"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Sunday, October 7, 2018

La Posada

What's a "Harvey Girl"?

 I had read about the "Harvey Girls" and thought La Posada might be an interesting stop on our drive through Winslow, AZ. A drive that we take a few times a year. Besides, a nice brunch was calling our names.
Fred Harvey's Last Great Railroad Hotel
 The story of Fred Harvey “civilizing the west” by introducing linen, silverware, china, crystal, and impeccable service to railroad travel.

 Fred Harvey frequently traveled by rail for his work and was dissatisfied with the service he found He began a restaurant chain to change this. Harvey saw his restaurants as the most refined restaurants in the American West. The rowdiness of his male wait staff created a problem. To help him succeed, he hired independent, hard-working young women instead. Newspaper ads offered well-bred ladies a fair wage, steady work, uniform, a place to live, and a ticket to ride! The thousands that answered came to be known as "Harvey Girls" at the many Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe Railroad.
 Harvey girls were young, single, intelligent women who were also of “good character,” and had the sort of sense of adventure that took them to unknown territory in the 1880s to work as waitresses.
This is the last standing Harvey House. The railroad had planned to tear down the building but it turned out to be too expensive to demolish the four foot thick walls. At the peak of Harvey houses,there were 84 across the country.
We had brunch in the Turquoise Room while watching trains pass by.

A map of the railroad and Harvey Houses on my placemat.

Watching the trains passing by.

There are many artists in the southwest. Throughout Posada their works were on display.
La Posada has its own art gallery that I could have spent much more time rxploring. Tina Mion, a contemporary artist had some interesting selections. At first I would look at the paintings and think "OK?". But that would change once I read the explanation and looked again. Most of the time, I would then "get it". 

James Cagney, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, Roy Rogers, Carole Lombard, Amelia Earhart and John Wayne were just a few of the people that have visited La Posada.

The courtyards were made in a U for protection for the frequent winds through Winslow.

The place is an art gallery but also a gallery of history with stories on the walls.

The hotel rooms were elegant with a southwest artistic flair.

More of the peaceful gardens.

It was a good end to the great six months of travel and adventuress as we made this stop along the Historic Route 66 on our way to Mesa Arizona for a much needed rest.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Plaza Blanca and Echo Amphitheater

More New Mexico

In the last post, I said we were leaving Abiquiu Lake but I was wrong. I was having problems with Blogger. It erased this part of the previous post and posted it before I was ready. I am sure it was Blogger not my fat little sausage fingers hitting the enter button too many times.
 Abiquiu Lake was down about 15 feet due to the low snow last winter in the Sangre de Cristos. I almost cut off the top of the Cerro Pendernal. I guess my camera which I lost, was acting up too.

More sight seeing and hiking were a short drive.

The red and yellow cliffs kept our attention.


Echo Amphitheater

The entrance is about 17 miles west of Abiquiú and four miles from Ghost Ranch. Echo Amphitheatre is part of the Carson National Forest Recreation Area and had a free 9 site campground No one was there.
It  is not a real hike but a nice paved sidewalk that has stairs as you get closer to the end. Our voices would echo off the walls as we spoke to each other.

According to legend the curved stone cliff wall now known as Echo Amphitheater was the site where a group of Navajo took some settlers to the top of the cliff and killed them, their blood running down the cliff wall and permanently staining it. Another story says that years later a number of Navajo were in turn murdered in the same spot, once again staining the cliff wall with their blood.

Now the natural echoing caused by the site’s geography is said to be the voices of the unquiet dead. 
There seems to be little truth to the tales, but the colorful sandstone may have inspired the myths.

Our next stop in Abiquiu was Plaza Blanca.
The rock formations are on the grounds of the Dar Al Islam mosque and Islamic education center.  The Center welcomes visitors to their land and no prior arrangements are required.

There is a retreat center for almost every religion in this area. The Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert is 13 miles south of the highway on a dirt road. It is open to the public for day or overnight visits. We did not head down that road but did see several of the monks at Bodes (the gas station) in Abiquiu having lunch.

We only hiked a few easy miles but enjoyed the early morning all by ourselves.


Walking up the creek bed we entered a slot canyon.

We have had a great summer but it is time to move west.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ghost Ranch

The Outback

After leaving Ojo Calliente New Mexico, we enter the landscape of vast vistas, table-topped mesas, tall cliffs, the Rio Chama bordered by cottonwood trees, mountains in the distance and more beauty around every bend in the winding road. We headed through Abiquiu to Ghost Ranch.

Dinosaurs once walked on Ghost Ranch. Millions of years later Navajos and other tribes roamed the valley. The Spaniards settled here and then came the cattle rustlers, the wranglers and the dudes. Arthur Pack, one of the country’s first environmentalists, bought the Ranch and sold a little piece of it to Georgia O’Keeffe.

 Scientists took time here away from the stresses of building the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos. Famous guests have included Charles Lindbergh, Ansel Adams and John Wayne.

  Numerous movies were filmed on Ghost Ranch such as Cowboys and Aliens, City Slickers, Wyatt Earp, and many more. This is the cabin in City Slickers.
When the cattle rustlers were hiding their stolen goods in the box canyon alongside Kitchen Mesa, they discouraged their neighbors from looking around by spreading the rumor that the land was haunted by evil spirits. “Rancho de los Brujos” it was called, “Ranch of the Witches,” which evolved into Ghost Ranch. The turn-off to Ghost Ranch was marked by an animal skull long before Arthur Pack bought the ranch in 1936.

Ghost Ranch was donated to the Presbyterian Church in 1955 and offers lodging and retreats but is also open to visitors to the museum and hiking trails.

The day after we checked out the museums, we headed out for an early morning four mile hike to Chimney Rock.

The landscape of Ghost Ranch—made famous by painter Georgia O’Keeffe—encompasses 21,000 acres of towering rock walls, vivid colors and vast skies.

Pendernal Mountain in the background that Georgia O"keefe often painted.

The higher we climbed, the more impressive were the views.

The trail to here.

What would a retreat be without  a labyrinth?

Abiquiu Lake

This Corp of Engineers Campground was a great location. We had made a reservation for 2 nights with electric hookups but waned to stay longer. It was warm enough for us to want air conditioning. I spoke with the camp host that said we could take the walkup site #14. The lady in this site had left early because of the watermain break. We jumped at the offer and added another 3 nights and went to the Corp of Engineer office to fill our 5 gallon jug with water.
The trails along the lake were smartly marked with snake markers.

There isn't a whole lot in the very small town of Abiquiu other than a Dollar General, the Abiqui Inn with some great meals next to the George O'Keefe Welcome Center and Bodes gas station. Everything that we needed.
We tried Bodes for the WIFI and found a great little diner with the cutest ladies serving up some tasty meals and treats.

On our last night at the lake, our new friends from Colorado joined us for an evening by the fire. Every night gave us a beautiful sunset. I am not sure why we didn't stay longer.