Friday, June 22, 2018

Questa New Mexico and The Enchanted Circle…

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Our first day in the Questa NM the rains set in and it rained most of the day. It did let up a bit in the afternoon so we drove over to nearby Cabresto Lake in the Carson National Forest. We traveled on a rough dirt road of about five miles (not recommended for passenger cars). It wound upward toward the lake which sits at over 9000 feet of elevation and along the way we passed a interesting mountain home (dome?). We walked the trail from the parking lot which took us along the western shore of the lake to its source.

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Along the way the Mountain Mahogany (Rosaceae cercocarpus) was in full bloom and there were Scarlet Gilia (Polemoniaceae Ipomopsis) flowers clinging to the steep slopes. White Fir, Limber Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Gambel Oaks made up the forest overhead. There were Black Chinned Hummingbirds flitting about all the while chattering. The trail took us about 100 feet up from the shoreline and allowed us many photographic opportunities of the lake below.

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While Cabresto Lake is relatively small it is a nice lake filled with trout and there were several Mallards swimming about searching for some tasty treats. We returned back along the shoreline of the lake as far as we could then had to scramble back up the talus to get back to the trail. We had a great hike even though it was short but we were glad to be able to get out of the RV for awhile on an otherwise rainy day…

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One day while in Questa, even though it was threatening to rain, we drove around the Enchanted Circle. This about 90 mile driving loop took us initially south where we took a detour over to see the Rio Grande Gorge just west of Taos. At about 800 feet deep it resembles a miniature grand canyon.

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From there we drove through Taos again and then over to the scenic valleys near Angel Fire and Eagle Nest. This is a very beautiful area but oddly enough the highlight of the loop for us turned out to be a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park. It began as a result of  Victor and Jeanne Westphall, the grief-stricken parents of Marine First Lieutenant David Westphall, who was among 16young men in his unit killed in an ambush on May 22, 1968 in Vietnam.

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It was built using their son’s insurance policies and the chapel is open twenty-four hours per day. Sitting atop a high point the views of the valley below are breathtaking. This architectural gem is a true road treat and a must visit place. We will say be prepared to turn on the tears…

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We ended the day near the end of the Enchanted Circle in Red River NM a skiing town in the high country. Here we walked around the town until we ended up at a little bar at the base of the ski lift. It was only open till 6:00 pm but that was just perfect for us to get a cold frosty drink to wrap up our loop drive…

NOTE: We left Questa NM and are now in Longmont Colorado…

Monday, June 18, 2018

Leaving Albuquerque, Going to Questa NM…

Before leaving Albuquerque we decided to walk along the ponds that make up Tingley Beach. The neatest thing along our walk was the art within the park especially the assortment of wind vanes prolific along the trail. We enjoyed looking at them and discussing our summer plans keeping in mind the repairs we experienced over the past 10 days. It definitely was a big financial hit to our budget and our monthly expenses for June will be about three times over budget.

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We decided to summer in the east again rather than going west for two reasons One was that we wanted to keep our costs down after the expensive repairs and the other is we want to go to North Carolina for our daughter’s wedding. Katie and her fiancé Brooks set the date for October 13, 2018 and even have a wedding website, One For the Brooks, with photos, a registry and a narrative about them. We originally planned to travel out west and fly back to NC a few times to attend wedding related events and of course the big event itself. However, we can save some money by returning east in our RV instead.

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So after Albuquerque we will turn northward and discontinue our westward crawl we had been on. Our next stop is Questa New Mexico as we will slowly trek from there up to South Dakota and then begin a crawl back east. Our last morning in Albuquerque was treasured in that we were finally back in our tiny home and back on the road.

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Questa was a good three hour drive along nice roads for the most part and included part of the Enchanted Circle a scenic drive we will do while in Questa. We drove through parts of New Mexico we haven’t visited since back in our vacation days while living in our sticks and bricks house in College Station Texas.

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It was fun (albeit a bit harrowing) driving the motorhome through the towns of Santa Fe New Mexico and Taos New Mexico. Leaving Taos we drove through the mountains following a creek along the way. Quite a scenic drive but before long we pulled into the town of Questa NM. We will be staying at the Questa Lodge LLC, a rather nice Passport America Park where we will stay at the half priced Passport America rate.

NOTE: We left Albuquerque NM for Questa NM and are now heading north into Colorado…