Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Mexico: Sante Fe & The Atomic City

New Mexico has really nice weather and we enjoyed many sunny days with perfect temps and clear air. There's plenty to see and do but with lots of miles of desert in between.

From Durango we made our way toward Santa Fe with a quick stop in between. The quaking aspens were beautifully yellow.

From our campsite in the Santa Fe National Forest we drove up the mountain to the local ski spot. They had one of the lifts running but we were too late to get in the very long line. So we walked up instead and it was very pretty. It reminded us of the fun weekends we had skiing at Butternut. The kids really miss snow!

Someone had fun with the menu. Hot what?? 

Longing for snow.

We had lots of talks about the future during this road trip. I wonder what he's contemplating. Maybe he's lamenting the Walmart haircut.

There were lots of pretty streams to play in and the weather was perfect. 

A brook babbling along nicely. We enjoyed hot chocolate at the lodge at the end of the day.

There were cow patties all over the slopes and we found the culprits on our way back to the car.

A praying mantis at our campsite. We also heard coyotes in the middle of the night. It sounded like screaming and partying!

We visited downtown Santa Fe and faced the usual "city" frustrations: Not knowing where to eat and tempting store fronts full of unnecessary tchotchkes everywhere. 

We got a recommendation and had lunch at Pasqual's. It was totally worth the wait and reset us for the day. 

We took a quick peak at the church.

And had a great visit to the Governor's Palace. That kept us busy all afternoon with extensive exhibits on the history and culture of the area. 

The next day we went to Los Alamos to learn about the development of the atomic bomb. The Los Alamos National Laboratory is still very much in operation but under lock and key so a visit to the Bradbury Science Museum is the way to go. The movie was great and so were the exhibits. We went in to one room that seemed like it was meant for kids but couldn't solve any of the puzzles so walked out of that section very annoyed with ourselves.

Come to think of it, a lot of it was over my head.

But a picnic lunch is one thing we all excel at! This park was a nice place to eat and relax and ride the statues.

The two men in charge of the Manhattan Project: Oppenheimer and Groves. In the background is one of the remaining buildings from the boys school that had to accelerate their last graduating class before handing over their property to the project. It was a little bit of a sad sidestory and we enjoyed the visit to their museum. This year, President Obama signed off on designating the area a national park so maybe one day we'll return to see the changes and take a tour.

It was kind of late in the day but we decided to rush to Bandelier because it was so close. 

Good call! We got there after the shuttles stopped running but before they closed down so we parked right at the Visitors Center and had the place almost totally to ourselves. And it was nice and cool at the end of the day.  This is a big kiva.

Lots of people lived here.

The holes in the rock are called cavates and were used as rooms. 

Eek! Tarantula!

It's just a baby one. 

Kids in a cavate. They loved the coziness. We could smell the lotion of the people who were inside just a few minutes before us. So we were very glad we didn't visit during the busy time of day with people following us into the rooms. 

This is, quite possibly, the dorkiest picture ever and that's why we included it. The guy taking the photo was so into it so we have 10 versions of it. Buddz.

More rooms to explore.

Look how cozy!

There's a little snake in there.

Off we go to Alcove House.

Deer tracks. OMG we have to get Drew's blog going.

The view from Alcove House down to us. I'm waaaaaaaay back there. No more ladders on the edge of cliffs for me. 

Andy got a view as the light was fading. We had a nice dusk walk back through the woods and heard an owl hooting. It was so loud and clear with the cliffs in the background. 

The architecture of the NP buildings is always great even if the photography isn't.

A quick snap of the sign on our way out.

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