Oct 1-11, 2015

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In the last blog I talked about the woodcarvings that were being done at the fiesta and wanted to show a few of the pieces that were being done with chainsaws, some of the guys had 5-6 different size chainsaws to work with. The wood is cedar and aspen logs, carvers are given 3-6 ft long cuts of wood, about 12-14 inches in diameter. There were 36-40 logs that were transformed into work of art.

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There were new carvings done every weekend thru the fiesta. Each person had 90 mins from start to finish. They were then judged and actioned off at the end of the week. I had to take the pictures thru a net that was up around the workers to keep the chips from hitting anyone in the crowd.

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The balloon fiesta had lots of activities on the weekends but during the week it was rather slow, the Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension balloons flew in the early morning and the Evening Glow did not start until late in the day, so Adventure Caravans planned 4 excursions during the week.

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The first day we went to Old Town Albuquerque, Adventure provided a tour guide to talk about the area and explain where we were going. It was great having more information about the area.

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our tour guide

Guy and I had been looking for pictures to hang on our walls in the coach, so while we were in Old Town we found an art studio, Albuquerque Photographers Gallery, that had an interesting way of infusing photographs to aluminum. We found 4 pictures of spanish style doors, by Gale Sutton, “Door to the Universe,” ‘Weathered Blues” , “Deep Summer”, “The Blue Door” that we really liked and one of the “Lower Waterfalls of Yellowstone, by Tom Spross , the photographer, Gale Sutton, was at the studio so we were able to talk with her and hear about the process of how the pictures are made.

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The artist, Gale Sutton, holding one of our pictures

We had a beautiful picture of an awesome door on our bedroom wall that my friend, Shelley, had painted, it was nailed and we used industrial velcro to attach to the wall, but it has fallen 3 times and is now at the framer getting a new frame!! These pictures are aluminum and if they come down they will not get damaged! Yea!

We also went to the Turquoise Museum and listened to a talk about the different kinds of turquoise, what to look for when purchasing. Let me just say always ask a most important question, “Is it Natural?”. There are lots of fake turquoise out there so buyer beware. Pretty interesting as I have never been interested in turquoise. Also toured the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and watched the Indian Dancing demonstration.

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There was a trip to the Sandia Peak above Albuquerque, 10,378′ high. To get to the top you must take the enclosed tram ride on the world’s longest tramway, 2.7 miles to the top of Sandia Peak. The view from the top affords an 11,000 square mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley.  Anyone who knows me knows I am so afraid of heights, but I put on my big girl panties and went up the hill on the tram, I wasn’t as scared since we had just gone on the small unenclosed one in Angel Fire!! While we were at the top we had lunch at the High Finance restaurant. It was so cold that the best things we had was hot chocolate!!

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While we were up on the top the clouds covered most of the valley below, but would move just enough for us to get a glimpse of the valley and the mountains.

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We also ate at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, El Pinto. Guy and I are not ones that like buffets and usually steer clear of them but for a buffet this restaurant was the best ever.

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Love all the flowers that greet you as you walk up to the restaurant.

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When we pulled up to the front of the restaurant, they were roasting red peppers, the smell was so amazing. It sure got the juices running, you were sure ready to eat with that wonderful smell.

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peppers hang from the rafters out front

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roasting the peppers, the basket turns as the flame in the back roasts

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getting ready to roast a new batch

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A trip up to Santa Fe was on the agenda, as well, Guy and I had just been there so were not sure we wanted to go on this trip, but since we love the town and there is a great restaurant we love eating at, off we went.

Guy had a hat made when we were there in April, at the Hat Store and it was just a little to big, we went and had them redo the hat smaller, and went back a few days later to pick it up.

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This is the hat that needed to be made a little smaller

Here are just a few funky pictures around the town of Santa Fe.

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There is a sweet little chapel and museum, Loretto Chapel that we decided to visit. The Chapel was completed in 1878 and has seen many additions and renovations. The Miraculous Staircase which legend says was constructed or inspired by St Joseph the Carpenter, was built sometime between 1877 and 1881 and took about 6 months to complete.

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There is an amazing story that goes with the staircase; The staircase is referred to as miraculous, inexplicable, marvelous and is sometimes called St. Joseph’s Staircase. It makes over 2 complete 360 degree turns, stands 20′ tall and has no center support. It rests solely on its base and against the choir loft. The risers of the 33 steps are all of the same height. It is made with extinct wood species, it was constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails.

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The legend says that the Chapel had a choir loft 22′ above the ground floor, carpenters were called in but concluded that access would need to be by ladder as not to interfere with the interior space. The sisters’ of the chapel prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, for a solution, and on the 9th and final day of prayer a man appeared with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the staircase was completed and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.

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The stairway’s carpenter, who ever he was,  built a magnificent structure. The design of the structure perplex experts today.  There are questions to the number of stair risers relative to the height of the hour loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.

One of the other most interesting places we went to was the Ancient Acoma Pueblo, it is situated on a 370′ high mesa, the pueblo covers more than 70 acres and is comprised of several villages, Aconite, McCartys, Anzac and Sky Line.

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There are 300 homes and structures on the mesa which are owned by the Acoma women, the homes are passed down to the oldest women in the family. There is still to this day no running water or electricity. There are many porta potties at the ends of the streets. The roads are dirt and can be very muddy after the rains.

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Acoma, means people of the White Rock, have inhabited the pueblo since the twelfth century. Most of the present day people have residences in other parts of the reservation or in several farming villages, but go back to the pueblo for ceramonial events, or just to get away for some rest.

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The village still has families living in the old houses and care for the Franciscan mission church of San Estevan which was established in 1629. The ancient cemetery still stands outside the church, surrounded by a wall that on the top are guardian heads.

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The site on the mesa was chosen due to the fact it provided a defensive position for the drive against raiders. Access to the pueblo was difficult as the faces of the mesa are sheer and before modern times, it could only be accessed by a hand cut staircase carved into the sandstone.

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We were taken up to the mesa by a small bus, it dropped us off so we could walk around the town with a native Indian who explained all about the customs and how the community works. We went thru the church and the cemetery but were not allowed to take pictures due to the Indian customs.

Some of us decided to climb back down the ancient steps down the side of the mountain, it was a pretty easy climb down, the steps were steep but there were hand holds chipped out of the rocks.

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The stone steps and the hand holds to help getting down or up.

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I sure hope you liked our trip to the Balloon Fiesta and the surrounding area.  We had a wonderful time, it was great touring the area to places where we might not have gone to on our own. I had a hard time picking pictures for the two blogs, I have taken thousands and will say it was so overwhelming going thru them all.

Thanks for keeping up with “The Nomads and LaciLou” come on back and see where and what we are doing!!

Y’all have a Blessed Week, remember” it’s all about the Journey”