Monday, April 30, 2007

Well, I don't know if I can come up with anything as exciting as yesterday. But it's close. The temperatures are predicted to get much higher than normal this week. It's 11:30, and the AC has just cut in. Guess they're serious about it.

I did manage to get in to have a long-overdue pedicure, and did the laundry. Wow! Be still my heart.

We got graduation invitations from Paul and Andy. And Sue called to check on some addresses. So I guess we'll be getting one from Sarah soon.

We got some bad news from our good friend, Deb. She's been fighting cancer for a long time, and has just found out that she has more recurrence. So she's in for another round of radiation and chemo. Help us keep her in your hearts and prayers.

We watched the first part of the PBS program on The Mormons tonight. It's an interesting story. And it was enlightening to hear explanations of the history told by present-day Mormons. The second half tomorrow night will be about the Mormon church today.

Today's picture is an old picture of John - I forgot, and am writing this on the desktop. All the current photos are in the laptop. Oops. This one was taken a couple of years ago on the Lindsays' boat in St. Pete Beach, FL. John doesn't look much like this any more. He no longer wears glasses, and he's shaved off his moustache. But he still loves being out in the sun and on the water.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Today was a really quiet day. John went and got his boat ready to row, and then walked on the Riverwalk. I managed to stay at home all day. It's going to warm up again - should be in the 80s the rest of the week. Yuck!

Stay well, friends!
Today's picture is one of John's - of the petroglyphs at the Mountain Ute Tribal Park.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quiet weekend, so far

We both slept well last night - finally getting caught up.

John did a bunch of yard work this morning. He got up on the roof to clean up all the dead leaves and the oak strings; mowed the yard; and blew oak strings off the porch. Always exciting stuff going on around the Zelles' house.

We did watch The World's Fastest Indian tonight. It's an interesting and true story about setting a land speed record with an antique Indian motorcycle. Anthony Hopkins stars - and he's always good. We can recommend this one for an evening's entertainment.

Today's picture is from the Lowrey Pueblo, Hovenweep National Monument.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bill Moyers is back!

Today was an almost-normal Friday. It was wonderful to get to swimming class again, and to get caught up on all the Swim Team's news. Coffee at Panera's and then to Vicki's for the Friday painting class. I didn't paint today, but things are working in my head, and I'll be getting back into it.

John got to get back on the river for the first time this season, rowing a double with Diane. It was windy, but worth it to get on the water to row.

Andy stopped by on his way to visit his girlfriend in Atlanta. We took him to eat at Logan's, and then he was quickly on the road. We learned more about his schedule and plans for starting Rose-Hulman (Terre Haute, IN) in the fall. He's excited and relieved that the decision is finally made.

It was great to have the wonderful insights of Bill Moyers back on PBS. His new weekly Journal started this evening, with a conversation with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. Friday has now become the only night that we have something to watch all evening on TV, 2 hours of it on PBS.

Last night was one of those no-sleep nights again - I hope I can make up for that tonight. I seem to be having more trouble getting over the 2-hour time difference this trip.
Today's picture is evergreens and spring-time bare aspens along the San Juan Skyway in CO.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back into the routine

Getting back home does require a lot of work. John went to the Rowing Center - something that always makes him happy. I went to Wal-Mart - something that I do under duress. Oh, well..... By suppertime, I had finished the four loads of wash. We went to our usual Thursday lunch, with the crazy bunch of artists and political people. We got our badly-needed haircuts. And we picked up and went through the mail. Now, I'm sort of listening to the way-too-early Democratic Candidate Debate.

I hope everybody watched the Bill Moyers Special last night on PBS. We have surely missed him since he left NOW a couple of years ago. I'm delighted that he is starting a new weekly show - Bill Moyers' Journal. We get two PBS stations - it's on Friday nights on one, and Sunday afternoons on the other.

We've gotten rain off and on today. So we really made a good decision to come on home in the sunshine yesterday.

Does anybody play games on road trips any more? Adults, that is. We got started with one on our long, boring, interstate trips to the beach. We watch for the combinations of names of towns on the exit signs, using them to name the characters in a florid/purple prose/Southern/bodice-ripper novel. And we invent a persona to go with the name. Some examples from East Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi yesterday (these are real road signs):

Thurber Mingus: the villain of our piece - what a despicable rotter he is!

Ada Taylor: the heroine, a school teacher, a town favorite

Choudrant Silbey: the parish priest, lovingly nicknamed "Papa Chou"

Tallulah Vidlia: the town slut, always suspected of running a house of ill repute

Bovina Jackson: the dear old "mammy" (remember, this is the South); nobody could raise a child better, or make better biscuits and fried chicken

Flora Edwards: the church secretary

Morton Puckett: the fly-by-night preacher who seduced dear Flora

Chunky Meridian: the town bully, haunted forever by his grade-school nickname

Share some with us that you come up with as you travel.
Today picture is some of the amazing stone construction from the Lowrey Pueblo, part of the Hovenweep National Monument in CO.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I forgot to mention that the title of the painting is Origins.

I've been told that people have tried to leave comments in the blog and had problems. I'll see if I can find out what the problem is, but in the meantime, to contact me, e-mail me at .

I think I've changed the setting to allow comments - and would love to hear from any and all.

Home again!

Greetings from Chattanooga!

It rained and thundered during the night in Shreveport. We left this morning in the rain, expecting to be in rain all day today and tomorrow. We had planned to stop in Tuscaloosa tonight. But, we drove out of the rain in midmorning (by the Mississippi River and Vicksburg).

It was not even 3 CDT when we got to Tuscaloosa, so we decided to head for home. Not only was it too early to stop, but we figured the rain would've caught up with us overnight. We got here about 7 EDT - about a 10 hour day. It was all interstate, though, and not too bad. And the rain is predicted to come upon us tonight.

I've already started the wash, and gotten most of the stuff put away. Our yard was covered with twigs and leaves, and 3-4 of our big trees look severely damaged. John's afraid our crepe myrtle is dead. The neighbors said that everything had leafed out, and then we had two nights and a day of temperatures in the 20s. I guess time will tell about any permanent damage.

Don't stop reading just because we're home for a while. And I'll try to keep writing. Today's picture is a painting I did earlier this year, acrylic on canvas (@30x24").

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson!

For those of you not old enough to remember, Lady Bird Johnson was responsible for the beautification of U.S. highways by planting wildflowers in the medians and on the roadsides. This morning as we left Big Springs, TX, we started noticing bluebonnets (the Texas state flower) alongside I-20. What a treat! Bluebonnets; pink (buttercup? primroses?); yellow (3-4 different kinds); red-orange (Indian paintbrush); pink/purple (lupine); white (tall, spikey things?). Just lovely. We'd never seen West Texas so green. They must've had lots of rain this spring.

We did get into some major rain today. We stopped for lunch at Weatherford (just west of Fort Worth), and as we left there, the sky just opened up. John had taken over the driving because he wanted to be the one driving through D/FW. Fortunately, it did slack off before we got into the cities, although it did rain some most of the way through. We did go through some more rain in eastern Texas, but nothing that bad. Poor John - he had all the fun today - rain, Dallas/Fort Worth, and construction zones. I'm sure he'll see that I have more "fun" tomorrow.

We're in Bossier City, LA, tonight - just barely into LA. But since we're here, we had to look for seafood and/or Cajun food. Would you believe there's a Ralph & Kacoo's just a few blocks from the motel we chose. Anyone who has been to New Orleans knows this chain and what good food they serve. We had appetizers and shared: crawfish etouffe, crab cakes, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat. Yum!!! (You did understand that you were in for travels and food adventures with John and Mary when you started reading this, didn't you?)

Well, it took us a day and a half to get across Texas, and we plan to do Louisiana and Mississippi and get into Alabama tomorrow. There's not much navigation involved in travelling on the interstate. Oh, yes - I forgot - we did have a digression today. Just west of the Kilgore exits, we saw some temporary signs along the road saying "Accident ahead". Oops! It must be a big one if they've had time to put out signs. We got off the interstate and went almost to Kilgore, before find another road heading back north to I-20, but farther east. We wound up going 25 miles, and re-entered I-20 15 miles further east. But at least we weren't sitting still or crawling along getting around the accident.

Bad weather is predicted to come through this area tonight. And we'll probably get some rain the rest of the way home. But I hope nobody gets anything too bad - and we surely don't want it along the highway.

Today's picture was taken at the Mountain Ute Tribal Park.

Monday, April 23, 2007

From Big Spring, Texas

Last night was not the best. The eczema that has bothered me for years was in high gear, and the itching kept me awake for most of the night. Oh, well - nobody wants to hear about that.

We left the Circle Cross just before 7 a.m. MDT; first heading east, then south. We wanted to make another stop at Carlsbad Caverns. We did half of the easier self-guided tour. John would probably have done the whole thing, but there was a guy who wanted to follow us and talk the whole time, so John bailed out with me. The Caverns are incredible - the first folks who saw it must have been literally awestruck. We left there about noon, and continued south, picking up I-20 at Pecos, TX.

We love stopping at tiny places in the southwest to get Mexican food, and we found a great one today. Called La Nortena, it's in Pecos and is mainly a drive through for tamales and other delicacies. We went in and got 3 red and 3 green tamales and sat at one of the two tables to eat. It was divine! Be sure to look it up if you're ever in the neighborhood.

Now that we're on I-20, we'll just stay there until we get to Birmingham and head to Chattanooga on I-59. We got into our motel here in Big Spring, then started out for another local Mexican place. We finally found La Posada, and had another good dinner. There was a strong, brief thunderstorm while we were in the restaurant, but it was all over by the time we came out.

Back to the motel for some Benadryl, lots of lotion on my arms and legs, and an early bedtime.

Today's picture is a view of one of the manmade lakes on the Circle Cross.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday afternoon, John L took us on a Jeep ride around some of the lower pastures on the Circle Cross. It is a gorgeous ranch. They have done so much work on it, clearing, irrigating, laying water pipe, seeding for grazing. Certainly well out of any experiences that I have had, but I do appreciate the hard work and the results that I can see. We saw some cattle, one 2-day-old calf, and lots of deer.

This afternoon, he took us onto some of the higher ground, where they have built a reservoir, and plan to do some more clearing and pasture-building. We've had beautiful weather since we've been here, and have enjoyed getting to see some of the fruits of their hard work.

We plan to head out east in the morning, probably stopping first at Carlsbad Cavern.

Today's picture is of the remains of some cattails at the reservoir.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Still at the Circle Cross

John Z and John L spent most of yesterday outside, doing stuff around the ranch. Marty and I worked on our knitting.

This morning, we headed out to Cloudcroft and Ruidoso Downs to pick up John L's new lawnmower and go to Wal-Mart. The ranch is about 45 minutes from Cloudcroft, then another hour to get to Ruidoso. It's through gorgeous country - up and down mountains, through valleys, just enjoying the ride. We stopped at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, a Mescalero Apache casino/hotel/resort, and got some lunch. Then we managed to find the Sears appliance store in Ruidoso Downs and Wal-Mart. We had thought we might eat dinner at the hotel, but by 1:30, we were ready to head for home.

So now we're back. Marty's headed for a nap. John and John are messing with the lawnmower. And I'm getting in my computer time.

The Circle Cross is on the National Historic Register. The "Big House" was built by a man named Lee, who was big in early NM politics. The Lindsays bought the property about 8+ years ago, and are working with lots of ideas, trying to make it self-sufficient. They do elk and turkey hunts, run cattle and horses, have a full-service campground, do a lot of irrigation projects, etc. The latest project is setting up a small sawmill to mill lumber for area residents to sell and to use for ranch building projects. It's a very special place.

Today's picture is of "The Big House".

Friday, April 20, 2007

From the Circle Cross, 4-20-2007

It's another beautiful day here in south central New Mexico. Cousin Marty and I pretty much frittered the day away yesterday, knitting and talking. John (Zelle) and John (Lindsay) were out driving around the ranch in the four-wheeler, JL doing work and making decisions, and JZ going along for the ride. It'd be hard to say which one had the best time.

This morning, J&J have been out doing more work around the ranch, checking on cattle, seeing if water-pumping is going on. Again, they're having fun, and getting out into the fresh air. And, I actually think they're accomplishing things.

Marty's working on a poncho for one of her granddaughters, and I'm (as usual) finishing up a pair of socks. Tentative plans are for us to go into Ruidoso this afternoon to pick up a new lawnmower that JL had ordered, to make a Wal-Mart run, to eat dinner, and see what else we can see.

Today's picture is a petroglyph from the Mountain Ute Tribal Park near Cortez, CO.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

From the Circle Cross Ranch


First I must apologize - the photograph on the last post was mis-identified. It was actually taken from the Lizard Head Pass on the San Juan Skyway.

What a great week we had with Ann & Al, Gin & Jim. We all took off in different directions this morning. We headed south into New Mexico. We stopped at the Toadlena Trading Post, a few miles west of Hwy 491 and south of Shiprock. It's very small, but they have a great museum and display of Two Grey Hills style rugs and blankets. They have all been doing by members of the same extended family - the earliest in the 1920s and the latest just a year or so old. The Two Grey Hills rugs/blankets are all done in white/ivory/grey/beige/tan/brown/black. The only dye used is possibly black. They had gobs of them for sale, too, but more than we wanted to pay at this time. We're so glad that we went by there - and heartily recommend it to anyone who is in the neighborhood. Thanks to Gin for bringing it to our attention. I'll post the web site later.

The rest of the drive was pretty straight-forward. We stopped for lunch at El Cafecito in Grants, NM. We had eaten there before, and had a great lunch - recommend that, too. We did do a quick visit to the Visitors' Center at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It's a fascinating facility, too. It was built in the 1930s by the CCC.

Everything here at the ranch (about 30 miles from Cloudcroft, NM, partially in a national forest) is green and gorgeous. We're exhausted, so won't be long for this world. I'm not on my computer, so no picture.

We finally got to the ranch about 6:45 - a long, LONG day of driving.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This morning turned off nice after all. We made reservations for the Ute Mountain Tribal Park tour of Mesa Verde sites for tomorrow morning. Today we decided to drive the San Juan Skyway.

What a great choice that turned out to be. Cortez to Dolores to Telluride were great. There was about 2" of new snow on the fields and trees, with none on the roads - our favorite kind of snow. Blue skies with some puffy clouds made for good photographs. Ann, Al, John & I went in one car, with Jim & Virginia in their car. They were only going to Telluride, and then were turning around to go back to Lowry Pueblo and home. The rest of us planned to complete the loop to Ridgeway, Ouray, Silverton, Durango, and home.

We all met up in Telluride and walked around for a bit. Virginia found a gorgeous Persian rug - most unusual - part usual rug tufting type stitches, with insets and border that looked like needlepoint. It was nothing like any of us had seen before. Gin & Jim were going to decide for sure whether to purchase, and the rest of us headed on. (p.s. - They bought the rug, but were having it shipped home.)

We had lunch in Ridgeway at, of all places, a Thai restaurant called "Siam". It was a tiny place, maybe only 25 seats, with gorgeous decor, and incredible food. The only strange note was the country music playing on the intercom. Nevertheless, it took over first place as our best meal so far.

From there, we went on to Ouray, then south to Silverton, Durango, and home. Above Ouray, probably an additional 6" of snow had fallen the night before, and the roads had been plowed. It was glorious! I don't think we could've stood it if the skies had been blue. It didn't make for great photography, just a great treat for the eyes and the memory. We got back home a little after 5.
We had home-cooked hamburgers for dinner, and then finished out the day with some Mexican Train. Tomorrow, we'll get an early start to be at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park by 8:30.

We had great weather today, clear to start, then high white puffy clouds toward late morning. The trip in the Ute Mountain Tribal Park was very good. We did the half-day trip, and drove our own car. It was great to see the area around Mesa Verde from the valley floor. We walked through sites absolutely covered with pottery sherds, and saw an amazing number of petroglyphs. Another group went in a tribal van with the guide for the full-day trip. I did a couple of the short walks, but none of the climbing stuff. I could see lots of petroglyphs, though. It's definitely a recommended trip.

We stopped in Cortez for gas and a grocery-store-roasted chicken for supper, and then got home about 2:00. We'll spend the afternoon getting stuff ready to leave tomorrow and probably getting in some more Mexican Train.

John and I will be heading south into New Mexico tomorrow, going to John & Marty Lindsay's ranch near Cloudcroft. We plan to be there for a few days before turning back east. I should be able to get some computer access there - we shall see. But this will be my last posting from Kelly Place. It's been a super week - both for the place and, of course, getting together with Ann, Al, Gin, & Jim.

Today's picture is new snow near Ouray, CO.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kind of an easy day today. The weather was warm, but cloudy. Ann, Al, John and I drove up to Lowery Pueblo, one of the outlying sites of Hovenweep Nat'l Monument. The site is north of Cortez. That area is relatively flat and agricultural - the pinto bean capital of the US. The pueblo is quite interesting, built onto several times over the course of 60-70 years. The whole area is called the Great Sage Plain, and has one of the greatest number of prehistoric sites anywhere in the country. Within this area is the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Jim and Gin stayed home, getting Gin over the aches and pains from her horseback ride.

After lunch, we finished the game of Mexican Train (dominoes) that we had started last night. And we wound up playing Mexican Train all afternoon. It was cloudy and windy, so it was just a good "down-time" day. This is a great game for 4-8 people.

We ate at an Italian restaurant, and had our best "out" dinner so far. Then we came home and finished the last game of the day.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and 40% chance of rain. We'll have to wait to see what's happening in the morning before we make a decision as to what to do tomorrow.

The photo today is from Mesa Verde.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday afternoon - 4-14-07

Yesterday, Friday, 13 April, is a special day - it's my mother's birthday. Pink would've been 99 this year. I can't believe it's been so long since she died in 1983.

It was colder and not quite as nice Friday. Virginia went on a horseback ride with a couple from here at Kelly Place. The rest of us sat around and read and played bridge. Later, the hikers went to the archeological sites here close around Kelly Place - really fascinating to have these places so close, and to actually touch without rangers, etc. In the afternoon, the hikers went to Hovenweek National Park, and had a great time there. We went into town for dinner - nothing special.

The plan for today, weather permitting, was to go to Mesa Verde. After some morning ground fog and lots of frost, the day was magnificent. The high was about 60, no wind, and gloriously clear, cloudless, bluebird skies. Mesa Verde is great at any time, but the weather made this extra special. The hikers took the tours of Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House, and all of us went to lots of overlooks and surface sites. Some of the other places had not reopened from the winter closure, but there was plenty to do even so.

Al, Ann, and Gin stopped at Notah Dineh to shop and look at their wonderful pottery, rugs, and jewelry. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, they get. For supper tonight, we get to be treated with Gin's famous meatloaf. Then we'll sit around to decide what to consider doing tomorrow. Probably also some dominoes and bridge.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday afternoon 4-12-07

Woke up this morning to rain and snow. It had snowed the higher elevations, and was pretty yucky all morning. We sat around and told lies this morning, deciding what to do for the day.

After lunch, we headed out to the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, CO. This is a great facility. John and I had been here before, but it was new for the others. It was a good way to spend an otherwise pretty cold/snowy/rainy couple of hours. By the time we left, the sun had come out. But then it was time to head for home and maybe some wine and some dinner (cooked in tonight). We ate Mexican in town last night.

I'm sure we'll be discussing tonight what the plan for tomorrow will be. Since my internet access is somewhat limited, I'll have to just write when I can.

We still have Hovenweep, Mesa Verde, one possibly longer hike, etc., all on the list of choices.

Today's picture is from Creede, CO.

Thursday afternoon 4-12-07

Woke up this morning to rain and snow. It had snowed the higher elevations, and was pretty yucky all morning. We sat around and told lies this morning, deciding what to do for the day.

After lunch, we headed out to the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, CO. This is a great facility. John and I had been here before, but it was new for the others. It was a good way to spend an otherwise pretty cold/snowy/rainy couple of hours. By the time we left, the sun had come out. But then it was time to head for home and maybe some wine and some dinner (cooked in tonight). We ate Mexican in town last night.

I'm sure we'll be discussing tonight what the plan for tomorrow will be. Since my internet access is somewhat limited, I'll have to just write when I can.

We still have Hovenweep, Mesa Verde, one possibly longer hike, etc., all on the list of choices.

Today's picture is from Creede, CO.
I forgot to mention that also on Tuesday (after lunch), we drove south from La Veta toward Cuchara to see a geologic formation that we had seen last year when we were in the area. The mountains, East and West Spanish Peaks, are surrounded by more than 500 radial dikes, thin ridges of rock that fan out from the peaks, frequently high into the air above the trees. We did get some photos this time. Fascinating things to see.

We left the motel in Alamosa early this morning - bright sunshine and cold. At least the wind had stopped. A lady where we had lunch in La Veta on Tuesday recommended that we turn off #190 at South Fork and drive north to Creede. So we did that. The road heads north, paralleling the Rio Grande River. The 22 miles of the road are bordered by snow-covered mountains and palisades. It was a lovely drive. And, obviously, this Rio Grande is nothing like the one we're used to seeing near Brownsville, TX.

One particularly odd thing we saw along #160, were literally miles and miles of old train cars, the type used to transport semi-trailers, along a stretch of obviously unused track. This started east of Del Norte and was solid until we lost the track at South Fork (it was 16 miles from DN to SF).

We stopped for lunch at a delightful cafe between Durango and Mancos - the Kennebec Cafe and Bakery. Then headed on to Kelly Place.

We got here early, about 2:30, and were the first ones here. Our cabin is part of a doublewide away from the main lodge. So unfortunately, we don't get the wireless connection. I will be able to get it in the lodge, but will not have as much access as I had hoped. Oh, well.
Ann & Al and Gin & Jim got here in good time, and it was great to see everybody. Gin pleaded tiredness and didn't go to dinner with us. The rest of us went into town for Mexican food and to go to Safeway for groceries. We're all pretty tired from long days of driving, so it was an early night.

addendum for 4-12-07: No pictures today - I forgot to bring the camera over to the lodge. We woke up to snow on Sleeping Ute Mountain behind us, and rain. Don't know what we'll do today - probably play dominoes and cards.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A trip journal

It's been a long time since I've written. Shame on me! I'm motivated now to use this forum to write a trip journal. This particular trip is motivated by a chance to get together with Ann & Al (John's sister and brother-in-law) and Gin & Jim (John's cousin and spouse). Gin made our reservations at the Kelly Place B&B near Cortez, CO, based on our recommendation after our Elderhostel there in April 2006.

We left home on Saturday, 7 April, and headed west. We stopped in Jonesboro, AR, that night. Then headed toward a planned stop in Wichita, KS, on Sunday night. Along the way, we drove through West Plains, MO, where Flo Jean and Eva Jane grew up. FJ had told us how to find her house. We did without problem, and took some pictures. It's a neat old white Victorian, but the town has changed quite a bit, I'm sure, since they left.

From there, we headed through Springfield, MO. In the area just west of there, the devastation to the trees from last January's ice storm was incredible. It looked almost like tornado damage, except it was such a huge area. What a shame! We drove on some rural county roads through the rest of Missouri, then got on a major US highway in Kansas.

A great treat in Wichita was the chance to meet up with a long-time SeniorNet buddie, Shirley (Tisie) Stallard. We originally met on an Alaska travel discussion board, and she suggested I start reading SeniorNet. That was in about 1998. But this was the first time we had met face-to-face. We had a great time - laughed and laughed. See the picture. We had seen lots of grass/brush fires along the highway east of Wichita. Shirley explained that they were burning off the dead stubble and weeds to freshen the fields for the new year.

Monday morning, we headed our across western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Nothing exciting - just a long, long drive. We spent last night in Pueblo, CO.

Today was to be our Colorado "touristing" day - and boy, did we get a lot! We headed west out of Pueblo shortly before 8, and got into some rain showers and some snow flurries. Then the sun broke through, as we got into the foothills. We got some great photos of the sun shining on the mountains with the dark clouds behind and overhead. We even saw a couple of rainbows. We drove on over the Wet Mountains into the Wet Mountain Valley, then turned south toward Gardner. At Gardner, we turned into a dirt county road, and headed south. After a few miles, we noticed new snow on the trees and ground - then on the road - then lots more on the road. As we climbed toward Pass Creek Pass, the snow on the road got deeper and deeper. John finally lost traction and had to stop. The snow was probably about 6" deep. We found a driveway for a safe turnaround - and did so, heading back north to a paved road. Then we drove from Gardner back south to LaVeta. And all this was before lunch.

After lunch in LaVeta, we headed on west. The wind had gotten fierce, but the sun was shining brightly. As we drove to LaVeta Pass, the wind was buffeting the car, and we were getting pelted by gravel and/or sand. Finally as we headed down the pass, we realized that it really was a sand/dust storm - a lot coming from Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Monument.

What a day! We were glad to stop for the day about 3 p.m. in Alamosa. The wind never did slack off - it just kept getting colder. After supper, I did some laundry, so we'll have clean clothes for tomorrow to head for Cortez to meet up with the group for our week at Kelly Place.