CMO On The Go — Part 2
After leaving the Grand Canyon, the Readers headed east again toward New Mexico.
Spending the night in Albuquerque, the next stop was Santa Fe. Santa Fe has a “museum hill”
complex with three of their big museums and a research laboratory all within a short walk from a central courtyard. The Native American museum was well done and focuses on the southwestern tribes and their long history adapting to the desert natural environment and the influence of the Europeans.
The Mexican Colonial Period museum was small, but showed what life was like for the early Mexican colonists as they moved into the southwest and many things there were significant to what was also occurring in California — a parallel to history on the Santa Margarita Ranch. The museum of folk art was just fun and whimsical, drawing common themes out of folk art from all over the world including textile art, quilts and figurines and dolls.
Pushing on toward Pueblo, Colorado the Readers drove through Las Vegas, NM. (Yes, the other Las Vegas!) A sleepy little town with not a whole lot going for it. None the less it quickly got Phil and Karell’s attention. As they turned to go through town on the main street, both their heads snapped back as they spotted an abandoned roundhouse. It was a very cool old Santa Fe Roundhouse with the remaining yard office for the old division point. Just outside of town, was an old ATSF engine on display. Brightly colored and with many parts just rotted away, it was kind of a sad sight. Too bad many cities cannot seem to allow their display engines any dignity in their retirement.
After reaching the Colorado border late at night, the Readers breathed a sigh of relief to be that much closer to home. After the night in Pueblo, they jammed north on I-25 toward Denver. Denver was a welcome sight, out on the plains with the beautiful snow-capped Rockies in the background. They went straight up to Idaho Springs to check on their house and the news there was not good. The tenant still was not moved out, the driveway and yard showed evidence of getting the worst of a flash flood and the property manager had had no luck finding the tenant, who apparently had not been in the house for some time. After some frustrating calls to disconnected numbers, the tenant wandered into the office with a long list of excuses of why the rent was not paid and they were not moved out of the house. After some stressful negotiations, she agreed to get the rest of her stuff out that day and allow Phil and Karell to take possession of their house again.
That night the Readers stayed in Lakewood on the west side of Denver. An early trip back to the house the next day revealed that indeed the tenant was mostly moved out, but the house was left in pretty bad shape. The flash flood had gotten right up to the sills, the walls were pockmarked with molly bolt holes, all the carpet needs replacing, faucets were broken, the refrigerator dead and, worst of all, the well pump and filters had been allowed to freeze, were wrecked and needed about $500 in repairs. Not the kind of news you need to hear, when your tenant was able to sneak out of their security deposit by using it for the “last” month’s rent a few months earlier.
The older pugs were excited to get back to their old home and settled right in, with little Saydee, forever the clown, figuring out how to jump up on the fireplace mantle to get a better view of the situation. Despite not having a whole lot to laugh about, Saydee’s antics always seem to brighten even the most desolate situations. That and a good pizza dinner at Beau Jo’s was enough to put a better light on things.
A trip to the Colorado Railroad Museum had a mixed effect the next day. Seeing all the Loop equipment in varying states of disuse and disrepair was very hard. Karell had fun going through the Rio Grande stencil collection at the museum and making tracings for Karl Hovanitz’ Denver and Rio Grande Western boxcar. Phil took lots of pictures at the museum, most of which we can highlight in the next travelogue entry, but we have included a picture of a museum boxcar similar to Karl’s.