Monday, March 9, 2015

Els and Al - El Morro, El Malpais and Albuquerque

First of all, please go back to yesterday's blog. I've added a few more of those cool postcards that my friend Pete Lee has passed on to me. These postcards are the old-school cool ones that should be appreciated.

Moving on to the big city later today. But first, let's knock over a few more National Monuments

First up is El Morro, the oasis of the desert. This is a cuesta, a long tall sandstone rock formation that protects a small little pool of water. The pool contains about 220,000 gallons of water and starting in prehistoric times up to the 1900's, was a way stop for travelers crossing across the country who really needed to find water. While these travelers were re-hydrating, many of them carved their names into the soft sandstone. There were petroglyphs from the ancients. There were signatures from the Spaniards who came through even before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Then there were the surveyors who came through looking for the passage to the Pacific.

Side note: These surveyors brought with them 25 camels to see how they would do in the desert. I asked the ranger what happened to all these camels and the ranger said that they all made it to California. One of them though, Ol' Douglas actually fought for the confederacy and his grave is in Vicksburg MS.

There were also signatures from the first wagon trail who came through including Sally Fox who was twelve years old at the time. A lot of these people only signed their names, but some of the signatures are extremely ornate and also include prayers and pictures.

Again, a National place that allowed dogs on the trail so Miko and I took the small ¾ mile Inspiration Trail. We thought about doing the longer two mile trail but we were a little strapped for time, not to mention that the ranger said we had to climb to the top of the mesa and it was not the most pleasant place for people that had height issues. So we missed out on seeing some pueblo ruins and a great view. Oh well.

El Morro

Isn't Miko Pretty?

The next monument was El Malpais. El Malpais means Bad Lands. There is a series of vulcanos in this area and El Malpais is a giant lava field. I stopped at the Information Center, talked to the ranger a little bit and decided that I would just press on as it was starting to get a little late. I don't like to get to my campground too late in the day. Three, maybe four o'clock and no later. I crossed the Continental Divide at 7886 ft and I swear I saw some snow flurries. First Flagstaff with snow on the ground and then snow flurries. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to start acclimating me for my return to Minnesota.
My destination for the night was an RV park in Albuquerque. I wasn't looking forward to it but it was cheap and fairly close to the sights I wanted to see. I took I-40 east. The thing to note is that I-40 is the replacement for Route 66, the Mother Road, the mythical road across America. There are still parts of Route 66 in place, but most of it is gone.
My RV park is called Enchanted Trails RV Park and it is about as retro as you can get. They even have old trailers that you can rent and stay in. The laundry room has an old wringer washing machine and a mangle, if you remember those. The furniture in the lounge are all fifties style. It is actually very cool. The RV park itself is not too bad, people are spaced out a little bit so that fact plus the general ambiance make me think I've got a good base for my Albuquerque explorations. Not to mention, I have WIFI and TV so all is good.

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