A Travellerspoint blog

Bataan death march, year #2

22 March 2015

sunny 70 °F

This years Bataan death march was a bit different. #1 we only did the 14.2 event and walked it and #2 it was not so cold. It still took a really long time to start the event. We heard from the Philippine ambassador to the U.S., had a fly over by a medevac helicopter and got to shake hands with survivors. We finished in about 4.5 hours and had plenty of time to relax and have our food at the end.
Before the march

Before the march

Bataan flag

Bataan flag

Bag pipers

Bag pipers

Huge flag

Huge flag

The crowd

The crowd

Curt marching

Curt marching

Posted by ErinDriver 18:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

White Sands National Monument

16 January 2015

sunny 55 °F

white sands

white sands


White Sands National Monument is the world's largest field of gypsum sand dunes ringed by the San Andres and Sacramento mountains. These dunes cover 275 square miles in the Chihuahuan desert and fill the Tularosa basin. The gypsum deposits were left behind after the evaporation of the shallow tropical sea that covered Arizona, southern New Mexico and western Texas millions of years ago.
nature study area

nature study area


Curt studying nature

Curt studying nature


nature area

nature area


There is a road to drive through the monument with sand dunes on both sides of the road as well as several places to get out and walk around. Most of the hiking areas were closed when we visited but there was a nature area we were able to stretch our legs.
view from the top of the sledding hill

view from the top of the sledding hill


waiting sleds

waiting sleds


saucer sled land speed record

saucer sled land speed record


At the end of the drive there are numerous areas of packed sand where you can pull out the saucer sleds and sail down the hill. The gift shop at the entrance of the park sells the sleds and you can even sell it back when you leave. I felt like this was one of the first times I got to truly laugh in the last six months!
sledding

sledding


Curt sledding

Curt sledding


white sands landscape

white sands landscape

Posted by ErinDriver 20:39 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Skiing in the new year

1 January 2015

snow 5 °F

I can only hope that the rest of 2015 is as good as the first day. Taos Ski Valley helped us welcome in the new year with discounted military lift tickets. Initially it was snowing but we stuck it out and the day was gorgeous. They had some of the longest runs of any I have ever been on and to my surprise were not very crowded. Curt was enchanted by a trail called psycho path but other than that we didn’t even have any big crashes. Just before we called it quits we had a yummy cinnamon crepe with the sun warming us in the lodge. Not a bad way to start out the year.
the start of the day

the start of the day


psycho path

psycho path


middle of the day

middle of the day


frozen mustache

frozen mustache


overlooking the slopes

overlooking the slopes


And we ended the day pretty well too with a third trip to Stella’s Italian Restaurant with our friends. The lasagna was the best thing I had so far! We took a walk through the town afterwards and Curt found a new date!
kissing the indian

kissing the indian

Posted by ErinDriver 19:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Finishing the year with food

31 December 2014

sunny 5 °F

Taos Mesa Brewery

Taos Mesa Brewery


The end of the year found us pretty lazy other than taking the girls for a walk through downtown and the subsequent showers to wash their feet. Christina and Chris Carmody and their friends Carol and Rick got in to town today so we met at the Taos Mesa Brewery for a beer before dinner. El Monte Resort and Restaurant has pretty swanky looking accommodations and was our destination for dinner. They had a dinner special with lobster bisque, steak and scallops with fruit crisp for dessert that was decent food that took us almost three hours to finish. We spent the remaining few hours of the night with our friends in their Georgia O’Keefe suite in the Sagebrush Inn.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Snowmobile tour and Rio Grande Gorge

30 December 2014

sunny 0 °F

Michaels Kitchen had such a good breakfast and a great ski lodge feel so its easy to convince ourselves to go back again today. The enchiladas are delicious with their green chili sauce and Curt also orders us a homemade English muffin!
Rio Grande del Norte

Rio Grande del Norte


At the wine tasting yesterday a couple ladies told us about the Rio Grande Gorge that had a bridge where you could take photos. They saw bald eagles and even a coyote. So we packed the camera, the girls and made the 20 minute drive. There was no wildlife waiting for me to snap a photo and the wind made it pretty chilly so we didn’t really stand around looking for long.
Rio Grande

Rio Grande


Girls at the gorge

Girls at the gorge


Drivers at the gorge

Drivers at the gorge


The main event for today is with Big Al’s scenic snowmobile tour in Taos Ski Valley. We put on nearly all our clothes and make the 30 minute drive to the ski slopes. It takes quite a while to get like 20 people on their machines and started going up and down the mountians. The trails are gorgeous and I wish I had more of a chance to look around. The guide tries to have us to the top for sundown and some good photos. The tour goes for a couple hours around the mountain before depositing us back at the ski village. Dinner is calling to us from the German restaurant but we go for little meatballs and split and ½ pound hamburger.
ready to snowmobile

ready to snowmobile


start line

start line


Curt being excited

Curt being excited


at the top for sunset

at the top for sunset


Top of the mountain

Top of the mountain

Posted by ErinDriver 18:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Massages and Black Mesa Winery

29 December 2014

sunny 10 °F

Rest and massage is the name of the game today. The renter of the house gave us the name of a massage therapist that would come to the house and give massages. Emma was pretty concerned about the other person in the house and spent a lot of time checking on us.
I had seen an advertisement for the Black Mesa Winery tasting room and that seemed to go along with rest day. The beauty of our lodging is that it is close to town so we walk to the winery and have a good time chatting with the other people visiting Taos. It seems as if most of Texas has come to Taos for the holiday. We make off with quite a few new wines for the collection and catch dinner at the Gorge.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Arriving in Taos, New Mexico

28 December 2014

sunny

First walk in Taos

First walk in Taos


I totally forgot what it was like to be really cold and also about how snow makes mud and that makes little dogs very messy every time they go outside! We arrived in Taos last night to Casita Montoya. It is close to town but not the place we thought we were renting. The Casa Montoya next door is where we were supposed to be. We have to get used to our pretty tiny little house in the back. Last night we had dinner at Stella’s Italian restaurant that had some really tasty crab cakes.
Michaels Kitchen

Michaels Kitchen


So after an excellent breakfast at Michaels we decide to get the girls out of the room and walk them to town. Kind of a mistake. Emma is brown by the time we come back and they have to get baths. Window shopping is all we can hope for with our two filthy girls but at least it gets them out.
Emma in the snow

Emma in the snow


Taos Pueblo sign

Taos Pueblo sign


We take a drive to Taos Pueblo which is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the US.
1000 year old building

1000 year old building


The multi-tiered buildings are over 1000 years old and the tope levels are where inhabitants would get protection from other Indian tribes. The Red Willow Creek is naked after the willows that grow along its banks and is the only water source for the 50 or so people that still live in the Pueblo without any modern conveniences.
water source

water source


pueblo puppy

pueblo puppy


There are dogs throughout like this adorable puppy. He seeks us out when we come out from the bakery. We tried a pumpkin chocolate cookie, bread, blueberry turnover and sugar cookie.
bakery

bakery


When you arrive in the Pueblo you can take a 20-30 minute tour where they explain a bit about how the people live in the Pueblo. Many of the people use their homes as shops and try to get tourists to buy little trinkets.
stove

stove


They actually still cook in these adobe stoves called hornos.
cemetary

cemetary


This cemetery is full so no longer in use.
entry to church

entry to church


door in pueblo with candycanes

door in pueblo with candycanes


blue doors

blue doors


On our way home we stop at Eske's, a local brewery for a delicious stuffed soft pretzel and a few beers.
Eskes Brewery

Eskes Brewery

Posted by ErinDriver 18:27 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Christmas in El Paso

25 December 2014

overcast 54 °F

My third day in a row without studying....I feel like a new person! I felt so lucky to be home with my hubby and our girls today and not at work.

They had fun playing with new toys (after I took the dress off Emma) and I had fun planning new trips with my world atlas.
sad sacks

sad sacks


fighting for the snowball

fighting for the snowball


Emmas new toy

Emmas new toy


ready to plan some more trips

ready to plan some more trips

Posted by ErinDriver 16:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)

I finally get a break!

23 December 2014

all seasons in one day 32 °F

I coasted in to my holiday break on fumes! But what a great day today, shopping, Grimaldi's for lunch, picking up this beautiful bike and seeing the Great Russian Ballet perform the Nutcracker!
Emma and the new bike

Emma and the new bike


Emma and the pink bike

Emma and the pink bike


Ready to ride

Ready to ride


Nutcracker

Nutcracker


I know this blog doesn't have much to do with traveling but we are in El Paso together for the first time at Christmas so that has to count for something. And this revamping Harley will bring us lots more trips, I'm sure :)

Posted by ErinDriver 16:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

El Tour de Tuscon

21-23 November 2014

sunny 73 °F

The main purpose for my long awaited trip to Tucson was to ride in the Special Olympics tour de Tucson. I had heard about this through my friend Christina who was also doing the ride. They have multiple events to include 104, 75, 55, and 40 mile rides. Thanks to my work and studying I was able to train for about 2.5 hours on the bike so I went with the 40 mile ride.

Friday we drove down to Tucson and picked up our packets at the Expo. Overall I think runners do it better ;) A serendipitous moment led up to a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch and then back to the room for some rest before eating again at BJ's.
40 miler start

40 miler start


Another bonus to the 40 mile ride is that it didn't start until 1200 so we had time to get up late and eat at Village Inn before making our way to the start. Just over 1,000 people finished the 40 miler and it did seem like the crowds never let up the entire time. The ride was actually pretty easy without many hills and we only had to stop at traffic lights once or twice. About two miles from the end I hit a bump funny and went down hard. I got to get my moneys worth out of my helmet but was able to finish the ride and pick up my medal! We finally met Christina and Chris with another biking couple at the end of the ride. We had a beer then took off for warm showers.
The Mexican restaurant we could all walk to won out as the dinner choice and was a bit better than our last visit.

In the morning we enjoyed another breakfast at Village Inn before driving to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It was really neat and more like a zoo with desert animals. Our arrival coincided with the start of the Raptor free flight. These birds were literally flying right over our heads and were gorgeous. The rest of the morning we spent walking around the hummingbirds, big horn sheep, prairie dogs, javelinas, mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats. Feeding time was in progress when we got the bobcat area and it was hilarious watching the cats do their tricks to get fed. They didn't get anything unless they were sitting on a round little plastic platform.
bobcat feeding time

bobcat feeding time


welcome party

welcome party


spreading their wings

spreading their wings


bird show

bird show


a cactus can hurt

a cactus can hurt


cactus garden

cactus garden


coyote

coyote


Curt as a turtle

Curt as a turtle


desert landscape

desert landscape


hummingbird nest

hummingbird nest


hummingbird

hummingbird


hummingbird having a snack

hummingbird having a snack


prairie dog

prairie dog


saguaro cactus

saguaro cactus


Sadly by the time we were finished it was time to start driving back to reality.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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