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Friday, March 8, 2013

Playing Games With Triton

March 8, 2013 3:49 PM  Room 109 Comfort Inn Socorro,NM

Hello fellow travelers!

Did you like the retracking today?  Sigh! This has been an interesting year so far as playing hide and seek games with the weather and its storms is concerned. Once more our original path has been blocked by yet another bout of winter--snow predicted for Gallup today and certainly north and northwest of Gallup. So we are delayed in our passage to Mesa Verde etc. So, once more, we looked at the maps last night and decided to head back east and south to avoid it.  Why backtrack, you ask. Why not south and west into Arizona---Mountains, mountains, mountains.  Now, we do have studded tires and are used to driving in snow but the people out here are not and they drive like maniacs--the speed limit is 70-75. I must admit that in my youth I used to fly down 89 at anywhere from 75-80 mph but those days are over for both of us. Especially with our small car in this windy State. Also the roads south out of Gallup are back roads and those west from there are as well. All in all, going to Truth or Consequences for a few days soaking in hot springs sounded like a nice way to wait out Mother Nature's snit.

Today's pictures fall into two categories then, the weather, the lava beds around Grants and Mount Taylor, also around Grants and a favorite with us because of its history which is not evident when looking at this lovely statuesque (11,301ft) geographic feature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Taylor_(New_Mexico)

It is the source, along with several other volcanoes for the incredibly large lava beds that make up the El Malpais and surrounding area.   It is also sacred to the tribes of the area, particularly the Navajo and is by them associated with the color blue--probably why I love it so much,though I didn't know this info until I read the above article. Blue is my favorite color--LOL  What I did know about the mountain was its rich deposits of uranium ore and the extensive mining done here to extract it. Those of you who have traveled with us before may remember when Bill and I got locked into the underground mining museum in Grants a few years back. Actually, we were upstairs but couldn't get out of the building!  Interesting event. LOL

At any rate, we got on I 40 in Gallup at around 930 am in sunny weather though threatening clouds and 48 degrees. We continued east as all around us the clouds thickened and became darker and darker. Mt Taylor did not seem to have any more snow on it today than it did two days ago but the Zuni Mts south of us were accumulating a dusting of snow as we watched.  We continued through the lava beds until we reached the little pueblo of Laguna. This is one of the villages that the Acoma established when they moved from Sky City to be closer to water, as we were told on our visit there(SC) last year.  The wind sock, as we descended into the valley beyond the lava beds was hardly moving--unlike its almost horizontal orientation a few days back. As we approached our exit to Los Lunas we came upon a work zone --the first posted speed in the work zone was 65 and was reduced to 55 at the center of activity--LOL I'd just love working there as all these tractor trailers bomb by at 55 mph! 

I think this is the first time we have traveled southeast on 6--what a different perspective--but really very scenic with train after train running every which way through the plateau filled plain. Though it seemed impossible the clouds got even thicker and the vertical height was unbelievable, from the ground up it seemed. Yet, there seemed to be some encouraging patches of blue to the west. But once we got on I 25 south things didn't look very good to the west and only slightly better to the east. At this point I called Riverbend Resort in Truth or Consequences to see if there were rooms available for two nights. Our preference were the courtyard suites but would take anything since the place has five rock pools of hot springs right on the banks of the Rio Grande with a butte facing the pools across the River.  Well, nothing available. The gentleman was quite nice and said that they really book up fast on week-ends, especially the courtyard suites--that people book them 4 months in advance!!!


Bud and Gloria have stayed there and found it to be absolutely wonderful and relaxing to say nothing about the rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  I asked Bill if we should book the Comfort Inn in TOC and just go over to the pools as non-guests--the pools are public. With a two night stay guests also get an hour in a private pool which we really were hoping to do.  So, after discussion, we decided that paying for the pools and the room was more than we wanted to spend. In addition,  having to go from one place to another was a bit of a hassle. So we opted to stay in Socorro and plan on getting to TOC during the week and call a couple of weeks in advance another year.

As we reached Escondido, just before Socorro we felt we'd made the right decision. I've never seen a wall of cloud and rain so close before. We weren't getting rain yet but we could have touched the storm to our west or so it seemed. As we arrived at Socorro though, the temperature, which had risen to the high 60's as we traveled, dropped into the 50's, the sky opened up and the wind blew the rain across the road in front of us and tried blowing the car out of Bill's control. Fortunately, we were at our exit. So we continued to the Socorro Springs Brewery for a burger and brew. The air smelled of wet dust --I wish I could capture it for you--it is really a different smell. The waitress was ecstatic--she loves the smell of rain ( so do I ) and she said they don't get it often. I know that is true. By the time we finished eating the deluge was over.

The sky has brightened and there are distant patches of blue but it is raining--lightly. We had hoped to go to the Bosque in late afternoon to see what it is like but we'll do that tomorrow if it is clear. I hope we will get up early and head down tomorrow morning--that is a terrific time, too. Bill is watching Judge Judy--it is so funny that he likes this show--I love Judy, she is like the women I grew up having around me. Just a kick to see him enjoy her.

I am going to read a book I bought at El Morro--it is a photo book of places in New Mexico with quotes from people through the centuries--Native Americans, letters home from some of the Spaniards in Coronado's army, letters back east from pioneers, comments by others who followed 66 west from the wastelands of Oklahoma etc during the depression. Seems to be a wonderful book--can't wait to see what others have said about this Land of Enchantment, we've seen so much of it ourselves. Bill is reading about the Pueblo Revolution and says it is quite interesting--I'll read it when he's done.

We have also talked about our plans from here and we are thinking of heading farther West into Arizona and then cutting up to the Grand Canyon. Bill has never been there and I haven't been since 2000. Then we can try hitting Monument Valley etc on our way back east. It will be a week to ten days from now --later in the season, perhaps we'll have less of a winter storm problem in that area. At least we will get going to some place we haven't been rather than lingering in NM and an area we've pretty well explored. Sounds like a plan--let's hope Mother Nature thinks it is a good one, too. For now, off to reading near the window so I can watch and smell the rain.

Next time, KandB

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