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Southwest Escapade

Started by Onslow, August 07, 2018, 21:21:48 pm

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August 07, 2018, 21:21:48 pm Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 21:23:35 pm by Onslow
This is not a fishing report.  So if you don't like what you see here.....

Installment #1

Took the family on a jaunt.  Left Charlotte Douglas at around 10:20 PM.  Touched down in Dallas at 1:30 AM.  This set the tone for the trip.  Wide the hell open....

After some visiting with my parents and two of my sisters, my two BILs, wife and son went on a little ranch tour near Evant.  Sunsets in the SW are always epic

It was getting dark.  Time to hunt some piggies

Beer, guns, ATV. copious amounts of prickly pear.  What the heck could go wrong.

Time to hit the shady ravines

Blood moon enhanced by fire smoke

Next day, it was time to hunt for arrowheads.  Stopped to check out some ranch stuff first.

The area acreage at the top of the small plateau was loaded with flint.  Found a scraping tool up there.

All of the rocks in the grass are flint

My son shooting his first pistol round.  44 mag

Headed off to San Antonio later in the day.  More to come.


Any hogs down?

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk


I believe the hogs left town due to the surface water drying up and springs drying.  Not sure if the bovine and equine water gizmos are accessible to feral swine.
The earth is very hot and thirsty in these parts at the moment.


August 08, 2018, 19:55:32 pm #3 Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 20:32:13 pm by Onslow
This trip started Friday night.  By Sunday evening, the crew had arrived in San Antonio.  The trip to San Antonio was not in the original itinerary, but the wife threw this in a wee before the trip. San Antonio did not disappoint.  The downtown area is very family friendly particularly at the Alamo Square area.  I was told to check out Riverwalk.

At first glance Riverwalk just seemed like a downtown entertainment block, but it was much more.  For those who are soil engineers, landscape achs, pay attention to the stone river walls, walks, and most importantly the drooping bald cypress limbs on the left in the pic below.  Planners had managed to integrate the very large bald cypress trees into the whole package.  These trees have witnessed Native Americans fighting Spaniards, and the Spanish-American War.  And there is this. https://www.expressnews.com/150years/major-stories/article/History-River-Tunnel-0711-6378378.php

The guided tours via electric river taxis are worth the money. The guides fill passengers with juicy historical nuggets, and cover the whole 4 mile channel.

There are 3 old Spanish missions along the Riverwalk.

Reasonably priced lodging can be had right on Riverwalk at the Hyatt Regency

San Antonio becomes rather busy in October.  South Texas has a large population of people of German ancestry.  Luckenbach and Fredricksburg is Kraut Central.  Oh, and there is also Dia de Los Muertos.  Day of the Dead also breaths life in the city in October.

Headed off to the Alamo first thing Monday AM.  This historical building does not have a commanding presence, but Davey Crockett died here.  Nuff said.
Found the text below a bit amusing

FYI, the Comanche had a well established transactional relationship the Spaniards as early as  1710.  It is also worth mentioning the Comanche saved many German settlers from starvation in the mid 1800s in the Luckenbach area.  The Krauts came with European fruit trees that did not yield in the hot dry climate.  I could go on and on, but I shall not bore you all to tears.

Now for the 13 hour drive to Albequerque....

Typical west Texas scene.  Lots of mesquite, sagebrush, juniper.  This pic was shot somewhere between San Antonio and Sweetwater. 

Nolan county is wind farm hell.  These monstrosities are downright creepy.  Everywhere one looks, there is nothing to see but spinning blades.  After an hour drive through the blade abyss, I was mentally affected.

Lubbock is one of the most depressing towns I've driven through, perhaps on par with Gary Indiana.  All of eastern New Mexico appears to be inhabited by impoverished people.  Same is true for the area between Lubbock TX and the NM border.

We crashed in NM and consumed some tasty food at the Pueblo Cultural Center Tuesday AM.  More on the Pueblos later

This is duck covered with amaranth seed sauce, blueberries, and shaved baked sweet potato.  Contemporary Native American cuisine at its finest made from ingredients commonly consumed during the pre Euro invasion era.  I chose the blue corn/pinion pine nut pancakes.

It was awesome!


Like it, Ken!

Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk

"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? " <br />-Oddball, 1970


Keep it up with the reports......good stuff and even with not one photo of a beer or a fish!


Thanks for sharing this.  I enjoyed it.  You got any flicks of the monster wind farm ?


Native Fisher

You should have diverted North from Albuquerque and swung by Cimarron.  They have the new BSA museum open now.


You take some great pictures. Very interesting travelogue!

Woolly Bugger

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!”

me -There's a season?


August 10, 2018, 21:40:13 pm #10 Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 21:45:29 pm by Onslow
So after eating breakfast at the Pueblo cultural center, more time was spent snooping about than planned.  It was a fairly large outfit with much to soak in. 

Some history nuggets

Towards the end of the visit, a staffer approached us and we spoke for a while.  Much was discussed, and we were invited to the Persingula Feast day at the Jemez Pueblo on the 2nd of August which was a Thursday.  Unfortunately, I had planned on being at Grand Canyon Thursday, and there was no way the trip could be modified to facilitate participation.  I was told that if one participated in one of the feast days, chances are, once could be invited to one of the Indian family's homes for a meal.  From my perspective, it would be quite an honor to be a guest at a home of a Pueblo regardless of tribe.

It was Tuesday, and as I departed in the cultural center in haste, I had forgotten about the route I had plotted on my vintage road atlas, and plugged in Chaco Canyon on Google maps which took me to Rt 40 West.  I had planned on going up Rt. 580, but in hindsight, I should have taken Rt. 84 up into the mountains into Pueblo country.  I was also frustrated by the fact that road reports heading into Chaco were not suited for my rental car selection :'(.  Running late, we blew off Chaco, and stopped at El Malpais National Monument briefly to stretch, and to check out the lava.

West central NM

There are sandstone arches, lava tubes, and other interesting features.  Oddly enough, some of the lava is only 3000 years old.  The national monument is only accessible by extensive hiking.

Moving along, we took Rt. 491 north through the Navajo reservation.  Much bleakness on the east side of the reservation. 

Bennett Peak

Ford Butte

The only running water observed was the San Juan River south of Ute Mt.

We retired early in Cortez Colorado, washed clothes, purchased Mesa Verde tix, and made plans for the next day.  Cortez is a great affordable lodging town.  The Baymont Inn was reasonably priced and spacious.

Mesa Verde was much more involved than anticipated.  History here is rather involved, and the geology is also interesting.  There is a National park section, and a portion on the Ute reservation.  At the time, we did not know Utes hosted tours of their portion.  Rumor has it their ruins are more pristine, and more of them are accessible via guided tours.  Mesa Verda runs between 8000'-8500' on the north rim, and the mesa proper runs about 6600' on the lower end, and about 7500' on the upper end.  The mesa top consists of dry loess soil that receives about 18" of precip per year, much of which is snow.  This year has been very dry.  Portions of the mesa top have also been ravaged by fire.

The north rim of the mesa rises 2000' above the valley.  The rise is abrupt and breathtaking.  The most striking feature seen while gaining access via park entrance is the Knife's Edge.  A typical scene on on the north side.

There are many gorges within Mesa Verde

I believe these dwellings were called the "house of many windows".

We purchased a tour of Balcony House for 8:30, and Cliff Palace for 11:30

Below is Balcony House starting with the tourist entrance....30' ladder.

Indian entrance

Getting out was very sketchy

Below is Cliff Palace.

Indian toeholds in Cliff Palace

Spruce Tree Lodge

So here is the deal, Pueblos farmed the top of the Mesas utilizing various dry farming techniques including waffle gardening,  crop shade planting.  The had extensive irrigation systems.  Squash, Corn, and kidney type beans were grown, as well as domesticated turkeys.  The human population grew on Mesa Verde grew to at least 7000.

The cliff dwellings were build in the period between 1220-1285.  It is thought that population stress and drought caused anxiety, hence the safe dwellings on the cliffs.  The Pueblos abandoned the dwellings at around 1300, at which point, the Utes and Apaches started inhabiting the area.  If my memory serves me correctly, the Utes were the ones who introduced the ruins to the Euros.  By the late 1880s, Mesa Verda was featured in the National Geographic.

After a full day a Mesa Verde, we headed off to Page Arizona.

Four Corners is the home of a Navajo flea market that is quite nice

Things changed when we entered Arizona.  Everything turns red, with the occasional green from copper ore.  Just a taste of whats to come


Stoneman, here is your windmill county pic

The blades on these are 115 feet long, and stand 313' tall.  They were thick as fleas for 40 miles, and intermittent past Sweetwater for another 40 miles.


Awesome report.....I have climbed those ladders and did not like it! Hard to imagine what is like day to day when those cliffs were inhabited.

Woolly Bugger

very jelly of your cliff dwelling tours... we saw them from afar as I child in the 60's zero infrastructure ... and there was no plaza at four corners....

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!”

me -There's a season?


Quote from: Woolly Bugger on August 12, 2018, 09:31:35 am

very jelly of your cliff dwelling tours... we saw them from afar as I child in the 60's zero infrastructure ... and there was no plaza at four corners....

Make it happen within the next 12 months!  You should also drive Rt 128 along the Colorado River just south of Arches.  Holy crap, the gorge there is breathtaking.  You could float this.....

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