26 Nov 2009

Sunny New Mexico

So...the last update 11 days ago had us arriving just outside of Taos, in Arroyo Seco. It was snowing and we received maybe 6 inches over 24 hours

The Hud loves the snow...

Our house is awesome, off the beaten path half way between Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Below is the dirt road to our house, which we take 1.2 miles to the end.

Here are some of the many horses on Taos Pueblo land (the 1,900 Taos Pueblo have 95,000 acres). These two are about 2.5 miles away from our house. The Taos Pueblo have an interesting history, having been fairly successful in battle.

This sunset was taken a little further up the mountain towards Taos Ski Valley. It opened today (Thanksgiving) but we'll probably wait another week or two to start skiing

This has been a great few weeks for running, having run 13 times during the 12 days (6 times with the Hud). After running on our dirt road the first two days we found the West Rim Trail next to the Rio Grande. The trail head is just on the other side of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge (apparently haunted: http://www.sgha.net/nm/taosbridge/taos_bridge.html)

The water level is pretty low right now and freezes overnight. While it has been clear, sunny and about 55-degrees each day, it gets very cold at night (as low as 9-degrees)

Below are other excellent views along the trail...

And here is a lone runner running the trail...hard to see in the first photo but she is there, blending in with the sagebrush...

We also did a quick visit to the earthship community just past the Gorge Bridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship

These homes seem to have a real estate agent specializing in them. Fun website: http://www.taosearthships.com/

On the drive from Taos to our home we pass an art exhibit (or museum) and the sign says "The Art of Stupid"

My favorite image not quite captured in photo yet is a cemetery just outside of Taos. Will try to get better pics, but it is very colorful and people put in great efforts - the below doesn't do it justice

15 Nov 2009

Mid-November Update (3 of 3) - The Road to Taos

Hamilton to Taos. 1,813-miles. A "breeze" compared to the 1,932-miles from Breckenridge to Monterey, MA by myself (well, with Grumpus). This time Maureen and I would split the driving. Actually, she did most of it Day 1 & Day 2 while I worked

We loaded up Grumpus, who was as pleased as usual. Best we can tell these long drives appear to be the same as confinement to a prison on wheels

First state on Day 1 was Michigan. We also crossed Indiana and Illinois, but both were at night and the pics turned out poorly. So 2x through and still unable to get Illinois (got Indiana first time)

There really wasn't much of note that first day, much of it in Michigan before a stretch in Indiana and a longer stretch in Illinois. Dinner for me was 3 chocolate bars, mozzarella and chocolate milk. We stayed at a Drury Inn in Springfield along with dozens of police, in town for a convention, so we felt pretty safe and had a solid sleep

Illinois along I-55S wasn't much more scenic the next morning. St. Louis, though, offered some great pics including the Gateway Arch, the Mississippi, and The Scottrade Center where the St Louis Blues play

Missouri was a pretty wooded state. Lunch was at Cracker Barrel, where they had a smoking section. Wow

Next up was Oklahoma. Nothing exciting, similar to driving through Nebraska. Perhaps a slight upgrade

Billboards were the highlight of Oklahoma and both political parties were represented

First, the Republicans:

And then the Democrats:

Dinner was at The Waffle House. A Grilled Cheese and an Egg & Cheese Biscuit sandwich with hasbrowns for me and a Cheeseburger for Maureen. $8.34. I think we could retire today and live in opulence in Oklahoma. And it was fantastic

We were going to try and make it to Amarillo on Day 2 but no luck. At 11:00pm CST we wore out and checked into a Comfort Inn somewhere. Slept fantastic

Next up was Texas. Being Saturday and no work I started off driving

Northern Texas was fascinating. First we saw what was billed as the Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere (with RV Parking)

It didn't seem THAT big...but there was more fun ahead...

Including the best billboards yet

But the best highlight of the trip...the Cadillac Ranch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Ranch)

Final destination: New Mexico

It reminded us of parts of Utah

The march to an early death continued with the final meal from the road: Taste of India at an old truck stop. I had my usual - Matar Paneer. Maureen "skipped" and bought cheese & crackers

We made it to our house just in time and wisely bought chains as the snow started just as we arrived. Here are pics of the view the next morning

So back to running after a week of vices and unhealthy food. Me and The Hud (Grumpus is only found in the car) left for an early morning run. We are above 7,000 feet and maybe 10-miles outside of Taos in heavily wooded mountains. Bears and cougars are supposedly everywhere and apparently this is true, as we saw this coming up our long driveway

Needless to say...it was an uptempo run

We are here for two weeks...

Mid-November Update (2 of 3) - O Canada!

We pulled into Hamilton late. 7 nights living with the parents may sound a bit frightening, but it turned out to be more like staying at a B&B. I mostly took Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday off, although I was on work e-mail (because I use the AT&T laptop to manage my Fantasy Hockey team, who have rallied from 11th to 4th)

It was great being back in the homeland. Monday we cruised out to Burlington. Below is one of the more dominant Hamilton images, the Cathedral of Christ the King (http://www.christthekingcathedral.org/main.htm)

Tuesday we cruised around the towns of Dundas & Ancaster and headed down to the Dundurn area where we got some good pics of Hamilton from across the Bay and a close up of the city's Steel mills

Wednesday I made my 2010 presentation via cell phone to a room of 20 Directors, Executive Directors and my EVP. I was very prepared and even did a dry run. I was set. Unfortunately, the folks in Atlanta were using a polycom and didn't mute it so I sounded quiet

"Speak up!"

So I screamed my 30-minute presentation and could barely hear what people were saying. I guess it went ok?

Thursday Maureen & I went down to Niagara Falls. In order, here is the American Falls, 2 of the Canadian Falls, and 2 of the Niagara River

After the Falls we headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake, cute town with a lighthouse

On the way home we were stopped at the Welland Canal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welland_canal)

Friday we ran around Dundas again and went for a run from the Dundas Conservation area along a rail trail that goes to Brantford (home of Wayne Gretzky). The run is beautiful through woods and farmland. This day a movie was going to be filmed there, being used - if I remember - for a plane crash in the forests around Strasbourg

Later in the day we went to "The Hermitage", my old underage (and legal) drinking spot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hermitage_(Hamilton,_Ontario))

Sunday we headed to Toronto for work. We stayed in The Beaches (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beaches). Toronto is an outstanding city, based on our 3 nights

Sunday night we went to dinner & drinks with Paul Claveau, who I've worked with for 3 years, Alistair Elias & John Ross, who work for Orange in Paris & London respectively, and Mike Brewer, one of my best buddies who I played hockey with at Brown. We went to a cool Canadian pub with good food and local microbrews

Monday the four of us spent 9 hours negotiating in the basement of a Marriott (taking only a 15-minute break for lunch at Mr Sub). The same 6 met at the same pub Monday night

Tuesday we met again for negotiations in the morning before lunch at the CN Tower (Maureen joined, as obvious below). Great views and pics on a sunny day

The lakeshore

The Financial District, with some of Canada's very strong banks

Yonge Street, which is over 1,000 miles (or once was). Follow the tall building in the distance

The ACC - the Air Canada Centre, home to The Toronto Maple Leafs. It's the building with the red Maple Leaf (Air Canada's logo) and the massive tv screen with the hockey game on

And lastly...the HQ of the CBC (the red wall)

We headed back to Hamilton Wednesday for a final night before beginning the 1,800 drive to Taos, NM (the 3-days chronicled in the final of these 3 updates). Here is a final shot of the Hamilton skyline