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Road Trip! Albuquerque antiquity

I know. You thought the "Road Trip!" travel blogs had ended.

Well, I did intend to end them in Seattle after our road trip up the coast of California, Oregon and Washington. The rest of the trip was quick visits with family, ending with a long weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. I didn’t think you’d be interested on the back half of our month-long trip.

But our stay at the bed and breakfast Casita Chamisa in the Los Ranchos de Albuquerque region of the city has been nothing short of spectacular and I’d encourage any Complete Las Vegan devotee to put in on their list of places to visit.

First of all, the original part of the adobe house that is Casita Chamisa was erected about 1850. And it isn’t one of the faux adobes you see these days. Thick, thick walls that keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter (and stops wifi dead in its tracks). The spread is filled with lazy cats, hungry horses and one very loud rooster.

In the 1950s the house was owned by Jack Schaefer, a newspaperman turned author of westerns. He wrote "Shane" and the movie made him famous. So much so that fans trekked to his Santa Fe home asking for autographs. He absolutely hated that, so he left Santa Fe for this small place in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. He did some work on the spread. But some of the bigger additions came when Arnold and Kit Sargeant bought the place.

House renovations "discovered" what most everyone knows, this area of Albuquerque near the Rio Grande (called the bosque) was the home of civilizations for thousands of years. The difference was Kit. She was an archeologist and couldn’t just move dirt around the site during construction without thorough study. They carefully catalogued every inch of a piece of Casita Chamisa, showing that it was the site of one of 16 ancient pueblos in the bosque. And this became the one and only site so carefully studied through so many levels of civilizations.

The data from Casita Chamisa (including more than 150,000 pieces of pottery) have been catalogued and will be the subject of a scientific study that will advance the thinking on life in the bosque.

Although Kit has died, she lives on in the Casita Chamisa dig and in the lives of guests who are treated to a video of the site narrated by her.

Arnold carries on as your B&B host. He’s a West Point graduate (class of ’48) and the kind of guy you’d like to know better.

If you have the time, or plan to be in this beautiful area of the Southwest, spend a night or two here. The Complete Las Vegan absolutely loved it.

Sunset yesterday on the Sandia Mountains from Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. The word "pretty" doesn’t begin to describe it and this picture doesn’t do it justice. Southwesterners ought to get here and see it for themselves.

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