A Pause in Phoenix and then New Mexico!

Since CrossCountry Bob’s last post on February 24 (what happened?), it must be said that CrossCountry Bob has not been a slacker. He and Paintin’ Peggie always seemed to maximize every day and by evening CrossCountry Bob was usually too tired to write. But put a magnifying glass to it and you might also spot a touch of laziness (CrossCountry Bob only, it must be emphasized; Paintin’ Peggie often treated evenings as another opportunity to paint or read about painting and artists).  Having made that clear, it was said to CrossCountry Bob by a wise person that it wasn’t laziness but simply a more mature mind taking its time creating.  CrossCountry Bob will go with that explanation…

Here is a mature mind during the creative process…

Part of owning a mature mind means being sensible enough to get checked out at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.  No imminent problems which is good considering the deplorable state of the health system in Canada.  For the Mayo visit, CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie treated themselves to a hotel! Nice change but, surprise, after a couple of hotel days the familiar comfort of Winnie and our own cooked meals was missed.

End of the day, hotel style!

Also taking advantage of the Mayo Clinic was friend Dave who flew down to Phoenix.

Fine friends and fine food – part of a healthy lifestyle!

To ameliorate any concern about the exercise component of a healthy lifestyle, CrossCountry Bob presents a photo of Paintin’ Peggie on a bike ride in the desert (you must take on faith that CrossCountry Bob was also riding his bike but he stopped to take this picture)…

That’s Paintin’ Peggie riding the flat, lonely desert

A spectacular part of this desert land is just east of Phoenix – Lost Dutchman State Park.

CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie spent a few days hiking, exploring and hanging about at Lost Dutchman (the hanging about was necessary to recover from the exertion of hiking up that beautiful but unforgiving mountain).

On one non-hiking day, there was a side trip to Tortilla Flats, up in the hills towards Roosevelt Lake (that Jeep towed by Winnie continues to be a winner!).  Tortilla Flats was a fun little  tourist joint as long as you didn’t cross the locals as this cowboy did

A focus this year was to take Winnie into New Mexico, avoided in prior years as the higher elevation means much cooler temperatures.  This year, running a bit later in the season, New Mexico was on.  First up was a bucket list item (for CrossCountry Bob at least) and that was White Sands National Park. 

Interesting story how the white sand came to be, the grains are actually weathered gypsum crystals that form due to the combined effects of ancient gypsum deposits and the climate since the last ice age (only 10,000 years ago if you can believe it). CrossCountry Bob could go on (he finds geology fascinating) but he will stop right here as he senses your eyes drooping and your non-geological mind wandering. How about this instead…

CrossCountry Bob stands like a desert tree

Hiking the white sand dunes was mandatory (for CrossCountry Bob).  To be prepared, a point system was invented by none other than CrossCountry Bob.  10 points for the right hiking shoes, 10 points for a charged iphone, 20 points for enough water and 100 points for sunglasses (think of that high elevation New Mexico sun reflecting off pure white sand).  So how many points did CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie score?

Paintin’ Peggie  130 out of 140 (iphone died part way through the hike);

CrossCountry Bob 40 out of 140 (useless left in the Jeep, one pair of prescription sunglasses)

And the winner is???  Paintin’ Peggie of course if one tallies up points but the world is not really about “points”. It is about, among other things, beauty and a sense of our smallness…

Ever since CrossCountry Bob was a young lad, science and science-fiction were solid interests. So, of course, a visit to Los Alamos, birthplace of the atomic bomb, was mandatory. This was a must do for CrossCountry Bob long before the new movie “Oppenheimer” brought Los Alamos and the WWII development of the atomic bomb back into the public consciousness.

Science just is; it is Humans that do or don’t do (says CrossCountry Bob)

Almost nothing remains of that secret WWII development and Los Alamos now seems like a “normal” town. The picture above is a replica of the main gate from those long ago secret days.

Today, the main attraction in the area is not Los Alamos but the art heavy town of Santa Fe.  Paintin’ Peggie was entranced by the many galleries (Canyon Road in Santa Fe is the second largest concentration of art galleries in the U.S., only Chelsea in New York being larger). Paintin’ Peggie explored from one gallery to the next, CrossCountry Bob tagging gamely along, enjoying but eventually thinking about food and rest even as Paintin’ Peggie continued to explode with energy!

And if metal is your thing rather than paint, there was this…

Finally (oh, my aching feet), it was food time. A grateful CrossCountry Bob settled into a cafe chair, sipped a local cerveza and confirmed that the food is Santa Fe is an excellent companion to the art scene.  The green chili of New Mexico is best of show. There would be pictures of the food but the famished duo demolished their plates before the thought of food pixs entered their minds.

With full stomachs and Santa Fe in the rear view mirror, the northward trek continued. Next stop for Winnie would be the artistically famous Ghost Ranch, northwest of Santa Fe.  Writing about that unique spot will have to wait as the high elevation of New Mexico is coming to pay it respects with a dropping temperature and snow in the forecast.  CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie need gasoline, propane and groceries.  We all know the rule. Preparation, no grief.  No preparation, grief.

See you at the Ghost Ranch shortly.