Sunday, October 1, 2017

Change of Plans

We were headed for Mexico City in 2 days for a tour of artist, Frida Kahlo's world when we heard that there had been an earthquake south of the city so at first we thought there would be no problem but it soon became clear that our trip would not come to pass.

My wife is a wiz when it comes to travel emergencies and by the next morning she had our son from Los Angeles who was going to join us rerouted to New Mexico.  The idea was to take a short road trip through Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

Our first stop was in O'Keeffe County, the town she settled in, Abiquiu.  We stayed at the Abiquiu Inn we knew from our visit to her house some years ago.

Going into the village we discovered a 5 room shop with every kind of artifact you can imagine from around the world on view.  Alas, nothing for us. Most everything else was closed but there was a wedding in the church for a Hispanic couple who were very nattily dressed.  We also drove to the nearby white limestone rock formation that O'Keeffe loved to paint, the Plaza Blanca.  Our son, Hunter took this image of himself and his mother, Penelope at the White Place as O’Keeffe call it.

Photo Credit: Hunter Stiebel

The following day we decided to do something more adventurous and went off on a dirt road for 13 miles, not the thing to do in a BMW sedan even if it has 4-wheel drive!  It went through mountains with hairpin turns but at the end of the road we had our reward.  In a green valley was the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, designed by the famous Japanese-American woodworker and designer, George Nakashima.  It is beautifully snuggled against the rocks with a glass clerestory so you can see the rocks from inside the church .  We entered just as the monks were getting ready to rise, put on their hoods and exit bowing to the altar and tabernacle as they left.  Quite an image that I wished I could have photographed, but here is a photo of the Church.

It was clearly a pilgrimage site for those seeking sanctuary and guidance as well as tourists.  One could even have a room for a few nights. There was a small cemetery with simple wood crosses which seemed so ideal for repose.

Our ultimate goal was Pagosa Springs, Colorado,  and a resort with hot springs.  Our son said our suite at the Springs Hotel was bigger than his apartment in LA:  2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a sitting room and kitchen.  We must have been there off-season because it is not hard to spend the same money on a just  O.K. room in New York.  Here is a photo of the hotel and outside at night.

The next day I walked along the river-bank watching the waters rush by while Hunter and his mother took a mountain hike.  Later, we all went to the Pagosa Springs pools.  There are quite a number and they have different temperatures.  The coolest is 89 degrees, going up beyond 110. Needless to say that one was called "The Lobster Pot"!  For me 103 was plenty.  There was much discussion between the visitors about what the hottest temperature felt like and there were those who were happy with the cooler ones.  It is novel and amazing from Nature's point of view but personally it was not something I would want to do on a regular basis.  The locals, however, could buy monthly passes and did.

What a treat those few days with nature were.

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