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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Los Alamos

Got a change in the weather. Yet we took off to see the Jemez State Monument, which is a ruin of an old Spanish mission 45 miles from Bandelier, but dark clouds appeared from the west and when the rain turned to SNOW, we called it quits and turned around. Instead we went to Los Alamos. In town we found the Bradbury Museum, which depicts most of what is worth to know about the LANL, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Wars the U.S. has fought incl, WWII.  Here, in Los Alamos, the first Atomic Bomb was developed. When the tests were finished on the Trinity Site north of Alamogordo, two bombs, FAT MAN and LITTLE BOY were built here, which in turn were dropped onto the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed about 300.000 people.  But it also ended WWII.

While we were inside, the dark clouds had been replaced by gleaming sunshine. To us Los Alamos is not a very pretty city with an apparently young population. Los Alamos is build on the Mesas along the Alamos Canyon. Huge areas are closed off for the public as scientists are concocting new weapon systems for the various wars the U.S. is involved in. Not our cup of tea at all.

April 08

Taos,New Mexico
We are leaving Bandelier Nat’l Monument. Our destination is Taos. We want to find a VERIZON store as we need to replace our charger for the MIFI Internet-unit.

I have visited this area two times earlier and fell in love with the beautiful landscape out her. The drive leads us on route NM 522 along the Rio Grande, which actually is not very grand, except you think of the general scenery.  We are lucky and find the VERIZON store and get a new charger. Because of the difficulty of finding in-town parking for the rig we leave on Hwy 64 towards the Rio Grande River Gorge, which can be viewed from the bridge  650ft. above the canyon.

Along the way we find the Monte Bello RV-Park. By now a strong wind is blowing from the South-West. We decide to stay for one night and drive back to town with the JEEP to walk the Adobe Old Town.

Rio Grande, south of Taos

Mexican store front in Taos
High Sierra towards Taos
From Rio Grande Gorge Bridge at Hwy 64

Shopping arcade at the Historical Plaza, Taos

Taos is a nice city with an interesting architecture, and it has a reputation as a city of artists. What really sucks in Taos is the booming traffic through the center. It really robs this city of its charm. It's a daring undertaking to cross the streets as a pedestrian.

However, we do look around in a Mexican Store selling everything from rusty sculptures via pottery to woven carpets.
In the evening we try to figure out what to do the next day. The weather forecast is not good. Rain and even snow together with gusts of 55mph are predicted, and we are in mountainous terrain way up on a 7000ft. elevation.
We find out that if we leave by 6am next morning we might make it out of the storm center before it unleashes its power on us. Anticipating an early rise we retire at 9pm.

April 09

Quarter to 5am I am awake and make out of the bed. It’s still pitch dark, but that changes within the next 30 minutes. A faint pink shine appears in the east, when we are ready to leave.

Along CO Hwy 160 shortly before Walsenburg

We turn onto Hwy 522 which will lead us first through the mountains, then through the San Luis Valley to Ft. Garland at Colorado Hwy 160. We have decided that the route over the La Veta Pass is the quickest escape from the nearing storm.  Up on the pass we are rattled by mighty cross winds, but, except for a few rests of snow on the side, the road stays clear. 

Two and half hours after our early departure we reach Walsenburg at the I-25.  The winds are down again and we make good speed north.
We pass the City of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock and finally we see the outskirts of Denver. On the ringway 470 east we get to the I-70 and the turn-off to 44Ave in Wheat Ridge, where we find our Campground, the Prospect RV-Park.

Approaching Denver on I-25
We meet Nancy, the owner, in her office and she is overjoyed to see her old guests again. Pretty soon we are settled in besides the fence which separates us from the beautiful municipal Prospect Park. The sun is shining and it is very warm outside. So, after lunch we venture out with Molly into the park and have a wonderful walk along Prospect Creek, which gently rustles along through the forest.

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