Columbus, New Mexico with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Columbus, New Mexico is a small border town with about 2,000 permanent residents.

Columbus, New Mexico

Located in a high desert valley, between the Florida and Tres Hermanas mountain ranges, Columbus is only 3 miles from Palomas, Mexico.   Mom and I have been here 3 times, usually looking for warmer weather for a couple days.   Columbus is small and not a touristy town.   The first time mom and I arrived, it was night and we were lucky to find a motel.   Our cell phone did not have service, (that was 2013) so we went to the gas station to call the motel owner to come rent us a room.

Hacienda de Villa Motel

We stayed here at Hacinda de Villa Motel.   Not fancy, but the room was large and very clean.   The people here were very friendly.   We went to the train station, now a museum.

Columbus museum

The museum is interesting, and shows the history of Columbus.   This time we noticed a new sign.

Susan Parks sign

This lady, Susan Parks, was a real hero.   During the attack by Pancho Villa, she called nearby Deming, NM for help.  While the bullets were flying, she placed her young child on the floor, under a desk, and continued calling for help.   The soldiers from Deming did arrive and the attack was over quickly.   I’ll tell you more about this battle next time.   The train was important in earlier days, but it is not running now.   The train station was converted into the museum, and the post office.

Post Office

We enjoyed wandering around outside.   There were train cars.

Caboose

Also a few pieces of old railroad equipment.

Railroad equipment

This classic old car.

Classic car

and old farm equipment.

Old equipment

Each time we visited this museum, there have been very few other people.   The people inside are so knowlegable and so nice.   Here is the safe from the bank.

Safe from bank

During the Pancho Villa attack, the safe was shot.   The bullet hole is marked.   What a great museum.   Columbus had rich mineral deposits.   Miners found silver, copper, lead and zinc here.   There is not much mining in Columbus now.   We like this small church.

Holy Family Church

It is Holy Family Church.

Church bell

We admired the church bell, on its own post.   Columbus is not a tourist destination, but if you go, wander around town and you will find several little pieces of history, and very friendly people.   It is a nice change from the busy lives we all live.

Hatch, New Mexico: Chile Capital of the World With Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

If you love New Mexico cuisine or if you love chile peppers, Hatch, New Mexico is the place for you.

Hatch, New Mexico

I, Zeb the Duck, have visited Hatch a few times, so you will see photos from various trips.

Chiles everywhere

Hatch chiles are famous in most parts of the United States, and beyond.   After harvesting, the chiles are strung and become ristas.

Zeb with chile ristas

Here I am with so many fresh red chile ristas.    But red is not the only color.

Not only red chiles in these ristas.

These ristas have more than just red.   There are also ristas of green chiles, and ristas with red and green chiles.   In the fall, after harvest there are so many ristas and the aroma of fresh roasting chiles is everywhere.   Hatch, New Mexico, with population from the last census, of under 2,000 is the self proclaimed Chile Capital of the World.   On this road trip, Hatch was a necessary stop.   We stopped at Hot Stuff.

Hot Stuff Restaurant and Gift Shop

It is winter, although rather nice temperatures, so things are little different.

So many colorful pots

Look at all these pots.   We love these things.   So useful and so colorful.   Often they are out in front of the restaurant, but now being protected from any bad weather.   The restaurant is open and most people sit inside.

Eating out here is perfect in warmer weather

But in the summer, out here at these tables is the place to be.   Soapy’s mom bought green chili stew here.   Lots of pork and perfectly seasoned with Hatch green chile.   She will be back for more whenever she is in the area.   Next door, more chiles.

Hatch Chile Sales

Hatch Chile Sales was open.   So many more ristas and many bags of chiles.

More ristas with our Soapy

And more than chiles to eat.

Chile pepper wind chimes

How about chiles painted on wind chimes.   Again, Hatch is the place for chiles.   Now another place.

Sparky’s Burgers BBQ and Expresso

Sparky’s Burgers and BBQ.   Sparky’s always has a line, but it moves rather quickly.   But, Sparky’s is only open Thursday through Sunday, and we were there on Tuesday.   Sparky’s has many unusual and larger than life statues around the restaurant.   First an alien.

Alien

Many people believe an alien space ship landed in New Mexico many years ago, so aliens are a popular theme here.  But not only aliens.

Statue collection

Teako Nunn grew up in the 1960’s and loved the larger then life statues from that era.   And now he has several.  We loved the red and green chiles on the bucket ofKentucky Fried Chicken.  Teako Nunn and his wife, Josie, own and operate Sparky’s.   Next to Sparky’s we enjoyed seeing Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam

With chile peppers, of course.   Chloe, Soapy’s dog, was really sorry we were here on a Tuesday.

Wonderful for dogs. But only open Thursday through Sunday.

She could have had her own 7 ounce burger patty.   Next trip will try to plan our time in Hatch better.   And you can be sure we will be back here again.   Hatch is a nice, friendly town with great chiles.   And fabulous food.    You will smile a lot when you visit Hatch, New Mexico.

Colorado Traveling Ducks at Fort Union, New Mexico

Another road trip.  Everybody is happy about road trips.   Our moms just decided to get in the car and drive, preferably south.   It is winter here in Colorado.  Let’s take a quick trip looking for warmer weather.  We are an unusual group this trip.   I, Zeb the Duck, Soapy Smith Duck, my mom, Soapy’s mom and Soapy’s dog Chloe.

Chloe. Soapy Smith Duck’s dog

Chloe is part Pit Bull, part Labrador, and probably has some Dalmatian.   Under her white fur, some black spots are on her skin.   This is Chloe’s first long road trip.   This will be her first time in a motel, first time in an elevator, and many more firsts.   Heading south from Denver on I-25, we enter New Mexico, and about 100 miles further this rest area caught our attention.

Fort Union National Monument

We are near Fort Union and this rest area is part of Fort Union National Monument.   The rest area has all the normal things, rest rooms, information maps and vending machines, but there is more.

Nice picnic area

Isn’t this a nice picnic area?  We liked the overhead cover.   Gives protection from snow, rain and the intense New Mexico sun.  Maybe we will stop here for a picnic on another trip.  We liked this wagon wheel.  Part of old American history.

Wagon wheel. Maybe from Santa Fe Trail travelers?

Santa Fe trail was here

The Santa Fe trail passed through here.   Can you imagine traveling across the desert and over mountains in a covered wagon?   It was still chilly and windy here, so we did not go Fort Union this time.   But mom and I have been here before, so I want to show you more about Fort Union.   I, Zeb the Duck, was very young and this was one of the first trips in my blogging career.   Mom, I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska uncle visited here in 2013.

Fort Union, NM with my Alaska uncle

The park rangers told us there were 3 separate forts built on this location.    The first was to protect the Santa Fe Trail, the second to establish a Federal presence in the territory, and the third Fort Union was a Union response to the Confederate invasion.   Those interested in our Civil War should visit here.

Ruins of Fort Union. Two previous forts were closer to mountains.

Also history of Santa Fe Trail.

Santa Fe Trail goes to Fort Union, NM

Ruts from wagons on the Santa Fe Trail are visible in the hard, dry ground.   The third Fort Union is the one most visited.

Adobe remains of officers quarters

This fort was a large supply facility for the southwest.   At one time about 5,000 soldiers lived here.   We were warned to stay on the paved walkway and to watch for rattlesnakes.   It was a sunny day.   Pleasant for us, but rattlesnakes also like sunshine.   We stayed on the path, read the signs, and did not see any snakes.   About those supplies:  In 1868, 44 tons of bacon were brought to Fort Union in 22 wagons.   That’s a lot of bacon.   Many other supplies were also delivered here.

Waiting for supplies

Fort Union had the premier hospital in the region with 6 wards and 36 beds.   You could get treatment and care for 50 cents per day!  Fort Union was abandoned in 1891.   Fort Union is easy to visit, just a rather short drive from I-25.  It is interesting.

Visit Fort Union National Monument

If you visit, watch the film at the Visitor’s Center, and don’t miss the gift shop.   More about our new road trip next time.

Cuba at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck visited the Cuba exhibit.

Cuba exhibit

But where is Cuba?

Where is Cuba?

Cuba, the largest Caribbean Island nation, is only 94 miles (150 km) from our state of Florida.   But for many decades Americans could not visit this tropical island.   Cuba and the United States have very serious political and economic differences so travel between the countries has been prohibited or restricted since the 1960s.   This exhibit at our museum looks like a main street in Havana, Cuba.

Havana street

You will see store fronts, small businesses and Cuban people.   And the cars.

Old US car

Cubans still have old cars from the United States.   Those built in the 1950s and early 1960s.   The Cuban people have developed incredible mechanical skills.   They cannot get original parts for replacements, so they improvise.   The automobiles still run and are in great condition.   These large American cars are very popular as Cuban taxis now.   In recent years, Americans have been able to visit Cuba on approved tours, if requirements are met.   I, Zeb the Duck, and mom visited Cuba in December 2013.   The exhibit in Denver shows many things we saw on the streets of Havana.   Cars are scarce and very expensive in Cuba, so bicycle taxis are also popular.

Bicycle taxi

Many Cuban people ride bicycles and many others walk wherever they need to go.   The food is delicious.

Cuban food

We, Zeb and Soapy, would like to sample these, but mom said no.    Many of the coral reefs in the Caribbean are sick or dying, but the Gardens of the Queen Reef is healthy.

Cuba’s coral reef

The fish around the reef are beautiful.  The two main crops of Cuba are sugar cane and tobacco.

Tobacco shop in Havana

This is a tobacco shop.   The hand rolled Cuban cigars are among the best in the world.   Often you will hear music in Havana.

Cuban musicians

Many musicians will sit on the street, against a building and play.   The music is wonderful and the Cuban people appear to be happy, always with a smile on their face.  They love to play games.

Let’s play Dominos

Men playing Dominos along the street or in plazas are also common.   There is much more to this exhibit.   The wetlands, southeast of Havana, on the southern coast is definitely worth a visit.   There is also a display recognizing Cuban immigrants in Denver.   If you want to see this exhibit, you need to hurry.   It will only be here until Sunday, January 13, 2019.   While at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science, take time to see the IMAX film, Cuba.

IMAX film about Cuba

The film features a man who dedicated his life to preserving Cuba’s old architecture and a young ballet student.   The largest ballet school in the world is located in Havana.   And the film features Cuba’s coral reefs and discovers why Cuba’s reef is much healthier than others in the Caribbean.  We hope you visit this exhibit this week.   And visit other museums near your home also.   You will find something interesting.

Ganesha: The Playful Protector Meets Colorado Traveling At Denver Art Museum

Today, I Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck, met Ganesha, the Hindu Playful Protector.   We walked to the Denver Art Museum.

Entrance to Denver Art Museum

But a short distance from the main entrance, we stopped to see this Broom and Dust Pan.

Broom and dust pan sculpture

Denver has several unusual sculptures around the city and the entire metropolitan area.   Inside the Denver Art Museum, we went to the second floor for the Ganesha special exhibit.   Who is Ganesha?

About Ganesha

Normally in the museum, we are not allowed to touch the displays.   But this Ganesha, of yellow sandstone, is for us to touch.

Ganesha

Many rub the belly or feet for good luck.   Of course we did rub the belly.   Every human and duck can use some good luck.  Next we admired this Dancing Ganesha, from India, made of stone.

Dancing Ganesha

At least the sign said he was dancing.   Ganesha is being carried during a parade here.

Mural with Ganesha

A very large mural.   This sign explains the story of Ganesha.

Story of Ganesha

That is quite a story.   Ganesha is loved in the Hindu faith, and Ganesha also has a role in Buddhism, especially in Nepal.   Here is the prize of this exhibit.

Ganesha. On loan from Cambodia

This sandstone statue is on loan from the National Museum of Cambodia.   It is from the 600s-700s.   We ducks were sitting with Ganesha, but an employee told us we could only sit on the floor.

Statue on loan from Cambodia

The sign explains more about this statue.

Zeb and Soapy in front of Ganesha

Here we are, sitting on the floor near this statue from Cambodia.   Check out this mask.

Ganesha mask

The Ganesha Mask is oil paint  on paper-mache.   The mask is from the 1900s.   We liked this bronze.

Ganesha and Consort

Ganesha and Consort from Kerala, India.   From the 1300s-1400s.   There were several items on display, but this wall hanging is the last we will show you today.

Wall hanging of Ganesha

It is from India and is ink and paint on cotton.   Ganesha is an interesting exhibit, but if you want to see it in Denver, you must hurry.   This temporary exhibit is displayed only through this Sunday, January 13, 2019.   We enjoy visiting the Denver Art Museum.   Just wandering around we always find something new and interesting.   We hope you also explore museums near your home.   You never know what you may discover.

Eldora and Nederland, Colorado with Zeb and Chanel

I, Zeb the Duck, and my friend, Chanel the Bear, took three humans to the mountains today.   Chanel and I had a plan.   It was cold in the morning and driving through Coal Creek Canyon we loved these frosted trees.

Trees frosted on drive to Nederland, Colorado

Isn’t it beautiful?   Just like a post card.   Shortly before our destination of Nederland, we turned and found the small town of Eldora.

Eldora. Glimpse of the past

And we mean small.   Look at that population.  Only 170 full time residents.   Here is the Gold Miner Hotel.

Gold Miner Hotel in Eldora

We think it would be fun to spend a night here and explore this town.  Look at that bright blue Colorado sky.  We would wander along the river, look for moose, and appreciate the scenery.   Maybe in the summer, said our moms.

Building, probably private residence across from hotel in Eldora

Across the street from the hotel you can see that the old buildings are well maintained and still used.   We love that.  The road is parallel to the river, as usually happens.   The river is frozen with a light cover of snow.

Frozen river in Eldora

So peaceful and quiet here today.   While we were driving, we were watching for moose.   We have seen them here before.   However, no moose for us today.

Coyote in Eldora

But this coyote was fun to see.   Coyotes and humans don’t always get along in town, but here, in the mountains, we loved seeing this one wandering along.   Driving further, we arrived in Nederland, just in time for lunch.

Lunch at Pioneer Inn in Nederland

Nederland has several restaurants, but we returned to Pioneer Inn, a favorite.

Our food looked and tasted delicious

We ordered three sandwiches; all were delicious and the portions were very generous.   Yum!   After eating, we wandered into another dining room, usually just needed in the evening.

We love fireplaces

We love fireplaces.  Especially in rustic mountain restaurants.   Maybe some evening?  Next stop was a great “rock shop”.

Geodes, Crystals and Fossils here. Fascinating store

The geodes, crystals, fossils and jewelry were beautiful.   But none of the humans were shopping today, just looking.   Next stop, the Carousel of Happiness.

Carousel of Happiness in Nederland

This is the stop Chanel and I planned.  We love this carousel.   Here we are.

Zeb and Channel riding ostrich

Riding an ostrich is great.   Remember that we have been here before.   There was a young Marine, Scott, that served in VietNam, received a music box from his sister.   While the war was around him, the music box inspired him to create a Carousel of Happiness when he returned to the US.   Scott choose the mountains near Nederland, Colorado as his home and also the home for his Carousel of Happiness.   Scott learned to carve, purchased the necessary parts, and what you see here today, is the result.   Scott had carved all the animals here.   Now look at this one.

Zeb and Chanel on Kangaroo

Zeb and Chanel are riding a kangaroo.   This is not a normal carousel animal.   This kangaroo has her baby, her joey, and is holding a globe of our world.   If you look carefully, you will see that the globe is showing Australia, the home of the kangaroo.   This place is so much fun.   And the Carousel of Happiness is for everyone.   The price of a ride is only $1.00.   Now that is a bargain.   And Scott is still carving.   Here we are, on a tiger.

Perching on a tiger. Not even on the carousel

And this tiger is not even on the carousel.   There are great carvings all over this building.   Whenever we go to Nederland, we always stop for a ride on the Carousel of Happiness.   We hope you will also.   We love this place.

Grand Lake, Colorado with Zeb the Duck and Channel the Bear

We love visiting Grand Lake, Colorado.   I, Zeb the Duck, and my friend Chanel the Bear, took our moms to Grand Lake.

Entering Grand Lake, Colorado

Let’s visit my favorite store, Quackers.

Quackers in Grand Lake, Colorado

This store in Grand Lake features rubber ducks!   Yes, an entire store dedicated to me and my duck relatives.

Giant duck in Quackers

Meet my largest relative.   Chanel and I invited some friends to pose with us.   As great as ducks are, we also enjoy the fudge.

We love fudge

And there is more.   Roasted nuts.

Yum. Roasting nuts taste good and smell delicious

Of course some came home with us.   While rubber ducks are the stars of this store, Martin the Moose is pretty great also.

Martin the Moose on skis

Remember we are in the Colorado mountains.   Moose do live here.   However, Martin is the only moose I ever saw wearing skis.   We purchased new family members.

Purchased at Quackers

And some fudge and roasted nuts.    Then headed out for lunch.

Lunch at The Sagebrush

Today our choice is The Sagebrush.   Here are some new friends.

New friends at The Sagebrush

Aren’t we an attractive bunch of friends?  Our table has a complimentary bucket of peanuts.

Peanuts and cow tablecloths here

We are to toss the peanut shells on the floor.   That is the sign of a fun place to eat.   Notice the cow pattern table cover?   Our lunch was delicious and the portions were large.   A good place to eat when you are in Grand Lake.  Now to the adjoining bar.

Old West bar here

Looks like it is from an old Western movie.   We enjoy the hats and license plates as part of the rustic decor.   Our next stop is Studio 8369, an art studio in town.

Studio 8369 in Grand Lake, Colorado

The 8369 refers to the elevation of the town of Grand Lake.  That is about 2550 meters above sea level.   The Rocky Mountains in Colorado are rather high.   Inside Studio 8369 we admire the Gourd Art.

Gourd Art by Ivy Howard

This is by Ivy Howard of Grand Lake, Colorado.   Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Studio 8369 has some beautiful photography.

Stunning photography here

You would love this place.   A couple weeks later mom and I returned to Grand Lake.   This time there was more snow.   A few miles from Grand Lake is Lake Granby.

Lake Granby with low clouds

We loved the partially frozen lake and the low clouds.   Driving through town, past Quackers, we went to Grand Lake.   Grand Lake is the largest and deepest natural lake in Colorado.   It is also part of the headwaters for the mighty Colorado River.   Remember the Colorado River heads southwest and continues to carve the Grand Canyon.

Rent boats here in the summer

In the summer tourists can rent boats to explore and enjoy the lake.   Now snowy and frozen, we enjoy a winter landscape.   Back into town, near Quackers, we spotted these snowmobiles, or snow machines.

Snow machines today, mom?

Mom said we were not renting them today, but we had to try them for size.   These are big.   The employees at Spirit Lake Lodge rent these machines.   They were very nice to us, the Colorado Traveling Ducks.  A drive into Rocky Mountain National Park was next.

Rocky Mountain National Park, West Entrance

Grand Lake is at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.   The road had been cleared.

Driving in Rocky Mountain National Park

Isn’t this a beautiful winter drive?  However the road is only cleared for part of the park.   This road ascends to over 12,000 feet (3657 m) and is closed during the snowy winter months.   We did enjoy many beautiful winter scenes.

One of many spectacular views in the national park

As you know, we love our mountains.   Both in the summer and in the winter.   We hope you explore a little and enjoy our mountains during the winter, or explore your part of the world and enjoy all the seasons.   It is a new year, so enjoy and discover new things and places.   And tell us about your adventures.