On the Road With Doris & Ez

We're going on a road trip!!!! Could be three weeks could be three years, we'll see. Read below to see where we are now.....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chama, New Mexico - May 22 - 29

The next leg of our journey took us through some of the most beautiful scenery we've ever seen! We took the short trip from Durango to Chama with a couple we'd met in Durango - Mike and Florence - formerly from Massachusetts and now full-time motorhomers like us.

In Chama we had our most spectacular camping spot so far - right on the banks of the Rio Chama! I'm sure we won't often be so lucky! We did some fishing along the river and enjoyed walking through the woods and checking out the wildlife. Saw deer and some new birds to add to our life list. There were lots of hummingbirds in the area, so we bought a couple of feeders in town and the little dive bombers kept us amused throughout our visit. A couple of nights we sat by the fire, sipped our wine and watched the stars come out - what a life!

Our daughter Jennifer Miller worked in this area a few years ago doing consulting with the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, so we followed up on a few of her dining suggestions. One day we drove about 20 miles to Dulce, NM for lunch and tried the Jicarilla taco at the Best Western Hotel and Casino. Somewhat different than a Navajo taco, but delicious just the same. (Also dropped about $20.oo in the slots. . ) We also stoppped at the little taco stand in Chama for lunch one day and took a picture to send along to our restaurant critic!

Our biggest adventure in Chama was our trip on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. We were lucky enough to get tickets for the first day of the season. We'd taken the famous Durango-Silverton train some years ago, but we both agreed that this trip is more spectacular. After an hour bus ride to Antonito, CO, we spent the rest of the day on the return trip by train. Our seats were in the parlour car, but we could step out onto the open air viewing platform whenever we chose. That allowed for great views, but also meant smoke and soot when the wind blew the right way. We went over mountain passes, looked down steep cliffs, and crossed trestles that were over a 120 years old! The scenery was amazing. We stopped at one of the old train stations for lunch. We agreed that this was one experience we might want to do again - maybe in the fall when all the aspen are turning colors.

We were sorry to leave Chama - it was a beautiful, relaxing week next to the river. The hummingbirds were sorry to see us go as well. One little guy actually buzzed into the coach looking for his missing feeder! We gently shooed him out and went on our way. Next stop - Buena Vista, CO - in the center of the state. Check back for pictures later. .

Durango - May 11 - 22

June 12, 2006
For those of you who have been following our journey, you may have noticed that the Durango entry just up and disappeared!! Had a little problem. . Rather than try to recreate all of the text, I'll try to post some fun pictures from our trip to Mesa Verde where we toured several of the old Puebloan ruins. A little hair raising at times!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Monument Valley - May 11 - 15

Our next stop was Monument Valley, site of dozens of classic movie Westerns. It was amazing to be in the middle of scenes that were beautiful and familiar at the same time. Home base for our stay was Goulding's Campground, a shady park located in a narrow canyon surrounded by red bluffs and just a short distance from historic Goulding's Lodge and Trading Post.

Monument Valley is located on the Navajo Reservation. Although you can drive a 17-mile loop through the site, to see the remote locations and Anasazi ruins, you'll need to take a tour with a Navajo guide. That's how we found ourselves with a group of other visitors spending the day in an open air four-wheel truck with Billy, our driver and cook. Billy navigated us over dirt roads and sandy washes, showed us off-the-beaten-path Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs, and led us scrambling up over rocks to see natural arches and beautiful views. Around noon we stopped in a remote canyon near some ruins and he cooked our lunch over an open fire. Later in the afternoon when our truck got stuck in the sand, it took Billy, a shovel, and all of the guys on the trip to dig us out. It's the occasional brush with danger that really make your travels memorable!

Mothers Day found us exploring more ancient ruins at Canyon de Chelly. You can see much of the canyon from the roads along the rim. The canyon is lovely with lots of trees and Navajos farms below. We decided to take to hike down to the canyon floor to see White House Ruin, the most famous at Canyon de Chelly. It's somewhat strenuous, but it's worth it to see the shady washes and view the ruins up close. While Ez and I were slowly descending on the switchback trail, we saw a young Navajo running down over the rocks toward the bottom. When we chatted with him later, he said that he can sometimes make the trip out of the canyon in seven minutes! And it's about a mile each way on the trail! And while I didn't get a fancy Mothers Day brunch that day, we did have posole and green chile stew with fry bread for lunch at a restaurant in Chinle. . .

Next we are off to Farmington to have a oil leak problem taken care, and then it's on to Durango, Colorado! We love seeing your comments and getting your emails. . Until next time. .

Friday, May 12, 2006

Page - April 30 - May 11

We are finally on the road! Yay!

We checked into our first "home away from home" at the Wahweap Campground where we had a site that looked directly over Lake Powell. The view changed constantly throughout the day as the weather changed and the clouds rolled through. I know we won't have such spectacular scenery everywhere we go. .

Ez's family lives in Page, so we spent a lot of time visiting with his brothers and sisters, playing golf, and visiting his old childhood haunts. Ez's sister Rosemary got married on May 6th at Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River. Her husband David told us they chose that site because that's where he got his "first serious kiss." It was a charming, simple ceremony set amidst jaw-dropping views - couldn't have been more perfect!

We took one day trip to Kanab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona where Ez lived until he was 12. We drove up to the old Robinson Ranch where one of his great-grandfathers kept a home for one of his wives(!) for a time after polygamy was outlawed. Today it's a small ranch set up against the red rocks with a pond filled with baby ducks, fruit trees in bloom, and one very friendly dog. Across the road is an old movie set built over 50 years ago where several old westerns were filmed. It looks like a ghost town now. We watched a 1952 movie with Ez's sister Joyce called "Westward the Women" starring Robert Taylor that was shot at the movie set and in the Kanab area. The movie didn't win any awards, but the scenery was spectacular!

Another day we went out and did some four-wheeling in the Durango. We drove high up on the bluffs that look down on the lake and a site where a developer is beginning to build an exclusive resort. We saw some cool rock formations and more stunning scenery. I had a few "heart in your throat" moments when we came down a steep hill over some big boulders - but we made it!

I have to confess that not everything has been rosy. . Driving up from Phoenix we realized that we had an oil leak that was blowing oil all over the back of the motorhome and the Durango. We made to call to Lou of Lou's Roadside Service who (with help from Ez and his brother) diagnosed the problem as a cracked dipstick housing. Lou ordered a new dipstick assembly, but it couldn't be installed at our campsite, so he sealed up the dipstick housing so it wouldn't leak. We'll be making a little side trip to Farmington, NM to have it installed. In the meantime, we're good to go - just can't check the oil. I suspect that we'll often be faced with the "problem du jour" and will have to just make the best of it. .

Our next leg has taken us to Monument Valley. We'll be here about three days before moving on. Watch for our next post soon - and we'd love to hear from any of you who are following our trip.