Page 6 of Roosta Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » New Mexico » Albuquerque October 9th 2011

I had brunch this morning at the Route 66 Diner in Albuquerque. It’s located on the actual old route of US 66, which was once the main highway through town. The road is lined with the same sort of old atmospheric motels found in Gallup, and like Gallup most have closed. The diner itself looks like it has been in business since the highway’s heyday, but it’s actually only twenty years old. The theme is pure nostalgia, and it works incredibly well. The food is comfort food straight from the era, with some incredibly creative flavors of milkshakes. I had a mint chocolate concoction that was heavenly. Air Force Thunderbirds Every year, Kirtland Air Force Base holds a one day url= read more
Precision flying
Nose to Tail
Formation burst

North America » United States » New Mexico » Albuquerque October 8th 2011

This morning, my alarm clock went off very early. I tried to ignore it. When the noise insisted on continuing, my brain finally acknowledged its consciousness. The time reads 5:05 AM, hours before sunrise. Today is definitely balloon day. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta started as a promotional stunt in 1972, and became the largest festival of its type. It now features hundreds of balloons from around the world. Some are regular hot air balloons painted all sorts of colors, while others are shaped like everything from cows to alien monsters. Balloon pilots love Albuquerque thanks to unusual air currents around the Sandia Mountains. Winds low to the ground gen... read more
Laying out Airabelle
Ascension begins
Special Shapes

North America » United States » New Mexico » Albuquerque October 7th 2011

Anyone on a long road trip sees a huge variety of license plates. Those from New Mexico have a unique feature, the letters ‘U S A’ next to the state name. It seems a descent percentage of Americans wouldn’t know what country they are in otherwise. Today I explore the history of this state. East of Grants, the highway passes through a series of buttes. Parts of it are steep, and some have pretty views. It passes two Indian run casinos, and three old truss bridges from the heyday of route 66. All of them sit in empty desert. Crest a hill and all of that suddenly changes. Albuquerque spreads out at the foot of the Sandia Mountains. I felt an... read more

North America » United States » New Mexico » Grants October 6th 2011

This morning, it’s raining. Normally, this doesn’t matter much. Today, that rain is falling in a desert, where it can wreak havoc with travel. Large amounts of rain can also ruin some things I have coming up that I won’t be able to rearrange, unlike Chaco Canyon. Zuni Pueblo Gallup sits on the western edge of the Pueblo Indian reservations in New Mexico, so that is where I ultimately went. These reservations, like other Native American reservations, have widely ranging policies on visitors. Some welcome them, some ban them completely, most are in between. The pueblos themselves range from sites that clearly evoke the past as seen at Mesa Verde to ones that look downright dull. Before visiting, it’s important to study the history. That certainly applies at my first site, url=http://w... read more
El Morro waterhole
Diego de Vargas

North America » United States » Colorado » Durango October 5th 2011

In the San Juan mountains, high mountain scenery is not restricted to just the backwoods jeep drivers. Regular roads cross territory almost as special. Today is my turn on one of Colorado’s highest paved roads, Red Mountain Pass. While the scenery is incredible, the drive can be scary. Remember that snow line from yesterday? Rain fell in Ouray throughout the night, so the line dropped elevation. I’m almost certainly going to reach snow today. Rocky Mountain snow requires a wholly different level of skill, one I’m not used to. Regular drivers all carry tire chains to deal with it. California in particular is known for chain controls, roadblocks where drivers without chains must turn around. I have none. The adventure begins ... read more
Bear Creek Falls
Red Mountain Creek

North America » United States » Colorado » Ouray October 4th 2011

Today, I got to experience some of the best of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and some of the worst. It says something about the scenery around here that the latter had little effect on the former. I woke up to pouring rain. Not just any rain, the continuous sheets that only seem to appear in the spring and autumn. The temperature has dropped too, so it was noticeably colder than yesterday. The dirt streets have turned to mud, with water flowing in big ruts. The rain and cold are a serious problem, because I booked a jeep tour today. I ultimately went anyway, and it was still worth it. San Juan Jeep Tour Dirt tracks cover most of the Rocky Mountains. Miners showed up in southwest Colorado looking for gold in the 1860s. They found ... read more
Deer in road
Pipe waterfall
House in woods

North America » United States » Colorado » Telluride October 3rd 2011

This morning, I had breakfast at the inn. Afterward, I walked outside and had to scrape my jaw off the ground. Nothing can beat Yosemite in the scenery department , but the San Juan Mountains come close. I saw a narrow valley with some old Victorian buildings surrounded by high mountains covered in green pine trees and yellow aspens. Many people visit the area in summer to hike or winter to ski, but autumn may be the best season of all. San Juan Skyway Some tourist promoters call Rico “the last frontier town in Colorado”. It certainly looks like a Victorian mining town, small brick buildings in a narrow valley. Unlike some towns in the area, this one looks the way it does because it never gre... read more
Lizard Head Pass
Trout Lake
San Miguel River

At first glance, the Southwestern deserts seem like the worst place on the continent to settle: hot in summer, cold in winter, and incredibly dry. In reality, several ancient tribes set up remarkably sophisticated civilizations here. They developed the large scale social organizations needed to build large scale irrigation works, plus remarkable stone settlements. Their remains now cover the region, haunting reminders of ancient humanity. The dry environment ensures that all is remarkably well preserved. I plan to see many of these sites over the next month. Cortez sits near one of the most famous. Mesa Verde A long low sandstone mesa rises south and west of town. It’s covered in pine trees. From a d... read more
San Juan Mountains
Cliff Palace kiva
Cliff Palance dwelling

North America » United States » Colorado » Cortez October 1st 2011

I woke up this morning outside Cortez Colorado. The town is completely unlike most people’s vision of the state. Many see Colorado as the ultimate example of the Rocky Mountains. Instead, Cortez is part of the southwestern deserts: dry, relatively flat, and surrounded by pine covered mesas. Cortez is a long way from Las Vegas. Why drive all the way out here? I’m here because I need to be. The time is now early October, and this month is when weather at high elevations starts to get sketchy. To see sights in this area comfortably, I need to do so now. Cortez is also close to a remarkable festival, one that provides a glimpse into another world. I drove out of Cortez heading south. This area is definitely desert, covered in dry scrub, with almost no ... read more

North America » United States » Arizona » Hoover Dam September 30th 2011

Driving out of Las Vegas is just as surreal as driving in. Traffic near the strip is atrocious. Soon, a normal city replaces that unreal glittery world. The buildings gradually disappear to reveal rocky hills and desert scrub. Get gas in this stretch of highway, because prices go up quickly afterward. The buildings eventually fade away until the road is once again in empty desert. Over the last five days I have gone from empty nowhere to a fantasy world and back to empty nowhere. The highway reaches a ridge of red buttes. A weather-beaten building sits in front of them, with a sign reading “last chance gas”. The price is as bad as the Owens valley. Past the building, the road enters a ravine between the buttes. Soon afterward, it forks. Hoover Dam Until a ... read more
Lake Mead
Red rock buttes

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