Fortress of Louisbourg

August 12, 2010 Lousibourg, Cape Breton, NS

Louisbourg RV Park on the waterfront:

From the wharves we can see the Fortress of Louisbourg looming over the sea.

Louisbourg is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America.

The French came to Louisbourg in 1713 after loss of territory to the English in Newfoundland and Acadia (Nova Scotia) in the War of the Spanish Succession. Louisbourg soon became France's most important stronghold and seaport in the Atlantic on account of trade and the thriving fishing industry.

In addition to arms and imported goods, livestock and gardens were integral to the community's health and survival.

By 1760 the English ruled and the fortifications lay in ruin. The reconstruction and reenactments are based on life as it was in 1744.

Red Coat and Blue Coat interpreters march, pipe, drum and fire off a cannon.

Lloyd buys bread the size, and half the weight, of a cannonball. And about the equivalent in flavour.

Jay's workout for the day: cannonball presses.

The crier reads aloud from a scroll which states that the guy in white stole a bottle of wine. The French officers will parade him through the streets, drumming all the way, then fasten him to a pole with an iron collar where he will serve his time: 2 hours a day for several days. In fact, he served five minutes before the interpreters ignored the unsympathetic crowd and let him go.

Jay writes his name with a quill pen next to the recently freed thief.

Since we couldn't elect Eric for public punishment we ordered him into the lime kiln for a time out. ;)

Back at the campsites, the boys strum it up. It's difficult to see, but Jay and Eric each trade a hand to play: Jay's left hand plays Eric's fretboard and vice versa (their right hands strum their own guitars).

In the evening we attended a ceilidh next door at the Louisbourg Playhouse featuring Jason Kempt, Beverly MacLean, Erin Martell, Lyndon MacKenzie, and Troy Young. Celtic music is expected and oatcakes hoped for, but this ceilidh included a box drum called a cajón and comedic costumed sketches too.

In the morning we had time to enjoy the sun and cereal by the sea.

-P

Grave Sights

We drove by this cemetery a few times. I had wanted to wander through it each time, but we were always en route to something somewhere: a reading, errands, a play, live music.

Luckily, Ernie and Pat also enjoy old cemeteries and they stopped just for us so we could browse the grounds.

They led us to one of the most popular tombstone epitaph:

We also came across "I'm just resting my eyes" and "Oh, sure".

Some gravesites are sinking. Some go back to the mid 1800s. Newer graves are above-ground vaults.

Some have personal touches, like this shock of colour and a handmade stone, repaired with some kind of ... putty.

The handwritten inscription reads:

Aleida Marie Blanco Feb 21 1928 - Mar 8 2007 Loving mother of 4 children "Mi casa es su casa" Loved to shower in the rain Loved papaya, sour sop + dancing

Isn't that nice?

This is one of my favourite views, which includes the "I told you I was sick" and "I'm just resting my eyes" epitaphs:

More than once we found a water pump spout within a grave's borders and a wide array of tropical flora creates a park like setting.

About 100,000 people are buried here, more than three times the current population of Key West.

-P

"Shadow Country" Country

February 27, 2010 We listened to Peter Matthiessen's "Shadow Country" en route to Chokoloskee Island, to stretch our Chokoloskee Island experience.

"In 1898, 42-year-old Edgar J. Watson became a living legend when a book credited him with shooting the outlaw queen Belle Starr nine years earlier. The descendant of a prominent South Carolina family, the legal or common-law husband of five women, the father of possibly 10 children, a leading pioneer on the southwest coast of Florida and a man killed by a large group of his neighbors in 1910 ..." in the land of walking trees, the mangroves.

Established in 1906, the Smallwood Store Ole Indian Trading Post and Museum stayed open and active until 1984.

Here we were told that Chokolskee isn't really an "island" at all, rather just a huge mound of seashells accumulated by early inhabitants, the Native Americans, with a smattering of soil on top.

In 1887 Ruby Tigertial, a Seminole native, wore at least two hundred strings of beads. "It was an effort for her to move her head ..."

Not a fitting souvenir for two vegetarians: "White Trash Cooking I" and "II".

Ha ha ha! Okay, not so funny... kinda creepy.

-P

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

December 8-10, 2009 Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park in McCalla, Alabama was only meant to serve as a waypoint en route to New Orleans. We didn't expect an interesting stay, but were happily surprised with what the park has to offer, including ...

... old blast furnaces and blower houses, ...

... history ...

... rustic architecture ...

... poignant stories about "Powder Monkeys" ("boys ... under the age of subscription ... used as laborers in saltpepper production ... these boys entered the caves at daybreak and left after sunset doing backbreaking work by candlelight ... Many suffered from lung and back problems.") at the Alabama Iron and Steel Museum, ...

... Amish butter, all kinds of candy and ...

pickled hot okra at the Sweet Shoppe.

-P

The King's Rides

Elvis had a lot of toys. He had dune buggies, a go-cart, tractors, a pedal car, a skidoo converted to drive on grass, and some "normal" stuff too. Thirty-three of those toys are featured in the Car Museum.

The pink cadillac:

The car below is my favourite vehicle, which has everything to do with the colour, but my favourite feature of the car museum is the home movies, movies that Priscilla and Elvis's friends filmed. They show him at home. He liked to play.

And he had custom jets.

The Lisa Marie (No interior photos allowed. Elvis had all kinds of controls to play with in the cabin. Inside, the Lisa Marie is groovy, and brown.):

One day Elvis realized that his little daughter had never seen snow so he loaded up the family into the jet Lisa Marie and flew to Colorado. Little Lisa Marie played in the snow for a few minutes then everyone piled back into the plane and zipped home again.

Elvis's other jet is a Lockheed Jet Star and this is her cockpit (which looks like something I would see in a nightmare):

Here's her cabin:

Elvis hardly used the Jet Star. Why would he when the Lisa Marie had "a luxuriously appointed living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom, as well as gold-plated seatbelts, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks and more."? Instead, Colonel Parker, Elvis's manager, and staff shuttled in the Jet Star from city to city, wherever the concert tour took them.

-P

The King's Rides

Elvis had a lot of toys. He had dune buggies, a go-cart, tractors, a pedal car, a skidoo converted to drive on grass, and some "normal" stuff too. Thirty-three of those toys are featured in the Car Museum.

The pink cadillac:

The car below is my favourite vehicle, which has everything to do with the colour, but my favourite feature of the car museum is the home movies, movies that Priscilla and Elvis's friends filmed. They show him at home. He liked to play.

And he had custom jets.

The Lisa Marie (No interior photos allowed. Elvis had all kinds of controls to play with in the cabin. Inside, the Lisa Marie is groovy, and brown.):

One day Elvis realized that his little daughter had never seen snow so he loaded up the family into the jet Lisa Marie and flew to Colorado. Little Lisa Marie played in the snow for a few minutes then everyone piled back into the plane and zipped home again.

Elvis's other jet is a Lockheed Jet Star and this is her cockpit (which looks like something I would see in a nightmare):

Here's her cabin:

Elvis hardly used the Jet Star. Why would he when the Lisa Marie had "a luxuriously appointed living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom, as well as gold-plated seatbelts, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks and more."? Instead, Colonel Parker, Elvis's manager, and staff shuttled in the Jet Star from city to city, wherever the concert tour took them.

-P

Natchez Mansions

November 13, 2009 Up to twenty-five antebellum mansions are open to visitors for tours. We toured three.

Stanton Hall, 1857, "one of the most magnificent and palatial residences of antebellum America."

Magnolia Hall, 1858. "The last great mansion built in downtown Natchez prior to the War Between the States, it is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture."

Interior photos are not allowed, sadly. Would love to show you the antiques, the opulence and some surprises. Did you know they used pocket doors back then?

Not on the tour, but quaint:

Undoubtedly grand in its day:

And one water view: a tugboat steers seven barges up the Mississippi. The little engine that can.

-P

Natchez Mansions

November 13, 2009 Up to twenty-five antebellum mansions are open to visitors for tours. We toured three.

Stanton Hall, 1857, "one of the most magnificent and palatial residences of antebellum America."

Magnolia Hall, 1858. "The last great mansion built in downtown Natchez prior to the War Between the States, it is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture."

Interior photos are not allowed, sadly. Would love to show you the antiques, the opulence and some surprises. Did you know they used pocket doors back then?

Not on the tour, but quaint:

Undoubtedly grand in its day:

And one water view: a tugboat steers seven barges up the Mississippi. The little engine that can.

-P

Craters and Taters

August 26 - September 1, 2009 Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

No lunar travel required.

A 360 view from the peak of Inferno Cone:

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A lot of Craters of the Moon National Monument is lava rubble. Most of the volcanic debris is charcoal in colour, but some areas are rusty or a range of pinks, purples and oranges.

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"Spatter cones" formed as volcanic eruption petered out and spattered lava around the vent openings.

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Dwarf buckwheat dots the black expanse of Devil's Orchard - a dazzling contrast.

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The entrance to a lava tube cave.

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An 800 foot 'trail' zigzags through a lava tube cave. "Skylights" (collapses in the ceiling) illuminate the cave, but flashlights are highly recommended. The Indian Tunnel Cave Trail is not for cautious folk. Trail description: "If you are willing to scramble over (large rock piles) and (suck in your stomach to) climb through a small opening, you can exit this cave ... (through a barely big enough vent)."

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The wall of the exit vent:

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We stayed 18 miles away in Arco, ID. Arco is wee, weird and quiet, best known (actually, hardly known) as the first town to be lit by atomic power, but we like it best for the smoked baked potatoes at Mountain View RV Park. We also enjoyed the campground's free breakfast, but happily payed a little extra for the sweet potato pancakes with pecans. Yum! The coffee is weak, but I think the mini-golf makes up for that. :)

Also, Arco has a distinct landmark in Number Hill (I'll find my photo...). Local high school graduates have scaled this almost-mountain every year and painted their graduation year large enough to see for miles around.

Craters of the Moon National Monument is less a destination than a side attraction, but you won't see another place like it.

-P

Craters and Taters

August 26 - September 1, 2009 Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

No lunar travel required.

A 360 view from the peak of Inferno Cone:

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A lot of Craters of the Moon National Monument is lava rubble. Most of the volcanic debris is charcoal in colour, but some areas are rusty or a range of pinks, purples and oranges.

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"Spatter cones" formed as volcanic eruption petered out and spattered lava around the vent openings.

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Dwarf buckwheat dots the black expanse of Devil's Orchard - a dazzling contrast.

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The entrance to a lava tube cave.

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An 800 foot 'trail' zigzags through a lava tube cave. "Skylights" (collapses in the ceiling) illuminate the cave, but flashlights are highly recommended. The Indian Tunnel Cave Trail is not for cautious folk. Trail description: "If you are willing to scramble over (large rock piles) and (suck in your stomach to) climb through a small opening, you can exit this cave ... (through a barely big enough vent)."

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The wall of the exit vent:

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We stayed 18 miles away in Arco, ID. Arco is wee, weird and quiet, best known (actually, hardly known) as the first town to be lit by atomic power, but we like it best for the smoked baked potatoes at Mountain View RV Park. We also enjoyed the campground's free breakfast, but happily payed a little extra for the sweet potato pancakes with pecans. Yum! The coffee is weak, but I think the mini-golf makes up for that. :)

Also, Arco has a distinct landmark in Number Hill (I'll find my photo...). Local high school graduates have scaled this almost-mountain every year and painted their graduation year large enough to see for miles around.

Craters of the Moon National Monument is less a destination than a side attraction, but you won't see another place like it.

-P

Cassidy Arch, Capitol Reef

August 2, 2009 We woke to this view each morning from Thousand Lakes RV Park:

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Picnic packed and maps in hand, we set out for the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive and a hike.

A view along the way:

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We climbed 1,150 feet and 3 1/2 miles to Cassidy Arch, just in time to meet dark clouds at the peak.We made it back to the Jeep just in time for the first sprinkle.

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The arch was named after Butch Cassidy. According to legend, Cassidy had a hideout in the area.

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The hike deserved it's "Strenuous" rating. See the Jeep ... way ... down ... there?

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But it was more than worth it. :)

Another highlight of the day was dinner at Cafe Diablo. Cafe Diablo is perhaps best known for its pastry chefs and delectable deserts, but boasts an eclectic dinner menu. We skipped the rattlesnake cakes, but ordered four deserts - two to take home. :)

-P

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

May 15, 2009 Cliff Palace

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The Puebloens entered and exited rooms via tiny doorways. The people were tiny. Males averaged 5'3"-5'4" while the women averaged 5'-5'1". The average age of death was 34.

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Sandstone, wood beams called vigas (for ceilings), and mortar made up the primary building materials. They shaped the stones, piled them and cemented them with a mix of soil, water and ash. A plaster was then smoothed over the walls. Some paintings and even handprints are still visible on interior walls. Also, blackened roofs indicate rooms that had fireplaces. Note the one rounded tower, the only rounded building thought to possibly have served as a lookout against enemies who descended on the population to steal the little water they had from the spring below.

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Rock chinking in the cementing clay fortifies the walls.

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We were beyond impressed by the immense and immaculate structures that these ancient people built, structures that have hardly changed in 700-800 years.

-P

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings

May 15, 2009 Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Only three of many cliff dwelling sites are open to public. We started with a tour at Balcony House, noted for a challenging route that includes walking down 130 steep stairs, climbing a 32 foot ladder, squeezing through an 18 inch-wide twelve-foot tunnel on hands and knees, climbing two more ladders and then climbing steps carved into the face of the cliff. Exciting stuff!

We met up with Ranger Rebecca and were on our way...

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The view from Balcony House:

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The view of Balcony House across the canyon:

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Our second tour led us to Spruce Tree House which was constructed between AD 1200 and 1276 and contains about 114 rooms.

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The Anasazi people (Anasazi means "ancient people", but it is a Navajo word that can be translated as "enemy ancestors"), now called Ancestral Puebloen, lived in the Spruce Tree House (which should have been called Fir Tree House) near a spring and lush vegetation.

Lloyd climbed down into a kiva at this site - one of those holes in the ground. A kiva is an underground chamber used by male Pueblo Indians for religious rites.

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The circular cavity below is a kiva without a roof. The kiva is still a sacred structure to the Pueblo people. Below you can see the pilasters that supported the roof beams, the banquette (bench-like form), and the ventilator shaft. You cannot see a firepit in the middle of the floor, nor the deflector between the firepit and venting shaft that helped circulate fresh air and, the feature that really struck us, the Sipapu. Sipapu (a Hopi word) is a small hole in the floor that represents the opening through which man emerged onto the face of the earth and a spirit portal.

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Kivas are still used by Pueblo people today.

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The Spruce Tree House is the third largest dwelling in the park at about 216 feet wide and 89 feet deep, all built within a natural cave. The most impressive of the dwellings to come...

-P

Taos Pueblo

May 7, 2009 Pueblo means an American Indian settlement in southwestern U.S. and the members of the settlement. There are 22 "Pueblos, Tribes and Nations" in New Mexico. Each Pueblo has a distinct community and language. The origin of Taos Pueblo dates back to approximately 1000 AD and can be toured for a small fee plus a $5 charge for each personal camera you will use.

Very few of the 2800 Native American Pueblo residents live in the old section pictured in this post. Those that live in the old adobe buildings are chiefly artists and vendors who sell silver and turquoise jewelry, wood and hide drums, moccasins, dream catchers, beadwork, painted pottery, baked goods, and antiques.

An oven and drying racks in the plaza, sandwiched between the river and dwellings:

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One of many friendly Pueblo artists and me wearing one of his creations: a silver and turquoise necklace.

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Most of the residents live in modern homes on Pueblo land, within a three mile radius of the old adobe buildings. All that we met seemed glad to tell us of their customs and creations. Even the dogs were sociable - dogs galore, but none of the barking variety (not sure if they were that well trained or just drained from the heat and constant wind).

Saints in the church below are costumed according to season. About 90% of the Pueblo Indians are Catholic, yet they mesh Christianity with their own religion, which has a strong identification and correlation between Mary and Mother Earth. The residents are very secretive about their religion for fear of "exploitation", a wariness harboured since the Spanish Inquisition.

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Every structure is made of adobe: a dirt, straw and water mix shaped into blocks or poured into some other form. The walls can be several feet thick. Roofs are typically supported by large timbers and topped by smaller branches of pine and/or aspen and packed with dirt.

An oven in front of residents's galleries/shops/workrooms:

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A Tribal Council appoints a Tribal Governor and War Chief each year, but this system is strained and criticized by the younger generation, particularly the young women who are the most educated of the population. The young complain that "the elder men who make up the Tribal Council have a system for keeping themselves in power," "they keep the women out," "They buy laptops and don't even know how to use them - not even email," "we cannot progress," etc. It's a lamentable governing situation that will not hold up for long.

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Tiwa is the native language spoken in the Taos Pueblo. English and Spanish also have their place.

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The church below was built in 1619 then bombed in the 1680 Spanish Revolt and left to Nature. The cemetery is considered a resting place. Therefore, residents only enter the sacred ground twice a year for specific ceremonies and the greenery is left to grow freely. The gravesites are "reused" and when the crosses weather to decay they are stacked against the old church wall.

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The best bet is a one hour guided tour. The second best bet is the blue corn fry bread with honey and cinnamon (even with a constant sprinkle of dust devil)!

-P

Dinosaur Science with Dr. Spencer Lucas

May 1, 2009 Dr. Spencer Lucas, husband of Yami, paleontologist, stratigrapher, lecturer, author, friend, and more, is a Curator of Paleontology at New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. Spencer "specializes in the study of late Paleozoic, Mesozoic and early Cenozoic vertebrate fossils and continental deposits, particularly in the American Southwest." and has travelled all over the world, including our beloved Nova Scotia, for work and research: "Go to Joggins," he says.

Needless to say, we jumped at the chance when he invited us for a behind the scenes tour of the museum - a bright highlight of our New Mexico stay.

Spencer explained (quite eloquently yet in clear terms even we could understand) how a fossil is protected and excavated from a dig site . A fossil is blanketed by paper, burlap, plaster and, in this case, a wood frame since it's a large fossil, which forms a "jacket".

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More than 100,000 fossils and fossil casts reside in this room:

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Spencer chose a few to explain the dinosaur, the function, the dig for the fossil. Fascinating!

This is one of Spencer's favourite fossils. It's just one small section of the backbone of a Seismosaurus, if I recall correctly. The fossil weighs thirteen tonnes! It was shipped to and from Japan in those metal supports.

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Here's a full size Seismosaurus, "the longest land animal that ever lived". It has a whiplash tail ...

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... and is about to take out the pesky Saurophaganax, "the largest Jurassic meat-eating dinosaur".

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Here they are ignoring the tasty little man below:

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We had an awesome edutainment experience with our esteemed guide.

We thank you, Spencer!

-P

Alamogordo, NM

March 30, 2009 Alamogordo was the first test site for the atomic bomb in July 1945.

In 1954 Colonel John Paul Stapp rode a rocket sled just outside Alamogordo that decelerated from 632 to 0 miles per hour in one and one-quarter seconds. "His body experienced 46.2 times the force of gravity, in essence making him weigh 6,800 pounds for that brief time. At the time he was leading an Air Force team investigating the effects on the body of high altitude ejection seats."

Just over seven years ago Alamogordo made the news when Christ Community Church held a public book burning. What was thrown on the heap? The Harry Potter series, Stephen King's novels, Star Wars stuff, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare", a ouija board. However, protestors responded: "Cash donations were made to the library, and library director Jim Preston said, "With this money we are purchasing additional copies of Harry Potter, Tolkien, and Shakespeare." So there.

Alamogordo is a good home base for touring the area: hikes, parks, and science-based museums. We've hit the highlights and head out in the morning.

In the meantime, today's a good day to concentrate on work in light of blustery weather. However the sun has made an appearance so we took advantage and snapped a few photos here at Alamogordo Roadrunner Campground.

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The yucca is New Mexico's state flower.

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Heading back to our site, this little Gambel's Quail let out a "KAA". That little topknot - so cute. :)

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-P

National Solar Observatory

March 29, 2009 National Solar Observatory, Sacramento Peak, Sunspot, NM. "The dry air of the southwest, isolation from any major source of air pollution, and plenty of sunshine make this an excellent site for observing the sun." You can see current images and data at the National Solar Observatory/Sacramento Peak website.

The Evans Solar Facility (1952) has two telescopes which enables two observing programs to run simultaneously.

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Possible subjects: solar corona, flares, eruptive prominences and surges as well as the "quiet sun" without these phenomena.

In fact two solar physicists were in the midst of observation when we entered the Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope (1969). They were "waiting for the sky" - currents messed up their view of the sun where they looked for sunspots.

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A sunspot is a spot on the sun (surprise!) that has a super strong magnetic field sticks through the sun's surface. They can be 1500-30000 or more miles wide and their magnetic fields can be up to 5000 times stronger than the earth's. Big sunspots can last about a month.

(Yes, I'm wearing a toque and holding gloves. Don't be fooled; it isn't always warm down here. Given the elevation snow still peppers the roadsides and valleys.)

The Dunn Solar Telescope has a window and two mirrors at the top that guide the sun's light down the tower through a 329 ft tube from which the air has been removed.

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The structure measures 136 feet above and 228 feet below ground.

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Lloyd needs more sun?

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No, that's just the view of Lloyd by way of an infrared camera.

The grain bin below was ordered from a Sears catalog in the 1940s and adapted into the Grain Bin Observatory. You can try that at home.

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The telescope below was originally used in Antarctica. "During 'summertime' at the South Pole, the Sun stays above the horizon all the time, moving around the full horizon every twenty-four hours. So the sun can be observed continuously ... (allows the) study of the interior of the Sun, similar in the way in which geophysicists study the Earth's interior by observing seismic oscillations caused by earthquakes."

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Besides clouds, this little western bluebird was the only thing we saw in the sky.

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-P

A Drive in the Clouds

March 29, 2009 We drove from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft. The terrain changes from yucca and naked scrub at 4300 feet to evergreens and trees ballooning with leaves at 9000 feet.

"For 50 years the Alamogordo-Sacramento Mountain Railroad carried passengers and freight from the desert floor into the tall pine country of Cloudcroft, climbing 6,000 feet. The train line was abandoned in 1948." The "S Bridge" remains.

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A scene from the Sunspot Scenic Byway.

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Uh hum, what is THIS doing here?

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And these?

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The Cloudcroft Tunnel:

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Views from and around Cloudcroft Tunnel:

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Views from our descent:

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Not pictured: a wild turkey.

More on Cloudcroft to come.

-P

Cowboy Days

March 14, 2009 The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum hosted Cowboy Days. Cowboy breakfast at the stagecoach, gunfights, dutch oven cooking lessons, boot-stomping music, classic cowboy movies, western arts and crafts. You name it, it was there, along with open barns where visitors could tour the facilities, check out the donkeys and cows, pet the sheep, see a horse fitted with new shoes.

The museum itself is chock-full of artifacts inside and out, but among our favourite features were the photos of old west life:

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A poor photo, but an excellent example of a pit house inhabited by natives back in the day:

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Outside, a pioneering lady makes corn husk dolls for the kids while the Ol' Dutchmasters cook up sourdough biscuits. Lloyd was happy to sample. :)

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A youngin' gets his chaps strapped.

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We settled in for a bar brawlin' gunfight, after a gun safety spiel for the kiddies, of course.

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We both tried a new-to-us Mexican food, gorditas, vegetarian versions. Gordita means "little fat one" in Spanish. We didn't know that then. Anyway, a gordita is a small tortilla made of masa harina (corn flour) which is baked and split then stuffed with filling - beans, cheese, lettuce and salsa in our case. Messy, but yummy!

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Lloyd followed up with a course of roasted corn on a handy husk handle before we headed back to the present.

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-P

Coronado National Memorial, AZ

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's expedition, inspired by rumours of gold and riches, was an utter failure. "Early in the 16th century, Spain established a rich colonial empire in the New World. From Mexico to Peru, gold poured into her treasury and new lands were opened for settlement. The northern frontier lay only a few hundred miles north of Mexico City; and beyond that was a land unknown."

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After other failed expeditions, Coronado began his expedition in 1540 in search of the "Seven Cities of Cibola". Instead of golden cities they found rock-masonry pueblos (settlements) and Hopi Indians.

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Coronado et al met "The Turk", a Plains Indian who told them of rich land to the east, but they had to wait out winter in the area and the Indians's friendliness wore thin as the Spanish explorers offended and violated rules of hospitality. When the Spaniards didn't get their way they killed or forced inhabitants to abandon their pueblos. Regardless, The Turk led Coronado and his team. After many days of travel through barren land, the expedition arrived at the supposed "rich land" and came upon grass huts and nothing more.

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The Turk confessed the story of Quivira was just a plot conceived by the Pueblo Indians to lure the Spaniards out onto the plains in hopes they would become lost and die of starvation. The gullible soldiers executed The Turk.

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"Coronado, his dreams of fame and fortune shattered, finally reached Mexico City in the spring of 1542. Although publicly scorned and discredited, he again resumed his position of governor of New Galicia. He and his captains were subsequently called in to account for their actions during the quest, and it was four more years before Coronado succeeded in clearing his family's name. Ten years after his return, at the age of 42, he died in relative obscurity."

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The park preserves 4,750 acres of natural land by the Huachuca Mountains in southeast Arizona, about 26 miles from Bisbee.

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A narrow, winding drive ascends to Montezuma Pass Overlook at 6,575 ft elevation.

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A short, but steep hike climbs almost 300 more feet to Coronado Peak for a 360 degree view of the U.S.-Mexican border, San Pedro River Valley and San Rafael Valley.

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The whipping winds are worth it!

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-P