Recently I spent a month in Santa Fe, New Mexico and although I ended sick with pneumonia for a good part of my time there I did manage a few days out and about. I did an earlier post about Santa Fe here;
Now I want to show you a few places I went just outside of Santa Fe. First was the little artistic town of Madrid. Madrid is a small town that is about 30 miles out of Santa Fe on the Turquoise trail . Nestled on the northeast side of the Sandia Mountains is Madrid, New Mexico. Sitting midway along The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, Madrid is categorized as a ghost towneven though this small village of about 400 residents is bustling during the summer months with shops, restaurants, and galleries catering to the many visitors along this ancient path.h
I found Madrid to be a quirky little town with some quirky and interesting people , little colorful art shops, a few restaurants and bars. I happened to go on a Sunday which was a great pick as the main Saloon in town had live music. Met some very friendly people here at the Mine shaft tavern which happened to have a great little blues band playing.
I definitely enjoyed Madrid. The rest of the Turquoise trail was not quite as exciting . The drive into Madrid was beautiful though from Santa Fe.
Another day trip from Santa Fe that I would highly recommend for the beauty of the area is Georgia O’Keefe’s ghost ranch. You can learn more about that here. https://www.ghostranch.org/
I and the doggies did a 3 mile hike at the property and Wow !! What beautiful scenery there. Of course it was the inspiration for a lot of O’Keefe’s art work. Here are some photos of Ghost ranch and of our hike.
Beautiful area with cabins to stay over in and a campground that looked pretty nice. I would love to go back and camp for a couple nights in the lovely campground. To watch the sunset over those colorful rocks would be truly amazing.
And last but not least. One of my favorite day trips was to Ojo Caliente hot springs which is about an hour drive from Santa Fe but well worth it and a great place to relax for the day. https://www.ojospa.com/
I love a good Hot springs and Ojo Caliente did not let me down. Many pools to choose from with varying temperatures, beautiful background, sauna, hiking trails, complete with a wine bar and a restaurant for after. Really a great place to spend the day.
Had I not gotten sick with pneumonia I would have done a lot more exploring of Santa Fe and surrounding towns. I guess I will just have to go back one day !!
Santa Fe is known as the City Different and within one visit, you will know why. Santa Fe embodies a rich history, melding Hispanic, Anglo and Native American cultures whose influences are apparent in everything from the architecture, the food, the art and on. Remember, we’re seated at an elevation of 7,000 feet, so come and partake of 320 sunny days per year.
Santa Fe is definitely one of the most unique cities in the U.S. It kind of feels like you are in Mexico. Adobe houses are the standard and Coyote fences. Turquoise Jewelry, Chiles , spicy southwest food, Very old historic building abound. Beautiful area as well, surrounded by mountains.
So, I was very excited to get a month long house sit in Santa Fe for the month of January. Started out good , however I was surprised to see so much snow and such cold temperatures. Apparently it is unusual for Santa Fe to get this much snow. Of course I am only talking 5 inches in each storm that has passed thru since I have been here , however Santa fe is not prepared for snow. I don’t think they have but a couple of snowplows and most people do not have snow tires on their vehicles.
I am taking care of two lovely dogs named Chispa and Bean in a cute , colorful house very near to downtown Santa Fe.
When I arrived the whole downtown was lit up with Beautiful and colorful Christmas lights !!!
I did get to town to wander around and look at all the lovely Indian Jewelry and lots of great shops in Santa Fe and do a little hiking with the dogs before I got sick. I also made it twice to 10000 waves. A very nice spa . https://tenthousandwaves.com
Then I got sick. What I thought was the flu turned out to be Pneumonia so I have now been stuck in the house , feeling totally crappy for about 12 days. Actually , starting to feel somewhat better and my time is ticking out. I hope to d0 some more sightseeing in the next 2 weeks that I have left here. There are some small towns nearby that I really wanted to explore. So, hopefully will make another post soon about the small, eclectic, artist town of Madrid. Meanwhile , here are a few more photos of beautiful Santa Fe.
Well, where do I start. Truckee is my home town. I moved here when I was 20 years old from the big city of Los Angeles. Never did like city living and I always knew I would live in the mountains one day. Moved here with my friend Sandy who I met while working at Sequoia National park.
Truckee was a very small town in 1975 when we moved here. Population about 3,000. Still small but population is more around 15,000 now . With tons of tourists. Yes, Truckee is a tourist town, not far from San Francisco Bay Area. Why is it such a tourist town? Skiing, hiking, lakes, rivers, river rafting, camping, great music, especially in summer, great restaurants, arts shops, etc.. Lots to do for the outdoor type person. Lake Tahoe is 15 minutes away. It is an area of great beauty. I love it here and I also Love the feeling of community that we have in Truckee. The kind of place where you know a lot of people and people are always helping each other out.
The downfalls of living in Truckee? Cost of living is very high. I know many will say, well, so it is here as well. But, in Truckee everything is a bit more. Like gas averages around $4.00 a gallon consistently. Food cost more. Rent is high if you are lucky to find a place to rent. The other downfall would be the massive amount of tourists we get now. And one last downfall would be the snow! It snows a lot in Truckee . Of course that would not be a downfall if you are into skiing, or boarding. In fact many people move here for the snow. And it is beautiful. nothing like fresh snow and blue skies !
I will do some more postings about Truckee but for now here are some photos of Truckee, Ca. and surrounding area.
Snow at the Soda Springs post office. Pretty much buried.
I recently had a 10 day house sit in St. George , Utah. Well, actually the house was about 20 – 25 miles out of St. George closer to a town called Vejo. Vejo is very small and known for its pie store !
The house that I house sat at was out in the country and in a very beautiful location. The setting was so nice with a big back yard complete with lounge chairs and a hot tub overlooking the river. I took care of 3 very quirky dogs. Why do I say quirky?? All elderly and deaf. 4 cats live here as well although I did not see much of one who is feral. The dogs are Scooter who is lying next to the cats, Reese the herding mix and Mr Bean , the little black one. Mr Bean was very demanding and would bark when he wanted something such as outside, inside, on couch , off couch, on bed, off bed and especially when he wanted his breakfast at around 5:00 a.m !!! If he weren’t so incredibly cute, he could be a royal pain. However, his cuteness won me over. Reese was the only one who I could take on walks. He and I walked several times to the reservoir which was a 3 mile round trip walk and around the neighborhood . The setting here was so lovely, I never felt the need to go into town (St. George) except for once to pick up my groceries for the stay. I did however, go to Snow Canyon State park twice and what a treat that place is !!!
Snow Canyon State Park is a state park of Utah, USA, featuring a canyon carved from the red and white Navajo sandstone in the Red Mountains. The park is located near Ivins, Utah and St. George in Washington.
Snow canyon state park was just a few miles from the house and a beautiful place to hike. I went there twice and spent all day wandering around its colorful rocks.
All in all , I really enjoyed this house sit , the area, the house and the quirky pets.
This week when I was driving from Utah to California I took my time and made a few stops. A good part of my drive was thru the state of Nevada .Nevada is full of small , interesting towns, “living ghost towns” and empty ghost towns, old mines, etc.
I made a couple stops in some old Nevada towns that are “living ghost town’s now “. Not to many residents and some old crumbling buildings . One was Pioche ,which although I was told they get a lot of people stop by in summer, it literally closes down in the winter. Here is a little bit of the intriguing history of Pioche.
In 1864, William Hamblin, a Latter Day Saint missionary, was led to silver deposits in the vicinity of Pioche by a Native American Paiute. In 1868, San Francisco financier Francois L.A. Pioche purchased claims and constructed a smelter in the area, forming the Meadow Valley Mining Company. The mining camp was called “Pioche’s City” and later became known as Pioche.
The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870’s. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871. The town quickly gained fame for its “toughest town” reputation. Due mostly to confusion over the exact location of mining claims, mine owners finally resorted to hiring guards. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of about twenty a day during boom times to fight mining claim encroachments. Mine owners often paid the gunmen a salary of $20 per day––a more certain investment for owners than settling disputes in court where bribery often determined the final outcome. The sheriff’s office was reputed to be worth $40,000 a year in bribes alone.
Guns were the only law, and Pioche made Bodie, Tombstone, and other better known towns pale in comparison. It has been reported that seventy-five men were buried in the cemetery before anyone in Pioche had time to die a natural death. According to one reputable source, nearly 60 percent of the homicides reported in Nevada during 1871-72 took place in and around Pioche.
I happened into the Pioche Museum which a lady named Leslie started 25 years ago. It is filled with artifacts, gems, minerals, and all kinds of fun stuff from pioche and other towns in Lincoln county. Leslie was born and raised in Pioche. I like to imagine that her grandfather may have been one of those gun toting bad guys!
After wandering around Pioche for awhile I headed to Austin, Nv. which is on Highway 50 . Highway 50 is the loneliest highway in America. Not much on it. A small town , here and there. Make sure you fill up on gas when you can. And here is a little history on Austin , which is another “living ghost town” of Nevada .
I decided to stay overnight in Austin at the Cozy mountain hotel . I would recommend it for a cheap and clean place to lay your head. Not a lot of choices in Austin but there were a few other places. Room was small but very clean and the bed was super comfortable. I think they must have gotten some new beds since the 1800’s. I just recommend they put in a coffee maker. Microwave and fridge come with the room. I was happy with the great bed.
Not quite as happy when Looking for some dinner . Only one place to choose from. I guess there was another place but it was closed on Sunday. So, I ended up here. Unfortunately , the menu was very limited . One other couple came in and the next morning I ran into them at the other place for breakfast . We ended up sitting together and talking and laughing about our experience at the International. It wasn’t just the food, but the waitress was , well, it was like she was someplace else. As well as the place being quite messy. Just a strange experience. Breakfast was at another place in town and actually pretty good. The couple I sat with where from Minnesota and out west doing geo caching. Sounded fun. I may have to look into that.
On leaving Austin after breakfast I decided to stop off at the cemetery. Maybe its just me but I love walking thru cemetery’s in old town’s like Austin. You can learn some things by looking at the grave’s dating back into the 1800’s.
What did I learn. I have noticed this before in other old graveyards but today it really hit me that so many of the older graves where immigrants. I think the reason it hit me today was the fact of what is going on in this country with our current president who is trying to put a halt to immigration and saying things like ” they are all druggies, murderers, rapists, etc. ” “They are not people we want in our country “. A lot of us Americans do not think that way, thank goodness. And so in looking at these tombstones I noticed a commonality. Take a look at these tombstones. What do they have in common ??? They are all immigrants. These in fact are the people who came here and built these towns. They are the ones who built America . Native’s of Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy. We are all descendants of immigrants so how can we turn our backs on them now.
While taking some time off in between house sits I went to Kanab , Utah to visit my friend Joni. Her and I met thru the animal rescue world . She was living in Nevada and I in California. We made several trips together to Kanab, Utah to volunteer at Best friends animal society. Please click on this link to learn more about Best friends. This is an amazing place to go and to volunteer. You do not have to volunteer. You can take the tour which is about 2 hours. The tour will tell you much about Best friends and take you thru the property with a stop in cats and a stop in dogs. If you want to know more about how this place came about , I would suggest reading this. Book about how Best friends came about. Or just go to the website and read about Best friends and their story. Fascinating !! I bought the book at an auction at a wine tasting event in Lake Tahoe back in 1997. After reading it I just knew I had to go there. I believe my first visit was in 1999. Here are some photos of the lovely Angles canyon that is the home to Best Friends.
I went back several times to volunteer. I also bought a piece of property in Kanab, Utah, thinking maybe one day of trying to work at Best friends and live in Kanab. I never did go to work there although my friend Joni did and this is why I am here again. Have not been for about 6 years. Came back to visit Joni, and to check out my lot. Here is is in the beautiful Vermillion cliffs.
Even if you do not volunteer or do the tour , you can go there and get a wonderful $5 vegan buffet lunch at Best Friends cafeteria and just drive thru the lovely location which is Angle’s Canyon and stop in for lunch. You may want to stop at the visitor center first for a map and to buy some fun stuff. The property is huge and beautiful with lovely spots to take a hike and to visit.
If you volunteer you can help clean, walk dogs, and even walk a cat.
If you don’t volunteer and are just touring the property then be sure to stop at Angels landing which is the pet cemetery. Best friends animals who have passed are buried here as well as members pets. I believe anyone can purchase a grave site here. It is full of wind chimes and special tokens. I love to just sit there and listen to the wind chimes. I can feel the spirits of the animals.
So if you are touring Utah, I highly recommend a stop at Best Friends !!
Also, Kanab is a good location if you plan to go to Zion , Bryce and North rim Grand Canyon national parks. They are all within a hour or so drive from Kanab. My next post will feature some hiking trails (not in the parks because we had dogs !) near Kanab. Lots of beauty in the area.
I recently did a 2 week house sit in Atascadero which is small city in San Luis Obispo county in central California. Atascadero is a beautiful farming region with rolling hills, wineries and only 20 miles from the central California coastline which includes the charming little towns like Morro bay, Cambria, Cayucos and one can also visit Hearst castle. The larger town of San Luis Obispo, and beach town of Pismo beach are nearby as well.
My first house sit with horses. One mini named Little O , and another horse named Hot shot, as well as Doozle the goat , 2 cats, rabbits, chickens and Tank the tortoise. Sweet little farm with a garden, and fun assortment of animals. Deer every morning in the yards surrounding the property. I really enjoyed this house sit. Enjoyed the animals, the farm, and seeing this beautiful area.
Doozle and Little O
Deer in yard
While in Atascadero , I went wine tasting Hiking To the Harbor festival in Morro Bay, The pumpkin festival in Cambria, and colony days festival in AtascaderoWent to Montano de Oro state park which is beautiful. Here are some photos of Montana de oro and Morro bay.
I took quite a few trips to the coast as it was only a 25 minute drive. Really Loved Morro bay which is still a quaint little fishing town and Cayucos which is a funky little surfing town. Cambria is a small town that is charming with lots of shops and restaurants. A bit more upscale then Morro bay and Cayucos.
Saw some beautiful sunsets at Morro bay.
I had a great time in Atascadero and hope to go back to housesit for Chris and Sharon again next year if possible.
My next house sit is in Atascadero , CA. but with 3 days to play I decided to stop in Carmel on the Sea. I got a cute little Air BnB right near town and was able to walk to town and the beach. Carmel beach is beautiful with clean white sand.
The downtown area is cute and full of shops, restaurants, wineries, and gardens. However I find it a bit pricey for my liking. It is a very upscale town. I did hand out my petsitting card to a few people. Who knows. Maybe go back to petsit one day.
I spent one day at Point Lobos state reserve which is only a couple miles from Carmel and beautiful and wild. It is definitely worth a stop. I hiked the 5 mile trail along the coastline.
I also drove to Big Sur one day. I stumbled upon a wedding photo shoot while there. Here are a few of my photos.
What a spot for your wedding photos !
Some more photos of this beautiful stretch of coastline.
The California coastline really is amazing. North, central and south. South being more crowded and congested but still beautiful. Northern and central coastline are rugged and wild. Do your self a favor and get to the California coast.
Lost Sierra Hoedown is a fun little (only 500 tickets sold) Hoedown music campout in the Sierra Nevadas . It takes place in a small town called Johnsville, Ca. at the old Johnsville historic ski area.
This from the founders:
Our mission is to re-invent the music festival, inspire land stewardship through outdoor recreation, and support Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl.
The Lost Sierra Hoedown is a weekend of simple outdoor living, and human-produced music you can dance to: folk, country, bluegrass, and Americana. This hoedown will raise funds and awareness for the re-opening of Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl.
Below is Z who is the founder of the Hoedown and who grew up in the area. Thank you Z for such a fun time !!
Hoedown is a campout event filled with foot stomping , fun loving music and lots of super nice people who will be your friends by the end of the weekend. These are Hoedown photos of past and present hoedowns. I have gone to 5 out of 6 of the hoedowns. I really enjoy the smallness of it, the music, the venue and the whole brotherly vibe!
The Johnsville historic ski bowl is also the home of the Plumas ski club. These folk ski on the old time longboards. I have yet to get out there to watch a race but hope to in the following season.
The Plumas Ski Club’s purpose is to promote community skiing activities; through historical re-enactments of 1860’s era ski racing in the Lost Sierra. Our primary mission is to raise funds, by sponsoring community events, for the continued maintenance and eventual re-opening of the Johnsvile Historic Ski Bowl.
We have a volunteer board of directors and we enthusiastically welcome all volunteers and new energy to the club! This community based ski club has developed, maintained, and operated the historic ski bowl since the 1950’s.
We are a valid 501c3 and donations are always welcome. Please contact us if you wish to donate. Johnsvile Historic Ski Bowl is located just above Johnsville CA. Map here
I recently had a few days free from house sitting and went on a 4 night camping trip to the coast. I camped at Samual P.Taylor state park which is a great location to camp and explore Point Reyes National seashore. I love this area. So much to see, miles and miles of hiking trails, beautiful beaches, Tule elk, whales, all kinds of birds, wildflowers galore in early spring. Samual P. Taylor state park sits nestled in a heavily treed area. Pretty campground with lots of nice, roomy spaces. It is $35 a night which is high but that is Ca. State park price. Some sites with electric, there are central showers and food boxes to protect your food from the many raccoons. The small town of Point reyes station is just down the road. And in fact there are many cute, very small old style coastal towns all along the coast here. So , besides visiting Point Reyes national seashore, it is also fun to just drive around .
Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71,028-acre (287.44 km2) park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. As a national seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as an important nature preserve. Some existing agricultural uses are allowed to continue within the park. Clem Miller, a US Congressman from Marin County wrote and introduced the bill for the establishment of Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962 to protect the peninsula from development which was proposed at the time for the slopes above Drake’s Bay. All of the park’s beaches were listed as the cleanest in the state in 2010.[4
From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration.
Point Reyes is one of my favorite places on the Northern California coast. It is only an hour from San Francisco yet so many people do not know of the beauty that is there.