Tom, Greg and Ken: Santa Fe 2015

Road Trip

Ken and I flew to Palm Springs on Sunday, August 16, 2015. Out of the frying pan and into the fire (heat wave in SF.) Greg picked us up at the airport and we drove to his home. Early supper that night was at Happetito (sp?) not too far away with Nick and Jeff.

EARLY the next morning we packed for our road trip to Arizona and New Mexico.

When we got to the washed out freeway bridge east of Palm Springs there was only one more vehicle going in our direction, so no delay.

We got to Phoenix at about 10 and to Tucson about 12. We headed over to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. This meant we were driving through the huge campus. Before the museum we stopped for lunch at the Frog and Firkin pub. When we finally got to the photography center, we found out it is closed on Mondays!!

This night we stayed at the Loews Ventana Resort, east of town in Ventana Canyon at the base of the hills. The resort is beautiful and the desert is so green now. Many saguaro cacti.

The lounge at the resort looking out to the pool

Exterior of the Loews Ventana Resort

August 18, 2015 Pie Town, New Mexico!

Day 2-Tucson to Santa Fe.

A long day planned today. Rather than taking the US Hwy's we decide to go through the mountains and canyons of the Copper Country which also happens to be primarily the Apache territory of Southern Arizona, passing through big towns like Globe and Show Low. All that aside, the real reason is to pass through the famous ( CBS Sunday Morning Exposé) Pie Town, New Mexico, along Hyw 60. The day is going to be at least 8 to 9 hours of driving, and the Pie Town Café closes at 3:00 pm. 

Of course the day starts slightly later than anticipated...vacation, you know. But off we go into the Sonora Desert, so green and lush from a good amount of monsoonal rain. Since the road is not wide, and is old, we encounter a series of delays from road work, but we still have enough time. The scenery is truly beautiful, including a deep canyon formed by the Salt River. The car is devouring the road like an ACURA commercial. 

The way of keeping unruly kids happy now-a-days is to give them a computer screen of one sort or another.  Tom and Ken are happy as could be. We even have Wi-Fi thanks to Tom's broadband toy. The hours fly by, and we still seem to have calculated it correctly to arrive with about 40 minutes to spare. Roads open up before us that are the quintessential Western highways as straight as could be for 20 miles at a time. We continue to check our time, and despite the occasional slow RV, and speed limits which are strictly adhered to in towns with no industry other than speed traps, we still have a little time to spare.

In one town or another, we find that we have crossed over into New Mexico. Suddenly the car, the computers, the phones change time. We are now 1 hour later!!! Oh, this is not possible! We are going to miss the "only reason we took the trip." We are going to miss the Pie Town Café. We arrive in Pie Town at 3:20. 

Sure enough, the 2 famous pie cafés are closed and empty. As we pass the very few buildings in town, we are deflated. Off in the distance we see some flags, and a hand printed sign that says..."PIES" and ..."Open". We pull into a driveway which was probably meant for a "mule team" and we see a log cabin, and an "out house." They have pies!!!

We enter the open door to the log cabin and sheepishly say: "Hello?"  Well, in the kitchen is Cindy. She opened this pie place because the other pie places became so famous that there are always people looking for pies, and they are always closed. You'll see by the photos that we are soon devouring our lunch and dinner of: apple, peach and rhubarb pies with "a la mode" included. Cindy joins us because she is thrilled to see people come through.

Tom inside the Pie Source Restaurant

Tom, Ken ready to eat pie ouside.

Tom, Ken, Greg with Cindy the pie lady.

After we lick our paper plates, we continue to Santa Fe. We still have hours to go. Along the way, we are to pass the area where Josephine Gilman, my Grandma Jodie, purchased 2 1/2 acres of land for some unknown reason. It is still in her name, and sits far off any road or train track in Valencia County, New Mexico.  It will remain in her name (she died in 1957) until they discover something in the area. I will continue to pay the annual taxes in her name to the tune of $5.02/year. It will peacefully remain in the middle of no man's land in honor of "Grandma Jodie."

As the sun sets, we arrive in Santa Fe, and the adventure continues.

The "Stool Shed" is next to left of the Pie Source Cafe

August 19-20, 2015 Cooking Opera

Day 3-4- Santa Fe.

Tom's niece Bae came by our house Wednesday morning so we could plan our day as our tour guide. Just as she got here, the Santa Fe artist Bernard Marks came by to deliver a new painting to Greg.

Flowing Ocotillo by Bernard Marks

Our first stop was at the Tesuque artists colony where we walked through the two sculpture gardens and fine arts gallery. We ended up at the Shidoni Gallery and foundry. The gallery manager gave us a tour through the foundry and told us how these imense glass pieces by Charles Miner are created using the lost wax technique.

An example of Charles Miner's work.

Afterwards, we drove nearby to the Tesuque Village Market for lunch.

Ken, Bae, Tom and Greg at the Tesuque Village Market

Next Bae drove us across town to Canyon Road where we walked up and down visitng the many interesting art galleries.

Iconic adobe, chili-pepper-hanging hacienda (art gallery) on Canyon Road

Kinetic art sculpture.

For dinner, Bae and Marcus (Tom's nephew) made reservations for us at Café Pasqual - a popular restaurant downtown Santa Fe.

Tom had Mole Enchiladas ~ Sautéed Organic Tofu , Zucchini, & Spinach, Cilantro Rice Orange ~ Cucumber Salad with Fresh Corn Torte

Ken ordered Pan Seared Cape Code Sea Scallops - Orange~Saffron Butter, Saffron Rice, Sugar Snap Peas

Greg ate Housemade Tamales ~ Red Chile, Organic Chicken and/or Green Chile Jack Cheese with Christmas Chile Sauce (red AND green)

Marcus ate Mole Enchiladas ~ Organic Pulled Chicken , Zucchini, & Spinach, Cilantro Rice Orange ~ Cucumber Salad with Fresh Corn Torte

And Bae ordered the special: Oven roasted pork ribs.

Ken and Greg in our rented house.

On Thursday we headed out to our cooking class: Southwest Party Fare. The chef showed us how to make the following dishes: SW Gazpacho, Crab/Corn Fritters, Chile Relleno, Pork Tacos on home made Mini Corn Tortillas. For dessert was Dixon Apple Pie Tamales.

Facing the instruction space with mirrors above the work surfaces and closed circuit TV monitors.

Michelle (Mika) Chavez, our instructor. We really appreciated how she incorporated the many aspects of Santa Fe and Mexico into the session: history, local produce, chilis, indians, geology, etc.

After all of the dishes had been prepared, they were served to us. Tom, Greg, Ken enjoying the gazpacho soup.

The lunch ended with an apple pie tamale served in a corn husk boat.

.... Next time, The Daughter of the Regiment at the Santa Fe Opera which we see tonight.

August 20, 2015 Daughter of the Regiment

Day 4- Santa Fe - Part 2

This night we saw Donizetti's comic opera Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti at the Santa Fe Opera House.

Tailgating at the opera. When we arrived, people were setting up tables like mad in the parking area.

Our opera buffet dining area. We were served 3 salads, lentils, sour dough bread, chicken and salmon.

Lecturer Desiree Mays, M.A., author and international lecturer on opera gave the after supper talk. We later learned that Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg was sitting at the table (behind blond woman) next to this podium.

View of stage from our seats in the balcony. There are no bad seats in this opera house. In front of each seat is a little digital screen where if you choose you can see English translation of the lyrics. In this performance the singing was in French and the spoken dialog was in English (which needed sub titles!!!)

From left, Alek Shrader as Tonio, Anna Christy as Marie and Kevin Burdette as Sulpice Pingot. The cast was very good and the opera very funny. Voices were excellent. Couldn't wait for the tenor to sing the 9 high "C" notes!

Judith Christin performs as the Duchess of Krakenthorp. She was not pleased when Maria did not sign the marriage contract to the Duke of Krakenthorp.


August 21, 2015 Los Alamos / Taos

Marcus got us visitor's badges so we could tour the National Laboratory facilities at Los Alamos. Most of the buildings are off limits and classified, but we could walk around them. We went into one of the few open to the public. Many employes live there in homes that make up the town.

On our way to Taos, we stopped at a history church at Las Trampas. We were fortunate that it was open and we could go inside. Work was being done on the left tower. Mud with straw in it was being hoisted in buckets where it was spread on the facade.

That night we ate at El Meson - a Spanish restaurant with dishes from all of the regions of Spain. We ordered 2 kinds of paella: vegetable and sea food. Very tasty.

Ken, Tom, Marcus, Bae and Greg.

After stuffing ourselves we walked around downtown Santa Fe. The Plaza and the streets around were blocked off and hundreds of booths were being set up for the big Indian Market that's taking place this weekend.

August 22-23, 2015 Indian Market & Las Vegas

Bae came by early Saturday morning to take us to the Indian Market in downtown Santa Fe. This is a annual event that brings Indian crafts-people from all over the world. We spent hours looking at jewelry, pottery, woven fabrics, belts, carvings, etc. These were brought from all over the United States.

This artist (his brother) won the highest award at the show.

Greg, Ken and Bae were shown the 40 pounds of traditional Sious (Plains Indian) garment that this woman was wearing.

Interior lobby of the Drury Hotel in downtown Santa Fe.

Ken, Greg, Marcus and Tom around the table at Marcus and Bae's home. It was a nice evening to sit outside for the delicious dinner that Bae prepared.

The next day (Sunday) we drove south and east of Santa Fe to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Along the way, we stopped at the Pecos National Monument. It is such a well done presentation of what is left of the Pecos pueblo. We were given material for a self-guided tour. Tom got to use his newly acquired senior pass and Greg purchased his.


Marcus and Ken climbed down into a kiva and undergound ceremonial area.

Marcus, Tom and Ken climbing out of the kiva.

The huge Spanish mission structure. There were 2 churches and many support buildings.

The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, NM.

Allan Affeldt and Greg. Allan is the entrepreneur who bought and restored this historic building in this historic town. Greg's sister-in-law Roberta has made a documentary on another hotel that this man has brought back to life (where we will be staying in Winslow on Tuesday night).

Greg, Bae and Marcus getting ready to order lunch at the Plaza Hotel.

August 24, 2015 Acoma - Sky City

Our leisurely morning ritual was interrupted by an email asking when we were leaving our Santa Fe house TODAY. We thought we had another night here. Upon checking, we did find that we actually were to leave today. We quickly adjusted our itinerary to complete our Santa Fe tasks and hit the road.

We booked a hotel in Grants, NM not far from our afternoon's destination - the Acoma Pueblo west of Albuquerque.

Ken, Greg and Tom in front of the Acoma Sky City Cultural Center

The old Acoma Pueblo on the bluff of this mesa, a short bus ride from the cultural center. This dates back to 1150 ad.

Buildings of the Acoma Pueblo

Mica windows replace open windows. The gold colors led early explorers to think they had found the "City of Gold"

Across the valley is a high bluff which was a prior location of the Acoma Pueblo. The story is that lightning hit and destroyed the trail up to the top causing the Acomas to abandon it.

Arial view of Acoma Pueblo

The San Esteban del Rey Mission at the Acoma Pueblo. It is used for ceremonies twice a year. We could not go into it because it will be used on September 2 and was being prepared for the event.

August 25, 2015 Painted Desert

It took about an hour to reach the and Petrified Forest National Park from Grants, NM. This park includes the Painted Desert. We stopped at the visitors center and learned that Greg didn't need to use his Senior National Parks pass as this "free" day was the 99th birthday of the National Park Service.

We drove on to the old Painted Desert Inn, an old Fred Harvey hotel. Here we were served cake by volunteer ladies, descendants of real "Harvey Girls"

Painted Desert vistas

Petrified logs.

Panorama at the Crystal Forest.

The was the hotel where we stayed this night in Winslow, AZ. It is another old Fred Harvey hotel designed by Mary Jane Colter. It was restored in the mid 1990's by Allan Affeldt. This is the guy whom we ran into in Las Vegas, NM several days ago at his restored Plaza Hotel. He was also here so we got to say "hello"

Panorama of the "game room". Ken on his iPad. Greg is behind the square column, Tom's Surface peeking out in the lower right.

More "game room" at La Posada.

Each of our rooms here at La Posada is named after a vintage film star. Ken was in the Jame Russell room. Tom was in the Will Rogers room and Greg was in the Victor Mature room.

Tom "Killer Vegetarian Sampler" was the best veggie dish ever: Mushroom pate, corn on the cob, baby turnips, decorator carrots, broccolini, sweet tamale, rustic mashed potato, crispy egg roll, stuffed green chili.