Here are a few more photos from the VLA.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Another good walking day through more rolling hills, a small town and higher elevation at over 7,000 ft. The highlight of the day was our visit to the VLA, Very Large Array, in the middle of nowhere. This is an installation of huge radio antennas that are like satellite dishes that together form the largest telescope. They are spread out over 13 miles in a 55 square mile dried up flat sand bed and arrayed in the shape of a Y. Astronomers from all over the world go there to study using these radio telescopes that observe spectrums outside the range of visible light and have discovered stars, black holes, nebulas, supernovas and more. The dishes are 83 feet wide - the length of 2 school busses and are moved around by transporters on 40 miles of old railroad tracks that were no longer in use. It was really interesting to see the film and take the walking tour. Several movies were shot there including Contact, Armageddon and Independence Day.
Tomorrow we drive to Albuquerque to pick up Mary Kay, so we are taking the whole day off to sightsee there. We deserve it after 16 days of walking over 500 miles.
We may not have wifi as we will be staying in some really small motels for the next couple of nights, so don't worry if we don't post for a couple of days.
Go Cubs!! We're looking forward to game 6.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
Today we did a little sightseeing in the morning visiting 2 Salinas Pueblo Mission ruins, Quarai and Abo. These missions were inhabited by the Pueblo Indians from the 1300s until the 1600s when the Spanish arrived and drove them out trying to convert them to Christianity. We also saw a very nice little church in a small town in the valley. In between visits we stopped at a fabulous bakery for some of the best cinnamon rolls, muffins and kolaches. Then we walked the 29 miles we needed to get to a major interstate where we drove to get to another route west. Fall has arrived out here, and although it is still warm, the leaves are changing colors, and we saw some beautiful shades of yellow as well as several mesas and more rolling hills.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
After driving 75 miles to get to our start, we cranked out a record number of miles. Had we known we were .1 short of 40, someone would have walked it. We started in the grassland and ended in more rolling small hills with Mesas and more vegetation. The trains were back for part of the day, and it was nice seeing them again so close. One of us even got a wave and a toot from the engineer. We saw horses, antelopes, a praying mantis, salt lakes, and stopped to see the Salinas Pueblo Missions Visitor Center where we watched a film about the Indians and the Spanish and the clash of religions. The Park Service ranger was so nice, and after telling us about the pueblo and the area and hearing our story, she gave each of us park lapel pins. Then we went to a cute little local art gallery and had a nice conversation with one of the artists. It was a long day, and we didn't get to the hotel until after 6:00, but it was a great day.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Another good day walking through a couple of small towns. Unfortunately, there were many boarded up businesses, gas stations and houses. One town has 50 people, but it does have a post office. Not much on the road except for a few cows, lots of grasshoppers and crickets, both dead and alive, and a construction area that will become a wind farm.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Blue Hole, a natural spring that is 81 feet deep and 61 degrees. It is a haven for scuba divers. No one was there when we arrived, so we took some photos of this beautiful spot, and then other people arrived. We had great conversations with a few people from Michigan and a really nice couple of locals. Their nephew was visiting along with his wife and a young man, Leon, who was traveling with them. Leon jumped in the water and swam around while we videoed the plunge and then shared it with them. Everyone wanted to take photos with us after hearing about our walk, and then we all got together for a group photo taken by someone else who came along. Another great chance encounter with really nice folks. The local couple even recommended a restaurant for dinner and said they would try to contact the local paper about our adventure.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Our highest mileage day so far, and it was all into a 20 mph wind. Not much out there today, but we each saw a tarantula - 2 dead, 1 alive and just walking along the shoulder. As we were driving to our starting point, we passed the guy from yesterday who was again rolling his big ball down the road. Hope he was ok as it must have been a rough day for him with the wind. We also made it to Historic Old Route 66 but did not have time to explore. Maybe tomorrow.