Passageways in perspective

Scruffy double lot

These photos all are of places within a 15-minute walk of the state capitol building. Scout’s honor: 15-minutes.

I find this scruffy house on a double lot oddly eye-catching.

Walk through gate

Near as I can tell, this construction is most commonly called a walk-through gate in these parts. This short section of road can’t be driven on, but foot traffic and bicycles can make it through. These are the most heavy-duty walk-through gates I’ve seen.

Footpath bridge

On another path, I found this foot bridge over a channelized drainage. In case you decide to spend time here, find reading material in this little free library.

Undeveloped land

Not many steps later I found this undeveloped land signed “Private Property,” although I think my mapping apps show it as a park. Again: this is within a 15-minute walk of the state capitol.

Windmill in 2 parts

A windmill survives in two parts in this parking lot for rental units. Looks beheaded now.

Begin one way

I came out this alley and proceeded through the “Begin One Way” signs straight ahead. Yup, the right-of-way narrows, as you might expect. Note that is is a sandy gravel road, with surviving ice blobs and muddy spots even today.

Porsche waiting

As I walked along, I was passed by a Ford Focus, then this fancy Porsche. Someone in an expensive car visiting or living in a house on a dirt road less than a ten-minute walk from the state capitol. The Porsche is waiting for a gap in the traffic on the Old Santa Fé trail…a main drag, no?

Not sure what to make of these observations, but I note that the civic-ceremonial zone here in New Mexico’s political center gives way to residential buildings quite quickly—within two blocks—and that residential zone may not have fancy capital improvements 😀.

Nearby(ish) and varied

Mailbox wall

Fascinated by the “regular” mailbox cemented into the stucco “adobe” wall.

Sidewalk luck

Sidewalk luck.


Where’s…oh, you get it.

Horno tabby

Note tabby and horno. And pig toy/sculpture, lower left. That’s the most accoutrement-ed horno I’ve ever noticed/seen.

Capitol view

The Guru took Droney for a quick flight. That curved wall building is the capitol (behind the dark red-brown roof).

Lamy depot

We took a short drive south to Lamy.

Amtrak leaving

Amtrak stops here, and it’s the closest stop to Santa Fé, if I have it right. We were lucky to be there when the train stopped…and left maybe five minutes later.

Parked caboose

Abandoned? parked caboose. Unnecessary in the digital world.

Glass insulators

Glass insulators are still in use in these parts in some rural lines. The Guru says these are for telephone/communications not electricity. The pairs are a clue.

Lit tree computational

We walked to dinner, which means after sunset (before 5pm), and after the cold is setting in. Brr. But, we’re tough. After dark means opportunities for computational photography—yay!

Doors and gateways

Gallery door

Gallery doorway. Sign is at opposite end of building; building faces Old Santa Fé Trail, with a narrow sidewalk between the curb and property wall.

NM capitol main door

Main, front entrance to the NM capitol. Strange choice to have single row of trees that visually block the doors; usually there are two rows flanking the view.

Historic library

Arched doorway of the NM history library, built, as you can read, as a public library—which is now across the street.

Marcy walkway

Arch over base of walkway up Marcy Hill.

StFrancis cathedral behind

Fence-gate near the rear of St Francis Cathedral.

Was a doorway

Filled in doorway in wall next to Santa Fé River. The paint I think is to obscure graffiti.

Rarely used doorway

Rarely used gateway.

Utility door

Utility gateway.

Gatepost head topper

Eroding spooky cranium topping a gatepost. [I thought this might be a head-newel, but newels are only by staircases, if I have it right.]

Marcy Hill ramble

Supremecourt river

During today’s walk, I passed the NM Supreme Court building, with an entrance overlooking the Santa Fé River. I know it just looks like channelized run-off, but this river was a main water supply for pre-modern visitors.

Marcy hill view

I wound my way up Marcy Hill, and had this view back at the city. Fogged in. Fort Marcy is up here, just foundation ruins now, being worn down by foot traffic. A sign said it was the first fort built west of the Mississippi by the US military. It was not where the troops lived, but a place of secure refuge if needed. The star fort was built in 1846, and abandoned in 1868.

Deer marcy hill

I checked out a little-traveled area, and found this trio. Notice how the young one is trailing the adults and not so alert. Checking social media, perhaps.

Capital rear entrance

Homeward bound, I checked out the rear of the capital building. Looks like children engaged in tug-a-war. Metaphor for activities in the building?

Santafe trail marker

At some point I followed the Old Santa Fé Trail, and found this marker.

Faux stable

And a faux stable. No flies, I’m guessing.

No driving

Dawnish sky

While the coffee was brewing, I stepped outside. The birdbath was frozen solid.

Perhaps miniapples

We’re somewhat overdosed on driving, so we didn’t today. Walked to do our errands. Mini-crabapple?

Neighborhood architecture sample

Sample of the residential architecture in our neighborhood; these units are a bit larger and fancier than ours. Same feel, however.

Watermelon raddish

First chore trek took us to the Farmers’ Market. I talked to a bean guy, and bought some black beans from him. Also got a turkey leg, butchered yesterday (TMI?), the grower said. Stew to come. This is a watermelon radish, the sign said, with black radishes on the left edge. Did not buy or taste either one.

Railrunner full runner

Near the FM is the northern terminus of the Railrunner commuter train that goes down to Albuquerque and beyond largely in the Rio Grande valley. Love the roadrunner graphic that flows from the locomotive across the trailing cars.

Urban cementario

During a later errand trek, we found a largely untended urban cemetery behind a Mickey’s and similar fast food places, nail salons, and the like. On a slight hill.

Dusk sky

Companion shot to the first one from the cocktail hour.

Apparently this sky warns of ❄️. The highest peaks nearby are already 🏔.

Swing nose frog

LincolnCoNM courthouse

Billy the Kid was incarcerated here at the combo courthouse/jail in Lincoln County, New Mexico, in 1881. He managed to escape, and was murdered by a “friend” about ten weeks later.

Capitan gap

That gap is Capitán Gap. It’s where a singed bear cub was found in 1950. He soon was named Smokey the Bear. And the rest was history.

Sandhills at Bosque

Saw feeding sandhills by the dozen, plus ducks and geese of various sorts at Bosque del Apache, in the Rio Grande valley. We didn’t ask officials about this strange dark coloration; that creature clearly had the red details on the head, however.

Cactus view

We did enjoy the arboretum etc walk by the Bosque visitor center. I will spare you from any more of the dozens of photos we shot there.

Decorated Harvey House Belen

Stopped at the Harvey House Museum in Belen. Businesses all around the area each sponsored the decorating of a tree or a room. It was great to see the community support, but I found it difficult to imagine this as the dining room back when it was a Harvey House. The waitresses had rooms upstairs.

Apache dancers trio caller

Special night at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. We got to see the Apache Dancers and hear their caller/singer, who also drummed. How special. This was the before-dark performance.

Night Apache dancer performance

The second, after-dark performance was super-charged. The fire made a huge difference. We got ashes from the fire afterward to keep with us in the pickup for good luck, as directed by the chanter, along with most of the folks who stayed until the end (cold, about 40°F, brr). Actually, these are religious and spiritual events, not presentations or performances. I liked that.

This entry might have been better titled “Hinge points,” but I couldn’t resist “Swing nose frog.” It refers to a particular switcher set-up for rails. Thank you, Harvey House.

Things can change when you keep moving

Light fixing

I almost titled this “Sin papas,” which is Spanish for without potatoes, which is how I ordered my breakfast—in English—and actually what the order-taker told the cook. Delightful veggie scramble bowl, I had. Sin papas.

More mundanity: traffic light being fixed. Under solid overcast.

Lake buchanan dam

Sky is clearing as we pass below Buchanan Dam, holding back the Colorado. Which today looks blue not colorado, Spanish for reddish, dark rusty brown, I think.

Rio Concho lake statue

We needed to stretch our legs and stopped in San Angelo. Immediately when we opened the doors, we heard a band playing across the lake, another dammed up section of the Colorado. We walked toward the band shell and found this lady posed with her own shell.

Bandstand event

Band was playing piece after piece of band standards, mostly several together in medleys. Is this what bands typically do? The musicians were separated into two groups, each with its own conductor. The upper conductor was leading the whole thing, I’m pretty sure. There were active duty folk in the audience, several dignitaries on stage (one in uni), and I think the event was to honor a group that works with wounded warriors.

We are standing as requested for the final song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”


On the road again, and the scrub oaks we had seen most of the morning disappeared and we saw wind plants on the horizon.

Cotton rows flooded

Continuing westward, the skies became almost clear and we got into irrigated cotton lands. However, they have had some rain, and we saw puddles here and there, and water in the creeks/dry washes. For a time.

Cotton harvest

Cotton harvest. Round bales and large rectangular stacks. I think the four-digit numbers may designate which farmer is to be paid for the cotton.

Mountains afar

Another gorgeous sunset, this one with a line of peaks in the far distance across a valley. We lost another hour and I’m rather discombobulated. And tired. G’night.

Into the political center

Lost pines

A relic loblolly pine forest…so unexpected to me in my ignorance. Scientists have looked at the genetics, and these trees are closely related to others to the east. Thus, this is the westernmost stand of the eastern forest in this part of North America.

Bastrop pseudopostcard

Of course, over a century ago, a big forest meant that loggers showed up. And the mills were built in Bastrop, and many people there became wealthy. Now the town seems bent on being uber-charming, to attract visitors (with credit cards and puffy pocketbooks) from nearby Austin, especially, and elsewhere.

Bastrop old bridge

Bastrop’s mills were powered by the water of the Colorado River, and here’s the old vehicle bridge (current one to the right), which is supposed to be a pedestrian bridge, but is closed presently.

Texas capital

Onward. Look: traffic. And more traffic. Look: a capital. Yes: Austin.

SR Vaughan

Post-dinner stroll: hey, Stevie Ray Vaughan, a man from a line of three-named men.

LadyBirdLake crew riffles

Riffles from passing crewing skulls. Yes, in the dark. And, yes, there’s a Goooooooogle “G” on the building opposite.

Under RR bridge over CO River

Playing with computational photography in the darkness under the railroad bridge over the Colorado. In between taking this and the previous photo, I was looking up for the lone star, but I saw more than one.

Bayou territory glimpses

Bayou reflections

Turns out our word bayou is from a Frenchified Native American word. Most I’ve seen are like this—dredged and channelized.

Palmetto moss

Photographically, the high point was a morning walk in a wildlife preserve also known as a swamp. Lots of Spanish moss but no Spanish.

Showy egret Mandalay

The trail took us back to open water—a lake? This bird kept its distance yet still was curious about us. Snowy egret.

Little blue heron

Closer was this little blue heron, busy hunting and mostly ignoring us.

Roadside shipbuilding

Back on the road we drove through an area with lots of ship-building, which appeared to be roadside but was really in nearby channels.

Cane harvesting

Later we got into a cane-growing zone. It is harvest season and a few guys and many machines were active. Lots of trailers, full and empty, moved the chopped plant material to…to…I assume presses?

Arching bridge

Many bridges, a few high enough for ships to pass.

Horse in traffic

Much later we were in a traffic jam (no alternative routes), and the Guru made a new friend. Kinda.

Sunset phone

And another spectacular sunset. Life is darned good. We sleep in Texas tonight. [Those two sentences not logically connected.]

NO is an aging, somewhat ravaged matron

Lower nine abandonment

Coming in from the east, we began our New Orleans wander in the Lower Ninth Ward. It’s mostly still abandoned with some pockets of trash remaining.

Lower nine bridge

The Claiborne Avenue bridge crosses the flood control levees and a shipping canal, hence the section that will rise out of the way.

NO riverboat

Downtown, finally. River. Riverboat.

NOLA emigrants

Statue honoring emigrants to New Orleans. I might have chosen “immigrants.”

NO StLouis church

Jackson Square, with statue in the middle. [We won’t discuss which Jackson.] Cathedral named after Louis IX of France, the only French King who is a saint, so the name is Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France. Seems strange to have saint and king linked. So New Orleans.

Café du Monde lovelies

New Orleans means beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde. Yes, the business has changed greatly since I first came here in 1967, but it’s still beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde.

NO streetcar

New Orleans means street cars.

Joan of Arc

New Orleans means the maid of Orleans…here Joan is gilded.

Balconies adjacent

New Orleans means upstairs balconies and architectural detail.

NO balconies two Tier

Sometimes the balconies are double-tiered.

Market bow

Down at the market we found this gigantic bow, so large it takes multiple loops of chain to hold it.

Tipitinas side

Then we shifted neighborhoods and walked past legendary Tipitina’s. I was surprised to read it opened in 1977; I thought it was older. Must be the archaeologist in me.

NO other quarter

Random building in the Touro quarter. It is quieter and very residential compared to the French quarter.

And, as my dear friend KW sometimes writes, that is all. 😀