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!

I just realized that it has been a long time since I wrote my last blog.  When I started writing in August last year, it seems like I had time every day to sit down and write.  Actually I was looking to fill my time so writing here was helpful to fill that time.  It also was helpful in transitioning to this new life.  Today is Saturday, you can certainly ask me what the date is, but I sure don’t know.  I’m still OK with knowing if it’s a Monday or a Tuesday, etc…, but that’s only because of all the game nights and different things we do that the days of the week are not forgotten, but the date, that requires a calendar.  But if you ask me what we’re doing on the first Monday of the month, or the third Wednesday of the month, or the fourth Thursday evening, I can tell you.  I’ve learned to use that function on my Outlook calendar very well.

The end of May will be nine months since I worked full-time and almost 7 months that we have lived in Sun City Georgetown.  If there are any people who read this and are thinking of retiring in the near future or are already retired and looking for something new, I will suggest go on-line and look for Adult communities.  They are all over the U.S. and not just Sun Cities.  Lennar has some 55+ communities, and Pulte of course has Del Webb and you don’t have to move South or away from your kids because I wouldn’t be surprised if there is not one near you.    If you are a social person, like group activities, like to golf or play tennis, into crafts, pickelball, game nights, socials, and live music events, this is the place to be.  Our previous neighborhoods were multi-generational and very seldom did you get together with your neighbors.  Everyone was too busy running here or there, working, shopping, cleaning, etc…..So even when they were home they didn’t have time to visit except occasionally.

If anyone ever watched Desperate Housewives with all the drama going on, I will say that Drama does exist.  I can happily say that is all that is similar to Wisteria Lane.  No murders, no crime, but when you have many older people with time on their hands, I will be honest and say there is drama.  Is it so horrible that it negates the good stuff, absolutely not.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the negative.  There are the ones that want to be the leaders, there are the ones that form their little groups, there will always be someone who doesn’t get along with someone, that’s just the way of the world.  But although some of this exists, it is so mild and does not affect the overall mood and fun of the neighborhood.  What it does do is bring up some funny stuff and if you can laugh about it and move on, then that’s OK.  You know we have lesser years now than we did before on this earth, so the petty stuff, who cares.

I know living on this street that I could call anyone, anytime and ask for help and they would be there.  It’s nice knowing that if you had to your neighbors would be here for you.  In today’s world that is a really great thing.  There are no screaming kids, no toys left in the yards, no swing sets and no 4 or 5 cars sitting out.  Are there rules here, of course there are rules, but those are what makes the neighborhoods look as nice as they do and for us one of the reasons we moved here.  We don’t mind rules, as long as they are practical and for everyone.  I know for some the rules thing is offensive, but overall I believe in rules and believe if not over done can be good for everyone.

It’s now summer in Texas.  Going to be in the mid-90’s all week.  Some people have already left for the summer and others will be leaving over the next month.  We hear that June – September is rather slow here as many people go on long vacations or to their home up North, so we’ll have to see what happens over the next few months.  I can tell you thru the end of May it has not slowed down.  I am not one to sit and watch TV, or read a book for a long period of time so being here and being active is right up my alley.

I am going to say one last thing about aging.  I know I’m one of the younger ones here in Sun City, being in my 50’s.  I have a new outlook of what I want to be when I’m 65 or 70.  I have heard the saying that “the 60’s are the new 40’s” and I truly, absolutely and completely  believe that.  I have a new goal in life to be as fit and in shape as many of the 70 year olds.  Many run circles around me and are in much better shape.  I have never seen so many ladies that I would never have guessed they are as old as they are, and no they have not had surgery.   I have a few years to get working on this, and I sure am.  So for today this is it, I’m motivated and going to work out.  The road I’m traveling today is the work out road………

 

San Antonio and the Alamo Go Together

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A trip to San Antonio must include a stop at the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  These are both downtown and there is access to the Riverwalk right across the street from the Alamo.  While on the Riverwalk there is plenty of places to stop to eat and drink, and you should plan a trip on the Rio River Cruise also.  It’s about a 1/2 boat ride that you see the sights of the Riverwalk and also hear some history on some of the buildings along the way.  You can certainly walk around the same way you take the boat ride, but unless you have a lot of time the river cruise is probably the best way to see it, plus much easier on the feet.

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The Riverwalk has been expanded many miles over the last few years and although downtown San Antonio is the heart of the Riverwalk with all the shops and restaurants, there is also the Museum Reach and the Mission Reach portions of the walk that are well worth a visit.  There are many things to do in San Antonio,  the two mentioned here are only an introduction.  It’s a great place to visit, hopefully your next travels will take you this direction.  Happy Trails……………….

Visiting the Rodeo in Austin

 

We have been busy with visitors the last few weeks and have been on the go.  I have many photos and fun things to do if you have a chance to visit Austin, TX.  Austin is a great weekend destination, a stop during your vacation or a destination onto itself.  This will take a few blogs but each day I’ll try to update you on one of the activities.  Today’s photos are from the Austin Rodeo.

The rodeo is not a year round activity but approximately the middle two weeks of March.  If you plan on being in this area during the month of March, then I would certainly consider looking this up and plan on having a fun evening.  My best description of Austin’s rodeo is that it’s in a good location, out of city traffic, and the grounds themselves is like the size of a County Fair.  They have a stage outside for musical entertainment, about every 2 hours there was a new act.  Plenty of “Fair” food, and some shows periodically thru the day.  Of course there was the amusement park rides, but we passed on that section.  They had pig races, a “roper” who was very good, a western shootout, and a dog show in the afternoon.  The day we went to the Rodeo, the Rodeo started at 7PM.

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It had all the standard Rodeo things – roping, barrel racing, bronc riding and bull riding.  We went on a Monday evening so the stadium was only about half full, but it was still fun and enjoyable.  I forgot to mention they also have animal judging, cows, pigs, etc… just like at County and State Fairs.  So here are some photos.  I will mention that some might be a little fuzzy as these are the “action” shots.  If you haven’t been to a Rodeo, I think it’s a good American past time and you should try it at least once – have fun!

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I think all ages would enjoy this activity.  It’s not an all day activity, but if you can arrive a few hours before the rodeo starts you can take in the shows, possibly see some judging, have a fun dinner, then attend the rodeo.  Also, after each rodeo event there is Live music to enjoy.  So when next March rolls around and you’re going to be here, take a look at their website, and book your tickets.  Hope you enjoy.