Well, this quote pretty much sums up my approach to our latest road trip (and many of the photos I took – almost 500!).
It was great fun, but I must admit it is nice to be back sleeping in our own bed. The last leg of the trip (Las Vegas to Reno, about 7.5 hours) made me want to conjure up Dorothy’s ruby slippers so I could click my heels and say, “There’s no place like home” and just be at our doorstep. For anyone who has traveled this route, you will know what I mean.
I promised some photos of Dinosaur Ridge, one of our outings while in Denver. Here you are: The first is a scenic perspective and the next three are original impressions of dinosaur activity. The last photo is of the trail we followed up the ridge. As I looked upward I saw the crossed contrails and smiled at the cosmic “You Are Here” moment.
Among the other photos that were on the camera but didn’t make it into any previous posts, was one of a building in Denver – right across from the Convention Center. Doesn’t it have a lovely sense of movement?
And, as many of you know, I am very attached to Taos, for reasons Bob does not totally comprehend; but I think the photos of the sunset and sunrise (below) might give you a sense of the beauty and (to borrow the state’s slogan) enchantment.
On our way home we spent a couple of days in Tucson. We were interested in how it might feel to spend some winter time there. One afternoon found us roaming around the university looking at art and a unique photography exhibit. The quote at the top of this post is from there. And we also did a thrift store shopping spree (note the 99 cent straw hat in the last photo).
Now that our trip is over, please don’t think these posts will stop. I have plans…!!!
Here we are in the big ol’ state of Texas, staying in a little ol’ cottage by the bay. It is cozy and works perfectly for our purposes: convenient to friends so we can enjoy food and fellowship; reasonably close to the George R. Brown Convention Center (site of the International Quilt Show with all of the glorious displays and interesting classes); and right on Galveston Bay for when we want a quiet change of pace.
Get ready to marvel at some remarkable creations. In a number of cases I took a photo of the quilt then a close-up of an especially wonderful section of the work.
This last quilt, which reminds me of an aircraft on a runway, is a good segue into a field trip that the guys took while the gals were busy with quilts. Our friends who live in Houston have a daughter and son-in-law who live nearby; the son-in-law works for NASA, so a guided tour was arranged. (As an aside, I need to say how much fun it was to have time with this young family. Their two adorable daughters are clever and creative with a perfect mix of poise and gumption. Their mom comes from a teaching background; she was a great one, and it shows in the way the girls soak up the learning opportunities around them.)
Sorry about the pun…or maybe not. It just felt like the way to go.
We have enjoyed good weather (though a bit humid for us Nevadans), met many very friendly San Antonians, walked a lot, visited a number of intriguing sites, walked some more, found great places to eat, and walked even more. Bob found us a rental house only a few blocks from both Hemisfair Park and the beautiful River Walk, so we took full advantage of the location and only took out the car for a couple of destinations.
One of our first outings was to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Yes, another botanical garden. And this one’s featured attraction was the Lego structures.
Sites along the River Walk:
And it wouldn’t have been a proper visit to San Antonio without seeing The Alamo. I probably should have known this, but the The Alamo was originally a mission. I was also surprised at how small it was compared to what I had envisioned.
While I am on former missions, we did go on a tour of the Mission of San Jose. They still use the chapel and are doing a lot of restoration work on the other buildings.
At the Institute of Texan Cultures there was, of all things, a quilt show. (Anyone seeing a theme developing?) This particular one was art quilts and my favorite was a depiction of Lake Tahoe. The first photo below is the entire quilt and the second is a close-up of a small section so you can appreciate the craftsmanship.
At the Institute we saw displays that represented the various countries that have been part of the evolution of Texas citizenry. Of course I had to get an official record of the Scandinavians.
Sunday morning is free day at the Museum of Art. Of course we were there. The building itself is quite impressive and the galleries held a variety of intriguing exhibits. Some standouts:
The week has held its share of delights. We didn’t know that this month was the Taos Glass Invitational, a juried event that happens biannually; but we took full advantage of the opportunity to watch glass blowers at work and to visit the galleries where some amazing creations were on display.
In addition to the glass attractions there were many happy treks about town.
One of my favorite things about Taos is the access to local artists. So many little shops and work spaces to explore. At almost every stop there were interesting conversations with the proprietors and\or staff. I was tickled by the following sign outside Moby Dickens, the locally owned and totally wonderful bookstore.
Another city, another botanical garden. The highlight of this one was the sculptures that were a take on origami. Being a big fan of paper cranes, this was a real treat. A few more of the lovely creations are captured below:
And then on to the New Mexico Museum of Art.
Final destination of the day was the newly developing Railroad Art District. Bring on that contemporary art! Some favorites:
Our two weeks here have flown by. In addition to the two previous posts (Beer Fest and Chihuly Exhibit) we have walked, dined, toured, and even relaxed a bit. Photos of some of our out and abouts:
All of the photos I took of our hike at Dinosaur Ridge are on my camera and will get posted at a later date.
Things we did that I do not have photos of: an afternoon at Tattered Covers, maybe the world’s best independent bookstore, and later that week an author talk and book signing; a viewing of Sundance Film Festival shorts at a funky art house; a car trip to Boulder and Estees Park to admire the views and change of seasons. I do regret not getting a photo of a state highway sign that stated: When water levels rise go to higher ground. I am thinking that people who actually need that advice might not be able to read the sign. Too harsh?
Restaurants we tried and really liked: Olive & Finch, P17 (bragging: Ben has done design work for both of these establishments); Prohibition, Sam’s #3 (these last two are a couple of the many Denver spots that have been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives); Wahoo Fish Taco, Which Wich (a new-to-us sandwich shop), The Corner Office (order the bibinbap), Ignite (signature dish is homemade bacon; a peppery and sweetly sinful indulgence), TAG Burger Bar, Pinche Taco, Cuba Cuba, and of course our long-time favorite, Lola (guacamole made tableside and rojo pozole). Now I am making myself hungry. We do love our good eats!
What an amazing day! The weather was perfect for a stroll through the Denver Botanic Gardens to admire the blown glass installations done by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The interplay of forms and light was breathtaking. For a teasing taste of the visual delights I have attached a few of my favorite photos. (For those lucky enough to be in the area, the exhibit closes at the end of November.)
1. Ben. Yes, it is always wonderful to spend time with family, but having Ben as a companion on this venture was especially good. He is a home brewer, so he knows what to look for when tasting the wide varieties and styles as well as which breweries to check out and those to avoid. Having attended a number of Beer Fests in prior years, he had a good feel for the logistics – crowds, timing, water stations, special sessions. And, because he volunteers during the set-up, he gets complimentary tickets which he generously shares.
2. Restrooms. Specifically women’s restrooms; more specifically the lack of lines for the women’s restrooms. The guys had to wait about 10-15 minutes. I walked right in and had a choice of “accommodations”. How often does that happen at a public event with 15,000 attendees?
3. Public transit. Denver has done a bang-up job of providing options for getting around, and they are adding to the systems. We walked to a light rail stop only two blocks from our rental and got off right at the Convention Center. For us senior citizens, the cost was only $2.20 each for a round-trip ticket. Interesting observation: we never saw anyone show their ticket. It is a system that relays on trust but imposes heavy fines on those who get caught taking advantage. Seems like a good approach.
4. The phone app. Before going we downloaded the festival app. (Another piece of logistic advice from Ben.) So much easier to use than the printed booklet. In advance of the event I was able to peruse the list of beer choices (3000+) and add them to my personal tasting map. Once we started tasting I could enter my impressions of the beer. I took full advantage and recorded information for 19 beers – all of those that were on my map, some recommended by Ben, some that just appealed. (While that may sound like a lot of drinking, please note that all pours are just 1 ounce. That means I drank about one and a half bottles of beer in the course of 4 hours. I actually drank as much water as beer as a high altitude/hydration precaution.)
5. The “yellow shirts”. These are the volunteers who do the pouring. Friendly, funny, and conscientious. I have never had my tasting glass rinsed more frequently or so thoroughly. They went out of their way to insure a positive experience.
6. Pretzel necklaces. These are a unique feature that has grown out of the prohibition of outside food being brought into the Convention Center. Attendees string pretzels on lanyards (conveniently provide be the Department of Transportation and inscribed with a reminder to drink responsibly and drive safely) and munch on the treats between tastes. Some folks have taken the necklaces to a higher level by adding more unusual foods such as bagels, doughnuts or even cookies with holes carved in the middle. Food jewelry!
7. Brasserie St. James. We were thrilled to see the people lined up to taste beers from a Reno establishment. They did themselves proud. Even though I can get these great beers whenever I want just by walking about 6 blocks from home, I could not pass up a taste of my favorite: Red-Headed Stranger, a red farm ale. Even with all of the other tastes during the evening it still comes up tops.
8. Oak Creek Brewing Company. This Sedona, AZ brewery poured a Belgian-styled stout named “She Will”: creamy, moderate alcohol, a balanced hint of coffee and chocolate. Delicious. This was one of the spots where that 1 ounce wasn’t nearly enough.
Anyone singing along to the Iowa Corn Song? It was running through my head the entire time we were visiting there. We drove alongside field after field of corn in various stages of readiness for harvesting. Scattered between the fields were wind farms with blades in motion. What a site. As we crossed into Iowa there was a sign informing us that we were in the Silo and Smokestacks National Heritage Area; a designation that was new to us.
Ames and Iowa State University have both grown gracefully. After a short reorientation we were able to find our way around successfully. Certainly helps when a city can use a grid system for streets. And in the plains of Iowa there is plenty of room for that symmetry.
First day of our visit was spent having lunch with good friends and then heading to Dogtown (a commercial area adjacent to ISU) for Dinky Days. Some background: the Dinky was a small train that connected the university with downtown Ames back in the day. Turns out that this is Ames’ sesquicentennial (150 years), and we were there for one of the commemorative events. We even have the free souvenir plastic drinking glasses to prove it. Oddly enough, this is also the state of Nevada’s sesquicentennial. Quite a coincidence.
Next day we headed over to Ogden to, again, see friends and revisit favorite haunts. We drove by our former home and acreage and were thrilled to see the trees and bushes we planted grown and thriving.
Between visiting, frequenting past and some new-to-us restaurants, taking in both Dinky Days and The Octagon Arts Festival, getting back into car mode for a couple of afternoon outings, and just meandering around to enjoy the area, we were plenty busy.
Shared a rental house on lovely Minnehaha Parkway with dear friends. Spent lots of late night into early morning hours catching up and revisiting past adventures. Did serious damage to our stash of Trader Joe’s wine and Wasabi Trex Mix (highly addictive and highly recommended).
Below are some photos of highlights. What I did not get photos of is our evening at Chanhassen Dinner Theater enjoying Hello, Dolly! and a delicious meal of (what else??) walleye.