Last stop in TX, then New Mexico and Arizona 2/16-3/6

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”- Seneca

 

Following a spontaneous decision to stop in El Paso and take part in the Papal mass at the border, we took advantage of good weather in New Mexico where we explored Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  From there we headed to Arizona and had a great time at the Painted Desert, Winslow, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Havasu City before making our way into CA.

El Paso, TX

“I’d really like to avoid El Paso and go a different route as we head west.”  These were my words to William BEFORE learning that Pope  Francis would be visiting just across the border in Juarez, MX in a couple of days.  We weren’t terribly far away and figured this kind of opportunity wouldn’t come along that often.  It was awesome to have the freedom to zigzag and change plans on the fly so that we could hear Pope Francis’s message first hand.   It was a really special and moving experience.

Link: TV Interview with us for local news

IMG_0936

We watched the Pope’s mass in a simulcast at the Sun Bowl, just across the border from Juarez.

IMG_0914

Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces was home base for our back and forth to El Paso.  We stayed at a state park there and enjoyed a wine tasting at a local, family owned vineyard, several hikes, and a farmer’s market before heading up to Santa Fe.

IMG_0952

Entering our 7th state!

IMG_0962

William checking things out at the waterfall.  Be careful!

IMG_0970

IMG_0967

IMG_0998

Farmer’s Market in Las Cruces– love going to these as we travel.

IMG_0993

Amazing lunch served from this food truck- fresh, local and gluten free!

IMG_0981

Enjoyed a wine tasting at this small family owned vineyard not far from our campsite at Leesburg Dam State Park.

IMG_0982

Biked to the vineyard

Santa Fe, NM

The weather has been beyond amazing on our trip so far.  We really didn’t expect to be able to make it to Santa Fe in February as it is typically pretty cold and snowy at this time of year.  So when we noticed a warm, clear forecast, we headed that way.  We were struck by the beauty of the Southwestern architecture, the walkable town filled with art galleries, the friendly people, local shops and terrific restaurants.  We were only there for one full day as weather was taking a turn, but it was enough to get a taste of the town.  It’s definitely on our list of favorites and we hope to make it back.   Neither of us are opera aficionados but were very intrigued to learn about the summer opera season here- so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that we’ll give it a go.

IMG_1035

Captures my feeling thus far on our adventure.  Joy!

IMG_1017

Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in the background where we went to mass.  Santa Fe is a vibrant town filled with museums, art galleries, and local shops. Very friendly people!

IMG_1037

IMG_1013

Trading along the Plaza- local artisans- beautiful jewelry, blankets, and handcrafted items.

IMG_1041

IMG_3017

We found one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Fe using this guide we received as a Christmas gift from Chris and Jim.  We had an amazing brunch at Cafe Pasqual’s.

IMG_1001

IMG_1004

We enjoyed meeting fellow travelers during brunch at the Cafe Pasqual’s community table.  Thanks Chris and Jim for the book with terrific eateries!

IMG_1034

Site on our walk along Canyon Road Art Galleries

IMG_1011

William sporting his Santa Fe find.  Nice hat!

IMG_1058

Had a great time talking with these folks in Santa Fe.  Appreciated their travel tips for the area here and westward

IMG_1054

Painted Desert, AZ

The Winslow, AZ area was our stopping point on our route from Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon.  We detoured just slightly to see the Painted Desert and took the scenic drive around the park.  William has fond memories of his grandfather Mayfield sharing stories about a trip he had taken with William’s great grandfather to the Painted Desert years ago.

IMG_1085

IMG_1095

IMG_1094

IMG_1087

Beautiful sample of petrified wood 

IMG_1123

We spent the night very close to the Painted Desert, at the Homol’ovi Ruins State Park. It’s a peaceful place where we hiked to a burial site and several areas with preserved Hopi ruins.

IMG_1121

Winslow, AZ

“…Well I’m standing on a corner in Winslow AZ and such a fine sight to see.  It’s a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me….” – lyrics from Eagles song  “Take it Easy”

IMG_1145

IMG_1144

La Posada Hotel- Winslow, AZ

“World’s Best Places to Stay” – Rated #1 in Arizona for design and dining. Conde Nast Traveler

“Hotels We Love”– The Best Hotels in all of North and Central America.  National Geographic Traveler

“Top Ten affordable hotels in the United States.”  Trip Advisor Choice Award

“The Turquoise Room was rated as the second best hotel restaurant in the entire United States.”  Conde Nast Traveler

Our surprise find in Winslow was the incredible La Posada Hotel.  At the suggestion of the park ranger at the Homolovi State Park, we simply planned to stop for a quick lunch.  It’s rich history, beauty and one-of-a-kind story drew us in immediately.  We knew it was worth more than a brief stop, so we booked a room less than five minutes after walking through the front door.  It’s the only night so far we’ve spent out of our RV, and this was definitely worth it.

La Posada was the last great railroad hotel built by the Fred Harvey Company along the Santa Fe Railway.  It is a hotel, restaurant, museum, and gardens that dates back to 1930 and masterpiece and favorite building of Mary Elizabeth Jane Coulter, one of the greatest of all Southwestern architects.  She also designed several buildings that we would later see at the Grand Canyon.  La Posada’s owners, a couple who live on the property, saved it from ruin.  Their vision is not only to restore the building, but also to provide a catalyst for the revival of the once thriving community of Winslow.  It is uniquely a hotel (very reasonably priced and pet friendly!), residence, and private museum filled with the owner’s renowned artwork and museum pieces.  The inspiration for the design of La Posada was the great haciendas of the Southwest, Spanish in origin but with Mexican and local influences.  Amazing stop!

IMG_3081

IMG_1142

IMG_3084

Enjoyed one of the best meals ever at the Turquoise Restaurant.  

IMG_1165

La Posada’s wall of famous guests ranging from writers, politicians, scientists, inventors, and actors

IMG_3069

Grand Canyon, AZ

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself.” – John Wesley Powell

Enough said.  Pictures follow.

IMG_1221

 

IMG_1186

IMG_1177

Mary Colter, same architect of La Posada hotel, designed the Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon. 

IMG_3099 2

Desert View Watchtower

IMG_1211

Ok- sorry, but this is crazy!  There is NO guardrail and we saw SO many people doing things like this!  Scared me to death!

 

IMG_3153

One of many resident Elks throughout the park.  

IMG_1171

IMG_1254

Sedona, AZ

I had traveled through Sedona twice before, both times making only a brief stop on the way to the Grand Canyon.  My memory was hazy, but I thought it would be a place both William and I would enjoy on this trip.  Thankfully, it turned out to be the case.  It was a fabulous destination for all of us!

Beautiful Red Rock Canyons, green trees, early spring blooms, wonderful creek flowing right next to our camping spot at Rancho Sedona RV Park, great trails, and fabulous restaurants, galleries and shops with super friendly people.  One local explained it like this, “No one is really FROM here, and everyone who ends up here loves it, so you’re generally around lots of very happy people.”  And so it seemed.

IMG_1282

IMG_1363

IMG_1387

We loved our yard here next to a flowing stream behind our site. Hammock, camp chairs, picnic table, bikes- we settled in and stayed here for a wonderful week!

IMG_1274

We found these booties for Maysea in Santa Fe.  They were a huge help on the rocky terrain.  

IMG_1313

Our favorite trail ended up at this stream.  Fun for all!

IMG_1334

He’s coming round the mountain!

 

 

 

IMG_3221

 

IMG_1328

IMG_1342

Real bonus that Sedona was a very pet friendly town.

IMG_1351

Wonderful restaurant recommended by Aunt Margaret.  Great suggestion!  We enjoyed a delicious dinner.  

After Sedona we made a brief stop in Flagstaff to have a new satellite dish installed.  Then we headed to Lake Havesu City, AZ where we spent two days hiking and taking Maysea for swims.  The lake is huge, something like 65 miles long, and formed from damming the CO River on the border between CA and AZ.   The water is beautiful and clear and is surrounded by large rock formations in the midst of the desert.

We left Lake Havesu on the 6th, traveled through our first ever dust storm and high winds in the Sand Dunes Recreation area after crossing the state line into CA.  It was a bit hairy, but we made it fine.  We’re currently in El Centro, CA waiting out the western wind/rain event before heading to San Diego, CA on the 8th.  We plan to spend a week there and look forward to a visit with Hunter this coming weekend!

 

 

2 Comments on “Last stop in TX, then New Mexico and Arizona 2/16-3/6

  1. What an extraordinary adventure y’all are having!!! So glad. Got yr postcard, tell me more about the Posada hotel when you get a chance- a friend wants to visit the desert for her 60th!

    Typos courtesy of my iPhone Marjorie Mayfield Jackson

    >

    Like

  2. Your writings are so much fun, I feel like I am enjoying your adventure WITH you! Thank you for sharing with others.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: