Birthday #70 on the Cumbres & Toltec

October 7-17, 2023

San Luis Coffee Company

A most welcome warm-up at the charming San Luis Coffee Company in San Luis, Colorado.

San Luis Coffee Company

As lunch time approached, we realized we were within striking distance of the elusive Legal Tender Restaurant and Saloon in Lamy, New Mexico.

San Luis Coffee Company

This restaurant is open about six hours a day, three days a week, every few years.

San Luis Coffee Company

October 12, 2023, was our day!

Dennis photographing the eclipse

We arrived at Tom and Ann's in time for the Annular Eclipse. For the second time in just over a decade, the path of annular totality directly crossed their property! Dennis setting up for some serious photography.

Tom photographing the eclipse

Tom getting all those settings just right.

eclipse shadows #1

And all I wanted to do was capture some of the crazy shadows cast by the partially eclipsed sun.

eclipse shadows #1 eclipse shadows #1 eclipse sequence

Dennis' sequence of annular eclipse photos. Wow!

Dennis checks in from the shutters of Tom's nearly completed amateur observatory. It's modeled after the Hale Telescope at Palomar. "S'alright? S'alright!"

Shaffer Hotel ceiling

The remarkable ceiling at the Shaffer Hotel. We can never pass this place up if we're in the area.

Gran Quivira pueblo

All Hell broke loose west of Mountainaire. US 60 was closed due to an accident, and would remain so for several hours. Traffic was backed up for miles. The search for an alternative sent us careening down the narrow, severely crowned NM 55, which stairsteps south from Mountainaire to just north of Carrizozo.

Gran Quirira panorama

A wrong turn landed us at, of all places, Gran Quivira Pueblo, which is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

Gran Quivira overview

Gran Quivira was the largest of the three Salinas pueblos. It was an important commercial center from the 1300s through the 1600s, situated along major trade routes between the Rio Grande villages and the Plains tribes to the west.

Gran Quivira pottery

All of these pots were excavated on site. The vessels were very large because there was no water source nearby, so the Puebloans captured rainwater in large basins and used these pots to transport and store it.

the large mission church at Gran Quivira

Gran Quivira is a huge and well-preserved complex, with two mission churches (one that was never completed) and block of apartments that is believed to have housed about 2000 people.


When the Franciscan missionaries tried to suppress Puebloan religious practices, the residents constructed several hidden kivas underneath the apartment complex.

another view of Gran Quivira Walls of the mission church at Gran Quivira Rock Wren

Rock Wren

Respect the snakes' privary

Best sign ever! Our net mileage that day was a mere 40 miles. We found a place to tuck in for the night just north of White Sands Missile Range. It would take us another full day to get home, but what a fantastic trip! My #70 was definitely celebrated in style!