Love can not stop the passage of time. Love can not protect and prevent the inevitable. Miss P was my constant companion and my partner in crime. We explored the city together and had many adventures together. She had been living with the injuries of her exuberant life for some time, but she was always game to do things, to squeak another squeaky toy, to jump into another mud puddle, to enjoy the sights and smells of our daily walks.
I will miss her sweet face and tail-wagging enthusiasm for life.
I’m not sure why I like train stations, but I suppose taking an adventure on the train as a child left a favorable impression on me. And many train stations are relics of the past and I like those too. In the interest of completeness I took these photos this week of the third train station in town. Formerly home of the Colorado Midland Railway, this was a local service, going from the gold mines on the other side of the mountain to the smelter in town.
Now serving as a tourist trap, it doesn’t look much like the grand terminal of a passenger station. It was strictly utilitarian, hauling mostly freight over a relatively short distance. But still they built this building to last and it has, since closing as a railroad in 1945.
The terminal was unimpressive, but the roundhouse (the place where the engines lived, just like Thomas the Tank Engine) became a local landmark. When we first moved here it housed a local art pottery (also a sort of tourist trap). It was renovated a few years back, on one end is a restaurant/brewpub and the other is an Urgent Care (handy in case one seriously over-indulges at the restaurant).
This is a place I enjoy coming to because it allows dogs. P and I always come here for her November birthday, and whenever we are in the neighborhood.
She is sick again and may not make it until her birthday next month, so we decided to stop in while the weather was fine and so was she. So we shared a hamburger and Brussel sprouts with bacon on a glorious fall day.
I had never been to this little town before trying out to be a movie extra. And it is an interesting place in a land-that-time-forgot sort of way. It seems that the heyday of this place was from about 1890 to 1930, and they have the lovely architecture to prove it. This town is not on the main highway, but it’s off to the side, so you have to want to go there. As the main industry is Supermax, the federal maximum security prison, you really don’t want to be sent there.
Me and Miss P did wander around a bit on the day before our movie shooting started just to have a look around.
There is this lovely brick train station, I followed the tracks to find it and to see what sort it was. Trains no longer stop here, instead it’s been re-purposed as a Senior Center.
I’m not sure why banks used to have pillars on the front, perhaps to denote a fortress-like security for your money.
The faded paint on the side of the building proclaims that this building once housed a dry goods store.
This building was most likely a small department store, but now it sells bits of the flotsam of the past. The main street was a collection of these shops catering to the tourist trade. The residents must go to the larger nearby town to do their shopping.
Celebrating the movie crew working there, this former theater is now a community building. The front windows had a display of vintage film projectors, possibly original to the building (1923). Or perhaps as they were rather monstrous contraptions, they were from when films converted to sound.
I loved this sign “Tipping, it’s not just for cows anymore.” This is what I was reminded of the first time I saw a sign that said “no flytipping.” And as the thought of flytipping did not make any sense, it made me laugh at the absurdity of it.
I don’t know why I am drawn to ruins, but there is something about the impermanence of life that has always been appealing (Sic transit gloria Mundi). Perhaps along with the idea that buried treasure might be nearby. Fort Union was an important frontier outpost along the Santa Fe Trail. I have driven by many times and wanted to stop, but M always said “there’s nothing there”. That was possibly true when he visited as a child many years ago, but I decided that this time I would go and see for myself. And of course I have this love of ruins and forgotten places.
And there it is, lovely adobe ruins. Made from earth, water and sunshine now devolving back into the earth from which they came.
Of course since this now a National Landmark, archaeologists are trying to stabilize and preserve the buildings from further decay. To help us remember the past, which was not always pretty.
The post was entirely adobe, except for this well preserved stone jail. An adobe jail would hold a prisoner for a few hours, you could escape using only a spoon.
The walls have melted away, leaving only the chimneys. And the shapes they have melting into somehow reminder me of the heads on Easter Island.
The hearth that warmed the occupants is all that’s left, a ghost in the wall.
This bit hides a modern sound system. And it sounds bugle calls at the appropriate times, so the spirits of the soldiers can answer the call.
Well I submitted a picture of me and P to be extras in this movie that they are making nearby and we were booked. I had to list our heights and weights (of course I lied about mine).
Actually, first I submitted a family photo to be used as set dressing in a scene, this was accepted and I signed a release so that they could use it (not shown because I look like a total dork) . Then I submitted a photo of P taken at Tony’s Bar when they asked for interesting faces, but they didn’t take her. I think she has a lovely face.
So we went down to the town they are filming in to scope it out and got a motel room so that I wouldn’t have to drive all that way early in the morning. They give you a secret phone number to call for specifics the evening before. We were back at the room when I heard the words “no dogs” on the message. I did call them pretending to be P and I mentioned that I was in fact a dog, but that I was booked. So it was a matter of waiting to see what happened. We went to the place for our 9:45 call and got accepted. Another extra said “I thought there were no dogs” and I said “but she booked”.
We stood in line with the 300 other extras to do paperwork including a non-disclosure form, so no pictures of what we did. We ended up sitting with the wardrobe women and Miss P got a lot of love from them. Then there was a catered lunch at 11:30, more paperwork and a wardrobe inspection. They had asked us to bring two changes of clothes and no black, this really limited my choices 😉
They finally set up for the scene, a parade in a small town. There was the high school marching band, young women in sparkly leotards that did handstands and cartwheels, a woman wearing an Elk costume riding in the back of a pickup, a bunch of little girls twirling batons, some Shriners driving little tiny cars, the tractor guys and a giant inflatable duck at the very back. Our job was to sit there while they paraded over and over and over and I am sure that we are not in the scene they photographed. They recorded the band playing first, then they just mimed playing so that they could get some dialogue of the main characters. I can say that I have clapped eyes on Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in the flesh, and they are both shorter than I imagined.
This is the house they are using here in town, and we walked past while they were taking a lunch break. All in all it was an interesting experience, but I don’t think we will repeat it.
I love church festivals, they were a major form of entertainment when I was a kid. And I love food in general, especially when it is made with a helping of love. So I was off this past weekend to the local Slavic Festival. And where was it you might ask? Way out in the country.
That distant peak on the horizon is the 14000 foot mountain, looking kind of puny. And what was I after?
I actually went out there for the pierogis (potato dumplings), but these were not that great. I make them with a thinner dough (and love), so mine are much better. But the kielbasa and halupski (bacon, noodles, cabbage and onion) were outstanding, and the cabbage rolls were pretty good too. These are not the kinds of food I ate as a child, and I probably wouldn’t have even sampled them. But I have acquired the taste for these over the years from when I traveled in Canada (pierogis in Manitoba) and Russia.
At one point there were a lot of Czechoslovakian farmers in this area and they started this church. And they have maintained a congregation for over 100 years. The church is is quite charming and exotic and they got a huge turnout of people who remember this sort of food from their childhoods. And even people like me, who don’t.
I have always thought that the deer in my neighborhood have a rather sweet deal. There’s not a lot of traffic (once they are on this side of the Interstate [motorway]). There’s lots of delicious landscaping to eat. And they can stroll down to the creek for a drink. But then I saw these deer, and thought that they definitely have the best spot in town.
They look so graceful and contented just lounging about.
And why not? They are lounging about on the premier estate in town. Formerly owned by the founder of a luxury hotel, these grounds are part of the foundation that he endowed. These deer live in splendor in a very exclusive and desirable neighborhood.
He’s not really angry about anything (except perhaps the papparrazi), it’s just the way his eyebrows look.
And here are some of his harem. They don’t have to go to the creek for a drink when there is this lovely fountain for them. It’s all pretty posh. But when I woke up this morning, Bob the Stag was resting on my tiny front lawn, so perhaps my house is a desirable address too.
Once upon a time trains were the preferred mode of travel. The Interstate (motorway) had not yet been invented, and train travel was smooth and easy (except when the train derailed and killed you). I always knew that there are three train stations in town, but I never really thought about why this was.
So I was reading this book recently and saw a picture of one of the train stations. It also said that it had been destroyed, so I was rather surprised when I went to a meeting this past week and looked up.
I was looking at the ceiling when I realized that this room was the original Harvey House restaurant. It still exists, even though it has been many, many years since a train stopped here. And the original tile work is still in place, it hasn’t been renovated out of existence.
So I looked around some more at the building. The bit that is visible as one drives by is actually the back of the building.
This is the original front of the building, with the Santa Fe Railroad logo visible in the brickwork. (Currently the company is BNSF, Burlington, Northern and Santa Fe, which does not sound as cool as the original. And the BNSF trains use the Denver and Rio Grande tracks nowadays.)
The rest of the building has been modernized, but they have included artwork so that you know it was a train station, in case you can’t recognize this. This one is in the old waiting room which has been subdivided into meeting spaces.
And this original hard bench and artwork are by what would have been the back entrance. I have stopped in Raton and Las Vegas, NM looking to photograph these remnants of this chain of dining establishments that shaped the west, so I was truly astounded to find that this had existed the entire time I have lived here. (Although this latest re-incarnation of the building is only a few years old).