Friday, July 5, 2013

Tent Rocks National Monument.

Yesterday there were a lot of people at the RV park.  We were sitting on the front porch of the office chatting with the owner.  HE asked if we had been to Tent Rocks National Monument.  WE hadn't even heard of the place.  He said it was very pretty and had some great hiking.  Check, check, we like those things.Sarah and I thought we should go see that.  I mean, he didn't say waterfall or anything, but it sounded cool. 

Later that evening, as we were watching the sunset and taking a 4th of July photo that I really like...

when a lady came up to take a picture and we started talking.  We mentioned we might try to go to Tent Rocks the next day and she said it was probably her favorite place on Earth.  Well, that settled it.

This morning we set off and drove.  The park is only around 30 miles south of Santa Fe and a little off I-25.  It took up around 40 minutes to get there.  There is a $5 fee for each car entry into the park.  Since it was a holiday weekend the place was packed.  I think we may have to return on a weekday after school starts early in the morning because the place is stunning.  Even working with relatively flat light I was still able to get some really good pictures. 

This is the park entrance, I love the golfball on a tee look at the top there.  Of course, the rock is probably bigger than our truck.

We walked through some relatively open and flat area on the way to the Canyon trail which is a 1.3 mile out and back trail leading to the top of a nearby mesa. 

Then the walk started getting more interesting.  The trail enters a narrow canyon strewn with boulders and the occasional ponderosa pine. 

It was neat, but the kids were still complaining and it was starting to get hot.

Believe it or not, they were complaining.

But as we got further into the canyon, it started to get narrow and required the use of all four limbs to get some places, even the kids thought it was cool. 

But the best was yet to come.  We continued winding through the shaded canyon until it really became a slot canyon.

Then the canyon opens back up for a bit. The hoodoo formations are awesome.

Then we start climbing our way out of the canyon.  The formations are immense. 

You can see some people in this next picture to give you a sense of the scale of the formations.

It is a pretty long climb up the canyon wall.  I think the total elevation gain on the hike is a little over 600 feet.  Some places require a little scrambling, but the path is very well maintained. 

At the crest, the view opens up and the wind dries the sweat of the climb. 

Up at the top I took the time to take some pictures of the Manzanita plants that just looked so cool. 

Then it was back down through the canyon.  Some things you only notice when you come through the other way.

Back out of the canyon we decided, much to the chagrin of the boys, that we would hike the Cave Loop trail instead of just going back to the truck.  It was a bit of a letdown.  This is the cave.

Even tired and footsore after a long hike, the boys managed to have some fun.

Michael being a frog under a toadstool 

 Now they are just being goofy.

Overall it was a spectacular hike and a wonderful day.  I hope we get to go back. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

So...what do you think?

I thought a new design might be in order.

What do you think?  I like the ability to see so many recent posts and I like the prominence of the pictures.  Of course, I don't really read the blog like a normal person does, so I need input.

Is it better or worse? Remember though, it appears you can customize the way it looks by using the drop down menu in the top left corner.  Cool, huh.

If you take a look, please leave an opinion even if anonymously.  I love the feedback.

Just a couple of pictures from around the park.  For the 4th, they had a picnic and broke out some old motorcycles.  They also have several old pumps and tractors ranging from turn of the century to mid 60's or so.  I am trying to be arty with some and failing miserably.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Another day of work today.  It feels good to be back at it, at least for right now.  I'm sure there will be days when I won't like it, but for now I'll take it. 

I'm happy. 

Even with First Net as the charting system.  It is trying to rain on my parade, but I won't let it. 

Speaking of raining. It rained here today, again.  The skies have been some of the most beautiful skies and sunsets I have ever seen. Very cool.

Have a fun and safe 4th everyone.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bonus post!

Some moments are just too perfect.

We took Hondo to the mechanic today.  I didn't want to do it, but it was making a terrible noise.  The air conditioner has been flagging for some time and it quit on us on the trip out to Santa Fe.  Yeah, that means Sarah was struck driving a car that had no a/c and the windows don't roll all the way down while driving I-40 in 106 degree temperatures.  She did survive.  Shortly after we crossed the border into New Mexico we stopped for gas and when we started up again Hondo was making a pretty gnarly grinding noise.  Since we were on something of a schedule and nothing had cratered yet, we decided to press on and take our chances. 

Fast forward to yesterday.  We started up Hondo to go run some errands and the grinding noise was back and worse than ever.  There was enough to do that day that I didn't get around to working on it.  This morning I went out and started it up and tried to figure out what was wrong.  I thought for sure that it was the A/C compressor, but it sure sounded like it was coming from somewhere else.  It was worrisome enough that I took it to a mechanic. 

The mechanic said he would charge $90 to diagnose the problem, but that would go toward any repairs done.  Fair enough.  She even said, "I have to pay my guy."  Again, plenty fair.

Eventually we called them back and they said it was the compressor and some associated parts would need to be changed as well.  After talking to Papa, the guy probably diagnosed the problem by unhooking the belt and seeing if the noise stopped. With the tools, shop space and expertise, it probably only took him five minutes to figure it out.  Oh well.  I paid for the confidence that expertise brings.  Then the real problems began.  I had been pricing compressors for that car because I had initially imagined myself fixing it.  So when they quoted a price of over $800 for something I could buy for $250, I had some questions.  We went back and forth a bit and eventually I came to the conclusion that I just wasn't prepared to pay double for the parts, a premium for labor and then add tax to the whole mess.  So I decided to go pick up the car and then order the parts myself and do it when I can. 

So we drove in to town and Sarah waited outside while I went in to pay the $90, plus tax.  We chatted a bit while he rang up the sale and told me how he might be able to come down off that $800 for the part.  I politely declined.  I mentioned that I worked at the hospital and hadn't been working a lot lately, what with tomorrow being the first day of a new contract and all. 

He asked if I was a doctor.  I can already see what's coming.

I said I was not, I was a R.N. 

You know, I have this horrible case of athlete's foot, been bothering me for a while.  What gets rid of that?

Yeah, he did. 

So, we talked about his problem for a few minutes, probably about as long as it took him to diagnose my problem.  I should have charged him $90.  Instead, I paid, took my car, and left. 

Just perfect.


I'm going to try something different today, a rare morning blog post.   Maybe I will have better luck if I can get some work done early.

Yesterday was fun.  I got to replace a toilet.  Actually replaced one, switched out another, then put the old one back.  We got tired of the house flooding.  One of the toilets had developed a leak and the other toilet's flush pedal fell off requiring you to bend right down and flush it with your hands.  As much as I like getting up close and personal, it was time for a change.

I'll spare you any more gory details...and pictures.Crappy day.  :-)

Today we will explore a little more.  We will try to find a pet store next.  We must keep up with the menagerie.

On the trip here Sarah and I compiled a list of things to fix on the RV, cars and whatnot.  We were hoping to get ten things


Welcome to July.  And of course Sarah wants me to mention this is her birthday month.  Well, she made sure to mention it to me anyway.

I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine that stated, and I'm paraphrasing here, "When life throws something unexpected your way, just yell, 'Plot Twist!' and move on."

Plot twist!

We woke up this morning with the idea that it would be something relaxing prior to my first day tomorrow.  But what with the car acting up yesterday, we had to check it out.  There was this grinding noise coming from the engine compartment.  That is almost never a good thing.  Maybe if you were using the engine from a 99 Honda Civic as an instrument in a heavy metal band, that grind would be a good thing, but that's about it.  I went out and tried to diagnose it, but couldn't.  Whatever it was, I no longer trusted the car to carry me reliably to work tomorrow.  That can't stand.  So we went to Yelp and found a local mechanic with good reviews.  Right now Hondo is there, in the car hospital all alone and scared.  Our bank account is scared too.

Nothing to be done yet.

We went to eat last night with Sarah's cousin Russel.  I met him on our last pass through Albuquerque in October.  I really enjoyed hanging out with him then and now.  It is great when you meet someone and your humor matches.  Just a really cool guy.  He is a corporate chef for a restaurant chain that is local here. Cooking has always been something of an unpleasant chore to me.  I can see talking to him, how it could be an enjoyable and profitable career.

So far Santa Fe has been a mixed bag.   The place and people have been fine, but we are limping along a little bit.

If awesome was easy, everyone would do it.