Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rio Grande River, Bridges and Scenery, Taos

Even if you live in Texas, I'll bet you don't know that the Rio Grande River begins in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and travels 1,885 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The river flows south down the Rio Grande Rift through a series of long narrow valleys from Alamosa in Colorado to El Paso in Texas. For 82 miles, from Lobatos Bridge, CO to Velarde, NM, the river cuts into the rift to form the Rio Grande Gorge. While rivers normally create their own valleys, it was the Rio Grande Rift valley which captured and controls the direction of the Rio Grande River. In other words, unlike the Colorado River, which formed the Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande Rift valley was already formed and the lazy Rio Grande River just followed the course already laid out for it.

When we got ready to leave the motel for the day, we went in search of breakfast. Seeing an Appleby's that looked open that early in the morning, we pulled in. It turned out that the Taos Rays Baseball Team was doing a fund raiser and we could have pancakes, bacon and coffee for $7 each. The boys were very polite and took good care of us. The pancakes were perfect and the bacon unusually delicious. Go Rays!

Here am I standing on the shore of the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico
Some brave rafters coming down the Rio Grande
Don't know what this plant is named, but the flower resembles a lavender paint brush
An extremely dilapidated bridge across the Rio Grande
Same bridge, different angle
We believe she was waiting for her raft to come in
Gaging Station for reporting depth of water in managing floods
This bridge is open, but as you can see at the edge, needs repair
This is the end of paved road for a while once you cross yet another bridge
We've come way up the mountain on a washboard road  and the wind is ferocious
There was method to our madness. This scary road is a short cut to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge so we do sort of know what we are doing. Eventually, we will drive into the north side of Taos, on paved road, I might add.

We've arrived at our destination and I just can't wait to take in the view
It was definitely worth the drive
This bridge has truss spans of 300, 600 and 300 feet and a 36-foot steel I-beam span at each end. It has a total length of 1,272 feet and a 28 foot wide roadway, and is 565 feet high. The cost of the bridge was $2, 153,000.

The Rio Grande Gorge at this location is approximately 1,200 feet wide and 600 feet deep. The Rio Grande Bridge was designed by the New Mexico State Highway Department Bridge Design Section, and it received the American Institute of Steel Construction's award for "Most Beautiful Long Span Steel Bridge" of 1966. In 1997 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I am literally blown away by this incredible man-made landmark
The Rio Grande from the other side of the road. It's a loooong way down!
This is Teresa, an Indian lady selling her jewelry by the side of the road near the bridge
The next morning, we pack up, check out of the Super 8 Motel and drive to a local restaurant for breakfast. We have that good ole standby, biscuits and gravy. There is a church in Taos that Georgia O'Keefe painted a lot and we wanted to be sure to see it before heading back to Alamogordo.

This is a shot of the wall around the church showing the straw mixed into the adobe
These beautifully carved doors are part of the priests quarters
The San Francisco de Asis Church with two giant blue spruce in the courtyard
A side view of the church. Isn't the architecture exquisite!
An old building showing how it looks under that beautiful adobe covering
This is the sign identifying the church
Even their little walkways are works of art
The area is surrounded by quaint colorful little shops
We took the high road back to Santa Fe and this is one of the mountain views from the highway

These mountains are an exquisite shade of pink
This is one last shot on our way back to Alamogordo

One can never get bored driving in New Mexico. The scenery is ever changing and beautiful. We have picked up rocks from everywhere and will be making a travel totem with each rock named for where it came from. The totem will be built in the backyard to enhance our desert theme there.

Thanks, Doug, for the great photography.

This is all I have to say for now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Santa Fe, New Mexico 91st Indian Market

I received a phone call from our good friend, Tommye Tonips, in which she related that she would be manning a booth at the Indian Market, probably for the last time because her husband, renowned sculptor, dancer, actor and painter, Gordon Tonips, direct descendent of Comanche Chiefs Warhorse and Quanah Parker (both Quahadi Chiefs) and Kiowa Chief Stumbling Bear (Medicine Lodge, Signer), had died. We own three of his sculptures and they are stunningly beautiful works of art.

We immediately make plans to go, but due to the lateness we are forced to find lodging in Taos. There just was no "room in the inn" so to speak. If you have never gone to the Indian Market which has been in existence for 91 years, you need to put it on your bucket list. There is truly no way to describe the gathering of Indians from all over the United States displaying their creations. Each one is more exquisite than the last as one walks along taking in the sights and sounds. It is surely a treat just watching the people, many of whom are walking works of art themselves. I must warn you to reserve a room early and plan to visit the market several times, taking siestas as time allows, or you'll never get through the whole thing. There were 1100 exhibitors this year and we only got through maybe one-third of them. It was indeed a marvelous experience and we hope to return next year and take in more of the exhibits or at least see some of those we missed this year.

Not having all the information, we arrive on Friday to rows of empty booths. As we were driving along the highway, I had told Doug since I didn't have Tommye's booth number we would probably just walk up and see her almost immediately. We discover that the market really doesn't start until 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, but decide to do a little exploring and Doug wanted to take pictures of the set up before the crowd arrived on Saturday anyway. As we are walking along, I look over at a pick up truck and some people setting up tables in a booth. Believe it or not, it is Tommye and her friends! We had a grand reunion not having seen her since the Fort Worth, Texas Stock Show and Rodeo.

Tommye Tonips and Sac Brown setting up the booth
Tommye Tonips and Carla happy to see each other again
Booths as far as the eye can see the day before market opens
Each booth has a sign with the artist name, Indian tribe and classification
We ate lunch here on Friday before heading on to Taos
After eating lunch, I went to wash my hands and left a beautiful ring on the sink. As we walked down the street, I suddenly missed it and we rushed back to hopefully retrieve it. It was gone. As I was looking for someone to ask about it, a lovely lady stood up at her table and said, "I gave your ring to the hostess since you had left." Doug took this shot as I came out holding up my hand to show I got my ring back.

This is just a sample of the marvelous architecture in Santa Fe
Doug just had to get a shot of this sign advertising the event
This is called "Morning Water" an unfinished work by Gordon Tonips
Left is "Mesa Verde" and right is "The Water Jar " by Gordon Tonips
Tommye's dear friends and helpers Fox and Sac Brown
This is "Geronimo" a creator of excellent pottery, in booth next to Tommye's
Tommye and I visiting before Doug and I head off to other booths
A little flavor of the crowd and it's still early.
This is an exquisite creation with a $1000 price tag on it and worth every penny!
She is the artisan and her husband handles the business end
 I had to buy at least one piece of art and decided I really wanted this beautiful plate created by Mel Cornshucker of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a Cherokee and the pottery in his booth was a feast for the eyes.

There was just something about this plate that spoke to me.

Carla with Lindsey Renea Shakespeare, photographer and soft sculpture artist
I do some volunteer work with the Cancer Resource Center here in Alamogordo and when I mentioned that we were going to the Indian Market, another volunteer, Diana Hamilton, told me about Lindsey and gave me her booth number. I made sure to look her up. She makes beautiful dolls and takes great photographs. Her Indian heritage is Mescalero Apache, Comanche, Kiowa Apache and Northern Arapaho and she lives in Mescalero, New Mexico just a few miles from Alamogordo.

Isn't this stunning metal work?
Of course, I had to have a shot of the lady with the parrot on her head!
This gentleman makes and plays flutes. He was quite entertaining.
I was fascinated by this smooth pink fish.
This is part fish, part man eating a fish-a fantasy creation
One last pass through Tommye's booth before we leave
Jaque Fragua just placed his canvas over some plastic on the wall and began creating
Jaque, a young artist from Jemez Pueblo, did this live spray-painting demonstration on an exterior wall of the New Mexico Museum of Art. With his ladder separating him from the crowd, he didn't seem to notice people stopping every minute or so to snap pictures of his progress. Not all marketgoers enjoyed Fragua's work. One man asked him to stop because of the smell. Fragua just shrugged it off saying, "It's very scary for people. They don't understand it."

By 11:00 a.m. the swaths of color were beginning to form a pueblo landscape on his canvas. As more people stopped to watch the process, Fragua said they were responding to the energy of his work. "I'm trying to find some sacred energy in this space that's so commercial," he said.

Beals and Abbate Fine Art Sponsored Fragua's painting as well as other creations around town, all for the sake of adding something new to Indian Market according to curator Jacob Martinez.

Thanks to Doug for the great photography.

This is all I have to say for now.