Sunday, February 26, 2012

Home again ...

Well, it's 'back home again in Indiana' for me.  It's been a busy few days with unpacking, laundry, shopping, and getting things dusted up.

We had a nice drive back and really took our time.  Got in late Tuesday.  This has been a great adventure and I believe we saw the most beautiful scenery on this trip, comparing it to Arizona and Texas.  I think we want to try somewhere else next year but don't know where that will be.  I don't think we'll ever get over the love of seeing what's over the next hill, no matter how old we get.

Talked to mother several times within the last few days and I have shamefully put off going up there; I just could not get myself back into a vehicle for another long ride.  So I talked Wendell into going with me this time and we're leaving tomorrow a.m. for two days in Bluffton.  Along the way home we want to stop and see Jeff, too.  So it will be a busy trip.  I'm going to add some more pictures from the end of our time in Silver City to the bottom of the page but here is an interesting one I took along the way home.
Taken in the ghost town of Paradise Valley, NM, about 50 miles east of Deming
We went back to church this a.m. and it was good to be "home".  Now, I just need to see Mother and some more of my bestest friends and everything will be right again.  Have a blessed week ...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pinos Altos ...

Last Friday we took an afternoon and 'did' Pinos Altos.  Actually, you could 'do' PA in about an hour.  It is about seven miles north of Silver City on the continental divide.  We visited the museum first and while on Main Street I took pictures of some of the few remaining original buildings in town.  The museum is in need of renovation but it is housed in this old building which was interesting in itself.  The gift shop is pretty decent and featured lots of typical native American crafts such as baskets, weavings and blankets.  Our favorite part of the museum was the great old pictures of the town when it was a booming mine town.  Silver and gold.

Pinos Altos Historic Museum & Gift Shop
Across the steet from the museum is the Buckhorn Saloon.  We had dinner there the first week we were in town.  It has great atmosphere and your typical over-priced but average food.  But it is so unique they can do that...  We enjoyed it!

Buckhorn Saloon, Pinos Altos NM -- not much to look at outside but unique inside.
Next to the Buckhorn is the Pinos Altos Opera House.  It is still in use for entertainment venues, such as musicians, plays, and cowboy poetry readings with music.  Cowboy poetry is big in this part of the country.  It seems like there is always an event scheduled in one of the towns hereabouts every weekend.  We have a new neighbor next door (in the other half of this duplex).  He is obviously a cowboy singer.  He warms up (practices) then takes off in his western wear (sort of Porter Waggoner-ish).  He's here for a week.

The Pinos Altos Opera House (obviously they need to repair that sign ... or should they?)

After we covered Main Street we visited the "Hearst" Church.  Actually it was an M.E. Church (Methodist-Episcopal) when it was built.  But W.R. Hearst's mother donated the $500 it took to build it back in the day, so locally it is known as the Hearst Church.  Today it is an art center which features rotating exhibits.

The Hearst Church, now a center for the arts, in Pinos Altos NM.

There were some unusual graves in the local cemetery so we spent a lot of time walking around there.  It is next to an abandoned Catholic church.  The first part of the cemetery, near the church, is the Catholic cemetery, then there are several boundary markers and from there on, to the north, it is called the Pinos Altos Community Cemetery.  No fence, just this imaginary border, heavily posted.  Very interesting ... I'll bet there's a story there.  The Catholic Cemetery primarily consisted of graves with Mexican-American surnames.  Their graves are often completely blanketed with artificial flowers!  Very colorful and eye catching!  And all of the graves in both cemeteries were fenced or bordered in some way.  It might be a concrete wall, a stone wall, an iron fence, or just a simple border of large stones -- something to define each grave or family plot.  Most graves are protected in some way such as this:
Graves might be covered with a concrete slab (such as this), or with
crushed stones, wall-to-wall stepping stones, etc., within a foundation.

While in the cemetery we had a visit from a mule deer.  She just watched us for a while, then ran away.  In a short time she returned with a friend ... I guess they were checking us out.  Obviously these deer are used to people.  They are like Indiana's white-tail deer in size and markings but they have huge ears (like a mule ... duh ...).

It was a good day.  If you'll notice, the sky is blue blue blue; I love it.  Weather has been in the high 50s to mid 60s almost every day.  Almost always sunny.  Nice.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Walking through the art district ...

Last Saturday Wendell wanted to just veg out, read, and watch some TV, so after lunch I walked downtown with my camera (and some $$$).  Thought I'd share some pictures I took that day.  I met the nicest weaver; she has a shop of her own but I happened to meet her at another shop where she was delivering some of her work for sale.  Actually she had mostly scarves with her that day and they looked a lot (by size and type of yarn used) like the one I made when I took that weaving class a couple of years ago at Yarns Unlimited in Bloomington.  So anyway ... we talked for a while.  Unfortunately she wasn't going to be in her shop that day so I think I'll go back and visit with her another day before we leave here.  I did look in the window of her shop and the loom that was set up right in front of the window had thread heddles!!!  The only other place I have seen that was in the Pioneer Building at the State Fair (i.e., old loom).

Anyway, hope you enjoy these pictures ...

Courtyard of two galleries on Yankie Street.

Stretch of colorfully-painted galleries on Texas Street. 

Galleries and a coffee house on Yankie Street.

This quirky combination of elements caught my eye ...

We've decided to stay another week, then take off for a slow trip home at the end of next week.  We took an interesting drive through some awesome country yesterday, right at the base of the Mogollon Mountains.  How can you look at such beauty and not believe in a Creator?

I've talked with mom a couple times this week and she had good news.  She had a doctor's visit and he said her leg is already beginning to heal!  That is wonderful news.  [Thank you God for answered prayer!]  The bad news is that they immediately began working her lower body in physical therapy, so last time I talked to her she was just back from PT and said she was laying flat out on her bed, exhausted!  She is a fighter!  Thanks again for all of your positive thoughts and prayers for my mother.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The place we're staying ...

1017 & 1019 North Bennett ... we're the door on the left ...

I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of the duplex we're staying in here in Silver City NM.  The picture above is of the front of the house.  It is a one-bedroom duplex.  It is a straight shoot with living room at the front, kitchen in the middle, with bedroom, bath and closet at the rear.

Since we've been here the other half has only been occupied for one week.  They were an enjoyable couple, Bob & Carmen, from Wisconsin.  They are retired school teachers and live on a farm; good neighbors and fun to talk with!

My side of living room; I would love to have this leather sofa at home!
Wendell's side of the living room ... chair, ottoman, TV ... what more does a guy need?!

Partial view of the kitchen; the range & frig are on the left just out of view. 
Behind me is the side door to the back yard.

Our bedroom.  I'm standing in the door from the kitchen. 
The door into the bathroom is at the right.

The common patio area, just back of the duplex.  The landlords live right next door, behind me.  It's a great space with a grill, fireplace and flat screen TV.
This should give you a pretty good feel for the place.  The neighborhood is just average middle-class.  This town is divided by a creek.  We live "just" on the "wrong side of the creek" (sort of like the wrong side of the tracks back home?).  But it is generally quiet here.  (I think we tend to want quiet more than the average bear because we are used to living in the country where it is dead quiet at night.)  The owners are a really nice couple and have gone out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcomed.

We continue to enjoy our stay here in NM.  Will probably start home in the middle of the month.  We have seen some more interesting places this past week and I'll post more pictures soonest.  More later ...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gila Cliff Dwellings ...

Last Friday Wendell and I went to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  It was just an awesome day.  The trip there, the tour, the trip home ... all outstanding! 

We left pretty early for us, about 9-ish.  Drove a sort of out-of-the-way route there, going through some new territory for us.  Most of it was in the Gila National Wilderness Area, but some through ranching areas.  Lot of open range, with cattle free to roam onto the roads.  We arrived just 1/2 hour before the one and only guided tour of the day was to begin, so our picnic lunch would have to wait.  We grabbed a bottle of water and headed UP the trail. 

We walked a nice groomed trail up a canyon, climbing all of the way.  We crossed and re-crossed the same stream numerous times.  At the base of the cliff we started to climb up the steps ... WHEW!  We both stopped several times to sit on benches, get our breath and rest.  But we made it in time for the tour.  The volunteer guide, Paula, was super!  She knew her stuff.  It was cool in the canyon but as we climbed we took off our jackets and left them on a bench with the other tourists' things.  There were four couples in the group.  I'm putting some pictures here and at right.  I took LOTS of pictures ... more than I could or should  post here.  We learned a lot about these people who went to all of the trouble to build this lovely place, then only lived here for about 30 years.  All 700 year ago ...

The park only has three paid employees.  Everyone else is a volunteer, including the maintenance people.  They have a dorm, FEMA trailers, or their own travel trailers where they stay.  They are asked to commit to volunteer for at least 3 months.  What a great way to spend the summer (or winter!).

You can tour on your own but we think we learned a lot from Paula.  And when the official tour was over you could stay as long as you wanted to look around and take more pictures.  What an awesome place.  We are so glad we went.  An aside: we climbed up with a woman who had started up the trail with her 91-year-old mother but turned back to return her to their car.  Then she came on with us.  She climbed all of the way up to decide that she felt dizzy and another volunteer had to take her back down!  I can't imagine going all of the way up and then not see the thing!!!  I think that if she had just sat for a spell, and had some water, she could have gone all the way.  We hope she and her mother got back to Silver City okay ...  they were gone when we finally returned to the parking lot. 

When we returned, about 3:00, we sat on the tailgate of the truck and had a delicious lunch (anything would have tasted delicious after that climb!).  Then we headed back to Silver City. 

The Gila Cliff Dwellings, looking up from the trail.

Looking out from inside cave dwelling #3.  Awesome!

This is the ladder we climbed to get from one level to another.  Wow!
Wendell drove home; I had driven there.  It was by the more direct route but just let me say this about that road (NM highway 15) ...  When you leave Silver City, going north on that highway, it says "Gila Cliff Dwellings, 44 miles, allow 2 hours driving time" ... does that give you an idea of our trip down the mountain?!  Narrow, no center line, twists and turns.  That's it.  But it was BEAUTIFUL!  I was glad to be riding and not driving. 

More later ... and I promise I'll post some pictures of this place we're staying ...