Taliesin West

Our travels took us to Taliesin West today. We had purchased tickets ahead of time since we were planning on being in Phoenix today for a family reunion. We booked the “Details Tour,” which was a two hour tour covering some of the details of the architecture. Photos are permitted on this tour, so it as a treat to capture photos with my little Sony RX100.

Frank Lloyd Wright established Taliesin West in 1937 as his winter home and school in the desert. Today it is the main campus of the School of Architecture at Taliesin. I was surprised to find that the buildings seem to be a bit rough hewn, which seems appropriate since the location was a laboratory for design and experimentation and much of the facilities were built by Frank Lloyd Wright’s students. The location was very remote at the time it was built and the design reflects Wright’s love of nature and philosophy about how design should interact with nature.

For anybody interested in architecture, design and nature this tour is a must.

 

 

Georgia O’Keeffe’s House

 

On June 28 we decided to make the drive from our casita at Rancho Jacona to Abiquiu to see Georgia O’Keeffe’s house. The drive was about 45 minutes (from Santa Fe it’s about 50 miles). We were able to get tickets with two days notice. Be aware that tours fill up quickly, so plan ahead if you wish to visit. The tour starts at the the O’Keeffe Welcome Center next to Abiquiú Inn.  Here you board a shuttle bus for the short ride up the hill to the house. Photography is permitted on the grounds, but not in house. When we arrived at the house, thunder clouds were gathering and we were greeted by wind and light rain.  Welcome relief from the hot sun and harsh light. I often prefer the soft light of overcast clouds for photography.

O’Keeffe purchased this property from Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1945. She had been interested in the property for some time, but it wasn’t for sale. Eventually she convinced the church to sell the property. Over the next few years she remodeled the house to suit her needs and took up residence in 1945.  She spent winters in Abiquiu and summers at Ghost Ranch.

The tour provides some interesting insight into O’Keeffe’s art work and her way of life.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

 

Our outing yesterday took us to Kasha-Katuwe Ten Rocks National Monument some 35 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Part of our motivation to come to Santa Fe was the opportunities to hike. With a high fire danger though the National Forests were closed so we decided to head to the Tent Rocks for a short hike.

After a short hike through the desert Junipers we entered a slot canyon which provided a cool respite from the hot sun. We meandered through the slot canyon and then climbed up to a view point on the rim, hiking through fantastic towers and spires. These spires were formed by erosion of the volcanic ash left behind by local volcanoes millions of years ago.

Our hike covered 3.7 miles and we were happy to be done with our hike before noon, since the temperature was approaching 90 F when we returned to the car.

Meow Wolf

Where else can you open the refrigerator and step into a whole new world. Or bang on the ribs of a mastodon to make music. The Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe New Mexico is a bit like going down a rabbit hole.

We made a visit to the museum on June 27. We were staying near Santa Fe for a few days, and with the hot weather and the closure of hiking trails due to a high fire hazard we opted to visit the Meow Wolf museum.

The website bills the museum as  an immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences into fantastic realms; the product of a cooperative of over 200 artists encompassing disciplines of architecture, sculpture, painting, photography and video production, virtual and augmented reality, music and audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance.

Like no other museum experience. We got in for the senior price of $23. Regular admission is $25.

Santa Fe Road Trip: Day Four

We’re spending the night at Diamond Campground, near Springville, Utah. Our destination is Santa Fe. We have a week to get there. So we’ll be wandering the South West for the next few days. No WiFi here so I’m writing a short post on my iPhone. More to follow when I can sit still long enough to edit photos on the laptop. Our travels so far have brought us over the Sierra Nevada Mountains via highway 120 through Yosemite and down the east side of the Sierra to Big Pine, where our son and daughter-in-law are expecting in July. Our first grandchild. From there it was on to Great Basin National Park, and then on to Salt Lake City where we celebrated the anticipated birth of our second grandchild, due in August.

It Takes a Village to Make a Cup of Coffee

Three months have passed since our African Chagga Coffee experience and it’s still an event that’s worthy of a few words. As part of our tour of Moshi our tour guide, Sophie Angostino, arranged for a visit to the Chagga Culture and Coffee. The Chagga people are an ethnic group, and the village we visited was just outside of Moshi on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It’s hard to explain this experience in words. You’ll just have to imagine standing in a circle around a mortar of coffee being pounded with a wooden pestle while chanting and clapping. Music and rhythm are part of the African experience.

The coffee is pounded twice, first to break off the hulls. What results are the tan colored raw beans.

The raw beans go into an iron pot where they are roasted on a wood fire. Then they go back in the mortar to be pulverized by pounding.

The fine grounds are then brewed into coffee, using a variation on what I would call “cowboy coffee,” but somehow their method results in a rich tasting coffee free of sediment. We sipped the resulting  coffee with a great sense of community and camaraderie.

Four Wheel Camper Rally

On the afternoon of April 20 we pointed our rig towards Bodega Bay to join fellow Four  Wheel Camper owners for a weekend rally. We’ve had our camper for six months which means we are rather new to truck campers.  We were anxious to see how other people have equipped their rigs. By sundown there were 65 camper rigs parked around the grounds of Chanslor Ranch, with people gathering in a big red barn for dinner.

Saturday was a bright clear day and we took a walk around the lush green rolling hills of the ranch admiring the view and the wildflowers. Saturday afternoon provided a question and answer session with some very knowledgeable staff from Four Wheel Camper.  The hot topic seemed to be the new solar panels which prove to be lighter weight and more efficient than earlier models. With a pop-up camper any weight you put on the roof affects the effort it takes to pop the top up. The new panels are 20 pounds lighter than the previous model. We’ll stick with what we have for the time being.

We met people from all over the west; from San Diego to Whidbey Island, from Oregon and Nevada. Quite interesting to see the creative solutions people have come up with for their rigs and to see the various options and camper layouts that are possible. We also learned about a couple of website for trip planning including wanderthewest.com and expeditionportal.com. Many thanks to the folks at Four Wheel Camper and the camper owners that made the rally possible. Quite fun! The next rally will be in October near Anza Borego. We’ll be there!

Sunday morning we packed up and drove a short distance to the Pinnacle Gulch Trail. It’s a lovely walk down the trail, not quite a mile and the beach is known to be dog friendly.

Cason on the beach at Pinnacle Gulch Beach