Monday, February 28, 2005

05-10 Farmington, Aztec and Shiprock New Mexico

North West corner of New Mexico
Week 10 of 52

Farmington, NM
Aztec, NM
Ship Rock, NM

I’ve arrived in the NW corner of New Mexico and am in the fairly good sized town of Farmington. I.e. they have chain restaurants, a mall and is completely surrounded by small oil and gas wells. I’ve settled into an RV parked called Downs. It a clean small park with laundry facilities, always a plus. It’s right next to a horse track and Casino. I can see the horses from my living room window. Some good grocery stores are in the area that I’ll use before heading to more remote areas in a couple of days.

I finally broke down and purchased the $50 park pass for all national parks. Probably should have done it sooner, but we learn as we go along. The Aztec ruins are the closest to where I’m staying so of course I visited them. What a well preserved site and the only Kiva that has been completely reconstructed. The west ruin has over 400 rooms, some rising three stories. Some of the lower rooms, when excavated, still contained the original wood roofs and many artifacts. The Great Kiva is one of the largest ever discovered and is built of three concentric walls with 22 rooms that surround the Great Kiva. Being able to step down into the reconstructed Great Kiva is an awesome feeling. It would have been nice to be able to meditate for a while in this great room. Not even half of the site has gone through excavation and will, I’m sure one day, reveal more secrets of these Indian ancestors. Note: the name Aztec was given by early explorers and has stuck to the ruins and nearby town. They are not Aztec ruins, but are Anasazi (Ancient Ones) or as the current politically correct name would have it, Ancestral Pueblo community.

I had a volunteer tour guide, a scientist, provide interesting tidbits and theories on the Pueblo community which only added to the mystery surrounding these Native Americans. The Aztec ruins are midway between Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde and was a major go between the two other settlements.

The area is much more desert like with surrounding mesas and two rivers, The San Juan and Mancos traveling through this parched land surrounded by Mesas. With a short trip to the town of Shiprock to view the impressive Shiprock Mt. I found myself in the heart of Navajo country. Once I began to travel out west, I was impressed by the number of Indian tribes that are out here. Of course this was due to our government moving them here in the first place. But still, if you’ve never traveled out west, you would be amazed at the land/reservations and number of tribes out here.

As the redneck joke goes, “you know you’re a redneck if the tires on your roof are in better condition that the ones on your truck”. Many mobile homes have tires on their roofs to keep the metal roof from flapping in the wind. An odd site along with the air conditioners on the roofs as well.

I’ve seen more hitchhikers out west as well. Many Indians going from Shiprock to Farmington. I haven’t picked any up, as I recall seeing a sign somewhere in Santa Fe not to pick up hitchhikers. I’ve also been approached twice in parking lots for a handout by native Indians. The main industry in this area are the oil and gas wells. I see many trucks traveling to and from these wells to service the oil rigs.

In the photo’s you’ll also see a rock outcropping being pushed up by the tectonic plates forcing an upward movement. A dramatic and visible power of nature and earths movements. The landscape changes at ever turn and I can hardly drink in all the changing views.

Ok, so I went to the Casino which is right next door at the race track. They did have video poker and blackjack so I played blackjack for about an hour and half and didn’t get anywhere. I decided to switch over to wild card poker and on my last quarter of a total of $10, I won $25.00 and practically ran out of the place with my winnings. So there you are. I’m not a gambler and just hate to loose money, but since by pure luck I got ahead by $15.00, I guess you could say I’m a Winner! Yippee! Actually the video blackjack was kind of fun, and at 25 cents a game, it wasn’t exactly costly. And I was able to play for well over two hours with less than $10.00.


Next report will be from Manco CO. I’ve already arrived here and visited Mesa Verde and Telluride CO. I’m at a working cowboy ranch and overlook a pond and have a view of the horse pasture. About 20 horses are in the pasture right now. I’ll be here for about a week, which will give me time to write up my report on mesa Verde and Telluride et all. Hopefully I'll take time to enjoy their swimming pool and hot tub.

This morning, some of the horses got out and were walking through the campground. Neat!

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