Sunday, May 31, 2009

Serious Hikers

We continue to learn.

Ghost Ranch is home to many different people. Some stay for years, others for a short time and some for just one night. The diversity is fascinating.

One group we've never encountered before are long distance hikers. Yesterday, we had four people who are hiking from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Two were single men and the other two were a lovely couple from Scotland. Today we met another hiker who is making the same journey.

These folks are quite amazing, once again we've discovered a whole sub culture of which we were totally unaware.

This is a group of individuals who have decided that hardcore long term hiking is their passion, and their rewards are numerous. Not only are they in superb physical condition, but they are seeing this beautiful country in a way most of us miss. Chatting with them has been an eye opening experience, and I believe we'll meet many more of their ilk throughout our stay here.

Ghost Ranch is a perfect stopover for these folks. Our campground has a microwave and refrigerator as well as clean hot showers. Campers also have the option of eating in the Ghost Ranch Dining Hall, which for many of these hikers is a rare chance for a hot meal.

Ghost Ranch also allows people to receive mail here, which is perfect for these hikers. They way it works for long term hikers is they figure out how much trail food they can carry for a predetermined period of time. Then, they set up resupply packages to be sent to them at specific places along their route. Since these hikers travel light, many use Ghost Ranch as a zero day (a day in which they travel zero miles) letting them eat a hot meal, have a hot shower and resupply their larders, all in the natural beauty of Ghost Ranch. Perfect.

Much like RVing, this is a whole new culture, one which I find so interesting.

If you'd like to read more about these hikers, they have a website with journals, maps, tips and just about any info you can imagine. It engaging reading. You can find the website here.

I love learning about new people and their passions.

Just one more thing . . .

The photo at the top of the page has nothing to do with this entry, other than it is one more astounding view of the scenery here at Ghost Ranch.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

the State Fossil


We've been here just short of a week and the wonders of Ghost Ranch continue to reveal themselves. It's taken us a while to figure out our jobs here, but we're feeling pretty confident at this point and are both looking forward to a delightful stay.

The people here are amazing, everyone is incredibly open and friendly. We were just commenting, it's kind of like when we took our very first cruise, many years ago. Everyone felt quite safe and secure, like we were all part of some shared adventure. This led to an atmosphere of openness and warmth that's hard to describe.

That's what it's like here at Ghost Ranch.

There is so much to see here, we're beginning to wonder if we can possibly take it all in. It's certainly going to be an enriching experience.

Lots to see and do, lots to learn.

While most people know that the state bird of New Mexico is the roadrunner, and the state question is Red or Green, do you know the name of the state fossil?

Well, you're in luck, because I'm going to tell you!

It's the Coelophysis, and Ghost Ranch hosts the richest digs anywhere for these dinosaurs.

Remains have been found at several sites on the property, making Ghost Ranch a destination for paleontologists world wide. The Ranch also hosts a great Paleontology museum, which boasts some amazing artifacts, not the least of which can be seen in the attached photo.

If you look closely (click to enlarge) you'll see a variety of fossils. There are several skulls, bits of feet, legs, it's like an amazing jigsaw puzzle. That's because these critters were so abundant here, literally hundreds have been found in the same fossilized rocks. It's believed that they lived in packs, and when whatever happened to suspend them in this beautiful earth, it caught a whole lot of them at one time.

And that's just the beginning of what this tiny museum has to offer.

More to come, but know for now that


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Mexico Skies-ABC Wednesday S


First off, I have to admit, I broke my streak last week and couldn't post for ABC Wednesday.

Sometimes the personal intervenes and takes precedence.

But here it is time again, and for the letter S I'm going to do New Mexico Skies.

Yesterday, we arrived at Ghost Ranch, and the skies just took my breath away. This will be a montage of photos I took over approximately a ninety minute period.

So with few words, here you go . . .

Please click
on any or all of these photos
to see them in a much larger version.

This last shot shows our campsite.
We're the tiny motorhome on the far left,
a lovely spot.

I get the feeling I'm going to love it here.

Ghost Ranch


Today we arrived at Ghost Ranch, where we'll be camp hosting for the next couple of months.

My God, what country this is, I am awestruck.

While I'll have a lot to tell you about in the coming weeks, right now, I just want to share a couple of photos I took today.

For starters, there's the sky. While New Mexico is right at the top for wide open, eye popping skies, this takes things to a whole other level.

The vistas are so open, every point of the compass brings a completely different spectacle.

click on these
so you can see them
at a larger resolution.

There's been just enough rain lately
to turn the grass
this intense shade of emerald green.

The cliffs show every shade of red

And there are even hoodoos
(these tall chimney like structures
are called hoodoos)

While not in focus,
I liked the look of this one.

When we first visited Ghost Ranch,
this was a solid mountain.
Just recently, it started its' slow decline,
creating these four chimneys.
You can see the recent slag
at the base of the mountain.

Hopefully, these few photos will whet your appetite for more. I'll be posting not only more photos, but lots of information about Ghost Ranch in the coming months.

That said, here's just a small teaser. Do you like the artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe?

Ghost Ranch is where she spent a lot of time painting . . .

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I wanted to mention Memorial Day.

While I stand pretty much in the middle,
I have a sentimental streak about a mile wide.

When I see a flag flying, I usually take a photo.

I have lots of "patriotic" music on my iPod,
I LOVE John Phillip Sousa Marches.

When I see the young people in uniform,
I feel their hopes and dreams.

When I see old veterans,
I share the shine of pride I see in their eyes.

Happy Memorial Day.
Take just a moment today and think about it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Busy Busy Busy, and Star Trek!

We are currently in Santa Fe for a few days, visiting friends and getting ready for our two month stint at Ghost Ranch.

This has kept us spinning, so today we decided to take a break and go to the movies. In our other life, we saw anywhere from two to five movies a week. But no more, since many of the places we travel don't even have movie theaters. Now going to the movies has become a special treat for us.

With all the summer movies in the theaters, we decided that we should go see the new Star Trek movie.

I remember when the original Star Trek television series first premiered. I was living in the Haight Ashbury and the word got around that there was to be this new science fiction television series that was supposed to be something really special. The problem was, that among the eleven people living in the house, none of us had a television. Because we REALLY wanted to see this new show, we all chipped in and bought a tiny used TV, just for this show. We put the TV up in the attic (where we got the best reception) and all huddled around, excited that maybe television was finally going to do some science fiction the way it was supposed to be done.

We were all huge science (speculative) fictions fans.

I wish I could tell you I remember exactly what that first episode was, but truly I don't. I do remember how excited it made us, and I remember that every week we continued to watch. It seemed like nothing we had ever seen before. A picture of the future which represented different races, different sexes, even different species. And it did it all without resorting to violence as the first avenue of resolution.

I really loved it.

Looking back at the whole Star Trek phenomenon, it's hard to realize that the original series lasted a mere three seasons (although in those days three seasons would produce close to eighty episodes). I've sort of followed the successive Star Trek series, but, while they seem to be quite good, I guess I just haven't been in as receptive a place as I was when the series originally premiered.

So I was really interested to see what this new film was all about. I am a big fan of director J. J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) and I had high hopes going in.

I wasn't disappointed.

Now, it didn't get into a lot of the "philosophical" areas of the original series, but it did a great job of reintroducing all the characters at a younger time in their lives, effectively setting us up for future adventures. I do have a few questions about some of the characters, but I must say, none of them occurred to me during the film. I was captivated.

I give the new Star Trek movie a definite Thumbs Up!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Goodbye Dear Friend

People come into our lives. Some for just a while, others for a longer stay. But it isn't the time spent together that matters, it's the connection.

Many people reside in my heart, and are a part of me. Whether I see them physically, or just share memories that enrich me in ways I can't begin to describe, they are with me.

So it is with a heavy heart that I learned today that my wonderful friend, Wayne Allwine has passed away.

This man had such a capacity for life, his joy was infectious. I can hardly believe he is gone.

Wayne was one of the funniest people I have ever met, someone I always looked forward to seeing. When you combine his great good humor with that of his loving wife, Russi, who could begin to imagine a better way to spend time than in their company?

My heart aches so for Russi, if I were anywhere near, I would take her in my arms.

A bit about Wayne . . .

He was with Disney for it seemed like forever. He first worked with a gentleman named Jimmy McDonald, who did foley work, and voiced Mickey Mouse when Walt Disney decided he was no longer up for he task. On the passing of Jimmy, the torch was passed to Wayne.

Then an amazing thing happened. He met Russi Taylor, who voices Minnie Mouse. Why, it seemed like magic, they way they were together. Soon they were married.

Wayne was a big bear of a man, and Russi is just a slip of a girl, but did they ever fit together! Their good natures were so similar, I ALWAYS looked forward to time with them.

Now I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen them for so many years but they have both been with us as we've made this amazing journey, and I will miss Wayne terribly.

The world seems a little less bright knowing he is no longer here.

Russi, I love you. Thank you for the times we've had and I really hope we can see you soon.

And thank you for reminding me of the endurance of love. You've had the best and that is a rare thing indeed.

Goodbye Wayne, we love you and will miss you always.

Wayne Allwine 1947-2009, way too short a time.


Monday, May 18, 2009

On Moving

Even though our home moves we usually stay put for at least a few weeks at a time.

Our last move was ten days ago. Today we moved again, this time into Albuquerque for a couple of days.

Yesterday, down in San Antonio, it was quite warm. We had the air conditioner going most of the day. This evening, it's nice and cool, perfect for having the windows open, with a lovely breeze wafting through the rig. Now and then, there's a bit of thunder and lightning, but nothing frightening.

It's so pleasant I can't begin to describe it.

What I'm really trying to evoke (poorly I fear) is the wonder of moving and still having my home around me. I love knowing it's my own kitchen, my own bathroom and especially my own bed, but still the feeling the excitement of different surroundings outside the rig. When I look outside, it's a completely new view and when we go into town tomorrow, it will be a whole new place to be and explore.

Yet when we come home, even though the surroundings are different, home is always here. Comfortable and cozy and just as we love it.

It's a wonderful thing that I wanted to write about while the thoughts were fresh in my mind. I know I'm not describing it fully, but it is probably my favorite thing about RVing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's a Throwdown!

This is Part Two of Two, if you want to read part One, click here.

We woke up early, excited about the Food Network event that was scheduled for today.

We had arrived at the Bosque and took our place in line when someone mentioned that we weren't supposed to wear black (or stripes or logos). Since we were sort of late to the party, we hadn't gotten the whole instructions and here I was dressed all in black (think of it as my tribute to Johnny Cash . . .). Oh well, C'est la vie!

At the gate, our names were checked off a list and once again, we had to agree to let them use our likenesses in any way they deemed fit. No one seemed to mind (and I felt pretty safe since I was dressed in the forbidden black).

There was a lovely mix of people attending the event. Remember at this point, we had been told this would be a Chili Festival. jointly sponsored by the Buckhorn and the Food Channel.

Shortly after arriving, I saw this gentleman, and I just had to take his picture. He was most gracious and said I could take as many shots as I wanted and also gave me permission to post his picture here on the blog.

Isn't this the best moustache you've ever seen?

We were also treated to a visit
by the Chili Queen from Hatch, New Mexico.
Hatch is often cited
as the chili capitol of the world.

There were vendors,
and more chili
than we had seen in quite a while.

The staff from the Buckhorn
was in attendance,
cooking and serving
with their usual style.

The Food Network had prepared this banner.

The outdoor patio was set up
with decorations
and tons of mosquito netting.

I thought they did a beautiful job
of preparing the cooking area.
The view was gorgeous.

Here's everyone waiting
so they could film us coming in
to watch Robert from the Buckhorn
prepare his famous burgers.

He started telling us all his trade secrets,
and before we knew it,

Ta Da,
Bobby Flay was on the scene.
It was a throwdown!

Here's Roberts' table,
ready for him to go to work.

And here is Bobby Flays' fine assistant,
preparing his cooking space.
If I wasn't such a twit,
I would have gotten her name.
She was really friendly
and a nice addition to the event.

Bobby Flay was open
and friendly to everyone.

Robert entertained the crowd,

and playing the harmonica.

Bobby signed autographs

And even let us plant a flagpole in his head.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Even the birds came out for the party.

Now it was time to get down to some serious cooking.
I took these shots from
quite a ways away,
but I was just so excited,
I couldn't stop shooting pictures.

While the folks at the Buckhorn
made their usual fine green chili cheese burger.
Bobby Flay made his with a scrumptious cheese sauce

marinated red onions,
crushed blue corn tortillas
and a mixture of green chili.
It was all topped off with a
balsamic, cilantro and honey relish

It was a fine looking burger.

I was in such a tizzy,
I forgot to take a picture
of the famous Buckhorn Burger!

But I did get this picture
of my friend Lupita with Bobby Flay

Then they told everyone
to gather behind the judges table
for the final event.
Since I got behind the table,
I couldn't take any pictures of the judges.
And that's probably why
I'll never be a professional photographer . . .

The tension mounted,
the ballots were brought out,
we all waited with baited breath


Well, actually, they swore us to silence.


So far, I haven't heard when this show will air, but as soon as I do, I'll post it here.

I can say it was a wonderful time. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely and the food really was divine. If you ever have a chance to attend such an event, go out of your way, like we did, it was certainly worth it.

As always