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Mesa Verde's Long House

A hike into the Long House

sunny 40 °F
View UK 2018 & Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Tuesday morning, we had a fairly early hike, and with the drive up to the Mesa, another 45 minutes, made our departure time even earlier. I was a little concerned that there might be ice on the road as it was only in the 20’s but roads were clear.

For those who haven’t been to Mesa Verde, the mesa drive is so beautiful. There are pull-outs that look over the valley, pull-outs that look over the canyons one each side, and in some stretches, there is a drop off on each side with only the road visible. I found myself looking for ruins in alcoves within the canyon walls.

For this day we had a hike into a site we’d never visited before, “Long House”.

“Long House” is a different hike, 2 hours in total which includes the tour of the site, most other hikes only last 1 hour. The hike itself is easy at first, level and paved, but down into the site, the trail consists of steep switchbacks. It wasn’t so hard that we had to stop too many times on the way out, but, we wished we would have brought water.
https://www.nps.gov/meve/learn/historyculture/cd_long_house.htm

The ruins are appropriately named as the alcove is long with the site stretching along further than others do. The ranger led us thru the site walking to the rear to see the seep spring, pointing out where the people collected their water. We reflected on how the community must have interacted at the site, possibly gossiping or exchanging ideas while collecting their water or keeping the chaos of children’s games from muddying their water. Coming out of the site the ranger pointed out a hand print on the top of the alcove.
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Going into the sites gives one the sense of going back in time and the rangers are knowledgeable and give us a chance to reflect on those who went before us.
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We are looking forward to going back.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:00 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra long_house Comments (0)

A Little Time in Balcony House

A walk into Balcony House in Mesa Verde


View UK 2018 & Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Instead of playing in New Mexico on Sunday morning, we drove off to beat the storm. At least we hoped we were beating it. We wanted to get to Mesa Verde in Colorado where there was no rain in the forecast.

Driving north we always love driving by the “Earthship Homes” in New Mexico and someday we will stop so I can shoot photos of the fun homes. We know we are on the right road when we pass by the homes.

As we started over the pass we discovered that snow had already fallen, fortunately, the roads were not slick. It did snow for a bit while driving but mostly we left it behind after the pass. We did see so many beautiful trees in full fall colors and I was having Dale stop every few minutes so I could shoot more photos. He probably thought we would never get going.
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We got into Mesa Verde after dark, and it was really dark. If our truck lights had gone out we would have been goners as part of the road is on a steep hillside. This must be one of the darkest places on earth. We found the campground and backed into our site, hooking up to electricity. We were so happy for electricity as it was below freezing and the heater quickly made our RV warm and toasty.

I had looked online earlier and found that only 2 tours into ruins were available and that this was the last week of the tours for the year. We couldn’t buy tickets online but rather had to go to the Visitors Center to purchase them.

First thing Monday morning we drove down to the Visitors Center, got a Jr. Ranger book for Zaya and tickets for the 2 hikes available. One hike was for that afternoon and the other for Tuesday morning.

Monday’s hike was for Balcony House. I was looking forward to this hike as we go thru a tunnel that was used by the Ancestral Pueblo people. Kids could stand up in part of the tunnel but most of us were forced to crawl. This is also a great site as we could walk in areas where they walked and worked. https://www.mesaverde.org/files/uploaded-images/2013BalconyHs_English.pdf
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I had taken photos years ago in Balcony House but lost the negatives and gave the original photos away as a gift so I was so happy to be able to shoot photos again. I didn’t take the tripod but did carry my big camera for better photos.

Zaya was a little concerned about climbing the 30’ high ladder but after doing so wasn’t afraid at all for the others. But I was just a little worried when she was scrambling up the toe-holds etched into the cliff to the exit. She had to stretch her legs to get from one hold to another, then stopped and turned around to talk. I told her to keep her eyes on where she was going. I have no idea how I was planning to catch her if she fell and, since I was right behind her, I couldn’t shoot photos of the toe holds but did turn around and shoot one looking down the cliff. YIKES, how the ancients went up and down carrying babies, food or what have you, I have no idea!
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Once again, the Jr Ranger program opened up opportunities for Dale and me to learn more. We visited the pit houses on top of the mesa, learning how they were built and how people lived. We noted the foundation walls of a village around the excavated pit homes. As with our other Jr. Ranger events we had to read every word of every sign with Zaya but again learned so much.
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As the mesa top is open 24/7 we could take our time with our only worry being to leave by the time we wanted dinner. We were cold and tired when we returned to the RV but so happy with our exciting day.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra balcony_house Comments (0)

Santa Fe and Taos

Food and fun in Santa Fe and Taos

sunny 75 °F
View Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

From family we started on our way down I-40 west towards home, that is, we headed westward, with a side trip north to Taos.
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We needed to go to Santa Fe and Taos for supplies: more fresh roasted green chili, fresh ristrias, fresh ground chili powder, and fresh food from our favorite restaurants.

We stopped at our favorite Santa Fe restaurant, Maria’s, for tamales, enchiladas and soul food. We had fun introducing Zaya to Sopapillas with honey, something she didn’t know about. Zaya, after trying one, then set her mind to finding the best sopapilla in New Mexico. However, she also decided that she wanted to live inside Maria’s, but unfortunately for her, we did not allow her to stay behind.
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From Santa Fe. we drove onto Taos where we had an RV site for that evening. We’d planned to stay in Santa Fe but because of the balloon festival, there were no sites available. It was fine as we were happy to go directly to Taos.

We are in love with Taos, the chili sauce, Caribe style, out of this world!!! Dark red chili sauce with the smell of pure chili, made from red chili pods. And green chili sauce made from chopped roasted hatch green chili, sometimes with added sautéed onions and garlic.

We planned our days around the food, late breakfast at Taos Diner, Christmas style and dinner either La Cueva or Orlandos. Zaya commented that none of our favorite restaurants had a fancy entryway.
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We spent part of 1 day back in Santa Fe, drinking hot chocolate chili elixir at Kakawas and eating chili spiced brownies, visiting the earliest house and of course, another dinner at Marias.
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We heard that snow was forecast and decided to head out earlier than planned. We had more miles to go, some over passes and didn’t want to get caught in bad weather. Until next time our chilies will have to last.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip taos grandkids santa_fe grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra Comments (0)

Memphis and Oklahoma For Food and Family

Memphis ribs and family in Oklahoma

sunny 75 °F
View Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Every trip on I-40 that includes driving thru Memphis, must include a stop for ribs.

Back, probably 2004 I was working a windstorm there, living in the RV park across from Graceland. I was in a drugstore and started talking with someone. I’d mentioned that I wanted to eat at the Rendezvous, written up in Bon Appetit, I believe. Anyway, this little old lady comes up and said no, you must eat at this other restaurant. I did and believe that they have the best ribs ever.

I’ve stopped at this little restaurant every trip thru Memphis, and usually, take a rack of ribs home in the RV freezer. One friend left unnamed, wanted to lick the plate!

This trip was no different;
GPS said that we could get to Memphis in about 12.5 hours. 14 hours and with 45 minutes to spare before they would close, we parked and ran in. Sure enough, the ribs did not disappoint, we stuffed ourselves, not leaving a scrap of food. We did buy an extra rack of ribs for the freezer.
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From Memphis, we had another drive, on to Oklahoma. We had to take a small detour to the south-east corner of the state, but we had to make this stop. I have cousins in the area and we stop to visit whenever we can.

On our way to Atoka, we had the expected happen, we were stopped for no license plate on the RV. Fortunately, we had our registration ready and got off with a warning.
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We met my cousins Barbra and her daughter Mischelle for lunch in the little town of Atoka, where Zaya met these cousins for the first time. I gave Zaya the history assignment of interviewing Barbra, who grew up in that area under much different circumstances than my own mom. Zaya made up her own questions and had a nice conversation with Barbra.
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After Atoka, we drove up past Oklahoma City and met another cousin, Royaline and her husband Jerry for dinner. For dinner, Royaline and Jerry took us to a restaurant full of collectibles. So many signs and things from old Coke machines to little items. It had an old-timey feel, fortunately, cousins are not OLD!


It was great to catch up with family.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:26 Archived in USA Tagged food road_trip grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra 2007_gmc_sierra memphis_ribs Comments (0)

Kill Devil Hills and Jamestown All in A Day

A very long day of visiting our history

sunny 75 °F
View Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

The original plan had been to see Roanoke in the morning and Kill Devil Hills in the afternoon. The new plan was to see Kill Devil Hills in the morning and Jamestown in the afternoon.

We made sure to be at Kill Devil Hills as soon as the park opened. I didn’t know if Zaya would be really interested at first, but this stop was for me. I LOVE flying.

We went up to the memorial, getting some great exercise walking from the Visitor’s center to the top of the hill. When I was here before some restoration was going on so there wasn’t a clear view of the monument. Now that preparations are underway for the grand opening of the new Visitor’s center on the 20th everything was sparkling clean.
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We made it back down the hill in time for the 10 a.m. ranger program that took place just outside of the rebuilt hanger and workshop of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The ranger took lots of time to explain the events in detail. We felt like we went back in time.

Of course, we had a Jr. Ranger badge to earn. This meant inspecting each boulder marker for time and distance information. Dale and Zaya sprinted between the takeoff point and 1st landing to see if they could break the time of the 1st flight. They did!

There is a new (at least to me) sculpture garden behind the monument. It is set up to be like the photo everyone sees, complete with photographer and onlookers. That put everything into perspective.
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Again, we ended up spending several hours at Kill Devils forcing us to rush to Jamestown.

With 50 min to spare, we rushed into the Visitor’s center to collect the Jr. Ranger book. I selected the 4 pages that would be easiest to complete in the short amount of time. The ranger at the desk assured us that we would be fine.

We found the information needed from the Pocahontas sculpture, John Smith and everything else necessary. We rushed to the desk and the Ranger took her time, staying a few minutes over, to make Zaya a Jr. Ranger.
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We then went back to the grounds (which stay open until dark) to visit the site. Zaya thought that it was great to recreate the wedding of Pocahontas in the ruins of the original church. She was surprised at the true story of Pocahontas, as it was different from the movie.
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We’d wanted to take Zaya to eat at one of the historic restaurants in the old Williamsburg. This was a great idea until, trying to maneuver thru small streets, realized that the 1600’s town was not made for our truck pulling an RV. So much for that idea. We got back on the road, found a rest area and made our own dinner.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:53 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures kill_devil_hills gmc_truck gmc_sierra jamestown_colony Comments (0)

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