Remember that Jianne Carlo, our intrepid traveler, began her journey in Florida. She bypassed a wagon train. She and her honey used a more modern means of transport with horses under the hood instead of hitched to a wagon. They braved snow storms in Mississippi and Texas.
Posted by Mama Mary, because someone's on the road.

Day 7
OMG what a terrific day. We toured downtown Santa Fe, winding our way through art galleries and stores displaying a wealth of local artists’ crafts. We stopped at one in particular, Manitou, a definite must see if you’re in the city. Little did we know we’d end up spending the night with the proprietor.

We ate tapas all day long, starting with breakfast at The Sleeping Dog, then meandered to a café where the owner served us Turkish coffee and we discovered that he had moved to Santa Fe from South Florida.

After exploring the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral and several of the small parks interspersed between the adobe buildings, we ate Zarzuela, a shrimp and mussel stew at La Boca, and around 7 p.m. we walked to our last stop, El Meson, intending to have an early night and rest up for the Grand Canyon trip. Hah! Talk about the best laid plans…

I decided to set the second book in The Hades Squad series, Lucifer’s Choice, in El Meson and asked permission to take a few pics. While I was doing that, the DH (and for those of you who asked, mostly it refers to the dahling husband, sometimes to the danged husband, oftentimes to the devil of a husband) struck up a conversation with two men eating at a neighboring table.

One was the proprietor of Manitou, the other an amazing singer, David Clayton. Somehow we moved onto Vanessie’s, a nightclub featuring the talented Al Rogers. And guess what? Al lived in Holland for 20 years and spoke Friesian - the dialect of the area where the DH was born. Quite the coincidence, eh?

We met two other artists, one a retired B-movie star who had just turned 82 and his lady friend of 93, who both got up and belted out 60s classics like My Way, Moon River, and Amore.

OMG what a terrific day. We toured downtown Santa Fe winding our way through art galleries and stores displaying a wealth of local artists’ crafts. We stopped at one in particular, Manitou, a definite must see if you’re in the city. Little did we know we’d end up spending the night with the proprietor.

BTW, he’s been married 8 times!

All in all, a wonderful day and the perfect ending for our stay in Santa Fe.

Cheers,
JC

Days 8-12
We saw every topography while journeying from the Grand Canyon to Nevada, going from the lush pinion pine of Kaibab National Forest to crossing the continental divide and climbing dry cutout hills, then through a semi-lush mountain pass with shining snow-white caps, and finally driving past valleys and valleys of dry Arizona dessert.

The Hoover Dam border of Nevada and Arizona dropped our jaws. What an engineering feat. And the steep ranges we traversed to get there. Astounding. I keep using that word, don’t I? But the US of A is absolutely, unequivocally astounding.

While the ethereal, spiritual beauty of the Grand Canyon is awe inspiring, the ostentatious overindulgence of Las Vegas bombards the mind. No quiet here, no hearing God whisper to you. No, instead Vegas overwhelms the senses, the blaring music, the clanging of slot machines, the woo hoo of a winner, the flashing neon everywhere, the stench of cigarettes all combined to drive us to find a quiet Italian restaurant where we had an excellent dinner. My entree choice, the Osso Buco, the best I have ever had.

The following morning, eager to explore the city, we walked and walked. First MGM, the casino, the restaurants, the shops, and the attention to detail blew my mind. I visited Vegas only once before, thirty years ago. The city designers have done a marvelous job encouraging pedestrians with the walkways over roads, the interconnections to hotels and Casinos, and it’s wonderful to see the crowds thronging the strip.

And then the shows - we saw Santana the second night at the Hard Rock Hotel. What a concert! We had terrific seats, six down from the stage, in a remarkably intimate arena. The sound system rocked and so did we -- nothing nicer than going to sleep with the strains of Samba Pa Ti in your brain.

Sunday morning we went to a Champagne Brunch and then relaxed and vegged until late afternoon. Last night we walked the strip and the atmosphere once the sun goes down morphs into something Fantasy-Land-like reminding me of the electric parade and Tinkerbelle and the fireworks at Disneyworld. We explored Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, New York New York, and had happy hour at Sea Blue, eating dollar oysters and shrimp, and ending with a lobster corn dog – yummy.

I never expected to enjoy Las Vegas, but between the fascinating people watching, the amazing shows, the complex skyline, and the delicious, albeit way too expensive food, I’m having a blast.


Cheers

When East meets West, Cultures Collide, Passions Sizzle…

email: jianne@jiannecarlo.com

url : www.jiannecarlo.com

latest release:

JC_ValentineVoodoo_coversm


books: Valentine Voodoo, Manacled in Monaco, T is for Temptation, D is for Desire, Notorious in Nice, White Wolf

7 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2010 at 12:16 AM  

    I wanna go, too!

  2. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 21, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

    Jianne, you continue to make me want to undertake a tour like yours! I've traveled extensively in Europe and the U.S., but I've never done the type trip you are enjoying. I simply can't wait to give it a try.

  3. Mary Ricksen // March 21, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

    I wanna go!!! Believe it or not they are still talking. I don't know if my DH and I could handle it. He hates driving.

  4. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

    As Scarlet said, GIRLS' ROAD TRIP!

  5. Mary Marvella // March 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM  

    Scarlet, you are one traveler!

  6. Judy // March 22, 2010 at 8:14 AM  

    What fun, Jianne! I've been to those same places and you make them come alive. I love meeting new people and discovering things and eating yummy food! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Pamela Varnado // March 22, 2010 at 12:21 PM  

    I've loved reading about your travels and feel that I'm getting a mini lesson on the beauty of the Unites States also. I'm working on a book now that is set in New Mexico and you've shown the richness of the state.