On, above, and near the high plains

Two bison

I haven’t mentioned wild critters so far. On day one we saw a beaver crossing the road. Pretty sure on that ID, and definitely on the location. Strange. On day two, we spotted antelopes. Not many, but they were out there in the windswept terrain. Today, we just moseyed along pretty early, and whoops, look in with those cattle…odd shapes…yup, two bison. I don’t think we will do better tomorrow and the coming days…unless…elk?

Two couches

Off in a nearly abandoned part of town, we found this pair of couches perhaps commiserating on the lousy neighborhood…or waiting for a parade?

Tamale lunch

For lunch we found a real Mexican place. I had a red and a green tamale. With a side of beans. I was stuffed. The two sauces provided were both cooked, so a real contrast to yesterday’s salsa offerings.

Baptist church

The Guru made this shot, a real grab of an abandoned ranch with a butte not far distant (I was driving; foot’s doing quite well, thank you). The sign says “Baptist Church.” Life after ranch.

Distant sandias

That line of mountains in the distance, that’s the east side of the Sandia Mountains, which are the east side of the Albuquerque basin. There’s a road to the top, very winding and slow; it passes a ski area and a parking lot signed winter play area. We took that road. It hammered our mileage even worse than the winds and gentle upgrade have over the last two days.

Iced rime

The vegetation at the top was rimed in a snow-ice combo. The wind was fierce. We made a quick walking loop, clicked a few frames, and scuttled back to the quiet of the car. And warmth; the car indicated it was 22°F outside. [Remember, we were in 104 yesterday.]

Iced rime CU

The rime was pretty thick, and one sided. The wind was strong enough to blow pieces off and we could see small white bombs scattered on the blacktop.

Flags horizontal

We headed down, garnering all the battery-energy we could. The battery level went from below zero (zero on the gauge not being empty but false empty that keeps a bit of charge in the battery at all times), to 59%. Now, that’s a downhill!

And in ABQ: yup, still windy. Supposed to slack off in the evening. Can’t wait!



Most of today’s photos were through a bug-marred windshield or a reflection-blotched side window. We walked up to this overlook with a good view of the Arkansas River—which must have been great when the trees were younger, but now they hold more carbon.

Lupitas lunch

We got away from the interstate and went to a tamale place. The menu was on a sign, but didn’t include tamales. Uh oh. But we asked, and indeed got two plates of pork/red sauce tamales. Apparently the local preference is for the homemade hot sauce on top, so we had that, too. The other four salsas were offered in a salsa bar. The salsas were stupendous. The owner is from Michoacán—so the food is not TexMex as it is most places—we were told.


We kept grinding westward. Hot outside; strong AC inside. Look at this: 104° at 4:03pm in western Oklahoma. Yikes. That was the high. There’s a weather system passing through…um, tomorrow?…and temps will drop. This might have been a record-high. It was also super-windy. The big commercial flags were totally horizontal; we heard gusts were expected to be up to 50mph.

Wind plants

Not surprisingly, after we left the trees behind, we saw lots of wind plants…whole forests or plantations of them. We agreed that we were seeing more than a couple of years back.

Blade in motion

We did encounter this one blade traveling down the highway. We wondered if it was defective. Perhaps a half-hour later, we saw two other blades on trucks that had pulled off the interstate. We figured that somehow the two parties and three blades had gotten separated. [We make up stories all the time to fit what we notice as we go down the road.]


Seems like the windmills—the old-fashioned kind like this—are fewer and fewer. Stands to reason. And they are difficult to photo at highway speeds!

Dusk sky

And oh my was the sky pretty as we traversed the final miles of the day. The camera makes it darker and more contrasty than it was. Still: nice god-rays, looking even better against the empty, distant skyline.

Of peonies and pecan praline

Peony bud ants

I didn’t know the ants got on the peonies when they are still tight, tight buds. Proof.

Pecan praline icecream pie

However, today’s most interesting serendipity is that we had a Burnsian lunch, including with John’s bro, and, this was super unplanned, we had dinner with my brother. In western Mississippi. Texting can facilitate last-minute planning…. The texting frenzy that made arranging for the later meal possible began around 4pm (local time), and we met up at 7pm. Of all things.

And this is the celebratory pecan praline ice cream dessert that five(!!) of us shared….


Anns ghettoburger

You can’t tell all the taste-layers in the stratigraphy of this grand burger. There are two straight-forward patties, each with a melted processed cheese square, onions fried in the burger-grease, some BBQ, fried bacon, small scoop of slaw, tomato slices, lettuce, soft toasted bun, mayo, ketchup, and mustard. That’s what I saw, anyway. It’s a Ghetto Burger from Ann’s Snack Bar. And it was lauded in a recent episode of “Billions.”

Dat way

The Guru spotted this on Instagram, and we saw it for real. I don’t know if the signs are intended to be read in conjunction or independently.

So, the first photo is indigenous cuisine, and the second is indigenous signage.

Just add water

Taxus drama

Apologies for yesterday’s Taxus (genus) shot. With today’s raindrops, I’ve upgraded the image. MUCH more interesting now.

Not just flowers

Azalea showing off

Yeah, the flowers are stunning right now…

Leaves opening

…but the new vegetation is interesting….

Japanese yew new growth


Leftovers by another name

Chili redux

Lazy me, I took yesterday’s chili and…goosed it. Added quick-sauteed veggies atop, with a sprinkle of finely sliced onions.

Not stupendous, but worked for us.

Friday nuances

Azalea pink CU

I had several hot ideas for this space, but I forgot them within minutes after I had them. In the end, I can merely report that I made (mostly vegetarian) chili, and we eased into Friday-Fest dining on it. 😎

Monadnock escapade

A Mtn monadnock

We took the Foot and Droney to a monadnock south of the big monadnock, that is, Stone Mountain. We picnicked just over the crest in this view, in the shade of a pine tree. Just lovely.

Foot climbs mtn

Here I am taking the Foot to the summit. We could see the tops of a few of the tallest downtown buildings, and several closer watertowers over the treetops from the high point.

Diamorpha AM

This is Diamorpha smallii.

Everything had a thin dusting of yellow pollen, and we could see a distinct pollen line above the current water levels in the puddles.

We have heard Dr. King talking about a mountain repeatedly over the last few days, so maybe that was part of the motivation. The particular destination was because of glowing reports from neighbors C and D, who visited separately during the last week…and the fact that Diamorpha is blooming.

Now we can say: we have been to the mountain.

It’s all anthropology

Orange trumpet

Not photo of Diamorpha smallii.

Today I researched where the public can visit at Los Alamos National Laboratory (not much, but you guessed that), and the physiology of the stonecrop/orpine* Diamorpha smallii.

* Yes, I looked these details up; you couldn’t tell, right? 😀