Sunday, April 17, 2011

It'll take some time.... get used to:   *daylight savings time sunsets at 7:30 instead of 10:30
                              *high desert dust blowing wildly and often
                              *being one-to-two hours behind time from the majority of our family and
                              *sage brush everywhere instead of pines and birches
                              *being a member of the minority population


Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Como se LLAMA?"

 Today we joined other families at the grand opening of a new soccer and sports field--the highest (altitude) two-star FIFA soccer field in the world.  A big draw for us was to introduce Frankie to llamas.  There were two on hand to be petted, fed, and walked (with guidance by their owner, of course.)   Grandpa learned that the proper way to pet a llama is not on its head, but rather to give him long massage-style strokes on the neck.  Frankie liked looking at them and watching others pet, feed and walk the llamas but he wasn't interested in getting much closer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mountain surprise

The last part of our trip into Taos we were travelling the route known locally as "the Enchanted Circle."  It circumnavigates the highest point in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak which is at 13,000+ feet.  This area includes several well-known ski resorts, including Angel Fire and Taos Ski Valley.  This photo was taken as we descended toward Angel Fire at Eagle Nest Lake, a vast and beautiful lake which includes a state park and swimming beach.

Morning Snuggle

Just after Frankie rose yesterday morning, he and Grandpa shared some quiet snuggle time in front of the big picture window in Esperanza's apartment. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joke's on Us!

     It is April, after all, the month beginning with pranks and jokes.  This one just occurred a bit belatedly.  We were driving west through Missouri yesterday on U.S. Highway 36 which parallels I-70 but is a much more pleasant drive.  One drawback, however, is that services are not readily marked at exits. 
     We were looking for a gas station when we approached the little town of Clarence, MO.  As soon as we turned off the highway and headed into town, Caryl spotted a station at the first corner.  While stopped at the preceding intersection, we commented on the antique car parked in the gas station lot.  Then we made our left turn and pulled into the station, with Bob noting that there were a couple of other antiques pulled up at the pumps.  As Caryl turned off the engine, we realized simultaneously that this "gas station" was some sort of museum:  There were 4 or 5 antiques parked there and inside each one was a mannequin or two as driver and passengers.  There was even a mannequin inside the station, looking out the window!  The final straw was when we spied the posted fuel price: 31.9 cents!! 
      We drove off with the suspicion that the few neighbors in nearby houses were probably getting their morning chuckle at our expense. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lunch in Twain-Land

    We got underway toward Taos again today, and took time for a picturesque lunch overlooking the Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO--boyhood home and inspiration of Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens.  The weather for our drive today was beautiful--blue sky and sunshine all day, with temperatures gradually increasing to 72 by the time we reached St. Joseph, MO. 
     The further we travelled across Missouri, the more spring-time was on display:  daffodils dancing along the grassy areas of exit ramps competed for attention with rows of golden forsythia bushes.  As we traveled through towns, we caught glimpses of blooming crabapple and magnolia trees.  And, amusingly, about 5 minutes after Bob remarked that we hadn't yet seen any wildlife along the way, we passed a lake filled with hundreds of migrating swans!
     Tonight we're settled into our hotel in Atchison, Kansas.  Our hope is to be another 400+ miles down the road tomorrow night--somewhere in Colorado, and only a day away from Taos, New Mexico!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On the Road....

     After a busy week of farewells to beloved friends and places in Marquette, we got underway yesterday morning around 8 am (EDT) and arrived in East Peoria, IL  around 6 pm (CDT). The drive, while long, was fairly easy.  We had dry roads and mostly overcast skies until about Beloit, WI where we drove through rain for about an hour.
     In East Peoria, we were welcomed by family and by the sights and sounds of spring--including greening fields and yards, bright red cardinals, and yellowing daffodil buds on the verge of blooming.  It feels good to be here and we are looking forward to a family party at Caryl's brother Mike's this evening.   We have about 1100 miles to go once we start out again on Tuesday morning.  For now, we are enjoying having some "down time" after the whirlwind month we have just concluded.