March, 2015

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The crossing to the east continues…

Still in New Mexico, I crossed the El Malpais area – “the bad country” – a volcanic site that spread a large lava flow approx. 3,000 years ago…

1. A lava tunnel revealed by the partial collapse of its vault. Its access was closed to protect bats that overwinter there.
2. View the gigantic lava flow from El Malpais, an Hawaiian type volcano. It covers nearly 35 miles.
3. La Ventana Arch, one of the largest natural arch in New Mexico.
4. The Pueblo Acoma on a hill of sandstone. I have not been allowed to visit it, the access being restricted, paying and … suspended for the winter!
5. Further, the Pueblo Laguna Library and its Hispanic-style church.
6. The next morning I woke up on the Valdez Caldera, remains of a giant volcano that collapsed on itself. This caldera is 14 miles in diameter!
7. Beautiful sky while there is still a few snow at over 7,000 feet. Yet, for 5-6 years, the place doesn’t receive the usual 6-10 feet snow…
8. East Fork River.
9. By collapsing, the volcano has poured an incredible amount of tuff nearly 55 miles around, sometimes more than 600 feet thick. It’s in a canyon carved in the tuff that are the Bandelier Dwellings. In addition to the cavities in the tuff, the Indian built houses at the foot of the walls. Note the horizontal rows of holes that allowed to fix the frames on the wall.
10. Natural cavities.
11. They were connected by passages duged into the tuff. Note soot that still covers the vaults.
12. At the bottom of the canyon, the ruins of an impressive semi-circular pueblo.
13. A local resident who allowed me to approach, which is rare for a woodpecker.
Further upstream, there is a kiva – a room for rituals and ceremonies – found almost intact under a large overhang; only the roof was rebuilt there sixty years ago. It is 140 feet above the canyon and you have to climb on long ladders to get there.
15. Detour in Oklahoma to discover the original work of an artistic collective: 10 old cars planted in the ground from the front…
16. Quite original, it must be said. Too bad, I arrived a little late, the light wasn’t great…
17. Winter wake up in the middle of a Wind mill field in which I spent the night. It was blowing a strong blizzard (announced between 50 and 60 mph!) and actual temperature was 15F…
18. Hellish road conditions! Freeway was just a carpet of ice, the few inches of snow fell during the night was packed with trucks before freezing. VivaLaVida traveled almost 450 miles in these conditions, a little tiring for her driver…
photo 150221_1b
19. The next day in Arkansas, it was not much better: snowed all day to more than 400 miles. I stopped counting the vehicles out of the road at 50…
20. It improved a bit as I crossed the Mississippi River in Memphis TN.
photo 150223_2b
Without showing it that much, this update relates to a three-day trip and more than 1,300 miles in very difficult conditions. After a stop at Maryville TN to eat with a couple of friends, I found the snow back on the road to cross the Appalachians but arrived in the region of Asheville safely.


I’ll be on the departure to Switzerland when you’ll discover these lines…

This blog will then be quiet for a few weeks … but will continue to relate VivaLaVida’s journey from early May no doubt!
Thank you for following this journey, I’m always very pleased to read your comments. 😉