Friday, August 24, 2012

Mumford & Sons Concert - Laramie, WY

Exterior of Gryphon Theater

On Monday evening, I rolled into Laramie to visit my old friend, Alec, and attend the Mumford & Sons concert on Tuesday night at the Gryphon Theater. (pron. "griffin") Alec is the Executive Director of The Laramie Plains Civic Center, which houses the theater. The Civic Center, now a multi-use building, used to house the Laramie High School.

I'm not gonna lie - Alec worked me like a rented mule. In preparation for the concert, we arrived at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning and finally got home around 2 a.m. early Wednesday morning. Luckily, I can do the work of two men and a boy. It was all worth it as the concert was outstanding. Two very good opening acts followed by Mumford & Sons - one of the better acts in music right now.

The 900-seat theater

The famous murals

More murals

Unloading the gear

Setting up backstage. Tight quarters

Sound board

Entrance to the Gryphon Theater

Stairway to the balcony

The line starts to form

The throng waiting for entrance

The North Gym, aka the bar

Sunset over Laramie


1st Video: Slow Club, the opening act
2nd Video: Nataniel Ratliff with help from 2 members of M & Sons
3rd Video: Mumford & Sons

(My apologies for the video quality, but I was only working with a Sony point-and-shoot camera.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe Plaza

On Aug. 2nd, I took a 5 day road trip over to New Mexico. I left early Thursday morning and made it to the Albuquerque airport just before my brother, Jeff, arrived by plane. (As a side note, the drive on I-40 between the AZ border and Albuquerque is outstanding. Classic, desert southwest landscape) After spending the night in ABQ, we headed to Santa Fe for 3 days. In addition to exploring Santa Fe, we used it as a base for various day trips, which are blogged below.

The Santa Fe Plaza area is very picturesque, even though touristy; a combination of Spanish colonial and pueblo architecture. Our days consisted of having breakfast in Santa Fe, followed by a day trip where we had a late lunch, and then back to Santa Fe for dinner and drinks. We sampled some New Mexican cuisine, which, from what I can tell, means smothering food in green chile. We also sampled some higher-rated burger joints. In sum, I ate too much and drank too much. One evening, after still be stuffed by a late lunch, we went to Santa Fe's oldest bar - El Farol. We had drinks and some Spanish tapas consisting of pork loin, duck, and quail. The quail with espresso BBQ sauce was delicious. It's now my new, favorite game bird.

The Santa Fe Railyard was also a pretty cool area. A development of shops and restaurants and a large, vibrant farmer's market. I picked up a bar of goat's milk soap.

Looks Southern

Palace of the Governors

Shops and restaurants

Native American arts and crafts market

The Lensic performing arts center

Wind-driven artwork

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Frank standing guard

Arches, circles and columns of the Romanesque Revival structure

Park adjacent to the cathedral


Late lunch at Bobcat Bite

Bacon cheeseburger on a brioche roll bun

Farmer's Market

Everyone selling their wares

The vibrant Santa Fe Railyard

Roasting chiles

Monday, August 13, 2012

Loretto Chapel - Santa Fe, NM

Loretto Chapel

On Friday, while venturing around the Santa Fe Square and downtown area, we stepped inside the Loretto Chapel to see the famous miracle staircase. You can read this and decide for yourself.

A little background info

Chandelier descends from the vaulted ceiling

The miracle staircase

Under the choir loft

Choir loft and staircase

Looking down through a scale model of the staircase. Looks like a nautilus

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bandelier National Monument

Frijoles Canyon
Saturday was a day trip to Bandelier National Monument to see the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo People. Bandelier is northwest of Santa Fe, near Los Alamos. Due to fires last year and ensuing floods that damaged some parking areas, car traffic was not allowed. We had to take a bus from the nearby town of White Rock to the Visitor Center. This limited us to the Main Loop Trail which began from the Visitor Center. To see the cliff dwellings and the Alcove House took us about 2 hours.

The canyon walls are made up of a layer of soft rock called volanic tuff, so it was easy(relatively) to carve shelter out of the cliff sides. Also, volcanic tuff is easily subjected to the forces of erosion, so the cliffs look pock-marked or pitted.

After our hike, we returned to White Rock. We detoured through the town of EspaƱola where we had a late lunch at La Cocina.

Big Kiva

Cliff dwellings

Ground level view of Tyuonyi pueblo

At the base of the cliffs

Weird rock formations. Easter Island-ish?

Exiting the hive

Overhead view of Tyuonyi pueblo

Traffic jam


Distant view of the cliffs

Ready to ascend to the Alcove House

Staircase carved into the rock

Looking down the ladder I just climbed

Inside the Alcove House

Storage for the Alcove House

Lamb fajita with refried beans

Jeff's sopapilla stuffed with lamb and other goodies, smothered in green chili