Merry Christmas from Pearsall, TX, December 15, 2018

Merry Christmas from Pearsall, TX, December 15, 2018
Merry Christmas from Pearsall, TX, December 15, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Everything Changed Today! (Part 1) - Wed., May 30, 2018

Wow, today was totally different than what we had planned as of yesterday. We did not mark the Cloudcroft Rails-to-Trails walk. Seems Susan was a day off on her schedule and we will mark it tomorrow. So, what to do today?

Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino, Ruidoso, NM
We opted to walk and mark the 10k Mescalero Fitness Path (AKA Carrizo Walking Path) on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The day couldn't have been any prettier and our walk was a workout. Multiple hills of varying difficulty provided just enough challenge at the 7,000' elevation.

The path started across the street from the Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino. There is a large parking lot on the hillside with easy access to the paved path. Not much marking was required on this walk because it is an out-and-back on a fitness path. No other trails deviate off of it.


Intro area for the Fit Trail
This fitness trail was in much better condition than the one at Cedar Creek. I admit the only fitness activities I did on this trail (besides the walk), were the stretches at the very first station.


Indian paintbrush in bloom
Susan marked the 5k turn-around
Disclaimer about the trail...no ADA.
Grades are 8-13%.
Mescalero Fitness Path trail
Heed the elk warning signs!
Windy! We're almost back to Susan's van.
Great view of Apache Mountain!
You can see how big Apache Mountain is. Apache Mountain was considered for one of the Volkswalks this weekend but they chose not to do it. I'm glad we don't have to mark that one!

For the last hour of our fitness walk, my stomach was growling like crazy. When Susan suggested we eat lunch at the buffet, I was convinced that would be the best place for lunch today.

The first welcome to Inn at the Mountain Gods Casino...


Entry circle for hotel registration
Art in a hallway
We arrived a little early for lunch because they didn't open until 11:30 a.m. That gave me time to go outside to get photos of the "Sacred Crown Dancers" (or "Mountain God Spirits" if you read the Dallas Morning News article by John Lumpkin) sculpture by Frederick Peso, grandson of an Apache chief. The glass in the center looks like Chihuly, but I couldn't confirm that.

"Sacred Crown Dancers" or "Mountain God Spirits"?
"Mountain God Spirits" sculpture
The "Gathering of Nations Buffet" opened and we joined the line. Most people had 50% off coupons that they paid $5 for at a machine.  The buffet was $10.99, so I don't see what the big deal was. We just paid the $10.99.

Line for the lunch buffet at the casino
Buffet restaurant interior
Lunch was excellent. There was Asian food, Mexican food, American comfort food, an amazing dessert line, and more. We had plenty to eat. The turkey with cranberry sauce was a big hit for my tummy and the Chinese beef broccoli from Chow Chow was about the best I've had. The steamed mushrooms and cabbage were also quite good.

The dessert presentations were like something out of a 5-star restaurant. I swooned over the Strawberry Cake. It had layers of sponge cake, one layer of chocolate mousse, and whipped cream topping. It was soooo good! The Eclair looked amazing, but I only ate half of it. It was just okay.


After lunch, we looked around the casino. It is gorgeous. The view from the two-story atrium is jaw-dropping 

View of lake & Apache Mountain from two-story atrium.
Fountain that looks like a woven basket in the atrium.
Lobby overlooking the lake.
Fireplace in the lobby
Lori Belin Marin painting from 1997
When we finished exploring the casino interior, we did something spontaneous. With the rest of the day available, Susan suggested we go see the VLA (Very Large Array) west of Magdelena, NM (two hours away). Well, the VLA has been on my bucket list for a very long time (since the movie "Contact" with Jodie Fisher). I said, "Yeah, let's do it."  

That was a long drive through, as Bob likes to say, "a lot of nothin' to get to somethin'." When we were about 40 miles from the VLA, Susan's phone started ringing. She didn't want to answer it because she didn't recognize the number.  They called twice and she let the call go to voicemail. Then a call came in from the AVA Headquarters. They wanted to let her know Security from Inn at the Mountain Gods Casino called. She had left her purse with driver's license and all her credit cards in the buffet dining room. Yikes! 

She tried calling Security back and, as she was talking to them, she lost the signal on her phone. Not much we could do about it at this point. 

To be continued in Part 2...





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