Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico

After our beautiful drive into the mountains around Taos ski area, we stayed in Taos town center.  The Town Plaza is cute, and of course there are lots of shops and restaurants.  If you like American Indian Art, a little Spanish art thrown in, and once in a while some Cowboy are, you’ll fall in love with shopping.  There is a lot of sterling silver earrings and necklaces.  But always remember just because it looks good out there, it might not fit in so well when you get home.  I find that I like the jewelry look so did indulge myself with a few pieces this trip.

While in Taos, do not miss the Taos Pueblo.  It is historically significant, something like you have never seen before, and just plain interesting.  You are on an Indian Pueblo where people are living their daily lives, so there are many restrictions, so be aware of what is OK and what is not, and photography is certainly not allowed.  Once you see the Pueblo, you will recognize it many paintings you see while shopping, it is a popular scene to paint.  The history is quite amazing.

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Around Taos and South to Albuquerque there are approximately 19 Pueblos, and you can visit each one.  Each Pueblo offers its own uniqueness, from as little as a visitor center selling their wares, to casinos and beautiful golf courses.  definitely should put on your list and visit a few.

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There are many missions along the way, and each with its own significance.  Most are off the main routes, so when you visit the missions, you’re also getting a scenic drive a long the way.  Also, just west of Taos is a really cool bridge that goes over a gorge, definitely worth the 8 mile drive out-of-town. 

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Arriving in Santa Fe, you realize it is a much bigger city.  There is the new section of town where the Shopping Mall and all the chain restaurants are at, but where you want to be is in the city center, the historic Santa Fe Town Plaza.  The old town area is about 3 times bigger than Taos.  The shops are not only on the Plaza, but down many side streets.  There are some nice local museums including some art museums you don’t want to miss.  There are some beautiful Churches and Missions around the Plaza, and the oldest house in the Country is located right off the Plaza.  A short drive away is Canyon Road and its about a mile long of Art Galleries.  There are all kinds of art, not just Indian or Cowboy art, but everything.  You could spend a day just walking up and down Canyon Road.  If you’re looking for a new painting, or a piece of art, you need to put this on your list before you buy.  But remember to bring your checkbook, this is not for the faint of heart.

I could consider Santa Fe a great place for a women’s weekend.  If shopping is your thing and you want everything contained in one area, what a great weekend get-away.  But if you’re looking for a special something that you and your husband want, then this is  a great couples escape also.  I didn’t see a lot of things that would keep children interested.  The weather was warm in July, but the mornings and evenings refreshing.  There was some rain, but nothing that ruined our days.

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These were just some of the sights along the way.  We drove along the Rio Grande River and saw tubers, looked like that would be fun.  After Santa Fe, we drove on to Albuquerque, another nice destination in our travels.  Until next time, happy travels to whatever destination you choose…….

 

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Taos Ski Area, New Mexico

As mentioned in my last blog we recently traveled to New Mexico to find some cooler weather                                                          New Mexico 2013 047

and relief from another Texas hot summer.  Out day time temperatures in central Texas was just starting to hang around 100 to 105 degrees.  I know there are some people who don’t think this his hot and go about life like any other time of year.  For us, this is nothing but Hot!  So off to New Mexico we went.  We heard that Ruidoso, New Mexico was very popular with people from our area as this is the closest drive where you can get cooler weather.  Although we were going to stop and see Ruidoso, we drove a little farther and headed off to the Taos area.

What can I say, if you like Mountains, tall pine trees, high elevations, Mountain streams, brisk weather and a lovely breeze, than Taos is a good mix.  We stopped at Taos Ski lodge just to see what was there.  It was a little over 8000 feet and we were both feeling the shortness of breath.  The ski lift was open which would have taken us up to a little over 10,000 feet.  It was a standard open chair lift, we heard the vistas were beautiful, but we felt with us already having issues adapting to the height we thought it best not to go up.  Since we have left, I do regret not taking the time.

When you’re at Taos ski area, what you see is a very small portion of the ski terrain, so you think there’s not much there, but in reality it’s very deceiving.  In addition we saw horseback riding, I’m sure that would have been fun also.  You can stay in the area and enjoy some mountain biking also.  The ski area is about a 20 minute mountain drive back to the town of Taos.  So you need to know what you want for your vacation, seclusion and the mountain experience, or the town with shops, and restaurants.   The distance is not bad, so no matter where you choose to stay I’m sure you will enjoy the area.  I have attached some photos of both the ski area.  Next post will be to the town of Taos.

Enjoy the drive, it’s a fun road to travel……..

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New Mexico Bound

If anyone has ever lived in central Texas, just visited or vacationed here in the summer, you know Texas summers are Hot, I would say sizzling!  I thought we would make it through the summer but by early July I knew we had to get to some cooler weather.  So after doing some research and talking to folks we decided we would head to New Mexico.  I’ll cover our trip over the next few posts, and include lots of photos, but I do want to say now before I go any further, it was a wonderful trip.  The weather was wonderful (meaning cool) and we saw some beautiful sights.  Both of us had never been to this part of New Mexico before so it was fun and exciting to share in the experience.

Our trip consisted of seeing Taos, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Albuquerque and Ruidoso.  You probably see one thing in common here if you have been to New Mexico – Mountains!  We love mountain vistas.  Not only are they beautiful, but usually mountains means cooler weather.  So to start off the trip here are a few photos of our trip.

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Our outbound trip, that dark sky would intimidate anyone!

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Our Drive to Taos from Las Vegas, NM

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Historic Taos Plaza

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Gorge outside Santa Fe, NM

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Awesome Bridge over Gorge.

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Rafting down the Rio Grande River

Those are some of the photos, more to come.  Each area and city had something special to offer.  If you haven’t considered a trip to New Mexico, it’s worth putting on your list of “to do’s”.  Until next time, happy travels……..

Where Did the Year Go?

It’s been a long time since my last post.  Believe me it’s not because I have nothing to say, it’s because I can’t find the time to sit here and write about it.  I have had friends and family in my life through out the years, and I have done things such as travel, go to concerts, dinners, shopping, boating, and golfing.  Everything went in cycles, but what never changed was the 7 to 5 work grind, that was always first and foremost.  It had to be, there were bills to pay, and if I wanted to do any of the things I just mentioned you needed money, so off to work I went.  Along the way I saved, could I have saved more; of course.  Will what I have saved be enough, only time will tell, but I will say that the effort that went into controlling my spending and holding back on some of those “wants” that weren’t “needs” did pay off, and because of those times in my life I am happy to say that I have almost reached my first anniversary of retirement.    All my life I would say, “when I retire I want to do this”, or when I retire I would like to go here”, well I certainly haven’t even scratched the surface, but I’m sure moving in the right direction.

I had this certain expectation of what retirement was going to be.  I didn’t see myself sitting in my house watching TV all day, nope, I was going to be socializing and traveling, and doing activities.  I am so very happy to say that in the first year my expectations have been met and exceeded.  It started as a busy year relocating to our current home, which is located in an Adult Sun City Community.  After settling in we started meeting people and joining groups.  We got involved in game nights, dances, dinners, golfing, and exercising and now as we continue to expand our activities list I am now meeting new people in the community.  I’m still as excited about our community as I was when we first moved here.  It hasn’t slowed down and we are having as much or more fun than at first.

At first I was scrambling to do all and get involved with everything.  Almost like a kid in a candy store, afraid they’re going to run out, so go for it all.  A year later, it’s not running out, but changing, expanding and getting better.  The end of August will be one year since I left my last career job.  I thought I was going to die, I was scared to death about money, being lonely and bored, and figuring I would be back to work full-time in under 6 months.  I can honestly say that if we stayed in our previous house this probably would have happened.  I didn’t have the base of friends that I have acquired here in less than a year.  We lived there 5 years and never developed friendships like we have in the short time we’re here.

I write this down because I am hoping that as you near retirement and if you consider yourself a somewhat sociable person and want to meet people of similar ages and likes, then please look at an Adult Community, they are not for old people.  I can tell you that I am getting healthier than I have ever been and have a chance to look better in my 60’s than I did in my 50’s.  Age is nothing, it’s your attitude and how you go about life.  All my adult life I was in a controlled environment, meaning someone else controlled the majority of my life, my employer.  Now I’m in control and I’m doing the things that I have been waiting 35 years to do, at my own pace and my own time.  Embrace your older years, it’s still time to grow and develop.  It’s time to learn and expand your knowledge and it’s time to share those also.

Work hard and long when you have to, and prepare for the later years in your life, because the best is still to come.  Enjoy your travels, it’s getting better and better…….

Next post is our trip to New Mexico!

It’s not our Parents Retirement

Remember when you were young, everyone looked old.  Someone in their 40’s was old, and 50’s they were just ancient.  I always remember my grandparents as old.  I’m sure they weren’t any older than I am now when this first thought came to me, but being young they were old.  There was no middle age, you were either young or your were old.  And anyone that wasn’t you or your brother’s age were old.

I’m glad to say, times have changed.  If this is old, it’s great!  After doing nothing much more than working, eating, watching TV, and a little socializing that was the extent of my world and my exercise.  I’m happy to report that this is not what retirement needs to be.  Of course you’re no longer working, so it’s what you fill that void with that makes life new and exciting.  Yes, I could be a retiree of the earlier years, when most activity was centered around the house, and family, but there is so much more to choose from today.  Families are spread out all over the Country and it’s up to you to make the most of these years.

As I have found out you can be as busy or even busier than when you worked, but what’s exciting about being busy, it’s the busy you make it.  Today my day started at 9AM and I didn’t sit down and relax until 4PM, it was great.  First there was golf lessons and practice, off to a ladies luncheon, back for 2 hours of line dancing, working in the yard, then finally calling it a day and a well deserved sit down and relax time.  There’s more than TV, more than computers, there are classes, lectures, luncheons, arts and crafts, volunteering, golf, tennis, bocce ball, dancing, card games, gardening,…… I could go on for an entire page.

What’s really fun about a day like today versus when I worked, I’m tired, completely bushed, but it feels good.  I have exercised, I have not sat on my butt all day.  I have been with people who enjoy the same things I do, and have had a great dose of my vitamin D being out in the sun. I’m glad to say that so far 11 months into retirement I couldn’t have expected anymore.  I’m very happy and so glad I decided to travel down this road now, and not wait a few years.  I’m traveling on happy trails and hope your are too.

 

Long Time Coming…….

I didn’t realize that the end of May was my last post.  It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything fun or exciting, I just haven’t found the time to sit at the computer for any length of time and write.  It’s now July,  it’sTexas, and it’s hot out, so it’s a great afternoon to get caught up on life over the last month.  We haven’t gone on any special trips, but we certainly have been busy.  We’ve been here in Sun City for about 9 months now, and we’re still as active and having fun as we were earlier this year.  June flew by with all of the activities, events, parties and game nights.  But now we’re into July and as I kept hearing people say, now in the month of July and August things are getting a little slower.

But to fill in for the game nights, events and parties, I have now started to partake in the wonderful sport of golf!  Where do I begin.  Golf is truly a love, hate relationship.  It’s maddening when you go out and you get bad shots, missed putts, or just do something really stupid, but then it always seems that last hole or that last putt is the best of the day and you want to come back for more.  You always think I ‘ll do better on the next shot, or the next hole.  It’s amazing how you keep fooling yourself.

This Sun City has 3 beautiful 18 hole courses with driving ranges, chipping and putting greens.  They’re very nice courses and for many it is the main reason for moving here.  You can always get a tee time, it just might not be exactly when you wanted it, but they do try hard to meet everyone’s request.  Of course, like anywhere, someone is always not happy or satisfied.  It is so convenient to leave your clubs on your golf cart in the garage.  You put on your golf shoes and less than 5 minutes you’re on the 1st tee.  You truly can be spoiled very quickly.

If I haven’t said it once, I have probably said it each post, and I still feel this way, living here is like life on a big cruise ship.  You have to be careful though and pick and choose carefully what you want to get involved in, because you can easily take on too much and get burned out very fast.  I am finding it best to try something for a while, see if you like it, if not move onto the next thing.  You can always keep what you like but keep filling in the time with one of those new activities.  Your day can fill up very quickly.

So although some game nights have been stopped for the summer, we now have a weekly neighborhood pool party, not only is it a great place to cool off, it’s a really nice place to sit and visit, how refreshing.  I have to say for any person or couple thinking of retiring, and you want to stay active and get involved, then please don’t hesitate to check out an Adult community in your area.  I have learned since I quit working last August that you can be prepared financially, and be secure in that path, but if you don’t have a hobby or special interest you will be shocked how long a week can be.  You can’t eat out every day, you can’t shop every day.  Think of all the hours that you have sat in traffic to and from work, and all the hours you have worked, now look at that time and figure out what you’re going to fill it with.  You can’t sit on the computer every day, it’s certainly not healthy, so when you are financially planning your retirement, if you don’t have a passion for something or a hobby you want to pursue I strongly suggest you put that on your to do list so when that magical day comes and you leave that office for the last time, you’re not staring at unlimited hours of nothingness, but looking at activities and being social.

So 9 months later I’m still a fan of Sun City.  If that ever changes believe me you’ll be the first to know.  But for now and the foreseeable future I’m a big fan!  Shortly we’ll be taking a driving trip to NM and I hope to be able to provide you some great insights of places to see and things to do.  We’re off to Santa Fe and the Taos area, hoping that 8000 – 10000 ft in elevation will provide us a little change from the 100 degree Texas weather.  July 4th has come and gone, and the lazy days of July and August are in front of us.  Enjoy the summer, and I’m  looking forward to our vacation travels, will keep you posted on the roads we travel.  Until next time as the song states “Happy Trails”………..

 

Where Does the Time Go?

I remember when I was a kid summer vacations seemed endless, it took forever to get to Christmas and it was a whole year before you next birthday.  Nothing ever got here soon enough.  I remember being in the car and saying “when are we going to get there”, or asking “when is Christmas going to be here”, it seemed the world and time was moving much slower.  Of course we all know it wasn’t but it sure seemed like it.  Then we got older, started families, and then we never had enough time, and it went to, Oh my God, its Christmas already, or it’s birthday time again.  We started measuring time with the age of our kids.  The kids are grown and we’ve been on our own for a while now.  We can’t believe how quickly the grandkids are getting older, but I don’t seem to relate to their aging as I did the kids.  Maybe being long distance has something to do with that.  But I don’t need kids, or grandkids to tell me that time is flying by again.

I quit my full-time job 8 months ago.  I can’t believe that 8 months have come and gone.  We moved here to Sun City over 5 months ago.   This I can not believe either.  Now we say, “already another birthday”, where did the year go?   We were busy with selling a house, buying a house, moving, getting settled in, painting, landscaping, and learning to have fun again.  I didn’t realize that my life had been so consumed with work that I forgot what it was like to really have fun.  Not having to worry about work stuff, getting up at 6am whether you wanted to or not, working weekends and evenings.  Life was not fun.  For the few weekends or evenings that we did go out I realize now that I had missed out on so much of life.

I look back and think I should have done some things differently, but I didn’t, and at least I’m lucky enough now to have the time to do those things I missed out on.  I’m going to Ladies luncheons, playing Mah Jongg with the ladies in the afternoon, attending weeknight parties, joining in game nights.  They might seem like little things, but I’ve come to realize that it’s sometimes the little things in life that are the most fun.  You can’t always plan or afford a world cruise, or vacation for 4 or 5 weeks at a time, or attend expensive functions, but you don’t need that.  You can find fun things to do right in your own neighborhood.  That’s one thing that Sun City has offered us and we are enjoying.

So now that I took my 10 minute break, we’re off to another neighborhood party tonight.  You won’t believe it but its called “howling at the moon”, I need not say anymore.  So remember whatever road you are traveling down, remember to be friendly, be sociable and smile.  Take that 5 minutes to talk with someone, you never know where it might lead to.  Happy traveling……..