Thursday, January 16, 2014

Westward Ho....

     It took a while for us to get out of Dallas; I swear one of these days I'm going to throw my iPhone out the window just so I never have to hear that stupid Suri voice again!  Once we got on the right track, it was a pleasant drive.  It was interesting to see how quickly the terrain changed from flat, open ranges and farmed land (lots of cotton fields) to scrubby hills, complete with Texas tumbleweeds, to rocky mesas and then to mountains.

From this....
 To this....
     We drove from Dallas to Amarillo and then from Amarillo to Santa Fe.  We had run out of propane overnight so when we woke up the furnace wasn't working, and it was COLD!  It was in the 20s outside, and probably in the 40s inside.  First stop - more propane!  and hot coffee!

   Just outside of Amarillo we stopped at a kitschy tourist attraction called "Cadillac Ranch" - basically a farm field with several half buried old Cadillacs that have been painted by artists, and then re-painted again and again with spray paint.  It was quite windy and it was comical to see the tumbleweeds just rolling across the highways, fields and roads.  Noel wanted me to grab one so we could send one to his sister as a funny joke - but the joke was me jumping out of the truck and trying to chase after one!!

Its literally in the middle of a field!
Texas tumbleweeds!  And no, there is no video of me running after them!

     We passed huge wind farms as well as gigantic cattle ranches and stopped along parts of old Route 66 for gas and photo ops!


      The drive was windy and we were basically continually climbing, going from below sea level in New Orleans to over 7000 feet elevation in Santa Fe.  The truck didn't seem to want to run and with all our stops, it had been a long day.  I had picked out a campground called Rancheros from the Good Sam camping guide.  We pulled in and set up, only to find out that the campground is basically closed in the winter - no bathrooms, no laundry, no office, no nothin'!  We were too tired to leave and the price was right - only $25 a night.  We had been using the bathroom in the camper for the last several days without hookups, so our tank was pretty full.  Noel went to hook up the sewer and it practically exploded - their sewer pipe was clogged up so all that stinky water ran all over the ground!  It was freezing cold - there is still snow and ice on the ground here, so poor Noel had to hook the trailer back to the truck and maneuver it to a different sewer hook up.  The "cable" consists of about 5 channels (7 if you count the ones in Spanish), and its so cold at night we can't hook up the water because the hose would freeze.  Oh the joys of "roughing it"! LOL

     At 7000' above sea level, we were both out of breath and feeling a bit woozy and I ended up throwing up, adding to the pleasure of the evening!

     In the morning, the 19 degree, very cold morning, we headed into Santa Fe.  What a great town!  The architecture is really interesting, this whole "pueblo" style is unlike anything we've seen so far, the artwork is beyond words its so good, and we followed the recommendation of a local to eat lunch at a place called Tia Sophias.  The traditional Mexican food was delicious!

The Native American artists set up in the town square/plaza and sell right off
of blankets.  I wasn't buying anything, so I didn't want to take any close
up pictures, but trust me when I saw it was all amazing!

     We came across an awesome gem and mineral store where I couldn't help but buy a few stones to make into jewelry, and ogled some amazing stones I couldn't afford, like Ethiopian opal beads - at $1200 a strand!  OMG - I think I peed a little!

The photo doesn't do them justice!
      At one shop, the owner must have seen the lust in my eyes as I saw his studio, so he invited me in and showed me around his tools and artistic process.  He is really talented and was born into an artistic family where he continues the jewelry making tradition.  Thanks Simon! (you can find him on Facebook at Silver Mountain Trading Company)

     We saw lots of Native American pottery, Mexican folk art (I'm suddenly drawn to these amazing Day of the Dead skeleton dolls!), incredible furniture and paintings and much jewelry!

These are all inlaid gemstones as pueblos!  GORGEOUS!

He's my work of art!

We wanted to buy a "storyteller", but the ones well done are so expensive,
and the cheaper ones, $100 or so, were well, not so well done.

     I was in lust with everything in this one furniture store, which had incredible headboards and natural wood pieces as wall art, and a huge table of gorgeous wood, inlaid with a "river" of gemstones and shells!  I so need that table!

     We toured two churches, including one built in the 1600s and that had recently undergone some restoration.  One of the docents was a tiny older woman who was one of the artists tasked with re-painting the amazing details of the church.  Can't you just picture her climbing up and down the scaffolding?  She was so sweet, I just wanted to put her in my pocket!

No, I didn't grow!  She's just that little!

Look at the amazing door behind me!

I lit a candle for my mama

     At the other church, the Loretto Chapel , the miraculous spiral staircase was a work of art in and of itself.  Click on the blue link to read all about it.

     One of the warning lights had come on in the truck, so we stopped at an O'Reilys Auto Parts where Noel replaced the air filter (you don't even want to know what an air filter for a diesel F250 costs!) right in the parking lot, and the truck is running better already.

     The plan was to spend two days exploring Santa Fe, but between the riding, the walking and the altitude, I needed a day of recovery and rest, so rather than do more sight seeing today it was a day to rest, eat leftovers, and read.

     A blog post wouldn't feel right without a sunset picture, so here is the full moon rising to the east, and the sun setting in the west.

     Next stop, the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona!

1 comment:

Amy Schubert said...

I am really enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!