Santa Fe Mexico to Kansas! September 23, 2015

Up for breakfast for our last night in New Mexico. No one else was up except for the waiter!

I had the French toast with berries. It was berry good!

Steve had the gloppy omelette. Or maybe it was an enchilada!

Then it was one last shut of the door and out the door we went!

We soon left New Mexico.

Good bye mountains!

With each mile the mountains got further and further away.

Soon we were in Texas and we found a grocery store to stop at in Amarillo Texas!

There were lots of wind turbines in the Texas panhandle.

So after Texas it was on to Oklahoma. Steve was fascinated by the signs for clean restrooms at the Sunoco station. I admit that I was so fascinated that I had to take a picture!

Sure enough they had clean restrooms, they just weren’t in working condition.

So the normally family restroom had to be shared. Good thing that they finally put up the sign to tell patrons to lock the door. I am sure there were a few “whoopsies!”

We found a small supermarket in Oklahoma.

They had big logs of ground beef. I am not sure how many hamburgers or meatloaves you could make with that much beef. I found it totally unappetizing and I love meat!

Where we are located the ground meat is sold in small trays, just like the packages on the upper left of the screen. About a pound and a third. I know this as many of my recipes call for 1.5 pounds of beef. This annoys me to no end. I don’t like to adjust my recipies, so my meatloaf is probably a little less tasty than it should be. I have noticed some of those big logs of beef in our area, but way back then in the dark ages of 2015 when we took this trip it didn’t seem to happen as often.

I did find it interesting how small the produce area was compared to the snack area.

I am sure that processed food is much cheaper here than fresh fruits and vegetables as all the crop land if any is for growing animals. I think the other land is for wind turbines and oil wells!

Oklahoma was flat and wet, but beautiful as every where we have seen in the United States.

Oklahoma has the nicest rest areas of any that we have been to. I made sure to tell the ladies at the information desk this. The ladies seemed to be quite happy about this!

Then it was on to Kansas! No, you are not seeing things, the window was a bit smeared because of all the rain, and the photo was enlarged to the state of distortion.

We had dinner at Firebirds which was very near to our hotel.

The Double Black Diamond Martini was so good! After having to lay off the booze while we were at higher elevations it was nice to have a fruity martini again. Of course you know how I like a fruity martini!

I got a little bit annoyed at the waitstaff who told me it was “okay” to skip the appetizers and just have an entree.

A small loaf of bread with butter.

Steak Salad for me.

Salmon for Steve.

Then they said it was “okay” that we didn’t want to share a slice of carrot cake or another dessert. Since when do I need the servers okay to not pad the bill?

Then it was back to Homewood Suites in Wichita.

What is your favorite fruity martini flavor?

Have you ever been to the rest areas on the Oklahoma interstates?

Should I take all my pictures of food before someone took a bite?

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico Tuesday September 22, 2015

We told the cook that she didn’t need to stop by this morning to cook us breakfast. She had to travel at least 30 minutes for each meal that she prepared for us as she did not work full time at the lodge.

I was never so happy to leave any place that we stayed at . (At least that I can remember!)

Here is Steve letting us through the gate to leave.

And our van approaches the gate to leave!

Boom! One set of gates done. More to go!

Good bye Cow Creek! Not sorry to be gone!

This whole stay at Cow Creek was not quite pleasant, I find it cathartic to relive it’s end!

Good bye burned out forest!

Onto the dirt road.

Then it was onto a stone road.

Some parts of the road were really bumpy.

Then we got to the narrow section with blind spots ahead.

Where a truck always seemed to be approaching, with poor visibility of the road ahead.

The road was so uneven.

With steep drops offs on one side.

And a truck barreling down the road to look for downed wood in the forest.

I told you it was a bad road!

After an hour on the dirt/stone road we made it to pavement. Yay!

The car was a real mess from the dust and dirt!

Now would be a good time to recap Steve’s thoughts about Cow Creek.

A harrowing drive up the worst road I’ve ever seen, a burned over landscape and truly bad food will prevent a repeat visit, but I caught a lot of fish in our 2 days there. Cow Creek is a small high mountain (8800′) stream, about 10’wide and perhaps 20 CFS, that has been “improved” by digging deep holes every 30 yards or so over a 2 mile stretch. This section is divided into 12 beats. They have also dug 7 ponds. The work was done as tastefully as possible, but still feels artificial. The deep pools and ponds hold bookies, browns, cutbows, and rainbows, some 5-8 pounds. They are very wary and tentative due to the concentrated pressure, I enjoyed catching a few big ones of 4-6 pounds, one of which took a mouse against the bank near the inlet of Pond No. A. With a strike worthy of a lunker bass, but I most enjoyed the natural stretch upstream, which is tiny water full of small wild browns, bookies, and a few Rio Grande cutthroat. With stealth and accurate short casts, even bow and arrow casts, the fish rose to small dries, especially a Royal Wolff in size 18.

I found this place for breakfast on Yelp. Chocolate? Yes, please!

The bakery looked very promising.

We were told to sit anywhere, I plopped ourselves in front of the window so we could watch the bakers. “You looking at me?”

While we waited for our breakfast to be brought over, we enjoyed watching how some of the pastries were prepared.

First the dough needs to be run through the machine, several times to create the perfect flaky croissant.

Then it is placed on the slab, ready to be cut.

Here the baker is piping chocolate onto the dough.

On the right spinach croissants are being prepared.

Our breakfast were derived. I had the blue corn blueberry pancakes with piƱon syrup. I probably should have had the strawberries and cream waffle. These were a bit dense and dry.

Steve had some kind of Mexican slop. If that isn’t a gloppy breakfast I don’t know what is!

Then it was time to find our hotel. We went from no stars to a five star American Express Fine Hotel with benefits!

We would be staying at The Inn of the Anasazi.

The hotel was right on the courthouse square. We went for a walk. Come along.

We checked out The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The church was started in 1869 and is designed in the Romanesque Revival style.

It was lovely inside.

Nearby was the famous Loretto Chapel.

Inside is the miraculous staircase.

There is no newel or center pole. The staircase was built without nails. It is held together by pegs and glue. That is why it was called the “Miraculous Staircase.”

The Gothic Revival altar is made of wood painted to look like marble.

While in Santa Fe we also went to some museums. The Georgia O’Keeefe museum was going under renovations so they didn’t charge us to enter. We also went to the Historical Museum. No pictures allowed!

On the way back to the hotel we stopped to window shop at Lucchese boots. We only window shopped.

Our room was very inviting.

This was the special amenity we were given by the hotel. A handful of potato chips, a handful of popcorn and some nuts. We shared.

We had dinner at the hotel.

I love cornbread, as does Steve.

One of us had a salad.

I am not quite sure what this entree was.

This was definitely salmon!

Dessert was flan, ice cream and chocolate. All three of my favorite food groups!

Do you think I was too hard on Cow Creek?

Are you nuts?

Which one these food groups is your favorite? Flan, ice cream or chocolate?

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico. Monday September 21, 2015

Good Morning to you! This is a fish caught on the ranch by a prior guest. That is some fish! And it looks like it was caught a long time ago.

While I waited for our cook to rustle up some breakfast for me I thought I would show you some of the main lodge.

The main dining area.

In the next room there were many animal heads.

Some animal skins.

There were plenty of spaces to sit and chat. However, we were the only guests for the week. Cow Creek has since ceased to exist as a public fishing lodge. Which we thought would happen. There was so much fire damage to the hills, that it was an unattractive place to fish or ride.

My scrambled eggs and bacon came out quickly.

Which were soon followed by berry pancakes.

Steve had already gone out to meet with with his guide for his day of fishing.

While Steve was fishing I hung out at the lodge. A bird watching group from Santa Fe came to search for birds. I was invited but had no energy at this elevation.

They were off for four hours, so I think it was a good decision not to go out with them.

The lodge must have been really something back in the day. It was too bad that there had been so many fires in the area.

A beautfiul fish that Steve caught.

Oopsy!

Nice recovery!

No he did not keep him. Steve realeses his fish that he catches back to the stream. Once in awhile he does keep a few trout when he fishes back home and we eat them, but that is rare.

Here is a closer view of the pond that Steve fished.

Fish in the net.

Sometimes the ending is not so happy!

Then it was time for dinner. More of the salad from a bag with tomatoes and shredded cheese.

Chicken. It’s whats for dinner! Very dry chicken.

For dessert we had pistachio pudding and that same chocolate cake!

After dinner I followed Steve to the pond.

For more fishing.

No, it is not the same fish!

I wanted him to catch me one of the palomino trout, but they were persnickety.

Steve caught 50 fish today. It would be his last day fishing on this trip. Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Then it was off to bed.

What animal heads are in your living room?

What is your favorite type of dry meat?

Have you ever seen a palomino trout?

Did you that LDR means Long Distance Release?

Are you happy about not seeing anymore fish pictures? Be honest!

Cow Creek Ranch, Pecos New Mexico. Sunday September 20, 2015

After I published last night’s post Steve remarked that I did not embellish much about the road to Cow Creek. I told him that I blocked a lot of it out of my memory as it was such a bad, bad road. Steve said that the road was bed rock in many parts and that at times we couldn’t even tell where the road actually was. Yep. That is why I didn’t remember the road. It was bad!

Here I am at breakfast, reading the literature about the history of Cow Creek.

Please don’t quiz me! This is the view of the dining area from the opposite direction.

I can tell you that Cow Creek was founded in the 1800’s as a boarding ranch for wealthy English boys to learn Western ranching. Generally these would be second sons as only the first born son would inherit the estate. In the 1930’s Cow Creek was transformed into a guest ranch. It’s for sale now, if you want to buy it!

Breakfast!

I love my whipped cream on coffee!

Here is a view of Cow Creek and the valley.

After breakfast I wandered down to the horse barn for my scheduled ride.

Can you see the fish in the stream?

Here I am with one of the staff and Lanier one of the owners. This ranch had the first riding waiver that I had to sign that mentioned the possibility of death, I looked at Lanier and asked her how often that happened. I did not relish the thought of being their first casualty!

The creek at Cow Creek was very pretty.

Unfortunately there had been forest fires a few years ago and the hill sides were severely damaged.

This is some damage from a bear that was clawing on the tree!

Look how big the scars are from the bear claws!

My posture looked good, I was happy to be almost done with the ride! At one point in the ride my horse stumbled and I semi fell off it. No worries! I lived to tell the story!

Thank you for the ride Horse!

After my ride I walked back to the room where I rested for the rest of the day. The elevation really got to me and I was exhausted.

This is the living room where guests could hang out. I don’t even remember sitting here reading. I blocked out a lot about the stay at this ranch as I was so uncomfortable with everything about this place. The living room does look cozy though!

This is what one of the rooms looked like. I didn’t find any guest logs to find out if any famous people had stayed here before. Nor were there any other guests staying here to tell you any fun stories about them!

The bathroom.

This is where our meals were cooked.

This is one of the fish that Steve caught in the morning from one of the lower beats on Cow Creek.

Steve didn’t really like these lower beats as they were enhanced.

The fish was a real beauty, but Steve prefers less constructed streams. This fish was 21 inches.

So Steve and his guide moved upstream. This was one of the spots where Steve fished later in the day.

Isn’t this a beauty? He preferred the wild trout as opposed to the larger fish in the stocked ponds. This was his first Rio Grande cut throat.

Here is another area where he caught many wild trout.

I tried sitting here to read for a little bit while Steve was fishing. It got a bit too sunny for me so I went back inside.

I could see the horses gather near the gate while I read. You can see all the fire damage here.

This view is of one of the ponds that were created on Cow Creek.

The rooms were in a motel shape arrangement. They had a very bad fire that destroyed much of the landscape here. You can see how close the fire was to the lodge.

Steve came back from fishing to report that he caught 25 fish for the day, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, cutbow and a rio cutt.

Then it was time for dinner. We didn’t have the cook come for lunch as she had to drive about an hour each way to get to the ranch.

We had a somewhat green salad.

Dinner was pot roast. Followed by the cake from the previous night.

There were many hummingbird feeders under the eaves.

Here is a close up of one of the Hummingbirds. Aren’t they cute?

Off to bed!

What is your favorite type of bird?

Are you a second son?

Would you rather catch a large stocked fish or a small native fish?

Is this place too dull for you? No famous people, no interesting guests with interesting background stories! No pictures of good food! I might as well just hang up my blogging skills. Instead I will persevere, you never know when something exciting will happen!

Dunton Hot Springs to Cow Creek Ranch. Saturday September 19, 2015

We woke up on our last day at Dunton to frost on the ground! Yikes, it gets cold in the mountains in September!

Here is a close up of the frost on the ground.

Here is a close up of my breakfast!

No wonder my cholesterol got high!

This is what I wrote in the guest book! Steve can not stand my printing, he finds it very difficult to read. I agree!

We said goodbye to honeymooners Liz and Zack at breakfast and told them to think of us on their 36th anniversary. Unfortunately Steve and I would likely be dead! A little bit macabre but the truth. Then it was time to leave our little cabin. Since our stay five years ago Liz and Zach are parents of two beautiful children. Good job Liz and Zach!

Here you have a close up. We both need our sunglasses on! But isn’t the light beautiful?

The windshield needed to be scraped as the van was parked in the shade.

After we left the property, I took one last look at Dunton Hot Springs.

We stopped along the road for a few pictures.

Now is as good as time as any to give Steve’s report of the fishing.

The next stop on our trip was Dunton Hot Springs in the San Juan range in Colorado, where I fished the West Dolores. I fished a beaver meadow at the headwaters, a nice canyon stretch just downstream, and a big deep slow meadow section and fast canyon section about 4 miles downstream. Since the water was low and clear, the PMX,Morrish hopper and Copper John were good, but the fish were very wary in their small stream and I got many refusals. During a brief period of off-color water following a heavy storm, the SJW was excellent. The river is stocked each Spring with rainbows, and they grow well-I caught a 20 incher and lost 2 others at least as big, one on a 4′ vertical jump and the other after 2 amazing 8’lateral greyhounding jumps. That fish many have been the most acrobatic I’ve ever hooked. The one section that has the most fish-the big meadow, I enjoyed the least because the bottom is too silty to wade comfortably and the banks are too high to cast from, as well as being covered with thistle up to 8′ tall. I also tried some gorgeous water near the campgrounds but I did’t see a fish-I suspect they all went to the frying pan during the summer.

We stopped by at a grocery store in Durango,Colorado on our way to New Mexico. We didn’t have any time on the way to Dunton.

Then we also stopped at a grocery store when we drove to New Mexico. Notice all the pickup trucks. There will be a story about pickup trucks later!

Lots of interesting scenery. The picture would have looked a lot better if I had rolled down the window or stopped the van and gotten out. No time for stopping -we have a new place to stay tonight.

More interesting scenery. Our next few days would be spent at a ranch near Pecos, New Mexico.

It’s up into the mountains we shall go. Our gps stopped working but we had directions to the ranch. The last ten miles was supposed to take an hour. What kind of nonsense was this?

It was the truth. The road was narrow, with lots of switchbacks. It was not paved and extremely bumpy with lots of 4 X 4 pickup trucks that were bringing back downed trees that they would use for heat in homes that were many miles away. The backs of the trucks were filled with wood and people perched on top of the wood. It was an accident waiting to happen, but we actually never saw an accident. I guess these people were pros at it!

Finally after an hour we reached the final set of gates for the ranch. We were going to be the only guests that week. When Steve made the reservations they told him that they did not provide meals. You could either cook for yourself in the kitchen or hire someone to cook. Steve interviewed a cook who was Hispanic and cooked Mexican food. The only Mexican food I care for are taco chips, and churros. I consider everything else slop. I told Steve that I did not want to eat enchiladas. I would rather have what I considered regular food baked or grilled chicken, pork or beef.

Here is Steve getting ready to plate his dinner. Yes, there is a little bit of a smirk there.

This was our dinner. Salad from a bag, yummy potatoes, canned peas, rolls and really dry boneless pork chops. Perhaps I should have gone for the enchiladas after all!

Well, there was dessert. How can you screw up chocolate cake?

What is your total cholesterol?

Do you eat Mexican food?

Is it possible for a baker to screw up chocolate cake?