More travels in New Mexico …………………………………
Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale
Welcome back. Over the last three weeks, I’ve taken you to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, Philmont Boy Scout Ranch, the UUBar Ranch and the St. James Hotel, all in Cimarron, New Mexico. At Philmont, where Waite Phillips’ mansion is open for tours all year around, I am always amazed at Waite’s foresight in providing such a gift to the boy scouts. There is a completely different feeling at the St. James as one wonders what life was like for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail which ran right alongside this historic hotel. At Waite Phillips’ famed UUBar Ranch I saw hundreds of elk, along with many deer and other animals. I looked down from 10,000 feet across snow covered valleys while dressed in shorts in June! All in all, it was quite the trip!
I also had the opportunity to take the “enchanted circle” loop which consists of Taos, Red River and the village of Angel Fire. Already well known as a great family ski area, Angel Fire has become a summer destination as well. The “Chili Express” ski lift runs through the spring and summer, taking visitors up 9,000 feet in the longest lift in New Mexico to a view looking down from the heavens. The resort offers every imaginable summer activity including golf, tennis, mountain biking, a zip line and miles of hiking trails. Guests at the Angel Fire Lodge have access to the Country Club which has a huge lap pool, a top notch fitness center and massage services. Elements Restaurant at the Country Club is one of the best places I ate at during the whole trip and the service was top notch. Definitely a 5 star place and perfect for a special occasion.
This time around, I was traveling with a person who uses a walker and the Angel Fire Lodge offered the best accessibility of anyplace we stayed. The entrance had a ramp from the parking lot and the bathroom included several grab bars and a shower with no lip, a comfortable bench seat and a hand held shower. The room itself was quite spacious and could easily accommodate a wheelchair. A nearby elevator takes you to the pool, which is also accessible, and the on-site restaurant, Legends Grill.
During the summer months there are plenty of deals on rooms in the area as well, both at the Lodge and at one of the many condo complexes in the village which are great for extended family stays. Easy to get to in either summer or winter, Angel Fire is a must visit when you’re in this area. You can check them out at www.angelfireresort.com
Another happening in this part of the world is the closing of Chevron’s Questa molybdenum mine near Taos and I’m sad to report that 300 people have lost their jobs as a result. Molybdenum is an alloy used in steel and other heavy industrial products and the Questa mine had been the largest employer in Taos County for many years. According to the Taos News employees at the mine were given very little notice and had just been told about the layoffs during an employee meeting on June 2nd. For more info go to the website for the Taos News, www.taosnews.com
On another sad note, a man I’ve spoken with and interviewed several times with strong ties to our area, has died. Kem Rogers was one of those guys I wish I’d met when he was younger. The first grandson born to Will Rogers, Kem was a big time cattleman and until recently a faithful participant in many of the annual Will Rogers celebrations in Claremore. During the last couple of years, his daughter Jennifer Etcheverry, whom I’ve also interviewed, had taken over that responsibility due to Kem’s poor health.
Kem’s cattle business encompassed operations in Nebraska, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. At the time of his recent retirement, he had one of the largest cattle feeding companies in the U.S. Like his grandfather, Kem loved the sport of polo and he kept a string of polo ponies throughout his life until health problems finally forced him to give them up. James Kemmler “Kem” Rogers was 75 and you can find more information about his life at www.bit.ly/kemrogers.
One last word on the local scene before I go: word has it that on September 12th a great musical event will be held out at Woolaroc. I’ll have more on that later. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………….