The following morning in the City of the Sun, I woke up to the sounds of dozens of dove cooing above me, and flocks of desert quail running around under my hammock and in the gardens. So it was an interesting morning alarm.
We started the morning touring one of her neighbor’s homes, which was a round hand-built building, with a mermaid themed bathroom that was undergoing repairs because a storm and water damaged knocked down part of the wall.
City of the Sun Pt. 1 & Mexico Bike Adventure – Summary:
Who: Sheila Bjeletich; Juan Rascon
What: Left the state of Arizona; Arrived at City of the Sun in Columbus, New Mexico; Biked across the Mexico border into Palomas to visit a host family and nonprofit; Biked back across the US border after the Mexico tour
Leaving Arizona, I spent the day driving through the desert into New Mexico on my way to the City of the Sun in Columbus, New Mexico, with the aim of getting there in the middle of the afternoon so we could go into Mexico and checkout the nonprofit projects my host was involved with.
I arrived at the City of the Sun, which initially looked like a mobile home park up front – but as I drove towards the back of the community, there were less manufactured mobile homes and more alternative architecture structures, tiny homes and creative compounds.
After leaving Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage, I spent the day driving to The Canelo Project in Elgin, AZ. While it was a beautiful countryside of grassy plains and desert parries with mountain ranges dotting the horizon – I had no cell phone reception to call or search for my GPS location – so I spent several hours lost in the area, going down wrong roads, waiting for free-range cows to cross the road, and circling back to high hills to get one or two cell bars to make calls.
I finally find the right road a few hours later, much to the exasperation of my host, and this was another destination with a long road seemingly to nowhere – passing camping grounds, a ranger station and over several cow pastures.
I started the day with a personal tour led by TaliSeen JahRing, the Farm Manager of Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage (AOGE), an impressive ecovillage model with stacks of sustainability initiatives and green projects, built on a strong Christian foundation, spiritual exploration, vocational learning and training, and organic permaculture practices.
On my way to AOGE, I pulled over at a rest stop to take a phone call, and came across this rock – which really set the tone for the day!
Rushing over from the Wind Spirit Community in Winkelman, I barely made it to the last group tour at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, the world’s largest enclosed earth system science research facility, in Oracle, AZ.
The tour began in the ‘actual Biosphere’ (Earth) so I had to walk through the on-site housing facility, known as “The Village,” which comprised of 28 furnished 3-to-5 bedroom casitas for students and faculty, and incorporates sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting and solar energy.
My second stop of the day after The Bee Oasis was after a long drive through the desert canyons and mining towns to Wind Spirit Community (WSC) in Winkelman, AZ. (This was another community with a long road seemingly to nowhere, but I pushed on and finally made it without any GPS navigation.)
A picture from my drive to Wind Spirit Community, which resembles the general terrain I was driving through.
I stopped in a mining town rest-stop and took a picture of the old refinery factory on the hillside.