31 Oct 2018

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I often don't have any trick or treaters. Or sometimes I have 2 or 3. A friend will come over tonight to drink some wine, and we'll wile away the time 'w(h)ining' :)
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In general, I tend to chat with people that I run into. Maybe it's weird for an introvert, but I really enjoy that initial conversation with strangers!

There was the guy on the petroglyph trail at Chaco...we walked and talked together for a part of the trail. He was from Colorado....his wife died a couple years ago. He said she told him to not sit around the house after she was gone, and he is following her advice! He was on the way to Austin to meet up with his brother to see some music, drink some beer and hang out! Which sounds fantastic to me!

Then there was the guy at the bar at the airport...an applied mathematician on his way back home. He had missed the shuttle to his city, so he was having a bite to eat and a beer, waiting for the next time when the shuttle would leave.

Then there was the couple at House on Fire in Mule Canyon...she was a retired school Superintendent...and he was 6 months from retiring. They were from Albuquerque I think, traveling around with a camper to enjoy their time! The other folks at the site were from Tucson...and I think Santa Fe?

And even if I don't chat with them long, I usually establish some sort of rapport...the park ranger at Chaco....the guy in the bathroom at Chaco when he found out that there was no hot water...the woman sitting next to me in the plane...the ranger at White Sands whom I made laugh, etc.

Basically, I know how to start a conversation, if the other person is open to it!
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I had not planned my trip around Mesa Verde...but it was one of my to do list items. Some things to note about the park:
  1. The Visitor's Center is about an hour away from the sites.
  2. In order to actually go down to any of the sites, you MUST participate in a tour, and the tour tickets are at the Visitor's Center! A friend of mine didn't realize that, and had to return the long drive to get tickets.
  3. If you don't have a ticket, you can only look at the sites from the overlooks.
  4. During the winter, no tours are offered. And that makes sense...except I didn't realize that 'winter' at Mesa Verde starts in October! It wasn't really cold or anything, but the week I was there was the first week of winter hours, meaning no tours!
  5. I looked and photographed the sites from the overlooks, and took the petroglyph trail for some exercise.
I feel like they should set the site up so that you can walk at the level of the cliff dwellings without taking a tour...and the tour should allow you to enter the dwellings. But I guess that's not there business model.

Here is Cliff Palace --
Cliff Palace / Mesa Verde
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White Sands a ways off from Las Cruces is a "national monument" as opposed to a "national park". I'm not sure what the exact definition is, but it seems that "monuments" are smaller, have fewer personnel and less money to do things. They also tend to be cheaper, and easier to visit.

I didn't know my plan for White Sands. I just figured I would wing the photographs, and I got some decent ones. I went to the Alkali Trail, which is at the opposite end of the loop, when the loop is turning back towards the entrance.

I enjoyed it. I'd like to go again when I wasn't exhausted from traveling, and I'd like to stay until sunset because there are some good photos to be had! There were lots of patterns to look at...and as usual, early morning and evening would be best for photography -- bright light of day would NOT be ideal! The site is heavily visited -- lots of folks coming and going!

Speaking of lots of people...these patterns in the picture are NOT natural -- these are footsteps, lol! Still an excellent photo!
White Sands National Monument NM

In this one, I think the woman in the distance on the dune to the right is taking a selfie, lol! #ModernLife
White Sands National Monument

Is that a VW Bug?

White Sands National Monument

White Sands

The sand is very fine -- I had seen a warning about that, so to prevent getting the rental full of sand, I brought a change of shoes, and took off my hiking boots before I got in the car. Then, I used a large plastic bag to hold the boots until I could get them back to the hotel to knock out some of the sand.

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"O seguro morreu de velho, mas o desconfiado ainda está vivo." -- "The safe one died of old age, but the suspicious one is still living."





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