Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dar Al Islam, Abiquiu, April 13

Abiquiu is a little village about 40 miles south of Tierra Amarilla.  Just outside the little village, off a country road, and then dirt road is Dar Al Islam Mosque and Plaza Blanca.  Conlan, Gayle and I, along with several other member of the Chama Outdoor Club set out to explore this beautiful, tranquil, breathtaking area.  We were really lucky in that, Tom (friend of Gayle's, and retired New Mexico State Park Ranger) was leading our hike.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.

Our goal was to reach the top of the mesa where there were some ruins of ancient gardens.  The views on the way were spectacular.

 Remnants of one of the ancient garden plots. Originally the gardens were sunk about two feet so water could be cached and the two foot walls would radiate solar heat.  I forgot to check what the elevation was, but I think it was close to 6,000 feet, maybe higher.  The gardens were made up of smaller plots, rather then one be garden.  It is thought they were put on the high mesa to hide them from invaders.

Notice how well the color of this horny toad matches the ground.  He almost got stepped on!

 The white structure in the middle of the picture below is the Dar Al Islam Mosque.  The Mosque is a center for learning and understanding Islam.  Dar Al means House of Islam.

 Gayle, Conlan, and Tami at the base of one of the hoodoos.


 The part of the mesa is called the gallery of rocks.
 Tom, "The Man In The Maze".  Someone has formed the maze for meditation.

 Son Conlan and girlfriend Gayle.
Don't they look happy!

Quick trip to Tennessee, April 3-7

I haven't seen my son Jason and daughter-in-law Rhonda since June of 201l, it was about time for a visit.  Albuquerque is only about 2 1/2 drive from the ranch so I decided to fly out to Nashville, Tennessee to see Jason and Rhonda for a short visit.  I would have preferred to drive my house on wheels, but it didn't make much since due to the price of fuel.  It would have cost three or four times as much to drive as a plane ticket would have cost.

Jason and Rhonda live about an hour north of Nashville, and about six miles from the Kentucky the country on farmland. (don't know what it is about my kids and their desire to live in such rural areas). The last time I visited, their house was in the middle of corn fields.  This time the fields had not been planted, and since it was early spring, the weather was a lot nicer.

Jason and Rhonda:

House in the middle of the fields

 Nice pond in back
 Fields and trees
 Old corn crib after corn harvest.

During my visit we all decided to go to Bowling Green, Kentucky about an hours drive north and visit the Lost River Cave, where you can take a boat ride into the cave.  The Lost River Cave has an interesting story.  During prohibition it was turned into a private night club.  A big dance floor was installed at the mouth of the cave.  Sometime in the 1950s the nightclub dissolved and the cave became a dumping ground for trash until the 1980s when The Friends of the Lost River Cave, a non profit organization, started cleaning up the trash. In the early 1990's the  area was turned into a park and  boat tours were offered by the Friends of the Lost River Cave.  Today it is a fun place for families to take a picnic lunch and spend the day walking in the park and take the boat tour.

Jason and Rhonda enjoying the lost river
 Mother and Son
 We watched as one of the boats came in.  The lighting in the cave was sparse so I didn't take any pictures.
 The large dance floor at the mouth of the cave.
Area for the band
 Chandelier is still working
 Oh no, what wrong with this picture?
 Well, I can't leave out Hyde, another four legged grandchild.
The rest of my visit was spent "just hanging out" with Jason.  Rhonda is still battling multiple myaloma and gets tired easily.  She is coming up on her one year anniversary of her bone marrow/stem cell transplant and is currently undergoing a clinical trail in Nashville. It was a good visit and I hope to return sooner than later.  I returned to the ranch in Tierra Amarilla and will be there a little while longer.

The Guerin Ranch, Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico

The Ranch:

The Guerin Ranch is located on 360 acres of high  desert  cattle grazing land.  Gayle's grandfather originally bought nearly 50,000 acres in the early 1900's and some of the land has been sold and the rest past down to children and grandchildren.  Gayle (my son Conlan's girlfriend) lived on the ranch with her brother until her brother and sister in-law decided they wanted to move to Oklahoma.  The brother sold off his portion of the land and moved leaving Gayle with the remaining acreage.  Gayle no longer raises cattle and is in the process of establishing a new business of organic gardening.  

Conlan works for the Forest Service in Conejone about thirty miles south of Tierra Amarilla and Gayle is one of the school bus drivers, so they are a very busy couple.  All of their spare time is devoted to working on the ranch AND playing hard.  Conlan and Gayle are also very active with the local human society and foster dogs when needed.  They now have five dogs, three of which were unadopted foster dogs.  The ranch is a great place for them.  Two of the dogs are "outdoor" dogs...they sleep outside and have a very important job of keeping the prairie dogs and coyotes away.  Conlan's dog Boone has adapted well to ranch life and has dropped a lot of weight( so has Conlan for that matter), and sleeps in the house at night.  Gayle's other two female border collie mix dogs share the house with Boone at night but spend their days chasing away the prairie dogs and coyotes.

Boone, the black lab and P-Ditty.  P-Ditty is one of the full time outdoor dogs.  He was found howling and abandoned at the grocery store.  Nobody stepped up to adopt him, probably because he is always a mess.  He likes to roll in everything and is always dirty...but he is the sweetest dog... a a great prairie dog hunter.

 This is Buddy,  1 1/2 year old Great Pyrenees Mix.  He came to the ranch skin and bone and has settled in quite nicely and loves being a ranch dog.  He is BIG, and he is one of my favorites.  If he wasn't so big, I would consider "borrowing" him  since I no longer have a dog.
This Jennie one of Gayle's dogs
 and this Gayle's other dog Caddie.
So, the long and short of it is...I get to have my dog fix everyday.  I may not have any human grandchildren, but I sure have a lot of four legged ones.

Four horses live on the ranch in addition to the five working dogs, one of which is Gayle's horse.  The others are borders.  Since it has been so cold, they all still their winter coats.

Jingle Bob is one of the borders and really outgoing and gentle.  He always comes to me when I am out walking.
 Goatie (the white one) is a little shy, but he usually comes up to me if he thinks I have a treat. Gerry Lee is well.. is Gerry Lee.

This is Arnie, Gayle's horse.  He is a real sweetheart and pretty friendly.

Gayle on Arnie along with Boone and Jennie riding on the lower pasture.

About a week after arrived, Gayle and Conlan, few out to Nevada and California to visit family.  My job was to keep on eye on the ranch and feed the animals, which kept me pretty busy.

I have a pretty sweet set up here.  I have sewer and water available but no power, so my solar panels have come in really handy.  This has been an usually cold spring (night time temps have averaged in the 20's, so my olympic wave and forced air propane heaters have been getting a workout.   I have some awesome views from my window.  Although El Vada State Park is only three miles up the road there is very little traffic and it is very, very, quiet.

One of the hillside views out of my window
 Looking north

 More to come, so check back.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good bye to Organ Pipe ( March 16)

Full Moon over Twin Peaks:

I can't believe the last post I made was back in February.  Not a whole lot has happened, but it has been way to too long.  So, I hope to catch up everyone in the next few blogs.  In all honesty, internet connections have "sucked" but that is no excuse.

So, I continued to work on the buffelgrass project in Organ Pipe without Joel.  His leg/knee/back was bothering him too much to walk, but I was able to hook up with Justin, an Americor Intern and we continued the search and destruction of the buffelgrass. (the park would not let me out in the field by myself). Unfortunately, Justin also had other projects to work on as part of his commitment and it turned out that after a short  time he could not  accompany me out in the field.  I worked  on some mapping projects with Joel and helped out in the nursery but by mid-March there were very few projects available for me to work on  and  I elected to leave Organ Pipe a few weeks early.  Joel stayed on, working in maintenance repairing picnic tables and what ever.

 I stopped in Tucson for a few days  to load up on  supplies and do some shopping before heading to Tierra Amarilla, NM as the nearest grocery store  is more than  a 40 mile round trip from the ranch.  My son, Conlan lives on a 360 acre  ranch with girlfriend Gayle near Tierra Amarilla. The ranch is only 3 miles from  El Vada  State Park and Lake Heron State Park is only a few miles to the north...can you say "out in the middle of nowhere?!!"

Stay tuned for pictures of four legged grand children and scenes from the old west.