  Other than a few faux reenactment exhibits, the museum was mostly papers and photos on story board. Sort of reminded us of a middle school science fair from the 1970’s.

My favorite exhibit was reproduced from TOP SECRET/MAJIC by permission of Mr. Stanton Friedman, titled “Why cover-up the Mountain of UFO data?” The answers varied from rule number one for security, ‘that you can’t tell your friends anything without also telling your enemies. Opening files would give competitors access to the new technology.’ To theories that suggest that the acceptance of aliens would ultimately push for a new view of ourselves. Instead of thinking… American, Canadian, Chinese, French etc… we would start to think of ourselves as earthlings and no government wants it citizens to owe their allegiance to the planet instead of a nation.’ Fascinating to think about but a little steep at $5 a person. However, when in Roswell…

Bottomless Lake State Park SunsetAfter an hour in the museum, we were looking for more to do. It was about 98 degrees so finding water was pretty high on the list. We looked up watering holes and found the Bottomless Lakes State Park just 10 miles down the road. The unique lakes at this park are sinkholes, ranging from 17 to 90 feet deep. The water was salty and reminiscent of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. There were fun hiking trails everywhere and the sunset was spectacular off the bathhouse.

We’ll remember this stop for next time around, as the rate for full hook ups was only $18 a night as opposed to our $50 a night at the local RV park.  

Bottomless Lake State Park

The Bee Keepers

Every time we swing through Albuquerque, NM we stop in to lend a helping hand at ECM. These friends are committed to the day in day out harmony and restoration of their local neighborhood in Central ABQ. They are generous and innovative, always looking for ways to serve their community and invite the community into the experience. An urban farm is one of their many projects and bees are an important part of that process. So, over the course of five days, Craig and crew built Bee hives.

 

Fun facts about Honey Bees:

  • There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.
  • The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime.  She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.
  • Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.
  • Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
  • Honeybees are the only insect that produce food for humans.
  • Honeybees will usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive.
  • Honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.
  • Honeybees are responsible for pollinating approx 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S.
  • Honeybees have five eyes, 3 small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front.  They also have hair on their eyes!
  • Honeybees never sleep!
  • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents).

Speaking of dancing and good vibes, we topped off our visit with ECM by sharing a meal and jam around the campfire.

Our favorite, 88-year-old Shirley was in great spirits. What a joy to see her one last time before she heads out east to be with her 90 yr old sister.

We always look forward to sharing in community with the kinfolk at Casa Shalom. Until next time friends!

Pondering Chemtrail Sunsets

Yesterday, I shared a story about the amazing display of creation that shown around us at a Caballo Lake state park in southern New Mexico. We were camping near the lake with the stunning mountains as our back drop. When we arrived the sun was dazzling on the water and the sky was blue with a beautiful set of altostratus and altocumulus clouds.  I took photos of the magical colors that filled the sky as the sun was setting. When we woke up it was raining but the scenery was still just as breathtaking.

When I posted the blog to my Facebook, I stated that the past twenty hours blew our minds. And, asked folks to take a look at the masterpiece that the Creator painted for us.

I was taken aback by a few responses to the blog, stating that what I saw and experienced was not God-made but man-made. They went on to share with me about chemtrails and how the government is polluting the atmosphere, dropping poison from the sky. I felt rebuked and embarrassed for not knowing and I took their responses to heart. I watched the video sent to me on the subject and I felt terrified. I had never heard of these chemtrails and after visiting a few links, I don’t doubt there is some truth to them.

And yet, after all of the information,  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it? How was I suppose to respond? Was I meant to take the photos down? Was it more about giving mis-placed credit for the beauty I was seeing or was I not meant to see beauty in it at all?

Does knowing and excepting that man is behind the demise of our planet negate the beauty we see and the credit we give to God as the creator. Or do we take this knowledge and look beyond it to see something greater? How do we enjoy beauty without becoming skeptical?  What is the balance?

Caballo Lake

We were going to watch a movie last night but instead watched the sun beams set over the Caballo Mountain range. We woke up to a grand finally that was breathtaking.

They call this the Land of Enchantment.

The Land of Enchantment
The Land of Enchantment
Caballo Lake State Park
Heaven on earth
And then this happened, Those pretty pink wisps wrapped themselves around the half moon.
And then this happened, Those pretty pink wisps wrapped themselves around the half-moon.

 

He wraps up the waters in his thick clouds, but the clouds do not break under the weight. ~Job
He wraps up the waters in his thick clouds, but the clouds do not break under the weight. ~Job

 

One night at Caballo Lake State Park is $14 for water and 30 amp. It was a quiet and a fantastically beautiful park. Just 20 minutes north of Hatch, the Chili capital of the US.

The Hollands! Christmas Tour

The Hollands! Christmas Tour. We kick off this weekend in Tucson, AZ.

The Hollands! Christmas Tour

 

For details on times and cost visit www.thehollands.org 

Looking forward to seeing all you kinfolk out on the open road!

 

Tent Rocks National Monument

Tent Rocks

On a Sunday afternoon we took a day trip to the moon, I mean the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument with the Burton family. I say moon, because what we saw at Tent Rocks was otherworldly, ancient and enchanted.

Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the Pueblo. During the 14th and 15th centuries, several large ancestral pueblos were established and their descendants, the Pueblo de Cochiti, still inhabit the surrounding area.

The national monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. Apparently, The cone-shaped tent rock formations, also called Hoodoos, are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago.  While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, the colors are spectacular with bands of gray interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face. It took about 3 hours for the Burton Family (2 adults, 6 kids ages 15-2) and our family to hike the canyons, arroyos and scooping holes in the rock to the top of the summit and back.

Here are some of the photos from our adventure!