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Chufi

Chilies In The Desert

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What a nice trip report--thanks.

I think we were a bit park´d out at this point.
I agree. We did the trip in the opposite direction than you two...Moab, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion (and saw all the same beauty and desolate areas in between), so by the time we got to Zion, I was done. No more rocks please. "Yes, it is pretty, but please don't make me take another hike."

Funny, at first I thought how could that be possible! Southern Utah is so wonderful! Then I remembered how during the end of my trips to various places in Europe I've started to tire of beautiful medieval hill towns, cathedrals, museums, castles...too much of any one thing can make our eyes glaze over.

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What a nice trip report--thanks.
I think we were a bit park´d out at this point.
I agree. We did the trip in the opposite direction than you two...Moab, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion (and saw all the same beauty and desolate areas in between), so by the time we got to Zion, I was done. No more rocks please. "Yes, it is pretty, but please don't make me take another hike."

Funny, at first I thought how could that be possible! Southern Utah is so wonderful! Then I remembered how during the end of my trips to various places in Europe I've started to tire of beautiful medieval hill towns, cathedrals, museums, castles...too much of any one thing can make our eyes glaze over.

I think it wasn't so much that we were tired of the landscape, but that we were tired of the National Park version of the landscape. There's something odd about looking at nature like it's a museum - from behind a fence.


Edited by Chufi (log)

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I'm trying to get back to my regular work, so the rest of the trip report will come with a little more time between installments. But don't worry, we still have till day 21 to go!

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I'm trying to get back to my regular work, so the rest of the trip report will come with a little more time between installments. But don't worry, we still have till day 21 to go!

He Chufi,

Back to work hmmm... Avoiding mine by looking at your pics ;-)

While I was scrolling through them and since I know a bit about your eating habits (yep, I'm one of the lucky one's who lives in Amsterdam, am a friend of Chufi and therefore sometimes have dinner with her) I was wondering: haven't you OD'ed on the sauces over there?

Kicking off now or missing it intensely?

Bye,

Marq

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I'm trying to get back to my regular work, so the rest of the trip report will come with a little more time between installments. But don't worry, we still have till day 21 to go!

He Chufi,

Back to work hmmm... Avoiding mine by looking at your pics ;-)

While I was scrolling through them and since I know a bit about your eating habits (yep, I'm one of the lucky one's who lives in Amsterdam, am a friend of Chufi and therefore sometimes have dinner with her) I was wondering: haven't you OD'ed on the sauces over there?

Kicking off now or missing it intensely?

Bye,

Marq

well we definitely had food overdose.. that's very perceptive of you to notice how different our vacation eating habits are from our regular ones..

On the trip, even when I started to only eat a piece of fruit for breakfast, it was hard not to feel contstantly full.

I guess this just means that our regular diet is pretty frugal and healthy, and that's what we're used to...

Also, it takes self discipline not to finish you plate if everything on it is good. Like many Dutch people my age I was raised to always finish my plate.. but when in the US, it just cannot be done :smile: so if there is no doggy bag option (no fridge in the hotelroom, for instance) that means the food will just go to waste..

I do miss the flavors.. especially the green chiles!!

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Day 11 - Moab -> Valley of the Gods -> Bluff

The next morning we headed to the Eklecticafe in Moab for breakfast, Dennis had milk and granola and I had a delicious spicy pumpkin muffin, which could alomst make you think of fall, hadn't the temperatures been so summer-like.

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The shady porch of the cafe makes it a real nice place to sit..

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From there it was a long drive to the Valley of the Gods. But again, what a fascinating, eerie landscape.. evoking so many movies and romantic images of the past. I think Verjuice said somewhere upthread about how beautiful Utah is, and how the settlers ever got past Utah.. While I understand what she means, I had another feeling when looking at the Utah desert.. the utmost awe and respect and admiration for the settlers who attempted tpo make a life for themselves in this harsh and arid land. As beautiful as the desert is, there's something so forbidding and cruel about it.. the heat, the dryness, the openness which is almost scary.

The drive through the Valley of The Gods is on a pretty bumpy dirt road, we were all alone, and when we got out of the car every couple of miles, the silence was deafening. A very special and impressive place.

After leaving the Valley we drove up the Moki Dugway. When you're almost at the top there's a little path you can hike up to a viewpoint, with views of the Valley of the Gods to the left and Monument valley to the right. There we had a little snack picnic with supplies we got from the very poorly stocked convenience store in Bluff. But, tomatojuice, crackers and cheese never tasted so good.

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After that to the motel in Bluff for a relaxing afternoon by the pool with some clandestine beer, Edward Abbey and my notes.

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In the evening we went to The Twin Rocks cafe, the restaurant that would certainly get the prize for the most dramatically located:

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Unfortunately the food wasn't as impressive. Not bad, but a bit bland and boring.

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Navajo Taco.


Edited by Chufi (log)

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Chufi - did y'all make it to any of the ruins? Montezuma's Castle, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Aztec, or Canyon de Chelly?

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Chufi - did y'all make it to any of the ruins?  Montezuma's Castle, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Aztec, or Canyon de Chelly?

Jaymes.. I was kind of avoiding your question, cause I´m embarrassed to admit, no. :sad:

I really wished we had planned a little differently and gone to Mesa Verde. It was on the way.. but somehow we managed to pass it by.

I console myself with the thought that you can´t see everything.. and that maybe I´ll come back to this region one day, and see the stuff I missed the first time.

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Day 12 - Bluff -> Monument Valley -> Cortez -> Durango

The next day we visited Monument Valley in the morning and then drove on to Durango, CO, with the intention to stop in Cortez for lunch. I had some 5 year old recommendation in my files, and ofcourse the place did not exist anymore. Fortunately as we were driving down main Street I spotted this friendly looking place in one of the side streets. It´s called Let it Grow, and it´s one of those small town enterprises that is a lot of things at once.. bookstore, coop, gardening centre, a place to advertise your yoga class, giftshop, coffee shop and deli. Good coffee and excellent sandwiches (this one was hummus and cheese and lots of fresh vegetables).

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On to Durango. Dennis was a bit tired of rocks and sand at this point, and actually exclaimed, when we had to look for a parking space for a bit: parking problems! a sign of civilization! :laugh:

Well Durango turned out to very civilized with nice bars, shops, and a brewpub. And trees!

We had coffee at the Durango Coffee Company while browsing the local news

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Edited by Chufi (log)

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Chufi - did y'all make it to any of the ruins?  Montezuma's Castle, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Aztec, or Canyon de Chelly?

Jaymes.. I was kind of avoiding your question, cause I´m embarrassed to admit, no. :sad:

I really wished we had planned a little differently and gone to Mesa Verde. It was on the way.. but somehow we managed to pass it by.

I console myself with the thought that you can´t see everything.. and that maybe I´ll come back to this region one day, and see the stuff I missed the first time.

Ah yes, leave something for next time! :smile:

But I would point out to other potential visitors that it's probably impossible to ever understand this part of our vast country without taking at least a peek into the lives of some of its first residents, the Anasazi, the "ancient ones."

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I agree, and I tried to convince them to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings, but after 3 weeks of driving, another 2 hours was too much to bare apparently. I told them to go look at pictures online.

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What gorgeous pictures. A lot of them remind me of driving through the outback in Australia - is there anything more beautiful than watching the sun set on red rock with a cold beer in your hand?

I can't get over how bright the plates of food are, and how they're bursting with energy - explosions of vegetables and sauces and cheese. I think I'd have to spend several minutes just looking at them before trying to eat anything. I wouldn't know where to start!

And I notice your notes - I always write down funny conversations I have when I travel, too! They're the reason I travel. The absolute best, best is the bakery in the middle of nowhere. I make my coffee the same way, but with bagged beans. I agree with him - it's the best way to make coffee. Finding a place like that is my goal on most trips. You just sit, and enjoy the moment. And no guidebook can ever point you to anything like that.

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Hi , Chufi/Klary -First post to say that I'm pretty sure that brew pub in Flagstaff is the Beaver Street Brewery, it's located across the street from Macy's - it's not the Flagstaff Brewing Company - I went to grad school in Flag. Too bad I didn't actually register in time to submit suggestions , but I would've suggested Beaver Street - so happy to see that's where you ended up anyway :)

edit: ok, I joined a while ago, but have just recently decided to de-lurk :)


Edited by southwell (log)

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But I would point out to other potential visitors that it's probably impossible to ever understand this part of our vast country without taking at least a peek into the lives of some of its first residents, the Anasazi, the "ancient ones."

I agree, and I tried to convince them to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings, but after 3 weeks of driving, another 2 hours was too much to bare apparently.  I told them to go look at pictures online.

ouch :sad:

I'm sorry we did not go.. and sorry if people feel that this means we did not do the region justice. I feel we did, and there will always be so many things you missed, and you won't know what you missed cause you did not see it.

It's only after a trip that you know how you should have planned differently. Personally, I would not have minded if I'd never seen the Grand Canyon.. but that, we did see.

Oh and btw we did visit some ruins, even though they were very small..

Anasazi State Park in Boulder, Colorado

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Hi , Chufi/Klary -First post to say that I'm pretty sure that brew pub in Flagstaff is the Beaver Street Brewery, it's located across the street from Macy's - it's not the Flagstaff Brewing Company - I went to grad school in Flag. Too bad I didn't actually register in time to submit suggestions , but I would've suggested Beaver Street - so happy to see that's where you ended up anyway :)

edit: ok, I joined a while ago, but have just recently decided to de-lurk :)

You are very right, and unfortunately I also put in the wrong link upthread, so here's the right link:

Beaver Street Brewery

thanks for de-lurking :smile:

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Day 12 - continued, Durango

From coffee and newspapers onto other aspects of civilization: the cocktail bar.

The Office is the cocktail bar adjacent to the historic Strater Hotel. A very nice place with cocktails, good wines by the glass, and cocktail waitresses in mini skirts... (sorry, no picture of them) I did get a picture of the ceiling though :biggrin:

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From there we went to dinner at Gazpacho where we had an excellent dinner, the sopaipilla's were especially good.. unfortunately all my pics of this meal came out horribly dark and blurry.

Afterwards we headed to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory where I had this thing which is best described as a huge Reese's cup! Delicious but very rich....

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Edited by Chufi (log)

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Day 13 - Durango

The next day we went hiking in the beautiful green mountains surrounding Durango.

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We had a very good, simple picnic with stuff we bought at the local Citimarket:

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On our way back into town I spotted this backyard where somebody was laying out the ripe apples. I thought it looked beautiful and very fall-like.

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In the evening we were ready for another brew pub! Durango Brewing Company

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beer sample tray

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the chili beer was good, in a weird way!

salmon and bacon sandwich

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carne asada with green chile sauce

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let's get to work!

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Oh and btw we did visit some ruins, even though they were very small..

Anasazi State Park in Boulder, Colorado

Well, then, you DID visit some ruins. Good for you. The Anasazi State Park certainly would give you a nice overview of the ancient ones.

And like you said, there's nothing wrong with leaving something for next time. :rolleyes:

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Day 12 - continued, Durango

From coffee and newspapers onto other aspects of civilization: the cocktail bar.

The Office is the cocktail bar adjacent to the historic Strater Hotel. A very nice place with cocktails, good wines by the glass, and cocktail waitresses in mini skirts... (sorry, no picture of them) I did get a picture of the ceiling though  :biggrin:

gallery_21505_6252_23428.jpg

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Glad you made it to the Strater. I remember when I was a girl going to lunch at the Strater with my grandmother. Utterly sublime.

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This is making me fall in love with this region all over again, and reminding me why I came back...

Thank you for this.

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Day 14 - Durango -> Santa Fe

let's talk a bit about breakfast.

Oh how I would love to be able to eat a big hearty savoury breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast. And then a couple of hours later, be ready for lunch. And then a couple of hours later, have my stomach growling again and ready for a big delicious dinner. It doesn't work that way. Instead, I eat some fruit and milk/ joghurt, maybe with some granola or other grains, early in the morning. A not too big sandwich for lunch. And then dinner.

So the reason I haven't been talking much about breakfast is because most days it looked like this:

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not very interesting....

We drove to Santa Fe with a littel detour so we could visit Taos. We had a sandwich in Taos that I don't remember much about, and arrived in Santa Fe late in the afternoon. That night we went to dinner at Aqua Santa. It was one the 'fancier' dinners of the trip, and we had something to celebrate, so we were all ready for a nice evening out. We did not have a reservation but were seated without a problem, ordered a nice bottle of wine, starters and a main course.

(no pics - they were all dark and blurry).

The fried oysters we had as a starter were delicious, my fish (I think it was halibut) with heirloom tomato vinaigrette was light and bright and interesting, Dennis' scallops with wild mushrooms just the thing he adores. It felt nice to be in a real restaurant for once. And then, I think I hardly swallowed the last bite of fish, they put the check on the table "uhm, I was kind of looking forward to having dessert!" I said. The waiter said he had to ask us to leave because there were people waiting who had a reservation. I asked why he had not told us we would only have an hour to eat (and I dont even think we'd even been there a whole hour). He said it was his fault and that if we came back 2 hours later he would give us dessert.. well that was not exactly what we had in mind so we left, but it was a bit of an unpleasant experience.

I had my mind set on dessert though, so we wandered into town and ended up at the Coyote Cafe. It was packed, but we asked if we could just have dessert, and they said it was ok if we could find a seat at the bar.

Peach trifle, peach tart and vanilla ice cream (and a glass of 12 yr old Knob Creek Bourbon for me)

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It was a good, but not great, dessert, however we really had fun watching the crowd... it felt like the most cosmopolitan place we'd been in for weeks :smile: and it was fun to see so many people dressed up for their night out. We had some nice conversations with other people sitting at the bar and had the first of a series of exchanges that would repeat itself for the next couple of days:

them: "So where are you going from here?"

us: "Silver City"

them: "........." (with a look that said 'I'm too polite to comment on that' :laugh: )

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It was a good, but not great, dessert, however we really had fun watching the crowd... it felt like the most cosmopolitan place we'd been in for weeks  :smile:  and it was fun to see so many people dressed up for their night out.

:laugh:

That's probably a testament to how long you've been on the road, considering I seriously think that Santa Feans are about the most resistant to getting dressed up of any group of people anywhere. That's largely due to the size of the second home population here, and jeans and cowboy boots are allowed (and worn) everywhere. Not very cosmopolitan compared to NYC but compared to Tinyville, Utah, I'm sure people looked quite sharp.

I had lunch with a good friend who works at an environmental non-profit alliance, and he showed up straight from the office in old sweatpants with his college name faded and flaking of the fabric... and confided he's thinking about leaving his job. I told him I'd think twice about leaving a job where I was allowed to wear pajamas to work. Only in Santa Fe...

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I think it wasn't so much that we were tired of the landscape, but that we were tired of the National Park version of the landscape. There's something odd about looking at nature like it's a museum - from behind a fence.

It's so easy to get away from that though! Most people do congregate at the fenced viewpoints, short paved trails, etc, but it's very easy and rewarding to get away from all that on a hike, and really get into the landscape that others only see from their car or from behind the fence.


Edited by kiliki (log)

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I'm sure no ill intent was meant. I understand exactly what she's talking about - NPS, USFS, BLM, etc will create the educational point/starting point, and most folks never venture beyond that ("Okay, we've seen that, let's go to the next park"). The other 99.9% of the park is always visitor free and gorgeous.

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Oh, I know! It's just a shame if they thought they HAD to experience the parks that way.

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