Thursday, April 30, 2015

El Pinto

We have been having a good time hanging out with our friends Ron and Kathy, who were parked next to us at our campground in Albuquerque.  Last night Kathy took Bob and me to one of her favorite Mexican restaurants in the city, El Pinto. Unfortunately, Ron was unable to join us, but we had a great time with Kathy, who regaled us with stories of Albuquerque and the people who live here.

El Pinto is a beautiful building with huge water features in the front lobby. The place was hopping when we got there at about 7:00, but we were able to snag a table in the bar without waiting. I tried sopapillas stuffed with chicken, with "Christmas" chills (a bowl of red and a bowl of green chili sauce on the side.) Oh my, was it ever good! What a great evening!

This morning we headed to Amarillo, Texas, and crossed into another time zone. We are now on Central time. I was just getting used to Mountain time! Our trip was completely uneventful--the best kind of trip. We'll be staying here for two nights, just long enough to visit Palo Duro Canyon tomorrow before we head to Oklahoma.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Petroglyphs National Monument and Pulled Pork sandwiches

I have never eaten pulled pork. Not sure why, since I love roast pork, pork chops, smoked pork ribs, and bacon. I guess it was not served in our house growing up. So when I stumbled across this recipe in a pressure cooking blog, I was ready to give it a try. And was it ever good!
Stuffed into a bulky roll (pronounced "boo-key" for some reason in Worcester, MA where I used to live years ago) it was to-die-for. I'll be making this recipe again.

After a lunch of leftover pulled pork sandwiches today, Bob and I drove over to Petroglyphs National Monument, just outside of Albuquerque. The weather couldn't have been nicer, with sunshine and 68 degree temperatures. There are three trails we could have walked to see some petroglyphs and we chose Piedras Marcadas Canyon to visit, about a two mile easy hike through high desert country.
We came upon some rocky hills that had loads of petroglyphs carved into them, dating from about 400 years to 3000 years old. I took loads of photos and here are some of my favorite petroglyphs.

I had never seen such clear ones. In some you can see bullet holes where people shot at them, but many of the images are still sharp and clear. Not much is known about their meaning but they are fascinating nonetheless.

Being up in the desert got me wondering about where the desert scenes from Breaking Bad were filmed, because I haven't seen a lot of large expanses of desert around here. Turns out that those scenes were filmed in the Tohajiilee Indian Resevation, not far from where we are camping. More fun facts to know and tell!

Tonight we are going out to eat with our new friends, Ron and Kathy, from the campground. We are looking forward to a fun evening!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Breaking Bad And Finished my Bag

Bob and I enjoyed all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad before its conclusion, and today we decided to visit a few of the locations where scenes were shot in Albuquerque. We had a lot of places to choose from, some more obscure than others, but in the end we settled for a few of our favorites.
Walt and Skyler's home is in an average looking neighborhood. I wonder what the owners think about people gawking at their home all day.

Hank and Marie's house is at the end of a cul de sac in a gorgeous development, nestled at the base of a mountain range. All the homes in this area are drool-worthy, and the house next door to Hank's house is for sale. Almost makes me want a house.

Remember when Jesse inherited his parent's house? This one was a little harder to locate but we persisted, and it was worth it. Set in Old Town, the historical district, Jesse's house sits among other historical homes, disturbed only by the tour busses that drive by. And by people like us, of course, who stop to take pictures.

Saul's office is now a Sinners and Saints Bar and Grill, and if you look closely at the photo you can see the word "Saul" in the window, a nod to the show I presume.
Finally, we have the car wash where Walt and Skyler laundered their drug money. It is no longer A-1 Car Wash, but looks pretty much the same as on the show.

After driving around all morning seeing the sights, Bob and I stopped into Mimmo's, a little Italian restaurant that our neighbors in the campground (Ron and Kathy) recommended to us. Boy, was that good food! We enjoyed their lunch buffet with to-die-for lasagne.

Last night I finished my bag! I am so pleased with the way it turned out.
I loop-braided a cord to hold the flap down and put a zippered pocket inside. I think I'll get a lot of use from it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Quiet Weekend

Bob and I enjoyed a quiet, rainy weekend here in Albuquerque. The rain was the top story on the 10:00 news, with the reporter excited to announce that 0.34 inches were dumped on the region over the last two days, making this the wettest April in Albuquerque's history! The other top stories included a man having been pushed off his bike by an irate motorist and a tale of a realtor who had someone pull a gun on him but the realtor ran away. I kid you not. Very little crime actually occurs here, apparently. I should have called in to the news station and told them that someone honked at me as I tried to exit the highway; it probably would have made the front page.

I finished weaving my cloth for a bag I'll be sewing, and I like the way it came out.
I picked up fabric for the lining today, so I hope to have it finished tomorrow. 

Today is K.C.'s sweet sixteenth birthday. He is celebrating by spending the afternoon in the front of the coach with us. Auggie is on leash so he'll behave. They've been doing better with each other lately.
On my walk around the park today I took some shots of the classic campers that are here. They are used as rental units instead of cabins. What a great idea!

I think the rain has stopped so hopefully we can do some more sightseeing tomorrow!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gathering of Nations

We were so fortunate to arrive in Albuquerque in time to see the Gathering of Nations, one of the largest Pow-wows in the country and attracting over 500 different tribes of Indians.

An interesting aside: in the East we are so politically correct and refer to Indians as "Native Americans" but around here everyone refers to them as "Indians." Including the Indians themselves.

The Pow-wow lasts for three days, starting with a pageant for Miss Indian World on the first day. We were able to attend on the second day when they had the Drum Roll Call for Singers and the Grand Entrance of Dancers, when the "pit" fills with dancers from all over the country, dancing to the beat of drums. It was a cacophony of sounds and colors!
After the Grand Entrance is the dance and drums competition, which goes for another day and a half. Some of the competition is at midnight so it's a long day for people who stay for the whole thing.
I loved seeing the colorful costumes; it was interesting to see all the "glitz," which I didn't really expect.

Lots of silver bugle beads, bells, feathers, and sequins!

There was a group of people with live hawks and falcons on display.
We walked around the vendors area as well, which was filled with all kind of handmade items. A good introduction for us to Albuquerque!

Until at least 6:00 pm MST Saturday April 25 you can watch some of the streaming video of the event here. Check it out!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

No Poo and Indian Museum

Four years ago I stopped shampooing my hair. I was concerned about the chemicals in shampoos and conditioners, and my scalp was so oily that I had to wash it every morning to avoid greasy hair. I also had (since childhood) a layer of flaky skin on my scalp that I could scrape with my fingernails. Yuck! I began to run across "no-poo" websites and decided to give it a go. The transition wasn't too difficult. I replaced shampoo with a cup of very warm water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda stirred well until completely dissolved. I wet my hair, massaged it into every inch of my scalp with the balls of my fingertips for a full 45 seconds, then rinsed well. I followed this with a rinse of 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Rinse again.

At first I did this daily, but within a few days I skipped a day, then two. I currently wash my hair twice a week. It is so nice not to have to wash it daily! The flaky skin disappeared within a few weeks, and my oil production decreased steadily. And my hair looked good! Interestingly I have found that my hair is softer when I wash it in California than in New Jersey. Possibly because of the lack of humidity and the softer water.  Occasionally I will use an egg wash or some other recipe, but mostly it is the baking soda/vinegar combo.

I also stopped using my hair dryer, finding that a microfiber hair wrap used for about 10 minutes after getting out of the shower takes out most of the water. It then dries quickly.

But enough about my hair! What did we do today? I had hoped we could visit the Canyon De Chelly Since it's only 83 miles from here. Unfortunately that 83 mile trip would take over 3 hours each way. That's just too far for a day trip. So we will have to visit the canyon another time. Because of this change in plans we decided to go on to Albuquerque today. But first, we walked over to the Indian Museum next to the campground.

This was a great little museum! We were greeted by beautiful murals outside the building.

Inside were sand paintings, pottery, jewelry, woodcarvings, and woven rugs and bands.

We left Red Rock Park just before noon and arrived in Albuquerque about 2:00. We will be here a week and have lots to see. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Update on Distiller and We Move to Gallup, NM

Back in March I wrote about our purchase of a distiller and I wanted to give an update. We just love this appliance. While we have a "whole house" filter, and campground water is supposed  to be potable, I have used a reversed osmosis filter for the past 35 years and am used to good water.The Megahome Water Distiller that we purchased from Amazon has been wonderful. It does heat up the coach a bit while it's working. Not a bad thing in the winter when the heat is on anyway but in the summer we may want to use it outside. We find that running it while we sleep is the best. The fan is pretty quiet but we can still hear it if we are watching TV. We don't notice it otherwise.

The residue left behind varies according to where we are. In Jojoba Hills Escapee Resort we hardly had any residue at all. When we were at the Root 66 RV Park, the bottom of the distiller looked like this after the cycle, and it was spotlessly clean before I put water in it:

I don't know if you can see without clicking on the photo, but there are gobs of pasty stuff in there. All that would go into our bodies if we had been drinking water from the tap.

So I am very pleased with our distiller!

Today (Wednesday) was a moving day for us, and we headed for the Gallup, NM area. I had a chance to talk on the phone with daughter Emily before we left, and afterwards I relayed to Bob that she's been out straight all week. He had no idea what I meant. So I Googled the expression and it turns out that the expression "out straight" is a New England term, which makes sense because I was born and raised there and I heard it often growing up. I assumed everyone used it. It means, for all you non-New Englanders, "very busy."

I love regional dialectal differences! Here's a link I found to some more New England expressions if you want to read more.

Our trip to the next campground was uneventful.  We passed some pretty scenery along the way to New Mexico, losing an hour as we crossed the border.

We arrived at our campsite to discover a beautiful view out our front window.

We plan on staying here for two nights. It's a nice spot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona has been described to me as a mystical place, a place of beauty, a must-see. So today Bob and I drove the 30 miles south of "Flag," as folks around here refer to Flagstaff, to check out Sedona for ourselves.  Now, yesterday we went to the Grand Canyon, and I expected to be "wowed" by it and I was. But in a way, I was as much wowed by Sedona as I was by the Grand Canyon because Sedona was such a surprise. The drive there was full of switchbacks and offered incredible views.

These mountains that surround Sedona are over 6000 feet high, and one of them is over 7000 feet. They tower over the town that lies nestled at their feet, with views wherever you look.

We stopped in to an area called Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, which was built to look like a Mexican village. Beautifully designed and landscaped, it features restaurants, galleries, and shops.

Bob and I ate lunch here, at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill where we enjoyed microbrewed beer and a couple of their signature sandwiches.

Sedona is a place I'd like to come back to.  The town supposedly has several (5-7, depending on different sources) vortexes that are natural spiritual conduits that will balance your chakras and lead you to greater spiritual insight. There are maps so you can hike out to the vortexes, or you can pay $90 pp to have a jeep drive you around to them. Maybe one day!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Grand Canyon

This was a place that has been on my "bucket list" since I knew what one was. The Grand Canyon! Two billion years in the making, 277 River miles long, up to 18 miles wide in areas, and a mile deep.  Photos just do not do it justice. I took lots anyway.

Bob and I left the campground with Auggie at about 8:00 am, and it was an hour and a quarter trip from where we were staying. As we drove, we admired the tall Ponderos Pines that grow in this area. By the time we arrived at the Visitors Center it was warming up. We had no need of our jackets after about an hour or so.

Bob and I walked along the Rim Road, which is paved and offers fabulous views. We stopped to take a "selfie."
I kept snapping photos, with each vista more lovely than the last. We were on the South Rim, but you can see the North Rim, 10 miles away.

Auggie enjoyed the area, making friends with some mules in a paddock. He was happy to finally make it back to the car, though, and fell asleep on the way home.
We all agreed that the Grand Canyon is a very magical place.