dovetailthreads' life

(almost) daily rants on life

What a week its been! Memorial day was interesting to say the least. Ben opted to work so the day was pretty normal for me, except I forgot it was Memorial day and absentmindedly went out in the cold to check the mail *doh*!

The evening was when it got interesting - got a call from Ben to pack up the kids and meet him at our friend's house (we were housesitting for them while they were on vacation) and to bring an old sheet and empty out the back of the durango. Ohhhh-kay. I get there to find that their dog, Harley, a loveable deaf white boxer, had passed away and was laying in the back yard. So I helped where I could and we took him back to our house where Ben buried him in our back yard. It was hard to do - especially since our friend's couldn't be with him in his last days, but it was his time.

We left for our vacation around 3PM Thursday afternoon - heading down to Los Alamos/White Rock NM to visit some good friends of ours. Here's a good shot of the mountains as we left Bailey and headed toward Fairplay and Buena Vista.

We stopped in Alamosa for dinner at Pizza hut - they had a great family deal there that gave us pizza for two, one trip to the salad bar, drinks included and a desert for about $20.

This is what entering New Mexico looks like at 70 mph...

A beautiful sunset!

We got to Bruce and Shannon's around 10 pm and just about went straight to bed - the kids were sure ready to : / Friday was relaxing and we just hung around at their house while they did some gardening. Although they discovered just how lethal our car could be - not quite sure how or when this happened, but they found this poor bird in our grill

The hunter and his prey...

I'd have to say that was the highlight of our day...we're such rednecks. Anyway, that evening we went out to dinner, then went to watch most of her little brother's baseball game that evening.

Saturday we made plans to go to the Science museum in Los Alamos and to the Bandalier National Monument. Its funny how quirky Los Alamos is - for example the lab has housed and houses some of the most brilliant minds in the field of neuclear technology. Yet the designer of the town library created it to look like a pterodactyl from the sky...but because of the lab, that entire area is a no-fly zone. Talk about a blonde moment...

The Bradbury Science museum is dedicated to technology and the accomplishments of the lab down there.

They had awesome replicas of the little boy and fat man bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII

Little Boy:

Fat Man (sorry hunny, I couldn't resist the fun parallel here)

The insides of a neuclear reactor

More cool bomb replicas

I have no clue what this was but it looked cool

The WWIII phone

In case you can't see the text in the display box here, here's what it says: Desert sand scooped up into the fireball created by the Trinity test melted inside the mushroom cloud and fell back, as droplets, onto Ground Zero. There it solidified into puddles of a new, manmade mineral, cristened trinitite.

To clarify, the Trinity test was a test of a plutonium bomb done in Soccoro, NM to test the feasability of the fat man bomb which was dropped on Japan a few weeks later.

This was not something I wanted to stumble across....

This was a cool bomb I hadn't noticed when we first got there since it was suspended from the ceiling. Not at eye level = Michelle doesn't see it.

Our next stop was the Bandelier National Monument - a site of ancient Indian ruins, which I have to say were VERY cool! Here's a link to some of the stops along the trail and explanations of what we were seeing as we went along.

Here's a shot of the rock face at the beginning of the hiking trail.

These are the stone remains of the ground-level village where Indians once lived and worked. These walls once composed a multy-level fortified housing structure

More of the stone structure

In the middle of this village was a "kiva" which had been carefully rebuilt and preserved. The Kiva was apparently the center of village life - its where religious beliefs and customs were passed on to the children, it was the central meeting place, as well as a place for weaving and other art and craft forms to take place. It would have been covered with a strong mud roof with an entrance through the top. Archaeological evidence suggests that the oblong stone cutouts in the floor could have possibly been covered by wood and used as foot drums for ceremonies.

Thought this was pretty. This was about where the trail split off - Bruce and Shannon took the kids on the easier path while Ben and I went on to see the cave dwellings.

Tuff - the whitish volcanic rock that the mountain is mostly composed of - its very soft rock that crumbles/flakes very easily - thought it was interesting that thousands of visitors to this site have left their mark in the form of a cross.

Another cool rock face - the dark hole is just one of many cave dwellings.

There were a few cave dwellings deemed stable enough to allow visitors to enter - that was a fun experience! They were smart to live in the mountain too - though small, the cave was nice and cool compared to the 96 degree weather outside!

Not looking foward to going back DOWN the ladder...

A cave that was closer to the ground - the ceilings of these caves were smoked periodically to keep the rock stable and hardened.

The entrance to a cave Kiva - there were a couple built above ground into the rock face.

A closer look of the outside - small entrance with a window to the side

Divots in the floor of the Kiva - possibly used to keep looms straight

Unlike the family dwellings, the ceiling of the cave Kiva was very tall

Looking down from the Kiva...a long way down...

A cool shot of a multi-level section of the cliff dwellings. The rock below was previously built up and extended back to the caves.

A view farther out

The third leg of the hike transition from the cave dwellings into the ruins of the man-made rock walls - all that's left is the short rock remains of the walls and rows of holes where they likely stuck beams to support multi-level dwellings. Petroglyphs can be clearly seen above where the structures would have ended.

This is a pictrograph that was found behind plastering on one of the rock walls

On the way back - I saw this useful tool - these rocks were used to grind corn

I have no idea what this is - it was close to the visitor's center but wasn't labeled.

Ben bought Ezekiel a kid sized hat at the gift shop - and he absolutely LOVES it - he was so thrilled to have a hat just like dad's!

So that was our adventure at Bandelier. Very cool place with alot of history wrapped up in it. Despite being worn out, the kids did very well. After all that we went to Starbucks then to dinner at Pizza Hut.

Sunday was spent relaxing and packing up for the trip home (which was significantly easier than packing our stuff at home)

We got a bit of an earlier start going home - left at 2. On the way back I insisted that I get some pictures of a couple of the road signs on 285. I just find it funny that there's about a 40 mile stretch where every few miles there's a cow sign...

alternating with elk crossing signs...

then another cow crossing sign...then another elk crossing sign. I don't know why its so funny to me - do they think those cows are elk or what? And why didn't they use a picture of an elk on the elk crossing signs instead of plain text? Its just wierd, IMO.

Crossing back into Colorado at 70 MPH - significantly less blurry this time.

And this last picture is probably one of the coolest I came away with - this is approaching Buena Vista on a small farm next to the highway. Its a huge tree that was very obviously struck by lightening at one point and split in two. Then a new tree came up out of the center of the trunk and just flourished! Its amazing how God can still bring life out of death and destruction!

So that's that. We had plenty of fun, lots of relaxing times, which is just what we needed.

Although we came home to find that a bear had raided our trashcan which required some extensive cleanup last night. 

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 4:25 PM

Wonderful pics and thank you for sharing!!!

Sorry about the loss of the friends pet. :-(

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 4:27 PM

My best friend has a white/deaf English Bulldog. Her name is Phyllis. We call her Phylli.

We were doing some work at her house and was using a cutting saw inside and sweet Phylli just laid on the couch snoring the whole time. Never bothered her one bit! lol

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 5:37 PM

omg what a great trip and pics...

i esp loved the bird in the grill...dinner for folks like us huh!  ;o)

sorry but i too had to laugh at the pic of the hubby w/the bomb...mine is right there along w/ya!  i think pretty soon we are going to compare stomachs and see who's showing more!

as for the cool carvings on the wall (cross in point) I LOVED THAT...YOU SHOULD BLOW IT UP BIG SIZE

and i loved the pics of you coming down the cave ladder!  LOL baby desi loved it i'm sure!

thanks for sharing! 

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 9:06 PM Beautiful photos! Looks like you saw a lot there. Those caves have me curious!

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