BrammoBlog: Leaving White Sands, I get a beautiful sunset & some amazing Ruins. Nice.

15 10 2012

Blog 52: Finishing up the weekend trip. The Trinity Site and White Sands: DONE. Still the trip home has a few more wonders to show. Plus: Bonus Balloon Fiesta photos (non-Brammo related)***

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First: Leaving White Sands (a great Nicolas Cage movie) I got a wonderful sunset in my rear mirrors. I wanted to hit White Sands a couple of hours before sunset and timed it pretty well. White Sands is most beautiful in the hours just after sunrise and the couple of hours before sunset. It is also quite beautiful on a night with a full moon. Sadly the moon as only at half full.

Still I got there in time to ride around and take lots of photos and video as the sun slowly lowered and the colors of the sky and dunes multiplied and deepened. See yesterdays blog for the photos.

On leaving I had to pull over and get a few shots of the sunset. If I was smarter I would have stayed in the Dunes for some shots. It would have been legen…wait for it….dary. But truthfully I didn’t want to ride the 15 miles from White Sands to my motel in the dark. I don’t really know the area and it was all highway from White Sands to my motel. And “on a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air”…is not the safest place to ride when you are not familiar with the surroundings. Plus people in New Mexico are CRAZY when they drive.

Most importantly, I didn’t know it would be soooo pretty. But I should have guessed. Clouds plus Sunset in New Mexico almost always equals pretty. Next time I will stay at the dunes well past the setting sun. Red and purple dunes at night would have been so very lovely.

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I spent the night in Alamogordo (about 15 miles north of White Sands) and thought about maybe going to White Sands again in the morning. But I knew there were some nice Puebloan Ruins I had never visited about 2 hours from White Sands. And they were on my way home. Or at least one way home 🙂

I wanted to get some nice photos at the Ruins before the Sun got too high in the sky. So I woke before sunrise and loaded up the Enertia Plus into the pickup and headed back north towards home.

I traveled some of the most empty lands I’ve ever driven. Nothing, nobody for as far as the eye could see. I even had Prong Horned Antelopes crossing the road in front of me and cows grazing beside the highway without fencing (Neither are very comforting. Driving a truck at 60 mph and seeing a cow 1 foot off the road slowly chewing the grass is just unnatural to this city boy). But I guess they don’t do secret Nuclear testing in populated areas. So they had to pick a place like this for both the Trinity Site and White Sands Missile Range.

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Not my photo…I was driving too fast and the Prong Horns are very quick too. Not that I didn’t try 🙂

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I always thought Prong Horn’s were imported to this country…but they are indigenous. The oldest bones at the Ruins are Prong Horn bones.

They just look so “African”. Plus there are Oryx breeding in Southern New Mexico and I know they were imported from Africa.

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Oryx at the edge of the White Sands. They were brought in for hunting. Which is mildly sad. Neither Oryx or Prong Horns are overly fearful of people…and the lack of trees and cover make them insanely easy to hunt. Still a person gets his trophy kill and head to mount all for the extreme effort of driving a truck to an area, walking less than a mile and getting 30 feet away from these beautiful creatures and then shooting it with an expensive, high powered rifle. Yea.

Eh, Whatever. There are worse things happening everyday…just don’t pretend you are some great warrior or hunter. It only slightly harder than shooting a cow.

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But I’m off subject. My first stop was at Gran Quivira.  http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/66gran/66gran.htm

This Puebloan Ruin is literally in the middle of nowhere, as you will see in my panorama shots. It does have a nice walkway and a gift shop…as do all 3 ruins in this general area. And a Ranger. Nice man. Though he did tell me to stay in the middle of the path to protect against Rattlesnakes. Ha. A) I have caught and moved quite a few rattlesnakes from my home when we lived up north of the mountain in Placitas. B) It was 9:30 in the morning and still below 40 degrees. No rattlesnake is awake and alert in 40 degree temps. I assume his comments are there to impress the tourist and to keep people from venturing off the pathway…But it doesn’t do either with “locals”.

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Map showing the 3 Ruins. Gran Quivira is the furthest South. It is about 130 miles North of White Sands and about 100 miles South of Albuquerque.

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Sadly, for me, this Ruin is only accessible by foot. And no way to position the bike for a photo op. Still they are quite lovely and I’m glad I stopped and got some “non bike” related photos. 🙂

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These Panorama are big files. Click to see “the bigger.”

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I didn’t ask, but I think it is very likely that some major renovation was done to the site. It is 1000 years and abandoned for over 300 years. Though I gather the big Church is only 400 years old or so. It would have been added during Spanish rule. The Pueblo People didn’t do Churches till the Spanish came and forced them to.

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Notice the distance behind these last two images and the “nothing” that fills it 🙂

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So a nice short walk about. Nobody else there, just me. Beautiful morning, beautiful site. Nice.

Then off I went to Abo. Abo is the Ruin that got me interested in going here. A friend had put up some images of Abo and I just had to go. The Quarai Ruin is supposedly the largest and nicest, but I saved those for the next trip. They are also the closest to people and the most visited. I wanted to have the Ruins all to myself.

http://www.turnerinnandrvpark.com/Quarai%20RuinsPage.htm

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Again, like Gran Quivira, the Abo Ruin had a gift shop and a Ranger there. Another nice man who told me to come back on a weekday and he gives petroglyphs and rock tours of the older parts of the Puebloan Ruin. Where Gran Quivira was white rock, Abo is dark red and the sunlight was in a great position hitting the large East facing wall. And the nice thing, for Brammo Photo Ops, is that the road runs right in front of the Ruin. I still couldn’t take the bike on the 1/2 mile path that went around the Ruin, but I could get some nice shots from the road.

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The Ruin has a rather extensive older portion on the other side of the creek. It is totally worn down to the ground and really only an archaeologist would know what is what.

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All the panoramas are large files ready for some clickage by the viewers.

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Far Warning: I took too many photos…and I still could have taken tons more.

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Aimed higher to include the almost half moon. The moon, especially when full, always looks so much bigger to the eye than on camera.

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I may have been standing a bit askew* for this panorama.

*(i wanted to put standing a bit zygoggle or psygoggle..but I don’t know how to spell it….)

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Having a round Kiva in the middle of the church is supposedly very unusual for Puebloan design.

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By the time I was leaving (multiple photos and the 1/2 mile walk around the Ruin) the moon was much lower in the sky.

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Abo from behind….

hmmm, there is something potentially nasty in that phrase, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

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And further down the pathway.

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I didn’t know if I wanted to insert a Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere” reference or a Wizard of Oz “Follow the Red Clay Road” joke. So I am doing both. It is just concrete painted to look like packed red clay. Tricky. It’s Tricky Tricky Tricky.

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As you can tell I took too many photos. I only used a few of the many many many I have. It is the combo of red brick and blue sky that always makes me fall in love…and the jagged Ruins are just icing on the cake.

Till next time.

Gavin

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

***Balloon photos are moved to Tomorrow’s Blog….which will be, interestingly, tomorrow. I figured this blog post already had too many photos.

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A Funky Bonus.

I was interviewed by a fellow EV enthuisast over the phone. And you can find it here. Personally I hate the sound of my voice. I have huge, expansive sinus cavities (i’ve got the xrays to prove it) which helps keep my huge head from being too heavy. At the same time those hollow chambers echo and expand my tinny voice so that I hear myself in my head sounding not unlike Barry White. A deep, sex-drenched voice.

But on tape I hear my true voice and it is so unlike the sound in my head that I find it quite unsettling. I sound similar to Christopher Lloyd at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Sigh. The brave, darning and foolish can listen to it by clicking this link.

http://esbk.co/2012/10/02/esbk-studios-episode-10-interview-with-gavin-mccullough/

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A Funkier Bonus

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Me with the Albuquerque Isotopes Mascot: Orbit.

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3 responses

15 10 2012
Rebecca Roth

O.K. I clicked on the panorama and got nada. Also when I clicked on you interview so I could not hear your tinny voice. Loved the photos.

me

15 10 2012
Gavin

Maybe if you are clicking on the email?? Go directly to the internet site:
brammoblog.com
g

15 10 2012
Gavin

ps…all the photos that are mine should enlarge, not just the panoramas. the pronghorn and oryx will not enlarge as they are not my images.

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