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Thursday, October 06, 2005

The High Road to Taos

We woke up this morning to the sound of wind and rain beating down on the roof. During the night a cold front moved in and it really chilled things down. All the way down to 39 degrees. We had the electric heat on in the Bounder so we didn't realize that it was so chilly out. But here in Santa Fe it begins to warm up as soon as the Sun comes up.

I began the day at the local Honda dealership to get the Civic checked out. The Santa Fe Honda dealer is just down the street from the RV park in a large auto park that has about 5 or 6 dealerships in it. They were very accomodating and got me right in. Before long they had diagnosed a bad temperature sensor on the radiator fan. It wouldn't take that long to fix, but the part had to be ordered and would not be there for about 4 or 5 hours, then another hour to install it and check it out. They could be done by 4:30 or so.

It turns out that the local Hertz rental agency has a desk in the dealership, so I proceeded to get a 2006 Ford Taurus at the special rate of $25 per day. Looks like we'll make it to Taos after all.

All set with the car and back to pick up Pam and off we go. I had planned to call Maria, the daughter of Huey Simpson's Army buddy that lives here in Santa Fe. Jim had been kind enough get her phone number for me prior to our departure. I tried a couple of times to call her but there was no answer. Jim had said that she was ill, so maybe she could not get the phone. Later she did call and leave a message, and her son Andrew called too. I was finally able to connect with Andrew later in the day. It's nice to have a connection in town in case we need recommendations or directions.

Instead of taking the quick route to Taos, we decided to take a series of back roads that go up through the mountains and part of the Carson National Forest. This "high road" (Picture on left) takes us up through a couple of small towns and pueblos.

Soon we are in Chimayo. (Picture right) This small town is known for its weaving crafts people and as the location of the Santuario de Chimayo.

The Santuario de Chimayo. is a small church was built in 1813.(Below Left) It is known worldwide for the healing miracles that have been done there. The small area is covered with shrines, crosses, and other artifacts that have been left there by thankful worshipers.

Nearby is a little cafe, Leona's Resturant. It is a small place where you place your order for home made Mexican food at the counter. After our tamale, veggie burrito, and a slice of banana bread, we were back on the road.

Up through the mountains through Truchas, Las Trampas, Picuris Pueblo, and Penasco. These small villages include some awsome scenery on the way up and down. At higher elevetions, the Aspens are beginning to change to their fall colors. Some sooner than others. We could see areas of the bright yellow in the high mountains.

Soon we were in the town of Taos. This high mountain town is surrounded by ski slopes and ski resorts, and is a center for art galleries, shopping, and resturants for the skier and the visitor.

We walked through the historic Taos Plaza (Picture Above) going through some of the shops looking at the art, pottery, and jewellry.

Back on the road we take US 64 to the west. Yep, its the same US 64 that runs through the heart of North Carolina from Murphy to Manteo. Pretty soon we are out of the mountains and back in the high desert. Its a long straight road across the desert.

A few miles down the road we spot a bridge in the desert. Why is there a bridge in this flat, flat desert. Obviously you can see many miles past the bridge and the landscape is the same. Wrong!

Can you find an 800 foot gorge in the picture above?

We are getting ready to cross the Rio Grande River Gorge. Here the Rio Grande River has cut a gorge through the desert that is over 800 feet from the desert to the bottom of the gorge. The bridge was designed with walkways across its length with several places along the way to stop and look our over the rail down to the river below. The river rapids can barely be heard so far above.

Here is the view from the bridge. You can see the flat desert floor on each side with the river 800 feet below.

Continuing our way west on US 64 to Hwy 285 south headed back to Santa Fe. We pass through the high flat country and begin to descend down to the Rio Grande Valley. For several miles the road runs through the valley along the river. Finally we begin so see homes marking the outskirts of Santa Fe.

On the way back to the Trailer Ranch, we stop at Adelitas Mexican Resturant for dinner. You'd think we would get tired of Mexican food, but not here!

Pulling into our parking space Bobbi greets us by pawing on the front window of the Bounder. I guess she slept all day as usual and is ready to roam around the RV all night.

Tomorrow I'll have to get up and take the rental car back, pick up the Civic, and decide what to do on our last day in Santa Fe.

All of todays pictures are available if you CLICK HERE. And remember, when you are viewing the pictures you can click on a picture to make it larger.

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