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10/24/2004: Trains, Ancient Pueblo, Gorges: Another day of driving through mountain views.
We dawdled enough getting out of our motel room that the ice completely melted off of our car. Karen named the streams from the ice melting on the motel roof the "Branding Iron Falls" after the Motel.
We went slightly into town to look at the rail yard. It is closed for the season, but they had some interesting cars on the tracks, including a mostly stripped down engine. In the summer, they run a passenger train along the narrow gage track through the nearby mountains.
One of the snow blowers at the rail yard in Chama, NM. It's coal fired and steam driven. Notice the "flanger" about halfway back? The little blade underneath to "flang" the snow out from between the tracks.
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Imagine sitting on the tracks in the snow as this beast is roaring toward you.
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Self protrait on frosty tracks in Chama, NM
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Karen examines a stripped stean locomotive.
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It'd be nice if they rebuilt old 489.
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Today, we headed homeward by way of the Santa Fe trail, also known as U.S. 64. We stopped just before Taos to hike around and admire the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. At a few hundred feet, it's the smallest gorge on which we've feasted this trip.
I braked sddenly for produce as we left Chama, NM. Karen as seen through a chile wreath.
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Just before we reached Taos, NM, there is this bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge.
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It's a long way down to the Rio Grande.
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Karen is at ease looking way down at the Rio Grande, just south of the (Colorado) border.
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We went up to the Taos Pueblo, the oldest, continuously occupied buildings in the U.S. One structure has survived and been lived in for about a thousand years. We paid for the 2 of us and also for my camera to get in, and took a tour.
This is the oldest continuously occupied building in the world. It's also rush hour here in downtown Taos Pueblo. The mountain behind it is sacred to the locals, and has finally been granted back to the residents by the U.S. government.
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Don't get me started on Karen's attraction to this greased pole! They just had a harvest festival in September, and one of the activities is for a few, selected young men to demonstrate their prowess by climbing this polished and bear-greased pole to retrieve articles of food from the top. Karen is hugging it to show the scale of the thing.
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After that, we ate at a little place just outside the Pueblo but still in the reservation. Good fry bread! The buffalo burger was okay, but the Pueblo stew was very good.
Anyway, we zipped through Taos proper to try to make some miles homeward.
Someday, we'll shop this artist's colony. We had beautiful weather winding our way out of the mountains. I took too many pictures of mostly more of the same. I've passed 10,000 shots with my "new" camera!
In the mostly closed town of Cimarron, NM, Karen adjusts her footwear. I liked the carved pillars and such in this craftsy town. Also, note my own 5:00 shadow.
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We got to the I-25 jog, and stopped in Raton, NM for the night. This town has both live and dead samples of some old, 1950's motels. But we stayed in the Best Western. It may have predated the Interstate, but not by much. They offered WiFi. It seemed to work for about 5 minutes, and went away. Oh, well.
The room is very nice, and Karen wanted me to add that the attached restaurant had the best minestrone! We didn't have enough appetite to try their "awesome" prime rib ($1 an oz.) or fabulous looking desserts. Too bad!
Next: Raton, NM to Alva, OK?

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