El Paso to Taos

Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday night
May 13th
Santa Fe

A few last images of Texas....

In a small town, a run down little shack with an old upright piano on the front porch (there's gotta be a story there....)

In Big Bend, a walk down to an old abandoned farm - old windmill still spinning, supplying water to fig and pecan trees. Crickets chirping, really really hot, each step crunching the grass and the gravel underfoot.

Overpasses on big roads and small in both Texas and New Mexico, each painted a southwest color (turquoise, pink, burnt orange) or with chile peppers or aztec designs.

Woman in the post office in Presidio bemoaning the fact that her supervisor wouldn't give them the new stamps (postage just went up) in advance and now it was noon on the first day of the new rates and she STILL didn't have them..... they were locked in the safe, and the supervisor was nowhere to be found - workplace politics prevail everywhere you go!!

So here we are in New Mexico. Yesterday we went into El Paso. After doing various errands (oil change, drug store etc) and a drive north of the city where we could see the HUGE Mexican flag - a football field huge - waving over the twin city of Juarez, Mexico, we had a lovely visit in El Paso with Helen Dorion and their two kids Toby (3) and Amalia (8 and a Hiver - a camper at Aloha Hive on Lake Fairlee, to the uninitiated!) Mark was away and we didn't get to see him. In the afternoon we had a swim in their pool (the dogs with have NOTHING to do with a swimming pool....) Then Helen (a transplant from Manchester, England by way of Aloha) took us to an authentic Mexican restaurant in the Upper Valley part of El Paso (the menu said "serving the Upper Valley since 1948" - we felt right at home - for you non-Upper Valley folks, we live in the "Upper Valley" at home...) Then we went on a night drive up into the mountains above the city with lovely lights below.

Today was a day to drive a lot and get to a place we wanted to be - in this case, Santa Fe, tomorrow up into the Taos area. We drove mostly interstate, through the desert along the Rio Grande (which leaves the Mexican border and goes up into NM) - then went onto a "green dot" road (indication on the AAA map for a scenic road) through some lovely countryside - mountain ranges in the distance, grassland (I call it crunchy grass - it LOOKS soft and pretty but it is BAD stuff underfoot...)

We found an RV park (more refrigerator problems, I won't bore you) and then went into the historic part of Santa Fe, which we visited thoroughly 26 years ago with Rocky and Mary Lou (Mary Lou from Emma Willard, they lived here then, now they are in CO) - walked around and had a REALLY nice dinner on a terrace downtown, thanks to my CIS friends' retirement cash gift :-)

Thursday night
May 14th
Taos, New Mexico

We had a leisurely and beautiful day today driving all of about 75 miles from Santa Fe to Taos. The night had turned chilly, and the morning was cold and sunny. We started out with some good news from the RV repair man (no repair needed, just a day of refrigerator rest) then headed out on a scenic route through the hills towards Taos. Mary Lou and Rocky lived in Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe, so we detoured through the village and stopped at the store for coffee. Next stop was Chimayo. We visited the Sanctuario de Chimayo - the first of several old churches today. It was built in 1813, and is known for its healing powers. People have left many many tokens over the years, beads and rosaries draped on crosses, crossed made of sticks, crutches and all sorts of other things. The pews in the church were heavy old wood, so beautiful. There were doves or pigeons cooing in a niche above the roof, and old wood gates. We also stopped at a weaving studio (there are several in the village) and although they weren't actually weaving at the time, various looms were set up, and they had lots of lovely things for sale. We thought we would have lunch there at a wonderful restaurant we had been to 26 years ago, but it was closed for renovations.

Further along in another village, Los Trampas, was the church San Jose de Garcia - this one very old with 4 foot thick adobe walls and old wood. We drove in to the Picuris Pueblo - another old church there - the pueblo pretty much in ruin with more modern modest adobe places around - we didn't stay. Along the way were cemeteries with every grave lavishly covered with gaudy plastic flowers. (The kind that are against the rules in Thetford cemeteries!!)

After taquitas at a roadside stand (small tightly rolled fried tortillas with chicken inside) we stopped and took a walk with the dogs up a forest service road called Amole Canyon Road. In just a few minutes a grassy (soft grassy) field beckoned, and there was a blazed trail - it went from one grassy field into another into another - just absolutely peaceful and sunny and warm and breezy all at once. The dogs were in heaven and so were me. One of those never-to-be-forgotten walks for sure.

We spent time walking around Taos - an old plaza, MANY MANY galleries (almost ALL galleries), some Mexican craft shops, narrow streets, all adobe, lots of lilacs, which to my New England eye look out of place against red adobe buildings with turquoise blue trim! We had a hard time finding the right place to stop for a beer and light meal (we can't go grocery shopping until the frig is back, which will be tomorrow morning) - but we hit the jackpot at the Doc Martin Adobe Bar, where locals clearly gather, at an old historic hotel we'd love to stay in someday (trip to Denver, side trip back to Taos?) - sat in the setting sun on the terrace. Ah......

Tomorrow we will go early to the Taos Pueblo. We were told if you are there early (opens at 8) you can smell baking bread and buy some hot out of the oven. Sounds like breakfast to me!

And then to Salida, Colorado, where Sarah and Kaleb will come in later in the evening for the weekend with us, and hopefully Julie (Tom's Julie) too. Tom is up in South Dakota working at the moment and can't make it down - we'll try to catch him later on. Will be out of internet and likely cell contact for a few days. Colorado Rocky Mountain high!
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spataburk on

Fry Bread
Hey, have some for us. When we were there last year on an October afternoon all were sold out. Nice to see you in shorts and know you're coming our way!!! Big hugs also to Sarah and Kaleb.
mary & murray

ridgevt on

Hi Prill & John,
Your description and pictures of Taos brought back our trip a year ago when we stayed there for a night. The plaza--where we went to the bank to get some money and found that the whole area electronics were out for a day.

And Santa Fe with our artist friend who gave us a guided tour.

Can't wait to get your next blog.


ps John I got up Cardigan yesterday with Charlie. We both have a long way to go getting into shape.

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