Monthly Archives: February 2019

Moab, Canyonlands and Arches

Ninja Paul

Before we even sold our home and decided to head west, our friend Gene Dykes told us about an ultra race in Moab that he would be doing. It seemed the perfect opportunity to get intimate with the National Parks surrounding the town. We headed out of Santa Fe in the afternoon and ended up sleeping in Pagosa Springs where the temperature dipped to -9 degrees F. The town was super quiet so we parked right in the middle of it and woke to sunshine and steam coming from the hot springs.

Pagosa Hot Springs

Too bad the hot springs didn’t warm the place up. We left early and headed to Durango for breakfast. Smiley Cafe is set in an old school building that now houses Smiley, offices, a Montessori school and more. Wonderful artwork on the walls, tasty food and coffee. Next visit I would like to expand our exploration. Very sweet mountain town with artsy feel plus, the Greenery. (say no more)

Moab is breathtaking and I feel that winter could be the best time to visit. Small crowds, plenty of places to camp, and the National Parks are quiet and peaceful. I love the dusting of snow on the red earth. Not enough to hinder travel but enough to make things sparkle. We meet with Gene for dinner and fuel up for the Arches Ultra event. BLM land is free to park on over night near the race start. Wake early and connect with Gene and Richard for a 6:30 am start. The race is difficult and muddy in many parts. Paul may have been smart to do the 50K instead of the 50 miler. Gene and I enjoy the race but it does take more time and effort than he thought it would. We are the last finishers but happy to have completed it in 12:44.

Breakfast at Eklecticafe

Time to relax and camp in Canyonlands. No entrance or camping fees due to government shut down. We bought a parks pass before our trip so I feel a little less guilty. There are a few campers out there but we are pretty much alone with the stars.

Canyonlands in the afternoon

In the morning we go for a very short trail run then head to Arches NP. We drive through the park and do a few short hikes including one to Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch and a small mini me

Rock formations in Arches NP
Smaller arches to find on hikes

While in Moab we recommend, dinner at Arches Thai , the Moonflower Coop, Sand Flats Recreation Area (camping), and coffee at Wicked Brew.

Paul and I are in search of a new home so we looked at a property outside Santa Fe. This special place had spoken to both of us before we left for Moab so we decided to head back and be clear about our feelings. On the way we took a different route stopping at Four Corners, the only place you can be in 4 states at one time.

We also stopped in Blanding, Utah (nice free museum there), Farmington, NM to run on a river trail, and slept in a rest area outside of Taos.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Morning walk around Taos plaza, coffee and hot chocolate at Elevation Coffee, we then make our way back to Santa Fe to contemplate the future.

Sunshine Santa Fe

Paul and I decided to beat a winter storm and head as fast as we could from Wisconsin to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It took us a day and a half with one stop to run in Kinsley, Kansas. We were excited to wear shorts even if it was a bit chilly. We ran down dirt farm roads and through town. Not much going on.

In the middle of USA

We arrived in Santa Fe on a Saturday and we were hungry so the Farmer’s market seemed like the best place to go. There we found many vendors selling winter greens, squash, cheese, and amazing purple lavender donuts.

Lavendar Blue Corn Donuts

I had to try those. We enjoyed some breakfast burritos and walked around the hip railyard area. We headed into town and happened upon the Women’s Wave a march happening toward the center plaza. I jumped in and Paul joined me to listen to motivational speakers. Happy to see a good crowd and positive energy for the future of New Mexico.

Beginning of Women’s Wave March

We decided to park at Los Suenos RV park for showers. Not particularly lovely but it backs up to the Arroyo de los Chamisos where we could do relatively easy, scenic runs. For a delicious lunch, on a tip from a friend , we checked out Modern General. Yummy food in basically a high end store. Everything for sale.

Modern General Breakfast

Driving up to the ski basin made me feel a bit woozy. Very twisty, turny roads and the altitude makes your ears pop. We thought of camping overnight but the National Forest lands were closed (snow and the government shutdown) and the State park didn’t seem appealing. Great views form the mountain top looking back at Santa Fe.

Meow Wolf is an amazing, almost indescribable interactive “art exhibit”. We poked our heads in and found that it would be closing for renovations and today was the last day open for a while. We took a suggestion to go in an hour before closing for a half price discount rate. We only had an hour to explore but it wasn’t too crowded. There were spaces you could really end up hanging out in but we breezed through and found all the portholes and secret passage ways. There is a story that goes behind the exhibit and it will most likely change next reopening. (something to do with a lost hamster and/or son)

Paul playing music on bones
Porthole down a dryer
Lots of creative, expressive art everywhere

Very tired from a long day we parked right outside of Meow Wolf on the street and surprisingly slept well. Not too much noise at all.

Goodbye Aberdale Road

Paul and I found our home on Aberdale Road in January of 2002. I first saw the home in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper classified ad, for sale by owner. We took one walk through and knew it would be a perfect place to raise our combined family of 5. I sat outside and wept. Our decision to live on Aberdale couldn’t have been better. We immediately became involved with the neighbors sharing block parties, food, music, and in 2004 getting married on our side street, Hazel Lane. Our children thrived and grew, we all made many friends. Time has passed and our children left home. We enjoyed 7 years of hosting airbnb guests and more recently boondockers staying in our home and on our street. A six bedroom house became large for two people and we knew it was time to go and let a young family enjoy the home. We will miss Aberdale tremendously but have gained lifelong friends.

Back on the road in our van, we headed to Wisconsin for some time to visit the parents and family. We stopped once en route to run in the Toledo Metro Park Wildwood Preserve. Great place to run if you get a chance.

Paul and I signed up for a Slowtwitch challenge, 100 in 100, running every day for 100 days starting December 15th. It became a bit harder when we got to Wisconsin and the colder temperatures but we endured and had some fabulous runs in Madison and on the Ice Age Trail near Holy Hill. I loved spending non rushed time with my parents, and visited neighbors with my mom. Fred Cook is a welder and makes amazing sculpture. We chatted for a bit at his studio and took some photos.

Partially Frozen Lake Monona
Fred Cook welding a bumblebee

We delayed our departure from Wisconsin to attend a funeral of a dear family friend, Joanne Henderson (Graham). She was such a delight to know and as a young child I often slept over night at her place playing in the barn, nearby woods and trails with her daughter Karreen. Joanne was excellent on the piano and we would inevitably all end up singing songs. My dad played guitar and performed with her on many occasions. Joanne also helped out with our local 4H group. I will not forget her deep voice, laughter and sexy Elvira ways. She had many black wigs and let me take one when I left Wisconsin. I have worn it to be Captain Hook, a witch and various other characters. She joins Mr. & Mrs. Bliss in the graveyard by St. Olaf’s, but really she’s riding down some country road in the sky.

Milton lived to 100 years!