Tamaya_Panorama 8-11-15


Everybody knows that Phoenix is a desert city.  But not everybody realizes that Phoenix is also a cultural desert in summertime.  I have not spent a full summer here since 2007.  So I had forgotten how the desert heat dries out the soul and not just the body. I can take the heat but not a life without music and arts.

Enter Santa Fe opera. Elizabeth and I have been to many of the world’s most famous operatic and concert venues. But we had never attended a performance at Santa Fe opera.  Ergo, Richard Strauss’ “Salome” on Tuesday night was the primary reason for this trip.

Of course, as always, many other interesting, and at times exciting, things happened as well. So read on…

Aug 10-11 (AM), 2015 – Part 1: PETRIFIED FOREST, TAMAYA RESORT

On our drive from Scottsdale to Albuquerque, New Mexico, we stopped at a rock shop in Holbrook and the Petrified Forest National Park.

The last time we were there was in Oct 2013. All national parks were closed while our Washington leeches argued with each other about who would get a bigger slice of the loot they call income tax.

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Anyway, the weather was overcast which made for a pleasant drive even if that meant the petrified wood colors weren’t the brightest.


After having dinner in Albuquerque, we got to the Tamaya Resort just before sunset. This was my third and Elizabeth’s second visit to this delightful place, hidden in the desert, about 30 miles northwest of Albuquerque.

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The next morning, we went for our usual walk through the beautiful Sycamore forest that brackets both banks of Rio Grande.

IMG_4278 IMG_4274  rio-grande-do-sul-022

Everything was fine until I pointed out to Elizabeth the trail marks that a snake leaves in the dust. From there on, she was on pins and needles. And not in vain.

Because soon afterward, Elizabeth was the first one to spot about a 4-ft snake crossing the trail right in front of us. She ran back while I tried to nudge the snake to complete the crossing. Tamaya NM map

“Don’t worry, this is not a rattlesnake,” I told Elizabeth who hid behind me as we were passing the spot where the snake had been moments earlier.

The posted signs warned of rattlesnakes in the area. Which is probably what contributed to Elizabeth being spooked so much.  I figure this was probably a Bull snake. They range from 48 to 72 inches in length and are active during the day.  They feed on rodents not humans.  So the two of us would have been a little to much even for this Bull to swallow. 🙂

But in a battle between reason and fear, the former will almost always lose.  So we spent the rest of our walk with Elizabeth jumping up and down over every sound in the bush, and even a little rabbit.

Rio Grande_Panorama8-11-15

As a result, I  had a hard time talking Elizabeth into posing here near the famous Rio Grande river. She kept looking over her shoulders as if a snake would morph into a giant dinosaur and jump out grab her from behind. 🙂

So I don’t know how she managed that angelic smile. Must be an actress lurking behind the facade of an artist. 🙂

The mountain in the background is also famous. Its name is Sandia. Which means Watermelon in Spanish. Guess that’s the color the mountain sometimes takes on at sunset.  Such as in this file photo…


Before we left Tamaya, I purchased this beautiful butterfly sculpture (below left). It now joins the three other butterflies at our home, the Eagle’s Nest in Scottsdale, which flew in there in December 2013.

Butterflies 8-11-15


Also see…



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