Monday, May 21, 2018

I'm in Kansas, Dorothy!

I next moved into Kansas, still on my way to join the WIN's Lewis and Clark circuit. I stayed 3 nights at Cheney Reservoir State Park, a gorgeous place that I stayed at 3 years ago, just west of Wichita.

The view out my door.

I had the opportunity to do another dam walk.

But the biggest surprise was this Nine-Banded Armadillo, wandering through the campground.

These noisy guys were all over the place, but fun to watch.

In nearby Hutchinson is one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.

Well, actually it's 650 feet underground - Strataca, a huge salt mine and museum.

I saw lots of rusty stuff -

And some very interesting old garbage.

Some of it was stuffed into cracks in the salt walls.

The potty wasn't too fancy...

We got two narrated rides. The first was a 15-minute train ride on the Salt Mine Express.

And then a tram ride that was a little longer.

This map shows how big the mine is (the yellow section) underneath the town of Hutchinson.

Since they have lots of room down here, there is a storage section for movie props, including lots of Super Hero costumes. Not sure what the connection is there...

Another sunset view out my window back at the campground. Great place!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Last Stops in New Mexico

Heading East for the WIN's Lewis and Clark circuit, I had a couple more stops in New Mexico. I stayed 2 nights at the Tucumcari Elks lodge -

Where we visited the Dinosaur Museum. A lot of the bones were bronze casts of the real bones, but still very interesting.

Wow! That's one big leg!

I even got to ride a dinosaur!

They had some really nice ammonites, that went extinct 65 million years ago with the dinosaurs.

All around town were beautiful murals.

This was my favorite, of course - it's got a cowboy in it!

We also stayed at Ute Lake State Park for one night.

I didn't get my money's worth out of my State Park pass, but it's good until the end of April of next year, so I can come back again. It's certainly a good deal if you will be spending any length of time in the state.

Monday, May 7, 2018

More New Mexico State Parks

This is the first time I have spent time in the New Mexico State Parks. I have to say I am pretty impressed! I next stayed at Storrie Lake State Park, near Las Vegas, NM. I really liked it because it was a beautiful place, but close to town.

When we heard that there was a hot springs nearby, we were off! Montezuma Hot Springs are a series of hot springs of different temperatures right along the river. This is the hottest. Don and Mary were brave enough to stick their feet in, but I was too wimpy...

I went over to the "Kid's Pool."

Next, I moved on to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.

The main reason was to see the "Blue Hole," a pool that is a popular dive spot. It has a constant temperature of 61 degrees.

There was no one diving when we were there, so I thought I should jump in.

And go scuba diving!

We also did a little hike on the Galinas Nature Trail, where there were some unique historic ruins.

Afterwards, we went to the Visitor Center, where we met the ranger's "Support Pig." Very cute and friendly...

Friday, May 4, 2018

Wandering Around Santa Fe

We spent a day wandering around the old center of Santa Fe. There are 3 churches that are well worth a visit. The first is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

This is the third church built on this site, the first being built in 1626.

A beautiful baptismal font is right inside the front door.

Above the altar is a crucifix that is a replica of the one in Assisi, Italy.

The walls are a series of arches separated by Corinthian columns.

When I go into Catholic churches, I especially like to look at the Stations of the Cross. They are all different.

These are the most unique Stations of the Cross that I have seen, other than the ones I saw in Tahiti. (link here)

The most famous church in Santa Fe is the Loretto Chapel, now a privately owned museum and wedding venue.

It also has a beautiful altar and ceiling.

And the Stations of the Cross are really well done.

But the Chapel is most famous for its miraculous staircase. Built around 1880 by a mysterious carpenter, it rises 20 feet without the support of a central pole.

And in case you think it won't hold any weight, here's proof that it does.

We also visited San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the United States, built around 1610.

The interior is amazing.

The wooden altar screen, or reredos, is one of the oldest in New Mexico, done in 1798.

Underneath the altar, you can get a view down into the old construction. I liked the unique legs on the altar.

The Stations of the Cross were hand-carved out of pine by a Mexican artisan.

These three churches are only a couple of blocks from each other. I highly recommend them if you are in the area!