A Travellerspoint blog

November 2018

The Aztec ruins


View Our Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

It was time to leave the reservation and head north to Aztec, NM. I googled some campgrounds close to the ruins and came across Ruins Rd. Rv park. They offer full hookup for $25 plus tax per night.
They don't have a bath house or a laundry facility, but they are literally within walking distance to the Aztec ruins.
We only stayed one night, rested that afternoon after driving thru New Mexico, bought groceries and relaxed for the evening.
The next morning we took advantage of the free WiFi, Landon did his school work and I downloaded more songs for our upcoming Vlog. 2686.jpeg
By noon we were in the National park where Landon became a Junior Ranger and took an oath to protect and preserve all National parks. He earned his first badge!
We bought him a passport and a Ranger hat to keep collecting the badges and stamps.
It is a great way of keeping track of the parks you visit and it keeps you motivated to collect more. Tony bought his first medallion for his future walking stick.
Did you know that we have 418 National parks in the United States ?
That's a lot of badges... we might have to buy a vest for Landon too. 2687.jpeg
2694.jpeg W 2697.jpeg e started our tour by watching a short film about the Journey of the Hopis , which describes better what we are about to tour. The tribe built several kivas for ceremonies. They lined up the windows just right in the great kiva to allow the light to illuminate all the way to the altar. The North Wall that protects the Pueblo is aligned perfectly with the celestial setup of the summer solstice.
The Hopis were on a journey and followed their calling. They settled for a while in Aztec to build their empire, yet suddenly they vanished, after all that hard work.
Men would walk as far as 50 miles to return with timber to build their kiva and rooms.
Rocks had to be carried from all around the building site and carefully shaped into rectangles that would serve as walls. All the construction was difficult and time consuming. Why leave? 2699.jpeg
2684.jpeg Natives believe that their calling was, to find a new way of life somewhere else.
Today, tribes keep their traditions and pass it down to the next generation.
We marveled at some necklaces by a local artist. We were told, that all the pieces were created from seeds or kernels.
A lot of time and patience goes into each necklace. First, the watermelon needs to get de-seeded, the seeds washed then dried.
A natural dye will transform the watermelon seeds into colorful beads, which then have to get stung piece by piece, carefully poking a tiny hole into the watermelon seed without breaking it. One necklace requires hundreds of seeds. Simply stunning!

Posted by Meike Carter 07:36 Comments (0)

Santa Fe, NM


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Overnight the temperature dropped and snow was in the forecast for Santa Fe. The day before, we were comfortable wearing a shirt while hiking Tent Rock and found ourselves bundled up wearing heavy jackets, hat and boots less than 24 hrs later. 90_20181031_131013.jpg
As soon as we drove over the mountain range that separates the Cochiti reservation from the outskirts of Santa Fe, light snow began to fall.
By the time we made it to Canyon Road in Santa Fe the snow was coming down pretty good. We parked and walked down deserted Canyon road. Usually the place bustles with tourists and art lovers but not this time. It seemed as if, we were the only ones out there.
20181031_134556.jpg We checked out a couple of galleries and some Western stores. I really enjoyed the architecture of all the adobe homes that lined the streets. A shop owner told me, that all the stores on Canyon road used to be residential homes and were kept in its original state. Almost every room has a corner fireplace built out of adobe, molded into the wall, to keep the place warm. Rustic wooden beams support the roof and white plaster covers the walls. It is plain, yet quaint and comfortable. The wood floors squeaked with every step, setting you back in time. After an hour long stroll we drove to the Museum of Indian Art and Culture. We had to cut it short, because we needed to drive to the Santa Fe mall in time for "trick or treat " 90_20181031_131535.jpg
90_20181031_140000.jpg The mall started to fill up around 4 pm, I honestly didn't expect such a good turnout. To my surprise, a lot of adults were dressed up and very involved with the kids.
Landon had a great time and one lady gave him a Hope rock instead of candy. What a nice gesture! She said, every person deserves another chance and that there is always hope.
We were getting pretty worn out, hiking the day before, then walking Canyon road and trick or treating, but we had to stop at one more place. The brontosaurus statues off of turquoise trail, visible from the Interstate. With that photo op done, we finally drove back over the mountain range where the sun was out, painting the Cochiti reservation in calming amber colors.
It was good to be back over on the other side of the mountain. No more gray sky, snow and freezing temperatures. We really enjoyed Santa Fe and hopefully next time we visit it will be sunny and warm. I can only imagine how festive Canyon Road looks on a bright day.
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Posted by Meike Carter 18:57 Comments (0)

Tent Rocks National Monument, NM


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Only minutes away from Cochiti Lake is a long dirt road that will lead to the jewel on Cochiti reservation- Tent Rocks. 20181030_120618.jpg
You will pass the gate where tribal officials check you in. One of the guards was prior Marine and hit it off with Tony as soon as he saw his Military ID. Needless to say, we didn't have to pay admission.
We have met so many nice people on the reservation. The locals enjoy when they see how much you value their land and culture, and they will take their time to explain their story.
The land is simply breathtaking and hiking Tent rocks is definitely recommended when you visit Cochiti. 20181030_123412.jpg
There are two trails, the cavern trail and the scenic trail. We chose the latter.
Once you walk to the foot of the mountain and look up you are surrounded by gigantic boulders, the further you walk into it the passageways get narrower and wind upward. 90_20181030_113657.jpg A good 1.3 mile hike up until you reach the peak. The last stretch up is a bit tricky, but definitely doable. Once we reached the peak we had to make it to the furthest edge possible, otherwise we wouldn't have experienced the feeling of completion.
On that edge we found a big rock, sat down, rested and soaked in the stunning view.
I was honestly overcome with happiness, peace and a deeper connection with nature.
We were too excited to notice how hungry we were getting. It was time to make the descend back to base, which of course was much quicker. Overall the scenic trail is about 3 miles round trip and takes about 2 hours , if you stop to take pictures or sit down to rest. 20181030_120559.jpg
Landon was ready to hike the cavern trail, but hunger overruled that decision .
We piled into our Jeep and headed back to camp.
What an awesome day that was. 2789.jpeg

Posted by Meike Carter 07:46 Comments (0)

Cochiti Lake, New Mexico


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Once we crossed into New Mexico the landscape changed. Plateaus were visible as far as the eye can see. We decided to try out a campground run by the Army Corp of Engineers on Lake Cochiti. We drove thru the Cochiti reservation, crossed the Rio Grande and arrived at our beautiful home for the week. Usually it costs $20 per night for full hookup, but with our " America the Beautiful " card we only paid $10.
We couldn't get over how gorgeous this place is. We were able to see the lake and the mountain range right out of our windows. Most of the camp loops were closed off, because we arrived during the slow season. The loops that were open had no electricity except one big loop. It still provided electric and water. We got lucky and snatched up the second to last spot. Camping here is first come, first serve.
I was sitting in the Jeep while Tony unhooked the blue ox system , but the tow vehicle wouldn't crank. My first thought was, that I must have done something wrong, maybe it wasnt in gear. Come to find out, the battery was drained . We learned the hard way, that you don't keep your tow vehicle connected to the coach overnight. Even though, both vehicles are shut off, it will still use up battery power while connected. Just keep the blue ox bolted in but disconnect your power cord for a quick pitstop.
Friendly campers helped out, jumped the Jeep and told us not to miss out on visiting Tent Rock National Monument.
After setting up camp we went on a quick hike, enjoyed a beautiful sunset and grilled some hamburgers .

Posted by Meike Carter 07:47 Comments (0)

Palo Duro Canyon, Amarillo, TX


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Our Journey officially began!!!
We took care of all our errands and were ready to explore new territory. We pulled out of our campsite at 4 AM, too excited to sleep and anxious to get to Amarillo. We wanted to eat that 72 oz. steak at Big Texan and park next door at the RV park, but...we discovered Palo Duro Canyon and totally forgot about the steak.
We drove Journey through the winding road and weren't aware that the road was getting steeper the further we went. The decline was pretty intense and ignited the air break threshold sensor. Which means the breaks had been depressed for too long.
We made it safely to the parking lot, breathing a sigh of relief.
Once we changed into shorts, we started our little hike, soaking in the breathtaking landscape.
We met a gentleman who has been visiting every State Park in the USA and suggested for us to check out Tom Miner Basin in Montana. Great, we love getting new tips and ideas. That destination is now on our bucket list.
Oasis RV park was our overnight pit stop and we were ready to relax after a busy day.
The GPS sent us down a dirt road which got worse the further down we drove. Dust and rocks kicked up as the coach bounced all the way to the entrance of the park. At the office they said not to follow the GPS, because they had to tow other RVs that got stuck the day before. Too late, we done did it !😉
We hooked up our filthy rig and wondered why Tony bothered washing her the day before.
The Jeep we tow looked even worse.
The next morning, as we were getting ready to pack up, we ran into our neighbor parked next to us. He seemed familiar. Sure enough it was the gentleman we talked to at Palo Duro SP.
Somehow travelers always end up meeting again.
This was our last stop in the lone star state and we were excited to explore New Mexico.

Posted by Meike Carter 09:12 Comments (0)

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