South West(ish) Part Two

From Kansas, we blasted back SW through that geopolitical oddity and got across at least sixty miles of north eastern New Mexico with the gas light on. We alternately stressed the possibilities of running out of gas in the middle of some of the more barren (people/gas station-wise) real estate we've seen, and freaking out about the dramatic cloud/sky beauty all around us (see the picture above) and the expanses of "nothing" we have found nowhere else outside of the 'merican west (besides maybe Siberia, but I'm jumping the gun on that one a bit. Back to the present...the two years ago present). We found fuel and over-enthused our luck to the large Christian family (religion deduced by the fact that they were on the way to focus on their family in the xian mecca that is Colorado Springs) that pulled into a pump right next to us. We arrived, at last, in Santa Fe. We found the den of one Mr. Tempchin, purveyor of computer wizardry, deep/mysterious/lovely drones, mouth scorching sauces/salsas and almost instantly became one of the many far-flung homies we fill our lives and break our hearts with. Below, pictoral evidence of our forces joining through flat palm.
We journeyed up to museum hill, home of the museum of international folk art. We were quite astounded at the collections up there because it felt like it was all tailored specifically for us. There was an exhibit about foods of the Americas (pre Columbus or any other people who "discovered" a land already well peopled and deeply lived in (and therefore "discovered") by those original inhabitants), Yerba Mate and Cacao were prominent topics amongst the exhibit (and yes, in our lives as well).
Look at these mate-spraaking instruments! I want my mate supported by a guilded llama.
Soon enough, we were plunged into the patterns and colors and ideas of those self taught artists and artisans collected atop th'hill. 
Got so focused on the details of this overwhelming collection, I only took one sort-of overview shot of the collection. Massive and incredible and largely the work of one dood. Girard had collected the hunreds of thousands of objects that fill this room from his travels around the globe and spent a few years designing and then building the spaces to display that world-spanning collection.
Back to the details...

We then, per the expert advice of Tempchin, headed out to Tsankawi, with a disposable camera in tow, for the digi had lost its juice midway through the Girard collection glut. Prepare yourself for the digital/analog transition...now. Drink it in
On the hike to the cave dwellings, there were ancient pottery shards all over the ground.
Persepctive (down)
Perspective (up)
The direction and patterns of lives, of footfalls worn into the rock
Rock hewn dwellings
Perspective (out)
I often think about if instead of forcing English upon this land, those people who began this country of ours were a bit more sensitive to the native languages existent here for millenia. I wonder about what tribal language we would be speaking here and how prouder I would be to be an American. Anyhow, think about it as you look upon the native script upon an overpass in the foto below.
We took a pilgrimmage to the oldest continually inhabited space in 'merica.
Always, details...
We took a tour of the Pueblo, led by a member of the Pueblo tribe who had spent the better part of her childhood living at the Pueblo. She told us story after story, quite matter of factly, of the Pueblo people getting taken advantage of/killed and generally screwed over and by the end of this tour I have never felt so heavily my whiteness (in terms of being a part of the dominant paradigm). Granted, I am not, nor are my relatives directly responsible for the atrocities heaped upon the Pueblo. What I felt so heavily during that tour and for quite some time after (one could even argue, to this day), however, was responsibility in the broader Dosteovskian sense. Lessons to process...
...and to aid in that process, we went straight to Taos Pizza Out Back. Delicious slices (vegan, cheesy. We, somehow, do not have pictoral evidence of th'foodstuffs) and that old/lived in hippy ambience that we love so much.
We then made our way to the Earthship HQ to get some visions of the future Trager homestead.
All the parts of the buffalo
Twas probably around 100 degrees outside and as soon as we stepped foot into this Earthship, the temp dropped about 30 degrees. I was always a bit skeptical about the "70 degrees year round" boasts of the Earthshippers, but we have experienced that steady central heat/air-less temperature and are now believers.
Cant wait to start pounding some tires of our own!
Some alternate design concepts scattered the property
As we drove away, we got some peeks at the Greater World communtiy that sprawls out as far as the eye can see.
Crossed that rio grande

Inna car and on foot
And returned to Santa Fe for one last burrito/freak out at how amazing that lil mountain co-op. Seriously, the best one we've been to. Everyday we were in Santa Fe, we ate there at least once, if not twice or thrice.
We crossed over into Melissa's 46th state (she had never been to Colorado) and soon enough we located Cano and his castle. This would be the first stop of our two-stop Colorado castle tour. Some truthers upon arrival at the entrance.
The Castle itself
More details/building techniques
Puppers dozing
RV Stacking
Cano himself, giving us his masters thesis on the spiritual power and healing properties of Marijuana. He's stoked its legal out there now.
Mary Jane is healing.
Tio, Tio is that you?
The second stop of a two stop Castle tour brought us to Bishop's castle and yet another creator who sees it for what it is.
Insane...probably the most overwhelming/impressive "art environment" we have been to yet.
Here is Theo freaking out on the scope of this place, the fact that it was built by one man and how sketchy the upper reaches of the castle felt.
Goin up...
...mostly sans guard rail
Melissa feelin the fear
Some innards
and some hippy tags
up and up
At times, it felt akin to the city museum (sometimes in the architectural flare, but mostly in the high probability of a bodily mangling).
Geodesic forest at the top
rooskie onion-like
Perspective (down)
one more climb
and a selfie (apologies) at the top. If we look freaked, its because the little pod we were in was swaying mightily, even in the gentlest of winds (ok, maybe we dont look freaked).
down and down from that peak experience
So very Cassily
Some last looks

All of the rocks that make up the castle were scavenged (stolen) from the national forest that surrounds that castle (witness how close the boundary is to the castle in the foto below).
Mr. Jim Bishop himself, thinking about all the fuggin sheeple in this country.
I snapped him out of that trance by sitting next to him for a picture.
Then we found a river to camp near.
Melissa protect th'flame
We then headed to Utah and found this shop o' death on the way

Remember that armadillo we ran over in the Texas panhandle storm-fight for our lives? The aftermath (broken A/C) had not bothered us until this drive. Incredibly hot Utah slog, windows cracked letting in the hair drier air, Melissa would hold her bottle of ice water against my neck to stave off heat rage.
And then we made it to the historic Milianta manse on the outskirts of SLC
Vienna submitted quickly
Then stood guard
Met up with more FPVers (Adam!) 
Soon enough we were taking in the mystical Mormon visions in stone (and rumored pot smoking hideout for a young Roseanne Barr) of Gilgal Gardens.
Joseph Sphinx/Sam
Melissa scopin/trying to make sense of it all...
Sam's ODB/unicorn combo Tatt! (the fullness of the unicorn is obscured, sorry)
Mr. Smith Sphinx up close
After a morning of Mormon sculpture confusion/amazement, we made the pilgrimmage to this place.
One upside of drought, we could walk out onto the Jetty (which had been submerged for quite a few years, I understand).
We found the middle!
Adam and Sam hash out some deep SLC history, myths, skate spots, puns and land-art meditations.
One last peek
On Antelope Island, Adam makes the world smaller.
Watch him!
We then left SLC and the absolutely lovely denizens thereof for deserts further afield, in search of another piece of the 'xthaere.
In tallish desert scrub, we sought out chupacabra territory. This marker was on the ground, hid by that scrub. Added to all of this, we had but the vaguest of directions to it. Scanning the ground for that long, everything seemed to turn into what we were looking for.
We walked for nearly an hour, thinking we saw it, again and again. Melissa was (and is, I suppose) not one to give up, however. When I was on the brink of giving up/cutting out losses...
...Melissa let out a triumphant yawp and we were face to face with this thing.
It was hard to believe we had actually found it and were taking in the story of that beast running about that vast desertscape of what we call Utah.
Melissa took to hiding in m'hat
And I danced upon it. We drove a few hours out of the way and looked fruitlessly for about an hour for this thing. Amazing that a bronze plaque could elicit all of this from us...or is it?
If you can find this thing (sans smart phone like we did), I owe you five bucks.
Further south until we arrived at the North Rim. We drove around with more vague directions (and no smart phone) to a campsite we could never find. The sky opened up and blessed us with a rain storm upon this search, which somehow ended at the cabin below (fairly soon after we checked in, I was passed out for the evening/night).
We saw some Bison trails that pay no heed to human ones
I'm so glad our forefathers didnt make these magnificent creatures extinct
While the North Rim does not have the massive vistas of the South Rim (and is therefore visited much less), it was still an overwhelming experience peering out across it from our northerly vantage point. 
What can be said, anyways?
We huddled into some lunch at the edge
Had a full cry
Then set out on the Widforss Trail. We were handed the sheet below at the beginning of our hike, to take part in a "sound survey" as we hiked. I love that how a place sounds is taken into consideration by the overlords of that place. Also, it was great to be able to have this task force us into noticing auditory details as we took in visual ones.

Evergreen/Birch forests and lovely meadows would open up for us vista after vista on this trail.

So lovely, and did not see one other tourist the whole time, even though this was peak tourist time. Twas hard to imagine what the other rim was like at the same time.
We pushed past the end of trail marker towards the fullness of views there, and to see a storm rolling in towards us (making us retrace our steps towards the beginning of the trail, taking in more sounds as we went).

More deserts to cross with no A/C, Melissa examines the water cycle.
Almighty RONALD
Double pink stack to feed the vegan minions of lower CA (after partial melt on the insane final heat-push back to LBC)
Before we did that, though, we dropped some off more Vegas-local
To this lovely family
Thus concludes the South West (ish) trip of '13. Stay tuned/ready yourself for an eight (or so) month jump from this post to the next one. Time, what is it in the face of restrospective bloggage? Lets find out...

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