On US-60/AZ-77 in Arizona, on our day-long drive from Tucson, AZ to Santa Fe, NM.
About halfway between Globe and Show Low is the very scenic Salt River Canyon Rest Area. It’s a great place to stretch the legs, descend to the river canyon below, or walk across the 1934 bridge which is now only for pedestrian use. The replacement New Salt River Canyon Bridge (Apache Bridge) opened in 1996. The river and rest area lie on the territorial lands of the San Carlos Apache and the White Mountain Apache peoples. The Salt River flows west and converges downstream with the Gila river in southwest Phoenix.
I made the picture above on 19 October 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the settings: 1/1000-sec, f/10, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-eEz.
On AZ-77 in Arizona, on our day-long drive from Tucson, AZ to Santa Fe, NM.
Located 146 kilometres (91 miles) north from Tucson, AZ is Pinal Pass or El Capitan Pass. The mountain crossing is at elevation 1519 metres (4983 feet) with coordinates 33.263 degrees North latitude and 110.772 degrees West longitude, and is located at the southeast corner of the Tonto National Forest. The view shown faces northeast, and I can’t help but wonder what it might have been like for the indigenous or colonizers to have trekked west from what is now New Mexico through Arizona and onwards to California. The inscription for the historical marker at the roadside stop reads:
This pass was used by Stephen W. Kearny’s Army of the West in a march to California in 1846. Guided by Kit Carson it was described in a journal of the trip as “Carson’s Old Trail”. The pass led around the impassable canyon on the Gila River where Coolidge Dam has been constructed.
I made the picture above on 19 October 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the settings: 1/1000-sec, f/10, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-eEl.
What colourful and interesting sights of light and balloons you might see, whether it’s your first or the umpteenth time at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Every year beginning the first weekend in October, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon central New Mexico to see several hundred hot-air balloons ascend into the skies over the Duke City.
To kick off our time in the American Southwest, we drove into Albuquerque for our first time in the city and to attend our first Balloon Fiesta. We purchased in advance tickets to day 1’s morning session with park-and-ride, day 2’s evening session with park-and-ride, and day 3’s morning session without park-and-ride.
For opening day, clear skies and crisp conditions waited for us as we struggled mightily out of bed, but headed out into the dark of the early morning with great anticipation. Even with massive crowds and some traffic chaos, the long wait was worth the sight of seeing the balloons as oval dots on the horizon and as shapely giants up close.
I have to mention the breakfast chile relleno burritos which everybody recommended we seek and try on the festival grounds. How about a version consisting of a New Mexico green chile stuffed with cheese and batter fried, enveloped in a scrambled egg and cheese mixture, all wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and lightly grilled? Big balloons and breakfast burritos? “YES, GUY!”
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To begin our journey through the American Southwest, one of our first destinations was the International Balloon Fiesta. The largest balloon festival in North America is held every October in Albuquerque, the most populous city in the American state of New Mexico. Located roughly in the centre of the state and bisected by two major interstate highways I-25 and I-40, Albuquerque has seen its fair share of human activity and history:
- Inland trade road between Meso-America and southern Rocky Mountains, c. 1000 AD/CE.
- El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro established between Mexico City and Santa Fe for the colony of New Spain.
- City founded 1706 AD/CE, in a wooded area along the east bank of the Rio Grande river.
- City named after Viceroy of New Spain who was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque; 1st ‘r’ dropped to ease spelling and pronunciation.
- City population: over 560-thousand, metro area over 910-thousand.
- City elevation, average: 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mile).
- City shaped by Spanish presence, railroad, University of New Mexico, Route 66, Sandia National Laboratories, TV- & film-production.
Having arrived from our respective cities at sea-level, we needed about a day or two to adjust to 20% less atmosphere* at the city’s mile-high elevation. Not only did the balloon festival exceed our expectations, we’re happy to share some of our favourite moments and places in and around “The Duke City”. With a limited number of days in the city, a rental car is the easiest way of getting around the city.
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I’ve always been mesmerized by highway signs and fascinated by the history of big highways. There’s also big nostalgia, because Dad loved highway driving and road trips. He was the sole driver on the Trans-Canada highway between Vancouver and Calgary or on US Interstate-5 to Bellingham and Seattle. How obvious is it then, that a deep yearning for open roads comes directly from my father.
The following is a part of day 8 (of 17) in our drive through the American Southwest.
We set out on a day trip from Santa Fe to Taos and Taos Pueblo, with a scenic drive on New Mexico highway NM-68, the “low road” or “river road” along the Rio Grande river between Española and Taos. With low light in the morning hour, we didn’t see it when we drove north to Taos. But on our mid-afternoon return on the low road, we found the Classical Gas Museum in the small town of Embudo. We pulled into an open sandy rocky patch, marvelling at the collection in front of rusting gas pumps and a wooden building resembling a historic gas station.
The Classical Car Museum is owned and run by Johnnie Meier who is a retired scientist and former employee at the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory. His interest and collection grew to the point where he needed more space. Reading about the museum is one thing, but it’s no match for seeing in person his extensive collection of memorabilia, including whole and partial gas pumps, highway signage, oil cans, gas company signage, license plates, a model gas station, a working vintage Coca-Cola cooler, a classic car or two, an entire “pre-fab” diner building, and a mascot for a once thriving restaurant-chain. From within the building, it’s the glow which provides further fuel for interest, and once inside, the neon and warm illumination of symbols and signs combine for the inevitable “wow!” Altogether, it’s a broad mix of elements from mid 20th-century American history which is all about highway-driving and open-road nostalgia. There’s a saying about how someone’s junk is somebody else’s treasure, but the entire collection deserves careful cataloguing and a larger permanent building. A new museum would be fitting somewhere along the old US-66 highway. Santa Rosa, NM is a leading candidate, but other cities in the state are also possible.
For now, the museum is located next to highway NM-68 in Embudo; the coordinates are 36.209102 degrees North, 105.951658 degrees West. The museum sits on 0.81 hectare (2 acres) of Meier’s land, and the museum building is 93 square metres (1000 square feet) in size. There is no admission charge, though donations are most welcome, especially for the local animal shelter. You might want to call ahead (505-852-2995) to see if Meier is around in case the building is closed.
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