Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: Los Alamos, Pecos, Fort Union, Home

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Los Alamos, Pecos, Fort Union, Home

This post is a continuation of “Where in the World Are Rick and JoAnne” and #4 in my effort to bring our journal up to date.

Los Alamos

Before pulling out of Bandelier, a trip to Los Alamos was on our list. After our visit to the Trinity Site we wanted to learn more about the Manhattan Project and Los Alamos and in Particular visit the Historical Museum and the Bradbury Science Museum. Los Alamos is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory which was founded to carry out the Manhattan Project.

At the time of the Manhattan Project Los Alamos was a “secret city” – officially, it did not exist. But it was where the first atomic bomb AKA the “gadget” was produced. We found everything about this town and the lab from the location on top of a mesa on the Pajarito Plateau, the history, to the ongoing role in scientific research fascinating.

The father of one of our friends worked on the Manhattan project. We were able to look him up in the registry at the Science Museum – that was pretty cool and in a sense made the whole visit feel more “real”. In fact, our friend told us that her mother’s wedding dress had been made from silk parachute remnants her dad had picked up while working on the Manhattan project.

Both museums are jam packed with the history told through hands-on exhibits, computer simulations, personal journals, and videos.

More pictures here.


 After leaving Bandelier we headed for Pecos National Historical Park. Nope, we didn’t stop in Santa Fe. We have been there several times and so decided to pass it up on this trip.

 Pecos is part of the continuing migration story of the Pueblo people. While there is evidence of pre-pueblo people settling in the area between 800 -1100, it became an impressive 5 story pueblo village/fortress by 1450 with upwards of 2000 inhabitants. As the cultures such as Chaco declined it is thought that possibly the Pueblo people moved into the Rio Grande and Pecos Valleys.
Pecos history is directly linked to the Conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, followed by the “Cross and Crown” strategies of the Spanish referring to both the desire to colonize the area for Spain and through the Franciscan missionaries claiming souls for God. Pecos played key roles in both the Pueblo revolt of 1680 and the Reconquest by Diego de Vargas. The last survivors left the mission in 1838. Today, their decedents live in the Jemez Pueblo about 55 miles northwest of Albuquerque.

Considering the many pueblos we had visited on this swing through Arizona and New Mexico, this was a perfect Pueblo to end with. For us, it helped link the ancient Puebloan cultures with the Pueblos of today.

More pictures here.

Fort Union

Transitioning from the Puebloan history to a different era landed us at Fort Union National Monument. This Fort, like several others built along travel routes in the Rio Grande Valley was established to protect travelers and serve as a supply garrison. Fort Union was a major stop along the Santa Fe Trail. Along with Fort Craig it played a role in the Civil War battle of Glorieta Pass which succeeded in turning the Confederates back and ending Civil War activity in the Southwest.

The fort participated in the Indian wars of the 1860s and 1870s and continued as a supply depot until the Santa Fe Railroad replaced the Santa Fe Trail as the main avenue of commerce.

There isn’t much left of the fort and one can only imagine the dusty and windy existence its inhabitants faced.

More pictures here.


We have been home in Broomfield since May 1. What have we been doing?

First, we use this “home” time to catch up on yearly physicals, eye and dental appointments – we now have clean teeth, new glasses and best of all a clean bill of health.

Yet, the main reason we plan on being back in Colorado at this time of year is to spend time with our kids and grandkids during their summer vacation. This year was extra special because we had two granddaughters graduate from high school!

More photos here and here.

Adding to the “special” classification was a trip to Florida's Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort and Spa to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. My Mom’s birthday also gave us an excuse to have a family reunion. Thirty-three showed up - it was all great fun. BTW – my mom and dad read this blog, are on Facebook, and use an iPhone 5!

More pictures here.

We had time to sneak in a short kayak paddle in the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge."

We are now getting ready to leave for a Mueller State Park for a weeklong camping adventure with grandson Caleb. Then the following week we will be back at Mueller State Park with granddaughter Ella. More on these trips as they unfold.

After camping with our grandkids we will be heading back to Glacier National Park. We start our volunteer camp hosting on July 25 but are going to leave three weeks before that and travel up through Idaho.

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