Week 158 April 8, 2017, Year 4 begins!

This week we celebrated both my 60th birthday, and, our anniversary of leaving home in 2014. We have not lived in our house for over 3 years as of this week… This is a perfect time to again extend our deep appreciation to our family members and friends who encourage us in our dream-turned-reality. Two longtime friends recently emailed,
     “…How long are you going… You may be looking at a Guiness book of records…”
     “…I want you to know how special I believe your trip is. Enjoy what I think of as your
     journey into humanity.”
Thanks to both! As Loren says, the beauty of our journey is that, “We have no end date.” I doubt that we will break any records, other than our own definite learnings about humanity and the world. I think that a bumper sticker I saw this week sums up what I am confirming has been my belief in our purpose on this planet to be.
Outside Flagstaff, Arizona at the start of this week, we stopped to see Meteor Crater, an amazing result of astronomic activity. There was a girls’ high school physics class visiting from Manchester, England, touring it at the same time we were there. It was fascinating to imagine that a little chunk of meteor in the photo with Loren is just a small piece of what slammed into the earth, some 50,000 years ago creating a huge indentation…
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We then stood “on the corner in Winslow, Arizona,” a la the Eagles’ hit song. More songs we were entertained by this week were the Chuck Berry and Nat King Cole recorded versions of the Route 66 R&B song.
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On our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico we spent most of a day at Petrified Forest National Park. This included many opportunities for taking in Painted Desert views, as well as seeing some tree fossils that are millions of years old. They were not frightened to death – just transformed and well preserved into mineral and rock by forces of nature!
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In Abq – as the locals abbreviate it, we joined our AirBnB hosts for dinner and watching a Warriors’ basketball games together. Loren relished in taking twice daily soaks in their hot tub. We also attended a UU Sunday service at a vibrant congregation, where, being the day after April Fools the service was a fun one, centered all around Fools! Yes, that is a donkey in dialog with the minister. Like usual when we visit with UUs, we felt right at home. We attended a small group mindfulness meditation after the service where we picked up tips on how to be mindful on a hike, then we enjoyed a spaghetti lunch offered as a fundraiser for their UU Kids Camp. We had hoped to see the friends from our home congregation who have moved and attend there, instead we had a nice conversation with their father over lunch. 
It was a scenic drive from Abq to Santa Fe on the Jemez Mountain Trail. We passed Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, narrow red rock valleys with colorful steep walls, logging tunnels, Soda Dam – naturally formed by minerals, Spence Hot Springs which we hiked to but found they were not very hot actually, and a volcanic caldera, before we dropped down to Los Alamos.
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In Los Alamos we visited the Bradbury Science Museum which displays historical nuclear weapons and research artifacts. It was most sobering to see this graphical depiction of the extent of contamination from nuclear testing before the still controversial WWII bombs were dropped in Japan. 
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We took a scenic day trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico – not to be confused with the infamous Las Vegas of Nevada, to see the historic Pueblo of Pecos, the ruins of Fort Union where the Santa Fe Trail wagons stopped for supplies and repairs, and, we had a soak in the free to all Montezuma Hot Springs.
We were even treated to seeing a herd of Pronghorn Antelope along the side of the road!
We have driven on and off Route 66 these past couple of weeks, through Arizona and New Mexico. It was known in a bygone era as the “Main Street of America,” but is no longer contiguous. A part of it even once ran through the Petrified Forest NP. I was surprised to learn that mid-20th century mapmakers actually removed it from their maps when Eisenhower’s Interstate System was established. Steinbeck had dubbed Route 66 “The Mother Road” in his The Grapes of Wrath, and museums we have visited along the route have displayed different quotes from his writing to help explain the history.
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Here is my latest Haiku, about this week.
     Santa Fe
     Claire Adalyn Wright
     If “All roads lead to
     Santa Fe,” it is here, for
     now, that we will stay.
We noticed several familiar – at least to us – city or street names as we drove in and around Abq and Santa Fe, like, Santa Clara, Los Altos, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Coronado, San Mateo, El Camino Real, San Diego, Alameda and Santa Ana. But, we knew for sure that we were not in California anymore!

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