Monday, June 24, 2013

Tierra Wool and steam trains

Before I had a dependable internet connection, we were travelling. From Roswell, New Mexico we went to Chama, New Mexico. It is a charming area with mountains, steam trains, and WOOL.Our main purpose for visiting was the steam train that goes from Chama to Antonito or the other way around, depending on where you catch it. If I can ever figure out where my computer stored my videos, I will bore you with videos of steam train.....big black engines with smoke pouring out of the stack. 

 We stayed in a lovey though rather rustic campground that was advertised in the brochure as having a place where you can see the steam train every day, perfect. Our neighbors were so nice. They are there every year from May til Oct. so they know every neat place to visit. Plus she is a wannabe spinner. The weather cooperated. It was very cool at night and in the 70's during the day. 

We did the train thing, rode to Cumbres Pass on their first ever Sunday excursion train. We had a lovely catered picnic up in the mountains and came back.We rode in the parlor car with its chandeliers and tin roof.we had our own "back porch" so that we could go outside and crane our necks around and see the front of the train....too cool for words.

Our neighbor wanted to make sure I got to do something I would enjoy, so she told us about Tierra Wool in a small town not 30 miles away. This started a s a way of “empowering rural people to create sustainable economies by building on cultural and agricultural resources"( taken straight off their website.) Their goal is to use the sheep that are raised in the area, local organic dyes , local spinners and weavers to make a sale-able product. 
I have always stayed away from weaving, my schedule does not allow for another craft project.But the natural dyeing process was quite interesting. And the Rio Grande Spinning wheel was something I would like to investigate further.

We found this interesting old building on the first I thought this was Tierra Wools...OH NO!But no.
 No money is wasted to pretty-fy the place.

 Those big blue vats stink to high heaven. I forgot what what she said was in them, some sort of organic dye. I could not concentrate due to the smell....gag.

 These blue ones were dyed with indigo, a plant native to South Carolina.
  The dye for the red and orange wool is made from a beetle.

The brown yarn above was all done in the same vat. The darker wool is the first run, then each run makes a lighter color. Makes sense when you think about it. 

Each day the big excitement at the campground is the train leaving for Antonito and in the evening the train returning from Antonito. Plus the  deer come to visit every evening. 

I loved this place and hope to return someday and take classes at Tierra Wool, maybe even learn to weave.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rocky Mountain National Park

We only have a few more days here at our premium site at the Elks Lodge. It will be sad to leave our new found friends but it is time to move on. We have had such a wonderful visit. We have been busy, but we have spread out all the great things to do over a three week long visit. Now we are rushing to get the last few things in. Rocky Mountain National Park is free those with an access pass. You just need to get a Senior Pass and use it. We have saved lots of money this trip staying in Corp of Engineer sites for half price and going to the National Parks using our pass. We left early to go to the park.But by the time we found all our gear, packed a picnic lunch and filled up the truck it was midmorning. We decided to go to the park through Estes Park and come back through Grand Lake....about a 200 mi trip when you add the trip back to the "premium site". Our first stop was an overlook, but the trees had grown so high you could barely see. We did see one of the "fourteeners" We stopped for our picnic right before we got into the park thinking that it would be crowded in the park. We stopped at the Alpine Village at the top most part of our trip. the ranger there said they get over 250 inches of snow in the winter and that it takes over six weeks to dig out the village. The wind speed there can get as high as 150 mph and blow continuously in the winter. The logs on the roof are to hold the roof down during a wind storm. That would be something to see......Other than that he was definitely not one of the friendlier rangers. These people apparently never saw what was behind them. I took so many pictures but as I look at them they all are the same...mountains and valleys. When reading someone's blog one mountain looks like all mountains, but there was one that startled us. Does this look like an old man to you? Maybe someone of George Washington's era? As we headed out the other side of the park I wondered if we would ever see animals. Mr.Unfriendly Ranger certainly was no help.But being the experienced lookers that we are we know if there are cars on the side of the road for no apparent reason, there must be animals. Sure enough, up close and person I present Mr. I am eating don't bother me.... and his friend, Mr. Bashful. Later in our trip we saw herds of elk and a few moose. But the most amazing thing was this "Premium Campground".I think the guy in the background was not so pleased with his visitors. Driving home we took another winding road. This is my favorite sign....

Things I learned today:

1.Water is at such a premium here that Colorado has an entirely separate judicial system just to judge water rights. 2. It rains to the East. It rains to the South. It rains to the North and to the West, but rain does not fall in Westminster at the Elks Lodge. 3. There is such a thing as dry lightening. And a dry rain----rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. 4. In Minnesota stop lights are called "Stop and go lights".

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Flowers, animals, and scenery from Golden Colorado

Yep, we are still here in our premier site at the Elks Lodge in Westminster, a suburb of Denver. Erwin is getting a lot of his little chores knocked off his list and I am....well what I am doing is going through our pictures and deleting the duplicates and organizing them and playing WWF and a bunch of other things too mundane to mention. Our anniversary was yesterday, Flag Day. So we celebrated by going on another long ride into the mountains. Love it! That is not a dirty camera lens. It is the smoke from Black Forest and Colorado Springs. First we went to the shrine of Mother Cabrini because I gave him the wrong turn, but it was peaceful and lots of pretty wild flowers. As we were leaving I looked down into a gorge and there was an elk. Now that was something we don't see at home. I made him stop, pull over, turn around, go back and get out with me, cross 2 lanes of traffic, take pictures, and act excited. What a guy! We went on to Lookout Mountain and talked to the docent there who told us how to get good pictures of the bison herd. Just as we were going down the mountain a deer appeared on the side of the road. Yep, she stood right by our truck and peed.A sight captured by Canon T1 Rebel in glorious color...... On we go.... up hill and down, just not over the side and no left turns Bless that old man's heart, not Erwin...the docent....we had a private viewing of the bison herd and the babies. We could not get too close and that is the strongest lens I have.
Those camel colored blobs are babies....... As we were leaving we spotted this UFO? on the side of the hill. No, it is really a $5000000 house. Whatever...........