Category Archives: New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

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White Sands National Monument
* Alamogordo, New Mexico * www.nps.gov/whsa/ *

A childhood tromping ground for me with memories of hikes, sliding down cardboard boxes and skis, White Sands was our favorite desert. Rolling hills of white gypsum sand was our concept of a desert as kids. The Monument is located 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico. It resides at an elevation of 4,235 feet above sea level and is a 275 mile field of white gypsum crystal sand.

The first known humans to investigate the sand beds were the Mescalero Apache who lived in the area. The first official exploration was by the U.S. Army in 1849 C.E. The first Euro-Americans to explore the sands were Hispanic families farming in the area around 1861 C.E. (Common Era) inhabiting Tularosa (1861) and La Luz (1863). IT was already as early as 1898 C.E. when thoughts were discussed about turning White Sands into a National Park, originally proposed as Mescalero National Park as a game hunting preserve. This was not successful as the idea conflicted ethically with the National Park Service mission which does not preserve sites for hunting. It wasn’t until 1933 when President Hoover created the White Sands National Monument. The Monument however is completely surrounded by military installations such as the White Sands Missile Range and the Holloman Air Force Base. Relations between the government agencies haven’t always gone well as over 131,000 errant missiles have fallen into the National Park property destroying some of the areas for visitors and fly-overs by the air force base have disturbed animal life and the serene tranquility of the monument. It was proposed to be part of the World Heritage Sites in 2008, but shot down by U.S. Representative Stevan Pearce who believed such listing would endanger use by military installations in the near future. This caused a lot of controversy in the surrounding are with resulting petitions signed, passing Ordinance 07-05 purporting to make it illegal to become a World Heritage Site. In 2008 the Commission had a Attorney demand that the Secretary of the Interior remove it from the Tentative World Heritage Site list.

White sands is unique in that gypsum is rarely found in the form of sand because of it being water-soluble as rains would normally dissolve it and carry it out to sea. But since the Tularosa Basin is enclosed, there is no outlet to the sea trapping it in the basin, with water sinking into the ground forming shallow pools that eventually dry out creating selenite crystal, or flowing out south into the Hueco Basin. These crystals can grow upwards in length of 3 feet. Weathering and erosion usually pulverize them back into the sand thereby creating the white dunes which constantly change shape moving downwind. Many different forms of dunes can be found in the park – including domes, transverse, barchan, and parabolic dunes. These sands never heat up like the quartz-based sand crystals so can safely always be walked on with bare feet even in the hottest weather months. The park is open annually, except twice a week for 1-2 hours during missile testing by neighboring bases for safety reasons. The Trinity site, where the world’s first atom bomb was detonated, can be found in the northernmost boundaries of the White Sands Missile Range.

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Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo
* Acoma, New Mexico *

I’m not sure how I forgot about this mysterious and heavenly city, “City in the Clouds” as I had studied it extensively in Archaeology and Anthropology courses in University. It took a good travel mate to attract my attention to it as we were travelling across New Mexico. “Aa’ku”, “Hakukya”, “Haak’oh” and “Acoma” are various Native American language names for the Cloud City located 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This Mesa-top City, is three Puebloan culture villages combined into one – (1) Old Acoma or “Sky City”, (2) Acomita, and (3) McCartys. “Acoma” is a Spanish (as well as the Keresan language group Acoma) word for “the place that always was” or “People of the White Rock”. “Pueblo” is Spanish for “village”. A Federally recognized tribe, the Acoma are a Pueblo Native American group who are believed to be descendants from the Anasazi and/or Mogollon peoples of the Four Corners Region (Home to Mesa Verde, Salmon, Aztec, and Chaco Canyon culture groups) as are most of the Pueblo peoples. There are approximately just under 5,000 registered Acoma people existing today as most of their populations were decimated by the Spanish, Catholicism, and Euro-American settlers. They have occupied this area for over 800 years as of this writing making their village one of the oldest continuously inhabited villages in the United States. The Acoma believe they have been inhabiting the village for over 2,000 years. Archaeologists believe that the Mogollon/Anasazi peoples who gave birth to the Puebloans of the Four Corners region who evacuated the area due to severe droughts, and Sky City believed to be one of the locations they relocated to. This mesa that they moved to is a 365 foot high natural mesa, isolated with built-in natural fortifications. This helped the Acoma defend against Plains, Navajo, and Apache Indians because they were a peaceful non-warring society. However they suffered once falling in contact with the Spanish and Europeans. Spanish explorers in search of the 7 cities of Gold, came to them peacefull at first, trying to locate the legends of gold they were told about. The expedition’s leader, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado noted in his journals during their 1540 visit that this Pueblo was one of the strongest places they had encountered. At the time of their initial visit, the only method to access the top of the Mesa, was via an almost vertical set of stairs cut into the rock face. It took roughly 18 years for the Acoma to realize the Spanish had ulterior motives and relations between the two peoples began to disintegrate. The Acoma discovered that the Spanish had wanted to colonize their lands, so in turn ambused Juan de Onate’s men, killing 11 of them to defend their acreage. The Spanish came back to enforce penalty on the attack, burning most of their village and slaughtering over 600 of their people. They imprisoned the rest forcing them into slavery. They amputated the right foot of all men 25 years or older so they could not leave the Mesa. After the Massacre, the Acoma recovered and rebuilt their community, even though they had to pay taxes and tithing to Onate and his Catholic Missionaries. Churches were constructed and Western ways were taught to the Acoma. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 took its toll on the Spanish, bringing in refugees from other Pueblos, and pushing many Spanish out. Those Acoma that left the Mesa, formed the Laguna Pueblo not too far away. The Acoma then suffered through Westerner diseases brought over such as smallpox and raids from the Ute, Comanche, and Apache. They had to adopt Catholic faith, although also practicing their indigenous faiths in secret.

From 1629-1641 C.E. A Catholic Priest named Father Juan Ramirez was stationed at the Acoma Pueblo constructing the San Esteven Del Rey Mission Church atop the Mesa. The Acoma was forced to build this colossal palace for God moving over 20,000 tons of stone, mud, and straw to the Mesa, making Adobe for the construction. Giant ponderosa pine timber was also hand-carried up to the Mesa from over 40 miles away as 60 foot high wooden pillars hand carved in red and white designs.

The Pueblo Lands Act of 1924 appropriate much of their stolen lands back to them. Protestant missionaries invaded the area bringing alternative faiths to Catholicism as well as Christian influenced schools. The Burea of Indian Affairs forced many of the Acoma children to attend boarding schools, taking the kids from their parents. Much of the ancient ways were lost in process since many elders passed away before the children returned. What children returned often chose Western ways and was no longer interested in ancient traditions. The Church and Acoma village was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and by 2007 became a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site. There are roughly 300 two-three story adobe buildings atop the Mesa with exterior ladders accessing the upper levels where residents live. The Mesa is now accessed by a road built in the 1950’s for Hollywood Film sets needing to bring in studio equipment for movie productions. There are less than 30 Acoma who live atop the Mesa today. There are roughly 60,000 tourists each year visiting the site. The village is not permitted to have running water, electricity, nor sewage disposal atop the Mesa in order to preserve ancient traditions. There is a reservation that surrounds the Mesa, roughly 600 square miles, where most tribal members live while the others live in modern day local cities hosting casinos, restaurants, gas stations, and shops. Today, it is believed that many of their ancestral beliefs and traditions are still practiced in secret from Westerners while also practicing Catholicism, the faith that was forced upon them since Euro-American and Spanish contact. They believe in creating harmony between their people and nature. The sun is seen as their creator Deity. Their world is balanced by the mountains, their community, the sun above, and the earth below. Their religious ceremonies revolve around the weather. They utilize kachinas in their rituals. They would worship in their kivas. The Acoma speak both English and Acoma, while their elders may also speak Spanish. There are less than 5,000 Acoma left today. The government is managed by the cacique (head of the Pueblo) and the war captain who manage the tribe until they die. These individuals maintain strong religious connections to all the work they do as tradition dictates. There is also the All Indian Pueblo Council that began in 1598 and helps manage Indian affairs. They manage over 500,000 acres of traditional Acoma lands consisting of valleys, hills, arroyos, and mesas. Tribal councils, staff, and the governor is appointed by the cacique. Besides Government subsidies, their major income is Tourism.

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posuwaegah (outside of Taos, NM)

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Posuwaegeh means “drink-water place” or “place to drink” in the Towa language. the posuwaegeh pueblo is located 16 miles north of Santa Fe and is the smallest of the six Tewa villages. There were 177 Native Americans living there in 1990. Their language is Kiowa-Tanoan. They are believed like all other Puebloan culture peoples to come from the Anasazi of the Four Corners region (Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Salmon, and Aztec) as well as possibly Mogollon peoples around 1200 CE. This area has been occupied pretty constantly since 900 CE growing into a major political and cultural center. The Spanish occupied the area around 1598 with settlers, founding the colony of New Mexico. They forced the Indians to pay taxes in crops, cotton, and slave labor, forced them to become Catholics, and attacked their indigenous religions. The Pueblos were renamed by the Spaniards with saint’s names and began to construct churches in the area. The region took an active part in the 1680 Pueblo revolt against the Spanish. Today the Pueblo hosts a market, restaurants, casinos, resorts, and a 18 hole golf course just to the east of the over crossing. The overpass is a popular photo spot of the region, as it is decorated with symbols for mountains, clouds, and whirling logs (infinity symbol).

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

In the heart of New Mexico lies the state’s most populated city – Albuquerque, which straddles the Rio Grande in the shadow of Sandia Mountains. The 2012 census state over a half a million residents making it the 32nd largest city in America. Its combined region including the cities of Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas, Corrales, Los Lunas, Belen, Bosque Farms, and Albuquerque – Santa Fe – Las Vegas combined statistical area, gave it a population of 1,146,049 in 2010. Founded in 1706 C.E. as a Spanish colonial outpost called “Ranchos de Alburquerque” it rapidly grew as a thriving center of New Mexico. Starting out as a farming community with a military outpost along the Camino Real, it was the sheep-herding center of its day. Spain setup its military garrison there in 1706 CE, and after 1821, Mexico set up theirs as well. The growing village of Spanish settlements in its early days became Albuquerque named as such by the then provincial governor Don Francisco cuervo y Valdes after the Spanish town of the same name. This Spanish town was named after the Alburquerque family dating from pre-12th century Iberia. The Portugese town it was named after is within the badojoz province of Extremadura region just 15 miles from the Portugese border. However others claim it was named after the Arabic “Al-Barquq” meaning “the plum” mixed with the derivative Galician word “albaricoque” or “the apricot” as it was a fruit brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers in 1743 C.E. The town was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern with a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, a church, and residences. This is preserved to this day being home to local culture, commerce, and history being dubbed “Old Town Albuquerque” to separate it from modern day tech-querque. Once America took occupation of New Mexico, the city became headquarters for an American military garrison and quartermaster depot from 1846 to 1867. However during the Civil War, Albuquerque was occupied by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley until Union troops pushed them out in April 1862 CE during the Battle of Albuquerque. Once the rails came to town in 1880 CE, it quickly blossomed into New town or New Albuquerque as a haven for settlers, mountain men, and merchants. A true Spanish-Mexican outpost for the Wild West, it was always a place for rising crime.

Albuquerque is famous for its cultural and scenic beauty, especially with sites like Petroglyph National Monument, the Rio Grande River, its Spanish cultural heritage, and the Sandia Mountains. Today it is home to the University of New Mexico, Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Presbyterian Health Services, and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

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Sandia Peak Inn, 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Sandia Peak Inn
* 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico *
A Route 66 styled Inn/motel in Albuquerque, I was a bit hesitant at first with its location as finding it in the darkness was a little un-nerving. It however turned out to be a wonderful inn, with artistic stylized decor, comfortable amenities, and great service. The style was charming with Southwestern flair, and was at a decent price. Beds were comfortable and rooms had flat screen tv, fridge, microwave, free wifi, and the usual amenities. A small continental breakfast with a good selection was free in the morning, and they had a nice indoor pool. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 11/22/13.

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The first USGS Gauging Station 1889

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USGS Gauging Station 1889
* Embudo, New Mexico * (south of Taos) * http://md.water.usgs.gov/publications/presentations/md-de-dc_rt98/sld002.htm *

As studying stream and river flow patterns, power, and conductivity became a passion with the U.S. Geological Survey, they established their very first gauging station in 1889 along the Rio Grande River near Embudo, New Mexico. Here they collected stream flow information for scientific reports, studies, and analysis. Directed by John Wesley Powell, Irrigation Survey personnel (branch of the U.S. Geological Survey) developed procedures here that could be utilized for creating reliable stream flow estimates and was believed to be an important item to inventory in the arid west prior to settlement of the region. Once the methodology was solidified here near Embudo, the staff went to collect data at other western locations. Within two years, they also began collecting stream flow data along the Eastern United States, starting on the Potomac River at Chain Bridge near Washington D.C. on May 1, 1891. By 1895, measurements were being conducted in over 27 states. Today the USGS currently operates over 7000 gauging stations nation-wide. This helps us to understand the discharge of the stream, power of current, floodplain mapping, velocity, flood warnings, flood forecasting, and annual flow volumes. This is located just south of Taos, New Mexico.

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Taos Pueblo

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Taos Pueblo * Pueblo de Taos * ?a?opháym?p’?h??oth??olbo * *
* Taos, New Mexico * www.taospueblo.com * ca. 1000 C.E./1450 C.E. to Present day *

As a southwestern Archaeologist, I have always been inspired and intrigued with the Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community that has been designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as a National Historic Landmark. Aesthetically its a great example of adobe architecture and Puebloan culture. “Taos” was borrowed from the Spanish word “Taos” (t??o) meaning “village”, translating “Taos Pueblo” to “village in the village”. “Pueblo” means “the village” or “in the village” in the anglicized writing of the name, and given the namesake as “Taos Pueblo”, its true name however in the Taos language is “?a?opháym?p’?h??oth??olbo” meaning “at Red Willow Canyon Mouth”. These multi-storied adobe structures have been continuously inhabited for over a 1000 years. As a part of the Eight Northern Pueblos, this community is known for being one of the most conservative, secretive, and private of those in existing Puebloan culture. The village is atop a 95,000 acre sized reservation with over 4,500 inhabitants. The Red Willow Creek (Rio Pueblo de Taos) runs through the village as a small stream flowing into the middle of the community, fed by the headwaters sprung for the from spring and snow melt of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The pueblo is noted for its multi-storied residential complex, consisting of adobe architecture with reddish-brown mud-clay construction that is divided into two parts by the Red Willow Creek. Most of the Taos buildings originally had few windows or doors and were accessed by square holes in the roof led down by long climbing wooden ladders. Roofs were supported by large cedar logs with layers of branches, grass, mud, and plaster covering it all. The Pueblo wall completely enclosed the village back in the day and much taller for protection (today they are short or missing elements). The north side of the Pueblo is the most photographed and painted buildings in North America as they are representative of the largest multi-storied Pueblo structures still in existence. The walls are several feet thick for defensive strategy, and until 1900 C.E. only accessed from ladders in the roof. Homes usually have two rooms, one for living/sleeping and the other for cooking/storage. Each house is self-contained with no passageways between the houses. In early days, they were minimal with furnishings but today have beds, chairs, tables, counters, etc. There has never been electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing permitted in the Taos Pueblo. Kivas are scattered around the Pueblo utilized for council meetings and spiritual rites.

There is controversial debate on exactly when it was built, but estimated construction is between 1000 C.E. and 1450 C.E. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. The original Pueblo Indians (including the Taos Native Americans) settled along the Rio Grande River after migrating from the Four Corners Region as their ancestry come from the Anasazi people who built the ruins in that area (Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, etc.) forced to move on by a devastating drought in the 13th century of the Common Era. The waters of the Rio Grande River were more dependable. This Pueblo became a trade center for most of the native Populations of the area including the Plains tribes, often hosting a trade fair every fall after the agricultural harvest. Their spirituality was very Pagan, animistic, and shamanistic in belief structure which was almost demolished by Catholicism and Christianity after contact. The first Spanish to arrive was in 1540 C.E. from the Francisco Vásquez de Coronado expedition in search of the Seven Cities of Gold. By 1620 C.E., San Geronimo de Taos Catholic church was constructed, albeit numerous resistance attempts from the local Taos Native Americans. Resistance against the Catholic faith was hardcore at this time. However, as tensions grew between the Euro-American and Spanish settlers invading the area as well as between the Plains Indians and amongst their own peoples, the 1600’s C.E. of this region was in major upheaval and change. Churches were burnt, settlers were killed, priests murdered, and the grand Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (CE) took foot. The Taos people killed all three priests and destroyed the San Geronimo church. It was rebuilt for a third time by the end of the 18th century and relations between the Spanish and Puebloan culture found a level of peace finding strength coming together to defeat another invader, the Comanche and Ute Indian Tribes from the North and East. Resistance towards Catholicism was still strong.

As New Mexico came under control of the United States away from Mexico, officially becoming a territory in 1847 C.E. the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed with a grand peace requested and cherished. This did not last long as another revolt broke out in this Pueblo, when the Taos Pueblo leader “Tomasito” teamed together with the Mexican leader “Pablo Montoya” instigated a rebellion of Native Americans and Mexicans who refused to become part of the United States. They killed the then Governor Charles Bent while marching onto Santa Fe, followed by refuge in the Geronimo Mission Church. The Church was attacked by American troops, onslaught murder of the rebels and taking the others hostage, once again demolishing the church. It was rebuilt a fourth time in 1850 C.E. near the west gate of the Pueblo wall. The ruins can be seen today in the grave yard.

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In the early 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt took 48,000 acres of land from the Pueblo designating it as the Carson National Forest. This was returned back to the Pueblo in 1970 by President Nixon, and in 1996 an additional 764 acres were given back to the Pueblo covering their sacred Blue Lake – a magical body of water integrated into early Taos Puebloan belief structure.

Today the Taos Puebloan Peoples practice two spiritual practices – the original indigenous spiritual tradition and Roman Catholicism. It is said that the majority of the Taos Indians still practice their old ways even though 90% of their members have been baptized as Roman Catholics. From my experiences however, it is very apparent that much of the old ways have been destroyed by Catholicism. When I asked many Native American vendors in the Pueblo about certain meanings of various stones, symbols, or items (many of which are common knowledge items of lore today) – the response issued that they didn’t know, said there was nothing special about it, or that there was no lore associated with them. This demonstrated to me that either they were keeping secret even that which is common mainstream knowledge, or the general populace in the Pueblo has lost their cultural mythos and lore, which was very saddening to me. In talking to some Puebloan contacts, many say the ancient traditions are still practiced, albeit in secret away from white folk, or that they are now Christian or Catholic in practice. The concept of “community” however has not changed amongst Puebloan culture. Their phrase “we are in one nest” has been the supportive cohesive glue keeping the community together. The other aspect is “family” with high tribute and respect for their ancestors, elders, and parents. Often pictures, photos, or items belonging to ancestors or parents would be found in the homes or shops – a part of ancestral worship in like. Descent is respected from both the father and mother’s side (patrilineal and matrilineal) and although each family lives in a separate dwelling, they come together for family issues, and everyone is available to help care for the children. The elderly teach the young values and traditions of the culture with hopes of securing and preserving Taos Puebloan culture for generations to come.

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World Cup Cafe (Taos, NM)

World Cup Cafe
* 102A Paseo Del Pueblo Sur * Taos, NM 87571 * 575-737-5299 *

A great little coffee shop in the heart of Taos‘ City Center / Plaza, in northern New Mexico. While parking is not all that convenient, finding a space is worth it for a cup o’ joe here. The Italian soda is nice, the chai spicy, and the drinks good. Service is average, and prices are fair. World Cup has its own charm … Rated: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 11/22/2013.

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Paul Koudounaris’ lecture on Heavenly Bodies : Spectacular Jeweled Skeletons

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Paul Koudounaris: Heavenly Bodies
* Lecture, Slide Show, and Book Signing * The Strange Factory * Albuquerque, New Mexico * Friday, November 22, 2013 *

A race from Taos to Albuquerque to visit a friend’s lecture on his amazing discoveries about decorative skeletons was a whirlwind by itself, but would up to be an incredible night of magic, gold, jewels, and folklore. We wandered into the Strange Factory a little late as a snow storm slowed our travels on site, but were warmed with awe as we saw some of the works that Paul Koudounaris exhibited in his presentation. A astute author and photographer from Los Angeles, California; Paul K was presenting at the oddities shop called “the Strange Factory” in the University district of Albuquerque. Paul K’s charnel house and ossuary research has broken research milestones in folklore, oddities, and macabre art. This evenings lecture covered those of human skeletons found in Catholic churches adorned with gold and gemstones. He is a leading expert on bone-decorated shrines and religious structures.
Paul Koudounaris, PhD in Art History (UCLA 2004) is an author and photographer from Los Angeles that specializes in Baroque-era Northern European Art. His charnel house and ossuary research and photos have made him a well-known figure in the field of macabre art, and he is a leading expert in the history of bone-decorated shrines, human remains, religious art, and religious structures.He obtained a PhD in Art History from UCLA in 2004, with a specialty in Baroque-era Northern European Art. He began his research in 2006 studying the use of human remains in religious ritual and as a decorative element in sacred spaces, especially within the context of the Catholic Church. He began researching the existence of these pieces, photographing them, writing about them, and publishing the results in the Prague Post, Fortean Times, and other such publications. He compiled a premiere work on bone-decorated religious structures taking field trips to over 70 sites along four continents, many of which had never been seen or photographed. He released this book as “Heavenly Bodies” in 2013 through Thames and Hudson. This story told the tale of a group of skeletons removed from the Roman catacombs during the 17th century decorated with jewels by various nuns. These bones were at first mistakenly identified as Christian martyrs and shipped to Germanic churches, decorated, and placed in the altars. Through time, most of these were removed, disposed of or thrown into storage during the Enlightenment. He tracked down the corpses’ locations, documented them, and photographed them for for book. This book followed his successful masterpiece “The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses” in 2011. The presentation was well spoken and masterfully done to a full house in attendance.

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Farmhouse cafe and bakery (El Prado, NM)

Farmhouse Cafe and Bakery

* 1405 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, El Prado, NM 87529 * (575) 758-5683 *
(Located outside of Taos, New Mexico)

This cafe was a delightful gem as we pulled to the plaza in which its buried behind a few stores in as a “last chance” food stop heading from Taos towards the Rio Grande Gorge and Bridge. A snowy cold afternoon, we were surprised to find a gluten-free, free-range, organic bakery / cafe / restaurant with offerings to our required palate. I was a bit hesitant at first as the meal took a bit longer than I’m used to waiting for, but I was very pleased with the masterpiece we received. The food was delicious, wholeheartedly healthy, and satisfying. In addition we were blessed with the ability to meet the owner, and she graced us with a gift of some home-made flan since we had been waiting a bit. Definitely a location we’ll be dropping by in our future visits to Taos area. With offerings for vegans, vegetarians, free-rangarians, and the gluten-free crowd, you can’t go wrong with this farm-to-table venue. They also offer free wifi, outdoor dining, private party space, and a great cafe to read, relax, and socialize in. We were on-the-go, so were taking out so next time will definitely stay awhile.

According to taos news in their article about this new cafe to Taos, Micah Roseberry, the owner opened on August 21st of 2013 as she had been farming in Northern New Mexico for over 25 years and wanted to bring the farm directly to the table, and therefore Farmhouse cafe was born. All of the produce comes right from the farm outside of the restaurant or from her farm up in Cerro, as are the flowers, and those that do not come from her farm are delivered via organic free-range farms from the local community. She’s into community and building a local food system as her non-GMO organic market. They serve breakfast and lunch as well as a farmer’s market where locals can sell their produce every wednesday from 3-6 pm.

Our first visit awards this great cafe a 4 1/2 stars out of 5. 11/22/2013.

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Roswell, New Mexico

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Roswell, New Mexico

The “All-American City” or so it is branded by themselves, Roswell was a hometown to me from the 3rd grade until senior year of High School. Oh the fond memories of this dust-bowl of a town who’s prime entertainment for the high school youth was “dragging’ main street” every weekend to see who was “out and about” and hanging out in the Sonic drive-in. Of course many shenanigans went on making out at the Lover’s lane hill overlooking the city, or making love in the rocks at Bottomless Lakes State Park when our parents thought we were at the library or prom. Of course those mischievous few of us spent many days (and evenings) partying or exploring the Missile silos on the outskirts of town. Bonfires in the control room was a special kind of ambiance. Of course, we all heard the legends and rumors of the “UFO crash”, alien abductions, alien autopsies, and secret military bases – but that’s all they were … legends. Now these green or gray skinned aliens don the cities light-posts and is a theme park attraction to every gift shop, fast food joint, hotel, and wal-mart. The downtown theater we once partied to “Rocky Horror” has mutated to its own science fiction picture show as one of the world’s magnets for UFO experts, enthusiasts, and crazies as the International UFO Museum.

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Roswell represents and is in the county seat of Chaves County fluctuating annually in population growth as business boom, close, die, diminish or become reborn. It now boasts a population of 48,000 inhabitants in 2012 celebrating its standing as being New Mexico’s fifth largest city. Outside of UFO’s and aliens, Roswell’ites make their living with irrigation farming, dairy farms, ranching, petroleum, manufacture, and distribution. It was never really a tourist trap, UNTIL … the aliens arrived. It was however home of Bottomless Lakes State Park, Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and the New Mexico Military Institute (1891). The 1947 UFO crash made it the most popular, other than that it was a central point for some very famous people including Robert H. Goddard who invented the Rocket. No wonder those “hush-hush” secret military bases set up shop in this small hick town of tumbleweeds. Other famous inhabitants were Patrick Garrett the Sheriff, John Chisum the Pioneer, Demi Moore the Actress, John Denver the folk singer, Nancy Lopez the LPGA golf pro, Austin St. John the first Red Power Ranger, UFO Phil the singer, and Tom Brookshier the Pro Football player.

The UFO crash has much lore, legend, and news stories surrounding it – taking place just outside of town to upwards of 75 miles away near Corona. Whatever crashed there, was hauled into the local Roswell Army Air Field, the “then” secret military base for much dark mysteries … or so they say. On July 8, 1947 the Roswell Daily Record reported the “capture” of a “flying saucer” by the U.S. Government, hauling the ship and its inhabitants to the Walker Air Force Base. the U.S. Government to this day maintains it was debris from an “experimental” high-altitude helium weather and surveillance balloon. A high level military official from the base apparently came on to record to state it was actually a spaceship crash with alien bodies captured. It has been believed to be one of the U.S. Government’s most infamous cover-ups.

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Roswell was first inhabited by Native Americans who were pushed out by Euro-American Aliens – a group of pioneers from Missouri who started up the first Euro-American settlement 15 miles southwest of present day Roswell in 1865. They ran out of water however, so had to abandon this “Missouri Plaza”. Hispanics moved in from Lincoln, New Mexico as did John Chisum with his famous Jingle Bob Ranch 5 miles from Roswell’s current downtown. In 1869 two business-men from Omaha, Nebraska named Van C. Smith and Aaron Wilburn set up shop in what is now downtown Roswell building two adobe buildings – the general store, post office, and make-shift hotel. This gave birth to the “True” Roswell. Van’s father was Roswell Smith, whom he named the town after. By 1877, Captain Joseph Calloway Lea and his family bought out Smith and Wilburn, becoming the largest land-holders of the area. The town survived the Lincoln County War from 1877-1879 and by 1890 local merchant Nathan Jaffa struck clear gold when he sprung water tapping a major aquifer while digging a well in his back yard giving major growth and development opportunities for the area. The Railroad came through town by 1893. When World War II struck the country, the military set up a prisoner of war camp near Orchard Park holding Germans forcing labor on them to build Roswell’s infrastructure, especially paving the banks of the North Spring River. A iron cross can be found on the north bank built by the Germans in the Roswell Spring River Zoo. By the 1930’s, Robert H. Goddard popularized Roswell with his early rocketry work bringing in the military heavier from 1941 to 1967. Ruined by alien autopsy conspiracies and economic down-turn, the Walker Air Force base was finally DE-commissioned as were the 22 missile silos surrounding the city.

Located on the high plains, Roswell experiences the four seasons with cold winters, mild warm springs, very hot summers. Monsoons are common during the summer months with torrential downpours, thunderstorms, high winds, hail, and tornadoes.

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Roswell UFO Museum

Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center
* Roswell, New Mexico *

A whirlwind of change since the days when I grew up in Roswell, as quickly as I moved out of town the city was infected with an alien craze over the legendary UFO crash that took place there in the 40’s. The Center throws an annual UFO convention as well as talks, workshops, archives, and resources that attracts over a million tourists a year to this small little town. The Museum has a pretty complete archive of all UFO crashes, sightings, and investigations in the area as well as an extensive reading library for any visiting researchers. The Center focuses on solving the mysteries of all things alien and extraterrestrial. The admission is rather steep for the size of the museum, but is worth a gander for any alien enthusiast. The gift shop has expanded since the last time I visited, but the shops along main street have more souvenir offerings than the museum does. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley.

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Roswell Spring Hill Zoo

photos 09/11/12 125-145


Spring Hill Zoo, Roswell, New Mexico

Spring Hill Zoo
* 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203 *505-624-6760 *

Spending elementary, middle, and high school in Roswell, this was our local “Disneyland” outside of Carlsbad Caverns. A nice sized park for picnicking and outdoor activities, a free zoo, a petting zoo, duck ponds, cycling/jogging/walking trails, and green space. A five mile hard surface recreational trail that runs along the Spring River from west to east. The zoo is the only one of its kind and the only free zoo available in New Mexico. It also has its own youth fishing lake (age 15 and younger only can fish). There is an antique carousel and miniature train that runs through the park. The zoo features a prairie dog town, longhorn ranch, and children’s petting zoo. There are also exhibits of native and exotic animals, birds, and critters including bobcats, foxes, bison, owls, raccoons, antelope, deer, mountain lions, and black bear. Fun filled for children, its quite dusty and hot to visit. On more than once when I’ve visited, I’ve found it a bit unsanitary which is sad as I don’t remember it being that way. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Bottomless Lakes State Park (Roswell, NM)

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Bottomless Lakes State Park
* Roswell, New Mexico, USA *

Our swimming hole playground while living in Roswell, New Mexico – Bottomless Lakes provided much cooling off during the hot and dry summers of the desert. Only Fifteen miles from Roswell, the Lakes are Located along the Pecos River, and are a series of natural caves and sinkholes forming lakes used for recreation. The parks were established in 1933 and was the first State Park composed in New Mexico. There are nine small deep lakes along the escarpment of the Pecos River Valley that represents the remains of an ancient limestone reef. Caves formed within this limestone and eventually collapsed via erosion creating sinkholes or “cenotes” as round circular lakes or swimming holes. One of the largest lakes is Lea Lake and Lazy Lagoon, providing a large sandy shoreline that outdoor recreational visitors can use for picnicking, camping, outdoor sports, and swimming. Lazy Lagoon is the largest of the lakes and spans over 26 acres as a single lake but is made up of three interconnected sink holes. The lagoon is level with the salt flats which gives it an appearance of being very shallow, where in contrast, it is actually quite deep – over 90 feet deep. As opposed to the old days, Lea Lake is the only lake in which swimming is allowed, due to accidents that occurred in the others, especially Devil’s Inkwell.

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The shallowest is Pasture Lake with a depth of 18 feet and a surface of .76 acres. The deepest are Lea Lake (90 feet deep – only one that allows swimming) and Lazy Lagoon (90 feet/ 26 acres). The smallest of the lakes, is the darkest, known for its color, steep sides, and algae growth, called “the Devil’s Inkwell” and is approximately .36 of an acre. Figure 8 Lake is actually two lakes separated by a thin beach that seasonally gets covered making it look like one lake at times. The circular shapes connecting create the figure 8 symbol. Cottonwood Lake is 30 feet deep, and Mirror Lake at 50 feet. The Lakes are fed by underground streams and aquifers perculating through the rocks up into the catchment holes. The lakes are home to various endangered species and all of the park’s lakes are protected. The four known endangered species found at the park are the Cricket Frog, Eastern Barking Frog, Rainwater Killifish, and the Pecos Pupfish. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley and Leaf McGowan.

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The Roswell Alien Crash Site


Me at the crash site
Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

It was 1947, on July 4th, when William Woody saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground from the sky. They tried to explore where they thought it came down, and was sent away by a military barricade. a NM rancher named WW “Mack” Brazel was out for a ride with his friends checking on their herd after a terrible storm the night before – and they discovered on the ground, unusual pieces of metallic debris and a several hundred foot long shallow trench emblazened into the ground. They brought home some of the metal in order to try to figure out what it was, and his neighbours, the Proctors, told him he might be in possession of wreckage from a government project or a UFO. He reported the wreckage to the local sheriff, Wilcox, who reported it to Major Marcel of the 509 bomb group. The military explored the crash area, and closed the area to public access until all wreckage was removed. He was amazed by the weird nature of the metal and took some home to show his family. A press release was put out shortly after stating that it was the wreckage of a crashed disk by Roswell Air Force Base’s Public Information Officer. It was published in the Roswell Daily Record. Hours later, the press release was retracted, and a new one released, stating it was a weather balloon that they mistakenly identified as a flying saucer. The military tried hard to convince the local news that it was nothing other than a weather balloon and a big mistake by their department to say otherwise. During all of this, the local mortician, Glenn Dennis, received calls from the morgue on the air force base, stating they needed some small hermetically sealed coffins and needing information about how to preserve bodies that have been exposed to the elements for a few days without contaminating the tissue. He drove out to the base hospital and saw scattered pieces of weird metal with strange markings sticking out of one of the ambulences in the parking lot. Upon entering the hospital was threatened by military police and told to leave. The nurse that he knew there told him the next day about the bodies and drew him pictures of them on a prescription pad – the next day she was transferred to England, and was never heard from again. Future research on the incident had determined that the military was watching a strange object for 4 days in Southern New Mexico and on July 4th, discovered the object to have crashed down somewhere 30-40 miles northwest of Roswell. Since then, many movies, many books, and documentaries were created to publicize the incident even though the Military has removed all documentation and covered up most of the information that would validate their involvement. You can read more about the incident Here. In 1991, Glenn Dennis the mortician above, Walter Haut a military public information officer and original writer of the first news release, teamed up with Max Littell to form the Roswell UFO museum and the IUFOMRC. Within the first 4 years of the opening of the museum, Roswell has increased tourism 5x their small city population with UFO visitors.


Alien crash site – Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

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The Roswell Missle Silos


“Can I fit in that hole?”
Hwy 285 Silo, Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

Many memories of Roswell, New Mexico’s abandoned missile silos swarmed through my head as I recently explored them on a recent visit to Roswell. In the 80’s we used to throw big high school parties in them, partying in what we thought was once the control room, but appears by online research to have been the living quarters of the soldiers who were on call ready to push buttons. There are 12 silos, now abandoned, that surround the town of Roswell, New Mexico. Hidden from public view, all one can see from the highway, in the middle of nowhere, is a small, blending into the environment, grey concrete rectal-triangular block, that encases a stairwell that enters into a 3-7 level complex of circular rooms and chambers, leading to a circular tunnel that goes to the giant silo tube where the missiles would be launched. Above ground are pits where the fuel storage tanks once were located, such as liquid nitrogen and oxygen. Large missile silo doors rest flat against the ground. The entire structure is built to survive missile attacks upon them. Each missile was stored on alert with RP-1 on board, and was fueled with liquid oxygen prior to launch countdown just as the missile was raised on the elevator. The small hatch-hole (missing hatch) in the pictures below was a guidance antennae to help navigate the missile in flight. The hatch would pop open prior to launch and would raise the antennae. The large doors on the ground surface, shown in the pictures below, would raise open prior to launch as well. As you proceed down the top stairs, and turn two corners, there is a massive air-tight sealed ‘blast door’. Most of the abandoned silos have these welded shut so no one can venture further below. Previous visitors have apparently weld-cut a hole in them to crawl through. Through more hall walls and a set of stairs, you can enter through another blast door, and then down into the living area (that I thought was where the control room was located), following down the stairwell another few levels, are more circular rooms, some used for control rooms, others kitchens and work areas, in the ceiling are emergency escape hatches through a vertical tunnel filled with sand, once opened the sand would fall to the ground, and the ladder would tumble down. The tunnel at the bottom of the stairs, a hard hat area then and especially now, leads to a sealed room and to the actual silo itself. Each entrance is capped with a blast door. The silos range in depth from several stories deep to over a dozen stories deep. The bottom of the silo is filled with water. There is a launch tunnel deck with spiral and vertical ladders that go to the bottom of the silo. This particular silo is located approximate 3/4 miles north of the Alien Crash Site, around mile marker 133. Apparently the 12 silos surrounding Roswell were constructed between 1960 and 1964 because of threatened relations between the U.S. and the USSR. Most Americans were frightened by nuclear attack, as was the US government. These silos were built for defense of the local air force base. As the US attempted to build a network of launch sites for missiles capable of rocketing nuclear explosives to the enemy, and these silos were used to launch the Atlas F missiles. By 1965 they were DE-commissioned, considered obsolete, dismantled, and abandoned. Apparently Abilene, Texas; Oplin, Texas; Bradshaw, Texas; was also surrounded by similar silos. Browsing around the web, I’ve found some great silo stories and Information pages about them.


Missle Silo Doors – Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

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07.30.06: Part I – Roswell, The Alien Crash Site, The Missle Silos


C.S.I. Crash Site Investigation
Roswell Crash Site, Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

Sunday, 30 July 2006
Roswell, New Mexico
Part I – Delving into the Past, Alien Technology

We slept in a bit, then wandered down for the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar, packed up the room, and caravaned out of town. Got gas at $2.83/gallon – cheapest I’ve seen for ages in the West … and the southwest. I think Colorado Springs is about $3.15/gallon. Aliens must have some cheaper technology for finding fuel I suppose. We then hit the dollar store to purchase a couple of flashlights. Then drove up Hwy 285 north, to Mile marker #133, and pulled over to walk around the Roswell Alien crash site. We both bought Roswell souvenir t-shirts “C.S.I. Crash site investigator” and donned them for the day’s explorations. David wore his bluetooth phone and shades. As we were poking around the Crash site, two elderly tourists drove up, was nervous about getting out of their car, and finally the husband was brave enough to approach us, thinking we really were official, and asked … “sorry to bother you, but where is your crash site?” and I replied … “Its down the road a ways … or so I’ve heard …” As we were locking up our cars, grabbing our flashlights, and proceeded to walk to the highway to walk down 3/4 mile to the abandoned missle silo. I could hear the husband/wife talking:

husband: “I think they are here investigating the crash site. They are doing what we are doing.”
Wife: “Noooo … I don’t think they are doing what we are doing. They are investigating something else.”

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7.11.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 2: ‘Journey to Tribal Visions & Earthships’


[ Back to Chapter 1: Volcanoes and Virgins ]   [ Chapter 2: Journey to Tribal Visions ]   [ Forward to Chapter 2: Tribal Visions ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 11th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Une.


“I awoke earlier than Lady Allison and Maiden Astrana, so I ventured over a nook in a tree overlooking the rumbling river and blogged a bit on my laptop. I figured the Ladies needed to sleep a bit, after all it was 7 am. I’m so used to awaking early as I’m usually in the archaeological lab by 7:00 or 7:15 in the morning. I also started a new diet that had some odd eating techniques and involved 5 meals a day – but hey, I was supposed to lose 20 lbs. in 13 days. They eventually awoke and we partook of our morning rituals. As the Ladies did their rites, I packed up the tent and gear into Allison’s compact chariot. I thought this campsite in Cimarron Canyon was nice, but a little more bent to the RV tourist. Nonetheless, we got to camp in a scenic area with a nice river. Back onto the highway 64 west, we made our way into the artist haven of Taos, New Mexico. Always loved this town. So full of vibrant colors, pueblos, art, design, and expressions. We headed onwards to find this collective where the Sacred Visions Festival was being held. We stopped by the canyon, most infamous in the movie ‘Natural Born Killers’ and absorbed its immensity. Visiting the local artisans selling their wares to the side of the bridge, was quite impressed by a rastafarian’s gold leaf jewelry. Too bad I just simply did not have the $75 it would have cost for the piece. I’m such a budget-tight-wad on travels. I just never have spending money for nice things. I thought that in future travels, this has got to change. We got back into the car and headed southwest. Somehow we missed the turn off to Tribal Visions. However, we did discover a humongous and spectacular community of Earthships that warranted investigation. We wandered over to one of the show models and was going to take the tour, but given we had ice melting in the car, decided to postpone it until tomorrow, as we had agreed upon leaving the festival early in the morning for our trip home. Our main focus for Tribal Visions was to see Lunar Fire play that evening. We switched a witch back from whence we came and found the turn off, poorly marked by a stylistic half decorated pointer sign that looked like a half burnt board from a campfire, etched onto which was “Tribal Visions”. We followed the dirt gravel roads for a few miles and eventually found the turn-off. Not very well marked, we started to suspect that this gathering might not be what we were looking for.”

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Cimarron Canyon, New Mexico

Cimarron Canyon State Park
Cimarron, New Mexico * http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/CimarronCanyon.htm *
A beautiful canyon that is bisected by historic Highway 64 extending from Cimarron to Taos. The State Park is located three miles east of Eagle Nest, New Mexico. The park resides in the Colin Neblett Wildlife Area. The Canyon is a very popular location for trout fishing, especially in the Cimarron River and its tributaries – Clear Creek and Tolby Creek. It is also a very popular camping, cross country skiing, and hiking location. The park extends for eight miles. The Palisades Sill are amongst the most popular photo spots in the Canyon. Elk, Deer, Bear, Turkey, Grouse, songbirds, and mountain lions are common inhabitants. Definitely a nice road stop along Highway 64. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico
* http://www.taosgov.com http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=611 *
Taos means “place of red willows” and stands at an elevation of 6,950 feet above sea level and according to a 2000 census, has a population of about 4,700. The town consists of 5.4 square miles and is located at 36°23?38?N 105°34?36?W? / ?36.39389°N 105.57667°W? / 36.39389; -105.57667 (36.393979, -105.576705) according to Wikipedia. To the west is the scenic Rio Grande Gorge that cuts through the basalt flows of the Taos Plateau volcanic field along historic route 64. Taos is most notable for its artistic communities and its close proximity and association with the Taos Pueblo which is home to a Taos Pueblo tribal village. Taos is also popular due to its close proximity to the Taos Ski Valley ski resort. The town was founded in 1615 by Spanish explorer ‘Fernandez de Paos’ during the Spanish conquest of the Indian Pueblo villages. Relations with tribes in the area were amicable but with meddling by missionaries was the home front to the revolt of 1640 when the tribes killed the local priest and a number of Spanish settlers. Most of the settlers fled the Pueblo, not returning again until after 1661. In 1680 the Taos Pueblo joined the widespread Pueblo Revolt. After the Spanish Reconquest in 1692, Taos Pueblo continued armed resistance until Governor Diego de Vargas defeated the Indians at Taos Canyon. The 1770’s saw Comanche raids from eastern Colorado until a successful punitive expedition in 1779 put an end to them. When the United States took over New Mexico in 1847, Hispanics and Amerindians joined together for another fight called the “Taos Revolt” where the newly appointed U.S. Governor was killed. 1899 saw a humongous wave of artists move into the area creating the “Taos Society of Artists” forming one of America’s most notable artist colonies. The artist history has been preserved in Taos. Famous artists such as Nicolai Fechin, R.C. Gorman, Agnes Martin, and Bill Rane were located here. Taos is one of New Mexico’s biggest tourist hot spots – famous for its scenery, culture, pueblos, adobe architecture, skiing, dining, the San Francisco de Asis Church, and its popular Hollywood inhabitants such as Julia Roberts, Val Kilmer, and Donald Rumsfeld. One of my favorite little artist towns. Rated: 5 stars out of 5.

Attractions:

Geology: Taos is a unique geologic location. The infamous Staurolite/Fairy Crosses can be found naturally growing here. Also located near Taos is the USGS Gauging Station from 1889. Fascinating geology can be found in the Rio Grande Gorge.

Restaurants:
* Note: This is not a complete list. This represents only the restaurants and cafes we’ve personally visited during our travels.

Unique Architecture:

    References:

  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 Alternative America: Travel Guide to the U.S.A. Technogypsie Publications, Riverside, California.
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 Magical America. Technogypsie Publications, Riverside, California.
  • Wikipedia 2015 “New Mexico”. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico referenced 8/16/15.
  • Wikipedia 2015 “United States of America” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States referenced 8/16/15.

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Rio Grande Gorge and Bridge (Taos, New Mexico)

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Rio Grande Gorge and Bridge
Taos, New Mexico * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=610 *
One of New Mexico’s most famous and picturesque gorges and bridges. The Rio Grande Gorge is 800 feet deep and ten miles long, running from northwest to southeast of Taos, New Mexico, through the basalt flows of the Taos Plateau volcanic field. One of the world’s most popular white water rafting locations, steep pocketed rock climbing hot spots, and home to numerous petroglyphs. Along its bottom runs the historic Rio Grande river with hidden hot springs and ancient ruins. The bridge and gorge has been home to numerous movies and film shoots including Terminator Salvation, Natural Born Killers, Twins, She’s Having a Baby, and Wild Hogs. In fact, during our visit here, traffic got stopped while we watched an RV race up and down the bridge being filmed for some upcoming movie. The bridge that expands this gorge has won awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction as the “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in 1966.

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It is a cantilever truss steel bridge crossing the Rio Grande Gorge. It sits 650 feet above the Rio Grande which makes it the fifth highest bridge in the United States. It spans roughly 1,280 feet across with highway 64 running over it. The bridge has been the site for many suicides, some of which are notoriously famous. It is also the hotspot for Bonnie and Clyde type road warriors for proposals as stemmed from the classic scene in Natural Born Killers. Definitely a nice road stop along Highway 64. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

The wedding of Mickey and Mal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icDP1EsCs8c

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Earthships (Taos, New Mexico)

Earthship Community by Taos, New Mexico
* http://www.earthship.net/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=609
Along Highway 64 just southwest of Taos, New Mexico is a sustainable living community of Biotecture homes called “Earth-ships”. Earth-ships are passive solar homes made of natural and recycled materials designed for off-the-grid living. Earth-ships also embrace a thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization and incorporating renewable energy and integrated water systems making the Earth-ship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills. Most of the Earth-ship designs are created by Earth-ship Biotecture of Taos, NM. The homes are primarily constructed to work autonomously and are generally made of earth-filled tires, utilizing thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. These structures are built to utilize the available local resources, especially solar energy by means of windows strategically placed on the sunny side to bring in light and heat; contingent on a horseshoe-shape to maximize natural light and solar gains during winters; thick outer walls for insulation against summer heat; honeycombs of recycled cans cemented together for more insulation, and incorporation of earth and adobe. These kind of buildings took shape in the 1970’s. Earth-ship Biotecture’s founder, Mike Reynolds, created a company to specialize in building these sustainable structures with the importance for them to be independent from the ‘grid’ so that they are less susceptible to natural disasters and free from electrical and water lines. Because of the earth filled tire construction, Earth-ships have great load-bearing capacity and have an increased resistance to fire. Earth-ships can be found in every state and are appearing in countries like Europe. Earth-ship Biotecture is located in the Greater World Community which is a housing development in Taos, New Mexico compiled together of strictly earth-ship homes. Officially a legal subdivision in 1998 – it was started in order to create an ideal condition from where a sustainable community could grow and flourish. Want to buy an Earth-ship or land to place one on? An Earth-ship is defined by the following 6 principles: Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling; Solar & Wind Electricity; Contained Sewage Treatment; Building with Natural & Recycled Materials; Water Harvesting; Food Production; and Comfort in Any Climate. I’m extremely intrigued and impressed by these sustainable buildings.
Rated: 5 stars out of 5.

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El Patio de Albuquerque (Mexican restaurant)

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El Patio de Albuerqueque * 142 Harvard Dr SE * Albuquerque, NM 87106 * Phone: (505) 268-4245
Right in the heart of historic Knob Hill, just off on a side-street from historic route 66, is a small hole-in-the-wall house restaurant with a large patio and a small indoors dining area. Friendly staff and great food. Tasty margaritas and excellent Sopapillas which were a treat for this Colorado visitor who can’t get real sopapillas unless he travels to New Mexico. Good college ambience, as its close proximity to New Mexico State University shows its popularity amongst the academic crowd. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. visited 11/30/08.

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Petroglyphs National Monument (Albuerqueque, New Mexico)

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Me and Trinity checking out rock art

Petroglyph National Monument * http://www.nps.gov/petr/ * Petroglyph National Monument * 6001 Unser Blvd, NW * Albuquerque, New Mexico 87120 * (505) 899-0205 ext. 331 *

Petroglyph National Monument is a several area park nestled up to the Albuerqueque’s resident volcanoes that protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including the volcanos, archeological sites and an estimated 20,000 carved images on the volcanic basalt rocks that litter the canyons, valleys, and hills. Most of these petroglyphs are pecked and are recognizable animals, people, brands and crosses; with others being more complex symbology. These images are inseparable from the cultural landscape, the spirits of the people who created, and who appreciate them. Start your tour at the small quaint visitor center, with a small kiosk explaining the park and the art, artifacts, and peoples who lived here … grab maps for your hike and explorations … and grab a gift or two for memories of your visit. On occasion, fresh kiva-baked bread is sold outside by the ovens from local tribes. We bought a loaf during our visit and it was phenomenally delicious. We went to the southern trails, at Rinconada Canyon for a 2 1/2 mile loop trail hike with over 400 rock art images in the area. Unfortunately, there was a lot of vandalism from locals varying from gunshot damage, litter of broken bottles, and graffitti people placed over the petroglyphs. Many of the American Indian petroglyph images were etched 300 to 700 years ago. The Spanish petroglyph images were etched 200 to 300 years ago by the ‘hammer and chisel’ methodology of pecking. The variety of petroglyphs was fabulous, but the condition was not. This park certainly needs more attention and monitoring. Rating 3 stars out of 5. Visited 11/30/08.

Rock Art

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Flying Star Cafe, Albuerqueque, New Mexico

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Flying Star

Flying Star Cafe (Knob Hill – Albuerqueque, New Mexico)
www.flyingstarcafe.com * 3416 Central SE * Albuquerque, NM 87106 * Phone: 505-255-6633 * Fax: 505-232-8432 * HOURS: Sunday-Thursday 6:00am-11:00pm; Friday & Saturday 6:00am-Midnight
A large artsy/chic restaurant/cafe in the heart of historic and trendy Knob Hill district of Albuerqueque is a great place for getting your brew and grub for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Up to the counter you order just like most cafe’s, but tempted with hand made breads, desserts, and pastries while you’re perusing the menu up above. On this particular visit I went for the French Onion soup in a bread bowl and a large cold chai. My friend Vikki went for a butternut squash dish with a new chai latte they were offering and little Trinity went for the pancakes and hot chocolate. We were all quite satisfied with our choices. Jean and Mark Bernstein, both born and raised in New York, came out west with dreams of opening a restaurant … with the exquisite delicacy tastes of New York in mind. They also wanted a large meeting place where solitaries or groups could hang out and lounge. In November 1987, they opened this particular store as their first, on old Route 66. Over the last 20 years their popularity has spread to 8 locations throughout Albuerqueque. Excellent. Rating 5 stars out of 5. Visited 11/30/08.

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