Friday, June 13, 2014


I've lived near the Grand Teton Mountains of Wyoming for several decades and I think they are pretty spectacular.  And I found the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia most impressive.

But driving through the heart of the San Juans of Colorado left me with my mouth open and blown away.  My photos don't even come close to showing their awesomeness.  Take the one above and make it about twenty feet high and stand right up next to it.  Then add the sound of a dozen waterfalls, a sampling of bird calls and the scent of evergreens and cedars and maybe you could get close.

But of course if there is a highway, there is highway construction.  When we started up "The Million Dollar Highway" between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado we were told we'd be delayed an hour and a half about sixteen miles up the road because of road repairs.  What could be better than spending some time waiting around in this scenery?

This highway was built by people looking for gold and silver.  They didn't care how much it cost to provide a way to get to the mother lode.

The face of the mountain is so vertical they had to build hairpin turns so tight they almost ended up back in the same place.  And we're talking an altitude of ten thousand feet or better.

To get to the closed part of the highway we had to go through this little slow down.

Then we were stopped behind this big flatbed for the hour and a half wait.  We rolled down the windows, put our feet up and enjoyed the scenery and some munchies we had in the car.

We were finally allowed through single file.  We eased past the crew putting up reinforcements to stop falling rocks.

Plus they were putting down new asphalt right along the edge of the cliff--no guardrails here.  Just thousands of feet of fresh air to cushion any fall.  You can see there just isn't much distance between the mountain wall and the valley below.

Behind these two pieces of equipment was a guy holding what looked like a big roll of white paper.  We guessed he had it there for anyone who got so scared hanging off the edge that they just might need to wipe.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


After taking on Utah's Soldier Summit a.k.a. U.S. 6, "one of the most dangerous highways in America" (where one of D.H.'s nephews lost his life when his fuel tanker truck burst into flames)* we thought the worst mountain driving was behind us. Funny thing is when a traveler crosses the continental divide on a road trip it pretty much has to be crossed again on the return. Due to my navigator taking a nap on our exit out of New Mexico we ended up on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass with a whole lot of the San Juan Mountains in the way.

If you're old enough to have survived the seventies you may remember a trucker song by C.W. McCall about Wolf Creek Pass. The highway has since been expanded from a two lane to a multi-lane divided highway but it's still a seven percent grade on both sides of the " thirty seven miles of hell."

We weren't in a truck but my little Subaru Impreza with stick shift ate those inclines for lunch. Still, it was a bit hairy-scary on the way up AND on the way down.

My ain't this purdy up here!

Ten thousand eight hundred and fifty seven feet (3309.21 m) above sea level.

Right in the middle of the whole darn show was a real nice tunnel, now wouldn't you know?

Coming down the other side was a snow shed we shot through like eggs through a hen.

We went down and around and down 'til we run outta ground at the edge of town.

Had to stop and look for a restroom in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Monday morning bright and early I dragged DH out to visit galleries on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

This is one of many kinetic sculptures catching the morning sun and spinning in the canyon winds.  All that art gave me all kinds of new ideas.  

We visited some churches.  This is the famous and amazing spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel.

Merchants and craftsmen were selling all kinds of stuff to a willing crowd of tourists.

We visited a few more museums and even saw some paintings by Georgia O'Keefe (who's work I don't like because she painted her hills to look like naked bodies with crotches and butt cracks and her flowers look like reproductive organs).  Then we fueled up and headed north for Taos.

We took the scenic byway (after we passed it and had to backtrack).

We stopped along the way to visit points of interest like a vineyard...

...and a cemetery.

The road wound on and on through the scrubby junipers.

There were long views of desert landscape.

The road narrowed to a single lane as it passed through an occasional village.

Signs warned us of hairpin turns, steep grades and watch out for cows.

They weren't kidding.

This heifer had apparently gone to sleep in the middle of the road.

So sorry to disturb your siesta, Senorita Vaca.

We were thinking we'd missed a turn on this High Road to Taos and when the pavement ended we decided we were lost and turned around.

Went past the sleepy cow and her friends,

Found the left turn we missed and continued on our way through The Carson National Forest to the highway to Taos, New Mexico.

Where even the building for Mickey Dee's looks like it was designed by Fred Flintstone.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Traveled for hours today down U.S. Interstate 40 -- also known as Route 66.

Had DH take a picture of me standing by the iconic arrows.

Turned left at Albuquerque.

Still on Route 66.  Didn't stay here.

Got to Old Town in Albuquerque just in time for a Fiesta.
I'd show you the video but this WiFi is really slow.

Just missed a big thunder storm.

Got stuck in traffic on a Sunday afternoon on the way to Santa Fe.

Saw what happens when a Geo Metro is rear-ended by a Mercedes Benz.

Made it to Santa Fe. Got a room here.
Ate enchiladas so hot we just HAD to get ice cream.