The Yucca was in bloom.

. . . and the Cholla.

So was Barrel Cactus . . .

Prickly Pear . . .

We walked in an arroyo near St. Johns College and found ourselves in the backyard of this monastery.

In Santa Fe we didn't have a big field to walk in, but we had a fenced area where dogs could go off-leash that was bigger than most, and had native plants.

George and Ella take a shade break on the Pecos ruins trail.

Ruins of the Pecos Mission against the impossible blue of the New Mexican sky.

Makes you look where you step.

Pecos ruins.

We did spend some time in Santa Fe, but not as much as I would have liked. We visited with an old friend, Feral MacCloud, who is outsourcing her retirement to Ecuador and was leaving soon.

We watched the total eclipse of the sun from the dog park. Unfortunately, clouds moved in just before the great event.

We entered Texas with our list of folks we were waiting to hear back from regarding interviews. (We are still waiting for some of them to answer.) We were beginning to hit that dry summer season when people are traveling, or are just too darned hot and tired to do anything. So, no interviews in Texas this time around. It was hot and humid, but we had great visits with some long-lost family members in Dallas.

The first morning in Amarillo I was sure the sky was plastered with clouds because I couldn't see the mountains. But I soon realized that there were no clouds, just a dearth of mountains and the flat milky blue Texas sky. The panhandle was part of the dustbowl and is known as tornado alley – not a whisper of high ground.

Mostly what we found in Texas were small towns that were pretty much boarded up and abandoned, except for several churches, and a high school with a winning athletic team according to the signs at town entrances and on water towers. By contrast, Dallas was bustling and building. Their homage to high school sport seemed to be million dollar sports arenas. Ella walked in the RV parks, and city parks along the way and fell in love with our Dallas hosts Russ and Chris Waite, who seemed to enjoy spoiling her – and us.

By the next day, all was clear and George entertained with magic. Ella was totally mystified.

Booked Up, Larry McMurtry's book store in Archer City Texas where "The Last Picture Show" was filmed. There are four buildings full of books and it reminded us of Powells in Portland in terms of volume. McMurtry is having a big party and auction in August to consolidate his holdings down to one building. We had hoped to interview him, but family issues took him out of Texas shortly before we arrived.

The geese don't seem bothered by the coming storm, or Ella.

Ella seemed kind of confused, especially with the smelly spray painting, which is encouraged.

When we arrived in Wichita Falls to camp by this little lake, the first thing we were told is where to go if the coming storm turned into a tornado (the laundry room). Notice the eerie light. So far Texas is the only state where we have seen storm shelters at rest stops.

Cadillac Graveyard outside of Amarillo

Walks with Ella: More New Mexico; A Bit of Texas

From Silver City we travelled to Truth or Consequences (T or C) NM. When my grandfather Slaughter died there in 1944 it was known simply as Hot Springs and sported over 40 hot springs facilities. He had gone to 'take the waters' three months after my Grandmother Slaughter died, but his broken heart gave out and he traveled back to Santa Fe in a coffin. Years later Ralph Edwards, host of the 50s TV program "Truth or Consequences," promised to broadcast from the first town to change its name to match his show. Hot Springs won. Edwards came back for Fiesta the first weekend in May every year for 50 years and the town continued to celebrate him. T or C was just a quick stop where we ourselves 'took the waters' at one of the ten remaining facilities, and from there we headed for Santa Fe.

Route 66 was rerouted in 1937 (the result of political payback), the depression hung on and soon the war brought gas and tire rationing. Keeping Arrowhead afloat must have been a struggle. My grandparents died while my father, an only child, was overseas during WW II. My father instructed my mother to sell the ranch, which was later divided into small parcels that seemed to have more doublewides every time we visited the area.

Truth or Consequences

Ella could not join us in the hot baths along the Rio Grande, but she had a good time testing out the air conditioning in the RV, which was on for our first time, walking in Ralph Edwards Park, and visiting on the patio.
Santa Fe, Glorieta, Pecos

There isn't much town in Glorieta, but the nearby town of Pecos was still tiny and lovely. That said, it was our first experience with businesses that had been the mainstay of towns for 80 or 100 years being done in by the ubiquitous dollar store. Pecos now has two dollar stores and Adelos General Store, which had been run by the same family for 80 years recently closed its doors. Just past Pecos is the Pecos National Historical Park, which was founded with help from actress Greer Garson and her rancher husband, E. E. "Buddy" Fogelson who donated who donated a portion of their Forked Lightening Ranch and money to construct the visitors center.

My grandparents built Arrowhead Camp (a cross between a motor-court and a dude ranch) starting in 1927 between Glorieta and Pecos on the Old Santa Fe Trail/Route 66 southeast of Santa Fe. Tourism in the west was booming with Fred Harvey's "Indian Detours" that picked folks up from the railroad and took them in large cars to tour Indian Country. That was where my dad grew up, hunting, fishing, guiding and getting into trouble until he was sent to New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell.

At top is a postcard with an Arrowhead cabin from the 1930s, the bottom is what is left of one now. My grandfather and father built these cabins and painted murals on their inside walls.

A few changes have been made to the main building since that photo postcard was made in the '30s. You can still see the 'kiva' room on the left.

The windmill along the battlefield trail.

This sign is in front of Arrowhead. The road is still considered 'historic' Route 66.

This is currently the Glorieta Post Office, but it looks like it used to be a railroad station. And it was probably here when my dad was growing up.

Arrowhead's recent salvation came through the fact that it was the site (along with the nearby Pigeon Ranch) of the Battle of Glorieta, the furthest west American civil war battle, and had a small pueblo on it. My grandfather donated some land for a Glorieta Battlefield Memorial in 1940, and the National Park Service has now purchased and cleared away the housing and debris on the rest of the former Arrowhead land, except where the main Arrowhead building stands. It was great to see it back together and relatively pristine. Ella and I walked the battlefield trail on the cliffs above the ranch house and we could see not only the battlefield, but the memorial and the ranch as I pieced together family history.

Amarillo RV park bath house and office,
Alamo Style

Santa Fe RV park bath house and office,
Santa Fe Style

Some different vegetation in Texas too. One more place for Ella to pee . . .

New Mexico sage in bloom.
Santa Fe Style vs. Alamo Style