Sunday, December 29, 2013


Moab, Utah to Salt Lake City | 239 miles

Moab greeted us with 7º this morning. We pondered whether to go to Arches National Park in the frigid weather, and I'm SO GLAD we did. The desert sun didn't let the freezing air linger. By the time we went on our first hike around 10, it was in the 20s and felt even warmer. Considering the summer temperatures reach well over 100, I'll take the chill.

According to a video on the park office, this magical place was formed millions of years ago as the sea covered and then uncovered this area a couple of dozen times, leaving 5000 feet of solid salt behind. Then, rocks formed over the salt, the salt spread, erosion hacked away at the rocks, and, eventually, the salt dissolved, and the whole thing collapsed. Some of the earth sunk leaving monumental "fins" of rock sticking up.

Look at the cars at the base of that rock. The scale is hard to capture.

The crystalline snow twinkled in the sun like phosphorescence on the ocean. The crisp air kindly remained still for us. And then we saw our first arch.

It's called 'Delicate Arch,' and we skipped the extra mile hike to get closer. This view was pretty stunning. And so was the hike.

Photos usually capture a sense of place, but in this case, photos disappoint. Words fail.

There's a grand spirituality here that made me feel oh so tiny. But, curiously, at the same time I felt vital and invigorated, inspired and content.

Find the person in a red shirt.
Sometimes it's good to be reminded that our planet is awesome.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Cortez, Colorado to Moab, Utah via Mesa Verde | 125 miles

Any day that starts with a wild west roundup has got to be a good one, right?

"Turn around!" I said, as we were driving out of Cortez this morning. Some real, live cowboys were herding cattle right through town.

Yee haw.

We were on a short drive to Mesa Verde National Park, home of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the country. I'd always wanted to visit these curious cliff dwellings, but it was happenstance, not planning, that put them right in our path. Happy happenstance.

About 1400 years ago, a group of Native Americans made their home on top of Mesa Verde (mesa is the Spanish word for table, an elevated area of land with steep sides). In the 1200s, they moved from the top of the mesa into alcoves in the sheer stone walls where they built elaborate homes out of adobe, some as large as 150 rooms. Fascinating stuff.

The road up to the mesa is a wee bit unnerving, winding a climbing for miles but rewarding your effort with amazing vistas.

On the walk to Spruce Tree House, the only dwelling open in the winter, we could see the houses from across a ravine.

This pueblo has about 130 rooms and 8 kivas, round, underground ceremonial rooms. The scale of the buildings was much smaller than they appeared from a distance, their size appealing to our boater's economy of space.

The early ancestral Puebloans were basket weavers, and some of their work is on display in the museum. Later tribes were potters, making beautiful pots to hold grain and water. They grew grain and fruit on the mesa top and collected water that seeped through the stone, and, in one case, from a natural spring inside the alcove. From my vantage point all these centuries later, this life looks romantic and lovely. I wonder if it was more of the hardscrabble variety. The real mystery is why they left. Nobody is sure.

Exploring a kiva.
More dwellings are visible from the mesa top. Their view of us from over there must be magnificent.

 Our drive north into Utah took us by some odd formations.

We ended our day in Moab near Arches National Park.

With one little preview of what is coming tomorrow, Wilson Arch.

Home for the night.

Tomorrow, we're off to Salt Lake City.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Roswell, NM to Cortez, CO | 477 miles

"Drive 137 miles on North Main Street," the GPS told us as we left Roswell at 7:18 a.m.

That gave us a good, long time to decide whether to end our day in Flagstaff or somewhere north. If winter weather was threatening, we planned to drive across Arizona and up California, through Oregon and into Seattle. But, the weather map opened up, leaving us a more direct route through Salt Lake City and Boise, a route I call the Northwest Passage.

So, when we reached the fork in the road at Albuquerque, we turned north, toward Shiprock and a detour to Four Corners, two sites that filled me with giggling anticipation.

Our path took us through towering formations of earth and rock, ravines and arroyos that sent my imagination on flights of fancy, the grandeur tickling my soul. It's fascinating to imagine what incredible forces both beneath and above the ground might have wreaked this mess of rock piles and gouges in the earth.

Ridges loomed up far on the horizon, snowcapped peaks to the west and north. As we left the town of Shiprock, the formation of Shiprock appeared to the west. We watched as it marched toward us, larger and larger.

"Surely there will be a scenic overlook to stop and take a picture," I said hopefully.

I was wrong. Eventually, I pulled off by a barbed wire fence.

Across from The Rock.

Sometimes pictures capture a scene, but in this case, it does squat. Shiprock is simply enormous. Chip feels that New Mexicans don't know what ships look like.

And then, just down the road, is the only place in the United States where four states meet. So, along with everyone else, we waited in line and took a picture in a state of confusion, parts of us in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

But the best part of this day was the sight we didn't even plan for, and we got there in the magical light of sunset.

Palace Rock near Cortez, Colorado. Outrageous.

Chip and the distant Shiprock, 33 miles away.

Roswell to Cortez, 477 miles.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Roswell, NM
33.42º N | 104.53º W

A taste of my sister's good taste.
It is our first time in three years to celebrate Christmas off of Cara Mia, a little bittersweet -- and incredibly landlocked in New Mexico. But there's all sweetness in celebrating with family, not to mention having plentiful hot showers, a comfy bed and central heat.

Merry Christmas to our plodding followers. Glad you've come plodding across land with us. Buckle up, we'll be heading off again soon!

Boyd and Chip assembling the Christmas tree.

Skyping Christmas around the world: Casey & Remi in France,
Dylan in Norway, us in New Mexico.

Roswell Christmas socks.

Kennon women: Demi, Hannah, Kathy, Karey,
me and Mom.

The bros-in-law, Boyd and Chip.

Beautiful girls.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Roswell, NM
33.42º N | 104.53º W

From Clines Corners, we took the long, lonely road south.

To my hometown, Roswell, for more family fun.

Mom and me waiting for Santa at Beehive where Mom lives now.

Chip, Santa,
me, Mom,
my niece Hannah and Demi, four generations.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


35.164º N | 106.53º W
Portrait of Ben, taken by Zek.
Love and fun in Northern New Mexico with my nephew and his family.

Me and Ben making cookies.

Yoga for everyone!

My snuggle bunnies. <3 td="">

Beautiful Sal and Eliana.


Zek and Buncle Chip (short for Bald Uncle).
Somebody LOVES her daddy.