30th Wedding Anniversary Trip West 2007
(April 30, 1977 – April 30, 2007)
Married in the 1842 Johnson Cty. Courthouse, Warrensburg. Deems Brooks of Warrensburg officiated.

REFERENCES for your vacation interests:

Our 30th wedding anniversary celebration consisted of a 3700 mile trip to and from the the Southwest including New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Left Warrensburg at 5:51AM April 24. Returned 2:30PM May 8. All information in this journal is true as true can be.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 24, Tuesday – Left at 5:15 AM and traveled to Holden. Morning was bright, sunny, and spring day of 60 degrees, but a storm was coming later. Followed Hiway 2 to state line by 7:35AM. By 7:30AM arrived at Louisburg, Ks. The Kansas "feeling" of white rocks appearing along roadside in layers is apparent. The terrain is more rolling and flat. When we entered Kansas, we were on Ks. 68 west and along that road saw a sign in the middle of an island in a pond in front of a farm house. Sign read: Grumpy Al's Place.

Saw first oil well on Ks. 68 on way to Ottawa. On the north side of the road was an oil well painted white and blue. I guess New Mex. colors were spreading even in the oil fields! By 8:10AM stopped at the BP gas service and convenience store at Ottawa where we met the bowling team from Iowa going to Wichita for a womens' world bowling tournament several years ago. I always mentioned those 4 gals to Bill: One a soccer mom, another in gothic in dress, and the other two were too busy buying beer and cigarettes to pay much attention to me staring at them. They were definitely on a "gals" trip from their husbands!

Mo. 2 has become Ks. 68 and that's how we avoided Kansas City traffic. I-35 becomes 50 Hiway about 60 miles from Ottawa. At Ottawa storm clouds to west, cloudy, 65 degrees, and slightly windy. Saw first Ks. rock fence at Pomona-Willliamsburg exit on west. This was the first sighting of a rock fence of flat rocks in a pasture.

Here's a picture to paint: Windmill with broken spokes, big sky, a lonely windmill – just before Exit 170, about 2 miles on east side of road. Scenery is fields, cattle, few houses, rare sighting of oil wells. But, from Ottawa to Emporia, Milepost 151, is now a scene of ranch land and to open space of Ks. oil wells are frequent. One can see very long trains off in distance. Soil is a creamy, golden color like the roads that have that same color. Cottonwood trees have leaves, but not other trees. Also, fields of corn and wheat are along road. When we got to Emporia, we talked of the UCM sports team going to Emporia to play at the college there, about 160 miles from Warrensburg. Long trip from Warrensburg.

Along this area, we saw hazy clouds that look like rain coming. Also, saw large herds of white goats. And, first armadillo sighted in middle of hiway at 8:50AM, mile marker 145. Armadillos are in Ks.!

Emporia is home of William Allen White, a famous publisher of small town news and renowned writer of journalism issues. I learned all about William Allen White in journalism classes. We just listened to talk shows, like Neal Bortz, during our drive even though we brought several Tony Hillerman CD mysteries, Elvis, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, etc. – you know the good "old" music.

After Emporia, ranch land, but still crops and cattle. Rocks are still that golden, creamy color and they seem flat. We are in the Flint Hills area. Rocks are white, Chase County, named after Secretary of Treasury under Lincoln. The temp. is about the same, but much more windy. Sign posted as Chase Cty. as heritage of cattle drives. Now hills, no trees, just erosion in fields. Drove through Strong City, Ks. which is Flint Hills area, then Cottonwood Falls, Ks., which is exit to grass prairie preserve. Now going along US 56 to McPherson and Great Bend, Ks. By 9:30AM following US 50 to Ks. 150. Now, it is very windy and terrain is white rock, open grasslands, no buildings, little washouts along side of highway, and open range.

Paint a scene: One single tree in little wash waterway. Rocks are still that cream color with somewhat a reddish color. Followed Ks. 56 to McPherson, passed the J Bar Cattle Co., and saw large wind breaks around houses. Saw more oil wells, some blue, some orange, some red, and seems like New Mex. is even getting closer! Took a break at 10:32AM in McPherson. Now gas is $2.81 a gallon. McPherson is a big town and very impressive downtown. Stopped for lunch at a McDonalds in Great Bend and then after 11:00AM headed on Ks. 56. But, before we came to that McDonalds, we saw a very unusual sign on side of road: Kiowa Kitchen, best Mexican restaurant in Great Bend. The restaurant was closed.

Saw methane gas fields, hydro-carbon tank farms, and the extensive pipe lines of the Williams Pipeline Co. This area was so impressive with pipelines and tanks. It is a real pipeline farm! From McPherson onto open range, wheat fields, and no fences.

A must tourism stop: Soon came to Lyons, Ks. celebrating Spanish explorer Coronado looking for the golden city of Quivira. The humor here is a town celebrating a Spanish explorer who was sent on his quest by the Pueblo Indians in New Mex. to get him away from them. Coronado wasn't happy to find out the Pueblo sent him on a goose chase. So, he returned to the Pueblo and got even. However, Lyons, Ks. is grateful Coronado got to their area of Ks., so now the Lyonites have a festival about Coronado searching for his Quivira. Such a clever tourism hook! A huge mural invites the tourist to come to the celebration of Coronado!!

After we left Lyons and touring the murals celebrating Coronado, we listened to 1070AM, the "Ranch" radio station (a Johnny Weston station out of Wichita), we heard Leroy VanDyke's special program show sponsored by the "Ranch." We also, saw more New Mex. colors on another oil well: This time green and orange. Now, there are bigger windbreaks surrounding country houses. Must be serious weather in this area. Soon drove through the Cheyenne Bottoms, a natural wildlife preserve, near Ellinwood, Ks. This town was sad, a very quiet little town, and such neglect in its downtown.

A must tourism stop: Fort Larned National Historic Site. Weather now very windy and hot. Still traveling on US 56 to Ks. 156 to Larned, Ks. Passed Pawnee Rock, Ks., a rock monument for pioneers. By 1:34PM we were at the )Santa Fe Trail Center, Ks.. I went into my first sod house and dug-out house. This center is a must tourism stop for history of prairie pioneering settlements. This museum celebrates the Santa Fe trail . Fort Larned, a few miles from the Center, was developed to protect government business along the trail such as mail service, disputes of travelers, etc., but not as some may think a fort against the Indians. I entered one of my Fort Larned pictures of a tree in local competition, and Bill entered his rows of baked bread from the fort’s bakery.

The fort is beautiful and very orderly. White buildings, offices, barracks, living quarters, supply quarters, all painted white with blue trim. We took several pictures of the buildings. Beautiful restored buildings. The fort, built to protect Santa Fe Trail travelers, is very similar to Ft. Scott, Ks., an infantry outpost from 1859 to 1884. Now, the weather is hot and really windy. Learned that the soldiers there were well fed, 300 loaves of bread made daily in an impressive kitchen. But, the water supply from a nearby large creek often made everyone sick. The fort's buildings were always preserved and used well until the National Park Service purchased and restored the fort.

Went onto Burdett, Ks. on Ks. 156 west. This town is the home of someone (I couldn't read the sign) who discovered the former planet Pluto. Time was 3:19PM, 77 degrees. The town of Burdett is small, vacant buildings, there's a cafe, wheat storage areas, and that was about it. Saw first prairie dog splattered on side of road in Burdett. Soon drove to Garden City, Ks., only a few oil wells, no trees, but now the wheat fields of Ks. in Finney County.

By 5:00PM spending first night on road at Holiday Inn Express (use term from now on as HIE) in Garden City. Went to Cattleman's Restaurant, our favorite restaurant in Kansas, two other locations: Sublette and Liberal, Ks. We ordered same items as we had in the other restaurants: Beef tips with mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade rolls. Wonderful. Downtown Garden City is beautiful, brick streets, very big downtown, beautiful downtown park with elaborate band stand and audience area. No litter, no one sleeping in the park, and very impressive large stone buildings. Only one area of downtown had a few run-down houses, not really noticeable. One can take Amtrak from Kansas City to Garden City.

The brand for Garden City is very interesting: "Just Plain Success." Nothing like a little bragging.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 25, Wednesday: Left Garden City and went through more Flint Hills and saw more big ranches, no trees, just grazing cattle for miles and miles. Weather was still windy, blue sky, clouds, but bad weather was north of us, and storm looked like it was headed for Kansas City. Going to New Mexico finally! Will tour the small town of Folsom, N.Mex. again, determined to walk the rim of Capulin volcano, and headed for Raton, N.Mex. to one of our favorite Mex. restaurants, Raton Museum, and the Schuler Theater, plus our favorite tourism center for New Mex. at Raton. We have done "live chat" (Go to New Mexico Tourism and click on to 'live chat to NMex. Visitor center') with the Raton Tourism Center and was anxious to meet everyone there.

Left Garden City 7:35AM and going to Raton by way of Colorado. Thus 50 Hiway to I-35 which goes straight from Kansas City to Pueblo, Colo. Now very cold, but nasty, windy. In this area headed for Raton starting to see sandy soil, nothing really green yet, and now the brown colors. On this US-50 west from Garden City saw interesting business: Crazy Horse Boat Rental, the boat capital of Kansas.

At the high plains town of Lakin, Ks., 8:07AM, after leaving Garden City, saw something curious: flood dragon teeth at the Arkansas Creek outside of Lakin. Now sand quarries not coal mines in western Kan. What are flood dragon teeth? Seeing now very, very large feedlots that go on for miles or power plants.

By 8:46AM took a stop at a convenience store in Ulysses, Ks., where Bill knows someone who has a B&B there, a farm stay of sorts. Outside of Ulysses is a natural gas pipeline painted to look like a person. Very clever to make a pipeline connector look like a fat, little person.

On Hiway 160west to Colo. saw pheasants sitting on railroad tracks, open wheat fields, and now few oil wells and gas wells. Temp. 47 with strong winds.

Landscape colors: Bright sun hitting green wheat fields and trees with only white house and barn in distance. Clouds are in layers, with white and grey to blue fading. Took a break in Springfield, Colo. and headed for Branson, Colo. on Hiway 160, definitely the high plains of Colo. By 9:19AM driving along the Comanche National Grasslands of the high plains. However, an interesting story near Kim, Colo.

In the Kim area the US government wants to take land from the ranchers for "Iraq" like environment of training. First road sign posted: This Land Not For Sale To Army. Go to this site for the war of land is between Ft. Carson and the ranchers.

Saw a very pretty deserted stone building deserted along US-160 at CO-389 exit to Branson. Now green coloring in the roads due to rocks to make road. Now 44 degrees going on CO-389 to Branson. Cactus are blooming, not trees, just range cactus. Lunch at Folsom. Wanted to go to theFolsom museum, but one has to make a phone call to get someone to open door to museum. This is a very sad museum of good history of area and the Folsom point story. The historic point story is very sad about its discovery and the rancher who found it. The Village Inn bar in Folsom is the only business in the one-street town. Talked with "Grandpa" (owner's grandpa) about New Mexico at the Inn while we waited for barbeque and french fries. Good place to drink beer and learn all the local gossip and stories. Dollar bills were all over the walls to indicate previous customers. This is high country, so the the real wood stove was going and the bar and its dance floor area was typical of a country, community bar in the middle of nowhere. We were the only customers, and we will return to the Village Inn. It's a rustic, wood paneled two-room country bar, just perfect to meet folks and learn about the area. It's a community bar where everyone knows everyone and families come.

After a 12:30PM lunch, we arrived at Capulin Volcano National Monument of 8,000 ft. to top. Now 41 degrees, high winds, and really miserable, but I was determined to walk the rim of the volcano in the freezing wind. And, there were three other tourists there trying to complete the trails to the center of volcano. I suddenly got the shakes from the chill of the wind, and I couldn't even get started walking. When one is at 8,000 ft. altitude and high winds, one must say damn! Next time I will do the rim in hot summer!!

Left Capulin volcano disappointed and arrived at the New Mex. Tourism Center, Raton, which I was looking forward to meeting the employees. I had written to someone by name of Joseph, but he wasn't there so we talked with Alicia Fernandez and Beverly Mack. Learned Alicia is 1/4th Mexican, Apache, Cherokee, and German. She wants to research her Cherokee history.

Scenery around Raton is yellow wheat stalks, buttes in the mountains, snow on mountains, flat range, cattle, no oil wells, wind breaks, and groupings of pines in the area's Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Now sunny, no wind, 32 degrees, 6,000 ft. altitude. My fondness for Raton is the famous Shuler Theater which was closed when we stopped there. It's a famous New Mex. theater restored for plays and programs, but I don't know anymore if it is opened like it was.), and the sad little Raton Museum on a once business-filled street by the railroad tracks in downtown Raton. Raton was once a busy railroad community and mining area. Raton pass is famous for being on the Santa Fe Trail. But, now the little Museum has only Mr. Roger Sanchez to take care of it and promises for the future move of the little museum filled with antiques, history, and what Raton once was. Mr. Sanchez, about 60 or so of age, is the only one to take care of the museum and hope funding will come some day to move it from the deserted buildings along the street where the museum is located. So sad to return to a little museum with such promise he said for the future of its existence and then find the little museum in worse shape. Raton was once a big city, but the beginnings of its down fall is showing. However, we enjoyed Raton like we always did – even went to Goat Hill which wasn't much of a mountain and not very well kept for a view of the city. The restaurant we wanted to go to was closed for the day, so we went to another restaurant I thought just as good, El Matador. Raton has an orange, red, pink, green bridge.

While talking to Mr. Sanchez, a retired piano player was playing. Of course I wanted to see how good the player was so I asked him to play ragtime. Well, he wasn't that good, but he did play well and explained how he left Maine to live in Raton because he and his wife fell in love with the town. Now, he is planning to play at private parties and visits with Mr. Sanchez during the day to entertain those who come to the museum. Geez, I don't know how to write any more about the little Raton Museum. It’s just a sad little museum along side empty store fronts.

Scenes from Raton: Yellow wheat stalks, buttes and mountains with snow on tops of them. Flat range, cattle in small herds, no oil wells, windbreaks in groupings of cedar pine trees.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 26, Thursday: Looking at the Santa de Cristo mountain range, sunny, no wind, 32 degrees. We're at 6,000 ft. altitude and listening to a Tony Hillerman tape. We are going south from Raton to Santa Fe. Colors here are blue, black, mixed with gray, yellow cream fields, and the wonderful New Mexico blue sky. Colors of bridges are now orange, red, pink, and green, instead of the gray cement color. The first green painted with pink bridge is in Raton. We are just south of Raton Pass on the Santa Fe Trail.

During Thursday morning, April 26, after leaving Raton, we came to Las Vegas, N.Mex. Colors are hazy grey blue and seeing lots of snow fences along road, very little grass, and just a cream colored soil. At 9:10AM past the Rough Rider Museum on Grand St., downtown Las Vegas. We have tried to tour that museum and this is the third time it has been closed! Las Vegas is not a pretty town nor would I want to tour it. But, Uncle Murray says it is a great town where all his friends are when he and Barbara resided there for many years. Too many empty buildings, poor appearance around town, and not a "good feeling" for that town. Felt edgey there.

Arrived at Santa Fe by 10:45AM and left by 1:15PM. The colors to Santa Fe were: From Apache Canyon going into Santa Fe, red soil to white cream colored soil and now seeing the typical southwestern architecture. Arrived at the plaza area at 10:45AM and found a place to park near the plaza church and first went to The Shed restaurant for lunch, just like we did last year. I took pictures around the courtyards off the narrow street and Bill's picture he took from 2006 was now changed around. Lots of customers and street traffic of walkers were busy. For lunch we had posole, blue tacos, red beans, and ice tea.

About 50 degrees now, so easy to walk around, not like Capulin Volcano top! Went to the same museums we toured last year: George O'Keefe Museum, The Governor's Palace, and Santa Fe Museum of Art. The Indian vendors were not in front of the Governor's Palace. They were all in the Palace's courtyard in a big meeting about rules of being a vendor. Big group, so I listened in about complaints and issues of selling jewelry on the street in front of the Governor’s palace.

We went to a favorite store of mine and didn't spend too much gallery touring. Too many art galleries on square. Bill and I had lemonade and sat on the square area benches for a while and watched people. That's all I wanted to do. Bought 3 saddle blankets of various designs and then saw a large dog, a rothwiller (don’t you laugh…can't spell that dog breed!), wearing a little saddle, and on the saddle sat a cat wearing a little saddle, and on top of the cat sitting on the little saddle was white rat. The person with this threesome was panhandling on the street with his dog, cat, and rat, so he was told to leave. I didn't take a picture. I was told not to. Later we saw on television, the fella was fined for not having proper vaccinations of his dog, cat, and rat. This wasn't that unusual seeing the dog, cat, and rat. Last year I really believe I saw Georgia O'Keefe sitting on a bench and two cowboys just off the Santa Fe Trail. Next year I will be sitting on a bench and looking around for what I may see or think I see.

Left Santa Fe about 1PM and headed to Albuquerque by way of Turquoise Trail. This is a two-lane hiway with various stops of shops, little towns, and yuppie places along the hiway. It is an interesting drive, but not that thrilled to do the drive again. It is a long drive ending at the drive up to Sandia Mountain, about 10,000 feet in altitude. And, when we got to the top, I made a snowball and threw it at Bill!

It was odd to see a family at 10,000 ft. altitude, windy, and somewhat chilly having a picnic overlooking Albuqerque . The museum and dining area were very nice, not very many visitors, but the family was sure having fun with their sandwiches and enjoying the view! The mountain, a 14 mile drive up to 10,000 ft, overlooks the Rio Grande Valley where Albuquerque is. The soil is a creamy color, but a slight greenish appears because it is turquoise rock.

What we saw along the Turquoise Trail was just typical in New Mexico, but not in Missouri: About 10 miles out of Santa Fe we saw an artist wearing a cowboy hat painting a blue mule on canvas. Madrid, on the trail, was a very artsy little town for tourists.

When we returned from the mountain and got on the freeway going into Albuqerque, we listened to a traffic report by a DJ named "Helen Wheels." The traffic was heavy going into the big city, so we listened to "Helen Wheels" very closely.

Arrived at Madge & Larry Harrah's home about 5PM. Madge gave me a classic southwestern cookbook by a woman author who was so famous in Albuquerque for her study of southwestern culture, and a library has been named after her: Erna Fergusson. Weather was cool, sunny, and off we all went to Garcia's restaurant, one of our favorites, near her home. Then, we took pictures of Madge to prove we were there to Sandy Irle. Also, Madge gave us Hatch, New Mex. canned green chilies which is the top of all chilies in the state. We used only green sauce on what ever we ate, not red sauce! As most of you know, Madge wrote the Blind Boone book for children and she and Bill attended the Tony Hillerman Conference in November 06 and at the conference Bill met Tony Hillerman.

After dinner and talks about Roswell and how to get to The Pit (Univ. of New Mex. arena) to see the country’s biggest pow-wow the next day, we returned to our HIE and got organized for the next day.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 27, Friday We went into downtown and the university area on Route 66. There is a special Route 66 brochure thru Albuquerque to illustrate the businesses that were and are still on the Route 66 tourism drive. Here is an example website about Route 66 in New Mex. We had a special brochure of the Route 66 along Central Ave., which is Route 66. Most of the original Route 66 businesses need restoration and some are closed.

About 10AM we arrived at the university's Maxwell Museum of Anthropolgy and toured the southwestern culture exhibits of Chaco and Casas Grande. The Dept. of Anthropology is a whole building of exhibits including an Alaskan northern fishing village in the Arctic area around 1930's.

The Univ. of New Mex. is a beautiful campus, extremely large, but the walkways are very shaded and very pretty: Pink colored buildings, quiet, and no trashy areas.

The Gathering of Nations began on Thurs., April 26, but we went on Friday to the university's large arena for basketball, called the Pit. This is a very large facility. We stood in a long line outside the ticket windows for awhile, cost $15 per day, or there was package prize for Thurs. thru Sat. We first went to the vendor tent and refreshment booths outside of the arena area and saw a extensive rows of vendors selling everything native Amer. For dancing and performances, plus other items such as jewelry, etc. The food vendors were varied, but we stayed with a Navajo taco because we figured we would get our money's worth from that. Lunch was $7.50 for a taco and pepsi. A Navajo taco is flat frybread with beans, hamburger, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and very messy to eat because we were sitting on the concrete floor area next to a wall watching the native Americans walk by. They were also trying to figure out how to eat their lunch while sitting on the ground next to a wall while they are dressed for ceremonial dancing!

The weather was getting hot. At the inside of the arena hundreds of tribe members were sitting in the stands around the core of the area. I would estimate about 20 or more competitive drummer units. We sat behind the Comanche drummers and singers. Singers are not singing songs, but chants of their language and sometimes a little English. We were right close to one of the loud speakers. I thought Bill would run out of the building with the loudness of the drummers, but he stayed right with me. I believe he was overwhelmed with what he was seeing and didn't want to move. The grand parade began with drumming and the down the aisle rows came representatives from over 500 tribes in U.S. and Canada. The parade kept coming and coming until the 3,000 or so competitors were in the arena. The procession was led by chiefs, senior citizens, and others of importance. I got so confused after awhile I just watched and didn't move.

However, going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water (we brought our own bottled water) was a feat in itself. The hallways around the arena were packed to about one inch of movement between those dressed for competition and those like us. Also, to add to the crowd were vendors along the corridors selling jewelry, etc. I would say it took me 30min. to get to the bathroom after even planning my route!

We stayed at the pow-wow thru the dances of those of age groups, women, children, and senior citizens. The dancing even continued thru the night and way past midnight. The prizes were monetary wins, so the dancing was very stressful to many. A common competitive dance was called the "grass dance." Go to gatheringof nations.com.

I had no idea what I would be seeing at the Pow-wow. This was a very serious event for competitive dancing and drumming. On Sat. morning after our Fri. attendance at the Pow-Wow we saw on t.v. about 100,000 plus the native Americans attended the event with a waiting line to get in of over 2 hours. I cannot imagine anymore attendance than what I experienced in the arena and vendor's area during Friday. Too much for my head to take in about attending an extremely large event!

We left the Pow-wow about 5PM because there was a break so the evening performers could get ready for dancing and drumming until about 2AM. Couldn't imagine that time of attendance! So, we left the event and headed for Old Town Albuquerque for dinner.

As soon as we arrived in Old Town, we were told by a passer-by that some of the Navajo Code Talkers would be signing autographs and selling their book. We walked around the Old Town plaza area and couldn't find them for awhile. The Code Talker group were surrounded by tourists, so we just join the group. We bought the book, took pictures, and listened to their stories. We then to an outdoor Mexican restaurant on the plaza to have dinner with our half-price coupon from the PBS (public television) booklet of bargains (we are donors to public television) we ordered for New Mex.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 28, Saturday The next morning we planned tours of the Albuqerque Museum of Science and the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. Outside of the Art Museum are several bronze statues of people sitting on benches, playing with a dog, reading a paper, and more bronze statues of the pioneering spirit of the Spanish to the area. Many animal statues, a wagon, and several cowboy statues plus numerous native American statues around the front of the museum. Tony Hillerman's picture is in the first hallway of the Art museum. His eyes follow you down the hall.

The Science museum is our favorite. We have been there before and once walked upon two staff employees 'making out' in the corner of the Chixulub asteroid exhibit. We saw all the earthquakes registering in the world, dinosaurs, sea life of several periods, the prehistoric swamp life, and a volcano and cave. I told the employees we were making out in the cave. They said we didn't because they had remote cameras in the cave. Darn!

After touring the two museums we went along Route 66 to the Univ. of New Mex. entrance where across is the Frontier Restaurant a very popular restaurant and the one Tony Hillerman frequents. There is a picture on the wall of him and Mr. Studi who is Lt. Leaphorn in the mystery movies. The Frontier is a place where you go to the front area to order a very wide array of Mexican food and other plus homemade cinnamon rolls. We placed our order, found a table, and met many people there plus looked at all the western paintings on the wall. I will return to the Frontier someday because it is "the place to go" in Albquerque.

After lunch went back to the Pueblo Cultural Center after visiting it two times before and watched the White Mountain Apache dancing a spiritual crown dance accompanied by singing from a Navajo. The sunny day became very hot sitting in the sun around the dancing. After that, we went to the Coronado State Monument which was a long drive thru traffic. Went into an elevated kiva there and walked along the Rio Grande river and took pictures. Very interesting center and talking to the park ranger there we learned more about the San Juan Pueblo and Coronado.

Arrived back at Madge and Larry's house and returned for dinner at Garcias restaurant which we like very much. Back to motel by 8:30PM.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 29, Sunday Early morning we left Albuquerque about 7:30AM and went to the Petroglyphs National Monument outside of Albuquerque. This national park of petroglyphs is very nervous to be at. Signs warn about leaving your car alone and rattlesnakes. But, since we had been thee before, we hiked some, took more petroglyph photos and went onto Sky City of the Acoma settlement on a butte. But before we got to the Acoma village, I managed to lose $2 at the Acoma Casino on the hiway.

Acoma Indian Sky City is a thousand year old site and busing is required to top of the butte so the group can walk thru the little village where most of the residents do not reside, some do, some don't. It does not have running water or electricity. But, it is more of a retreat. The cost for two, Bill and I, was $50. The tour started with a museum tour by a gentleman named Gary, who told us about the pottery, his mother's pottery, and some history. Others gathered and the tour was ready. An Acoma named Gale gave a wonderful tour and told stories. She explained the history of the 1600's church still in use. Also, traditions and cemetery history was explained at the church. In history, those who died were buried on top of each other, so there is little history of who is buried by the church except those with markers and service tombstones. Photographs of the cemetery are not allowed.

Photographs are allowed in the village, if you pay a photography fee. Those there were selling jewelry and very detailed Acoma pottery throughout various walkways. The tour was about an hour and a half. After Gale thanked everyone for coming, all boarded the bus for return to the cultural center. We lingered at the center for a quick lunch. Everything must be carried up to the Acoma mesa: water, generators, etc. There are only 11 families who reside on the mesa continually or part-time. Services are still held in the 17th century catholic church there. These services combine Acoma culture with the Catholic religion.

After we left the Acoma reservation, we went to El Malpais National Monument, a National Park site, to see volcano fields of lava flows and sandstone bluffs. We arrived at Grants, New Mex., about 5PM and went to a great Mexican restaurant. We talked to owner about her motel business, the attraction in Grants is a big tour of an uranium mine, and noticed that Grants, New Mex., wasn't as attractive as we thought. Temperature was 50 degrees and sunny.

April 24th - April 25th - April 26th - April 27th - April 28th
April 29th - April 30th - May 1st - May 2nd - May 3rd
May 4th - May 5th - May 6th - May 7th - May 8th

April 30, Monday The next morning we headed for Canyon de Chelly where reservations at the Holiday Inn and a canyon tour was already reserved.

We also drove to the Bisti Wilderness, which is an isolated wilderness of formations that were to look like "hoodoo" formations. Not that impressive, and the formations could be found only by hiking through some BLM ranch land (would have taken several hours). This area was very pretty in its wilderness state, but very isolated and nothing for miles around it.

Arrived at Shiprock about 11AM and had a Navajo taco at non-chain drive-in selling hamburgers and french fries. Then, spent 45 minutes photographing the Ship Rock which is in the middle of BLM land, no one in sight, an isolated area where one can drive up to Shiprock and see volcano flow cliffs along the pasture area. It is a place to party, lots of trash where others have been. Absolutely no one in sight at Ship Rock except the distant highway and extremely bumpy, ditch-filled dirt road going to the Ship Rock. Be careful driving.

Left Shiprock and headed for the Lukachukai Trading Post (on the other side of the Lukachukai mountains. We arrived at an overlook about 2PM and re-enacted our wedding vows by a picnic area. The view at the overlook covers the valley distance from the mountains to Shiprock. Very impressive. Did not stop at the mountain stream for a drink of water along the hiway. Was told it was sacred water, but decided not to stop there. At the top of the Lukachukai Mtn. Range there is a look-out point with a picnic table, so we exchanged our wedding vows, talked about ourselves, and had a moment of silence for our 30 years of marriage at 2PM, April 30, before we went to the Trading Post.

We arrived at the Trading Post and met with Hank and Vicky Blair, whose daughter I had met in Phoenix at the Wild Horse Pass Gila Casino. They told me the truth about their daughter which she didn't tell me: She left 4 children with her parents to raise and ran off.

Vicky explained to me their rug auction business and that her husband had been to auctioneering school in Missouri. They showed us old Navajo rugs for auction they would take to Calif. They had rug prices in the thousands of dollars. I bought two bars of soap, posole corn, and blue tortilla flour. We stayed for sometime and then headed on to Canyon de Chelly.

April 30th, our anniversary. Arrived in Chinle, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, about 2PM. Checked in at the HIE, went to the National Park's ranger station, and took care of contacting the Navajo guide. We had dinner at the Thunderbird restaurant and motel. In morning, we were ready to go on a 5 hour tour by 9AM. Had breakfast by 7:30AM. Many tours were organized as well as ours.

Arrived at the canyon early, checked into the Holiday Inn in Chinle, and rode around. What I didn't exactly remember was the horses running loose around the roads, lots of dogs, and trashy, government housing around the intersection at Chinle. I was surprised, but it should be expected. However, the Canyon de Chelly facilities are fine. The Holiday Inn is fine as well as the restaurant. It's just different above the canyon on the main roads. Just can't understand why so many horses along the side of the road: First the area is open range and our guide said the Navajo believe that animals should be free. Dogs were fine. They just watched you and didn't come close. Dogs were of same look: Part blue heeler, part german shepherd, and part something else (no pit bulls). All dogs looked the same.

Colors to the canyon were: Blue sky, red cliff buttes, and the buttes of sandstone red had yellow stripes of color on top with dots of green trees and yellow colors in the pastures.

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May 1, Tuesday Antelope Tours, Adam Teller, POB 459, Chinle, Ariz. 86503, antelopetours@citlink.net, 1.928.674.5231, or Ben Teller, Adam’s brother, 1.505.809.8931, . Adam did the Navajo research for the PBS documentary to be shown soon about Kit Carson which film was done partially in the Canyon.

Left at 9:00AM for the canyon tour with Antelope Tours. The guide had been a guide for Adam Beach and Wes Studi of the Hillerman television mysteries. He also named other celebrities who had come to the canyon for private tours. He had an anthropology degree and he talked about Navajo heritage and the canyon. We were in a brand new jeep. I had the back seat. We followed the canyon about 20 miles towards Spider rock. We went thru thickets of cotton wood trees, the soil was red, and many creeks were easy to cross except one: Our guide shoved some and Bill shoved some to get thru the creek even though we were in a jeep. We met another tour of two men and three women who said they were Mormon and helping the elderly Navajo with wood stoves for their hogans. But, they were on vacation like we were, so they followed us in their jeep tour also. It did rain some at Spider rock, but it was fun to be in the rain and climb up the rocks. There are also extensive horse back riding in the canyon and hiking with camping. The trip was $200. During this tour the guide told us of a story that will be mentioned at the end of the journal. We got back to the motel about 3PM and then went to the Navajo grocery store at the small shopping center in Chinle. Remember, dogs, horses, and cattle are roaming over all the roads, and the sights along the short drive to the intersection of Chinle had decor of trash, government housing, and things in yards which could be old cars, old things, etc. which showed no residential interest in upkeep of yards.

As I stood in the line at the grocery store where the men and more dogs waited outside the grocery, I started looking around at what was being bought and items in the store. Not much fresh produce, meat counter small, but it had lots of mutton, and large units of necessity items. As I stood in line, I suddenly realized what Tony Hillerman had written about trading post shopping: Typical items in a grocery cart besides potato chips in large quantity were canned goods such as canned sardines, tomatos, little wieners, cookies, and whatever else that could be in a can or box such as Saltine brand crackers. Remember on the reservation there is no alcohol, cigarettes, or lotteries to buy. I wanted to tell all the extremely fat Navajo women there that what they were buying to eat would make them even more fatter.

There are many tours at Canyon de Chelly, some like ours were basically private, while others were in large jeeps and big, rambling jeep buses. We had our lunch and breakfasts at the Thunderbird Lodge in the canyon, and we had a romantic dinner on our anniversary at the Holiday Inn restaurant where we were staying. Very nice dining room for tourists. Some of the menu items there were somewhat different than we know here, but we enjoyed a large salad with everything and homemade bread plus tea for about $8 each. A good anniversary dinner. We just talked about our years together.

We also went along the cliffs of the canyon, a very long drive around the canyon, and took pictures and watched the sunset. Met a flute player along the look-outs where the Navajo sell jewelry, and flute player was: Travis Terry, POB 763, Chinle, Ariz. 86503, 1.928.674.3311 or 1.928.245.4684. He says he makes the flutes and travels all around the country for concerts.

Madge Harrah says when one is on the Navajo reservation, one is in a different world. I agree.

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May 2, Wednesday We left the Canyon early Wed., May 2, and head for the Hopi Cultural Center towards the buttes where the reservation is. The Center is where I had paper-thin Kepi, blue flour. It tastes like thin paper, too, but it is made so uniquely for the tourists. It is very fragile flat paper-thin tortillas I guess. Not sure what I bought. The Hopi Cultural center was very informative with a gift shop. No photographs were allowed, but the butte area community had the usual look to it, closed businesses, trailers, government houses, and messy yards with shacks.

The weather in this area was rainy and gray sky. Red soil with bluffs in distance with erosion. Getting warmer. The stop for the evening after going 350 miles would be in Holbrook. But, first went to Sunset Crater. The crater illustrates a current volcano that exploded in 1064. Saw a series of volcanoes, lava flows. Pictures were excellent, park ranger station was one of my favorites, and many of the pine trees were hit by lighting and some grew strangely with curly branches. Sure took pictures of those trees! This area is flat desert and not many other cars on road. Mountains and volcanoes are seen in distance. It was a very sunny day, warm, and lots of clouds as we walked around the lava flows and fields at the park. I was very interested in the unusual shapes and power of the lava which is just as it stopped all those years ago.

We were told that the Little Colorado River was running over the falls there so we got directions and went to the Little Colorado area to see if the falls were running. We were told they were, but drove about 12 miles on back, desert road to dry falls and walked around area where many come to watch the falls. Very interesting picnic area in middle of no where. Very interesting picnic area in the middle of no where and no one overlooking the "dry" falls. What was unusual as we started down the road, we saw a old Navajo walking down the road. We didn't stop. We had no place to put him in the SUV. So, we came back and he was still walking from his small old house to somewhere. There was nothing along the road for miles.

After Sunset Crater headed for Meteor Crater about 350 miles and evening stop at Holbrook. The Crater: what a tourism complex. Cost was high, privately owned, large tourist store, a sandwich shop, high winds, and cost was just looking into the crater. Many tourists were there looking at the crater and some hiking. We couldn't handle the rough wind.

We came later to Winslow, Ariz. (not to stand on the corner as the song says) on way to Holbrook. Bill was tired when we drove thru Winslow. I was so fasinated that a song could be such a tourism attraction, that I asked again and again to go back thru town. I was nagging. But, we arrived at Holbrook fine. Downtown is a great, old downtown, large buildings, wide streets and there along the business 66 hiway is the Wigwam Motel just as I saw the wigwams on television. So, cute, so small, and a tourism attraction. I had to ask what it was like staying in a wigwam! .

Go to the Badlands Buffet, 265 Navajo Blvd., Holbrook, Ariz., 1.928.524.6566. The building is huge, very western, and it has one of the biggest city history murals I have ever seen. The mural was done by one woman who just came in the business and started from the beginning explorers to history of Holbrook and painted the pictures and printed the words below every image with time lines.

While going into Holbrook, we listened to the Navajo radio station, 58 degrees, windy, and very sunny. In Holbrook, there is lots of petrified wood to buy and even a large company with rows and rows of pertified wood. Highest gas prices were $3.17 and most gas $2.95. Always had to keep a full tank because of the areas we were in, namely not too many gas stations along the way.

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May 3, Thursday Next day stopped in Springerville, Ariz. for a break. This is a mountainous area of Apache and Navajo. It's the White Mountains of Ariz. and elk hunting is apparent and basically following the Coronado Trail. Beautiful drive from Springerville. Great Chamber of Commerce there. Could have bought unclaimed Navajo jewelry there for good prices. At 12:52PM at 6,230 feet crossed the Continental Divide going into Silver City. We will be seeing the Gila Cliff dwellings at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument thru 43 miles drive up the Mogollons Mountains and back at 7,000 feet. A national professional bike race was in progress, so we saw many racers all tall, thin, muscular. This was a beautiful, up and down and around on narrow road going into the mountain and up to the cultural area.

There we walked along a trail to the side of the cliff and up to the dwellings, going up ladders, and thru the rooms. Saw corn cobs over 10,000 years old. The culture that flourished in this area from 200AD lasted until the great droughts of the southwest.

I did not like Silver City, which is a bit smaller than Warrensburg, but it has a most interesting downtown of art, unusual stores, college campus nearby, and very colorful. Felt uneasy there. It wasn't that great to me.

At a Silver City Safeway store I went in to buy some beer (very dirty looking store) and the clerk asked for my ID of age to find if I was over 21. That was so funny – the look on his face when he looked at my driver's license and realized I was born in 1947!!

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May 4, Friday Left at 7:15AM and then went on to City of Rocks State Park about 30 miles from Silver City. This park looks like tall, skinny elephant rocks and there were many campers there, but it was isolated. Very fasinating to me to drive around the rock monuments of funny shapes. Then on to Deming, New Mex. Didn't visit Uncle Murray's son there, but went to the chamber of commerce where I looked at an old fashioned steam engine train and talked about history of Deming, which I thought I knew who the Deming family was. I don't think that chamber had their stories right. I have a book from the parents of the daughter, Deming, which the town was named after. Will contact the historical society there later.

Then, onto Las Cruces by 11AM, so we could meet Uncle Murray. Weather was warm, sunny, and windy during the 60 miles there. Uncle Murray was right next to the little donkey statue in the town's downtown which is a walking area mall. We went to the bookstore and then went to lunch, and I gave Uncle Murray whole box of Star Journals to read and off we went again to White Sands to play.

It was rainy, windy, and nasty at White Sands. No fun taking pictures or doing much. White Sands had been flooded, so many roads blocked, but it was still playing on the dunes and trying to take pictures. Met two volunteers at the park and had a good time just visiting with the volunteers and watching others cope with the wind and rain.

Then, stayed night at Alamogordo. This town is right next to the mountains and White Sands is very close to the long shaped city. It is part of a military base area and built up because of that. But, the town is lengthy. It doesn't have much width to it. The town reminded me of a strip along the edge of the mountains.

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May 5, Saturday On Saturday morning we left Alamogordo for Cloudcroft, a mountain retreat of tourism town. I mean real mountains; Skiing, big stuff. It is a touristry mountain town of cute streets, tall pines, and very brisk even in the summer. Drove around some and then went into the Mescalero Apache reservation to the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino. This is a beautiful Casino with artwork and very impressive. I did mange to lose $5. After that quick http://www.newmexico.org/place/loc/cities/page/DB-place/place/1521.htmlstop we continued on the mountain road at 8,000ft. towards Lincoln, New Mex. This is one of our favorite drives to Lincoln. At Lincoln there were many on motorcycles and we visited with the staff at the historic buildings. This time I saw the exact bullet hole in the wall where Billy the Kid shot at a deputy as he escaped from the county courthouse! We always enjoy Lincoln and the beautiful drive to and from there. This area is racing quarter horse country and lots of ranches, big ones, to look at full of horses along the hiway.

Then, on way to Roswell. Since we have been to Roswell many times, I didn't take a tour of the museum, but bought a teeshirt at the same store we always go to across the street and then visited at the Roswell Art Center which we really like. Heard more gossip about the future of the UFO Museum.

The UFO Museum is charging admittance because the owner of the museum wants to move it nearer to the Art Center and make the Museum less unique as it is now. That's the problem, so no matter the glitz and tacky nature of the UFO Museum (the research room at the Museum is very impressive), that will disappear for more elegant décor. Wrong thing to do. Sure wish I could attend the Roswell July 4th celebrations of the crash landing and dress as an alien. Thousands come to Roswell to be aliens from another world just for a little while to celebrate July 7, 1947! As I say, heck with the art center when one can see thousands of aliens converging in Roswell!

At 2:15PM left Roswell and on way to Leveland, Tex. 380 miles away. The road we took was straight as straight could be and flat all the way to Leveland. Almost non-stop. The HIE at Leveland was perfect and the best barbeque restaurant was next door. We didn't stay for the country band about to start there at the BYOB restaurant. The story is that a judge in the area made the town dry so when he retired he set-up a liquor store just outside the city limits, but all this will change. It's just a funny story of how the town is dry. Weather is sunny and windy.

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May 6, Sunday A big tornado hit Greensburg, Ks. on Saturday, May 5, so we watched that on t.v. Left Leveland and headed for Lubbock, Tex. to go to the Buddy Holly Museum, but that wasn't open on Sundays. The Holly Museum has a pair of large black rimmed glasses as a statue on the front lawn of the Museum. "Peggy Sue" of the famous song is the director of the museum. I have heard her talk on the Coast to Coast, Art Bell, radio program on the anniversary of Buddy's death. After Lubbock was really looking forward to Bubba's Texas restaurant in Lorenzo, Tex. We got there, and the beloved restaurant we will always go to was closed on Sunday! An Afro-American is Bubba, and I have never heard a Black person talk with a strong Texas accent!

From Lubbock, cloudy now and straight hiway. Believe that Lubbock is home of the Fighting Jack Rabbits which is a football team. Also, along the road, between Ralls & Crosbyton, Tex., there is a large gorrilla on an island in the middle of someone's farm pond. Also, out of Crosbyton, is a goat farm which a sign: "Get Your Goat" Ranch. Along this hiway is also the cleanest rest area at White River area (our favorite rest area) with stone, woods, picnic area, just beautiful. There is also a tornado shelter with the rest area.

At this time, on 94.9FM the "Outlaw" station, the song, "Cheap Bourbon and Pearl Snap Shirts" became the favorite song of our trip! Also, the radio station promoted this site – www.dirtdoctor.com which is all about dirt and how to get rid of varmints.

Headed for Ft. Sill to see Quanah Parker's grave and the fort itself which is pretty much as it looked years and years ago. We saw the Apache prison and other buildings as a western fort would look with a large interior area for parades and marches. Quanah Parker is buried next to his mother, who was German, and next to her is her daughter, who died at an early age.

Before we arrived at Ft. Sill, we drove thru the saddest, vacant, deserted town of our trip: Quanah, Tex., named after Quanah Parker. The town, of what was left, has two story buildings, just like one would imagine, but it's a ghost town of neglect and desertion out in the middle of no where. There was a sign saying, Quanah was a town of 2,000, but where were the residents?

At 3PM arrive at Lawton, Okla. to one of our favorite HIEs. Then, planned to go to Museum of the Great Plains. This museum has an outdoor fort and Indian displays. What was funny was that I told the director that a baby prairie dog was getting under a fence. He laughed and said look around. That museum has one of the largest praire dog town I have ever seen, and the baby doggies were all over the place – the front of the museum, at the pretend fort, and even moving in on the lawns across the street from the museum!

We also went to the cemetery as I mentioned where also Geronimo and a monument to a great Kiowa chief is there. Geronimo's grave is all by itself and blocked by a bridge that is out, so it was impossible to see the gravesite. In Lawton, we also went to the Wichita Mtn. Wildlife Preserve is one of our favorite preserves. Saw buffalo, long horned cattle, antelope, and also toured the preserve’s museum and learned more about the range and what animals and birds inhabit that area. In evening, went to Comanche casino and managed to lose $5, but that was what I wanted to do. Went only to Comanche and Cherokee casinos, but couldn't resist going to the Apache casino in the Ruidoso area.

Recommend touring the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: Lawton.

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May 7, Monday Then went to Oklahoma City from Lawton. This a wonderful drive. The most impressive, complex for history of Oklahoma is the State Historical Society and , Oklahoma State Museum, next to the oil well on the front lawn of the Okla. State Capitol at Okla. City. Went there to meet the public relations director who I had corresponded with. I donated a 1913 sheet music, bought at the Scot Joplin festival one year, which has the title: Oklahoma Sunset, a waltz, to add to the collection of Oklahoma music for the centennial.

The museum contains continuous rooms of Okla. History, Okla. great Americans including separate exhibits on Wiley Post and Will Rogers, and a very large room depicting native Amer. Cultures of Okla., complete with photos, recordings of language, and examples of tribal art, etc. displays. One sits on a bench and watches a video recording of representatives from the tribes. A very large banner from ceiling to floor is a picture of a black horse. I looked up and said "Scruffy is here!" Met with Michael Dean, PR director, of the State Museum. What a job he has!

After three hours at the State Museum, headed for Tulsa on old route 66. It was raining, but driving was okay until we got into big rain at Tulsa. Drove thru Bristow, Okla., where a chipractor's office sign read: Crawl Ins Welcome. Then, we went thru another town called Chandler, which on the impression of driving thru the downtown on Route 66 from Okla. City, I voted Chandler the best small town on the trip. Quanah, Tex. was the saddest town on the trip.

Beautiful downtown of Chandler, a library in a historic building, cars filled all parking spaces, and very slow driving thru downtown. It seemed like a perfect town of its size. Still raining though as we headed for Tulsa still on Rt. 66. Then, really rough driving on the Okla. turnpike straight to the HIE in Tulsa. We later headed for the Cherokee casino for the buffet dinner I liked so much before. However, we had surprises! We got $10 for a new casino card, more money for being senior citizens, I got another $10 for being there on lady’s night, and half price at casino buffet. What a fun time playing on their money and having my favorite buffet! Actually, we played and played on the penny slots and still left with $20 we didn't have when we came in. What a fun time. I still say the Cherokee casinos have been very good to us.

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May 8, Tuesday We returned home by way of Tulsa and stop at the Joplin city museum. The Joplin museum has the Missouri cookie cutter Museum and I got two cutters of a musical note and a dog biscuit cutter to make cookies which I gave to Sandy for park promotions. We were impressed about the mining and mineral history of the museum plus the other exhibits of celebrity Joplin residents including Bonnie and Clyde. No mention of Afro-American important residents such as Melissa Fuell and James Scott. The museum is in the city park and another attraction is a very special cat that lives in the museum.

By 2PM we opened the door to our kitchen to kittens that had grown so much since our departure. Kittens in the kitchen, trying to unpack, loving up Ms. Topsy and loving up Scruffy (who always forgets who we are), was very exciting for several hours of being home! Ms. Topsy, a white cat with a gray patch of hair on her head (that's why we call her Ms. Topsy, gave us 4 kittens after adopting us. Ms. Topsy came to our barn and moved in – a dumped cat on the road.

We travelled over 3600 miles with no car problems or other concerns. Now, planning our next trip next year! We are thinking that a Spring trip, even though cooler, may change into a summer trip instead of facing freezing temperatures with wind in New Mexico (nothing like being in state with altitude!)

Thank you for reading our journal of the 2007 trip and do go to the internet links to learn more details about our various destinations.

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©2007, Sandra Wayne