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Friday, October 07, 2005

The Turquois Trail

Due to internet connection problems I may not have time to finish this posting. I could not convince this laptop to talk to the wireless connection at the campground at all last night, so I am trying to do a brief update this morning before we leave the Trailer Ranch here in Santa Fe.

Just in case the connection does away again, here is the link to all of yesterdays pictures: Click Here.

First thing was a trip back to the Honda dealer to turn in the rental Taurus and pick up the Civic. The were able to get the part yesterday afternoon and had it all fixed up and ready to go. The folks at Premier Honda in Santa Fe were very accommodating and did everything they could to get us back on the road quickly.

We took a little time yesterday to go back to the Plaza in Santa Fe. That is where a number of Native Americans sell there art and craft work. We wanted to buy a few things but also wanted to be sure that it was work that was done by real Indian craftsmen. A couple of the shops we visited had pottery and other items that were made in India or Mexico.

On one side of the Sante Fe Plaza many Indians from the area spread their paintings, jewelry, and weavings on blankets on the sidewalk for sale. We talked to one Native American that was selling his paintings. They were abstracts of southwest and Indian symbolism. Colors were absolutely beautiful. He was proud of the fact that he was going to have a show at the Santa Fe Art Institute. These shows are usually reserved for art students, and he was self taught. But his work was so good that they had invited him to a showing.

We bought a couple of sand paintings from a Navajo lady named Nancy Price (sounds like a Union County gal doesn't it?). She picks up various colors of rocks in the desert, grinds it up into a very fine powder, and uses a paste solution to make "paints" out of them. Then she uses these colors to paint her pictures.

Later we took a drive down New Mexico Hwy 14 from Santa Fe to a little town east of Albuquerque. This road runs to the east of the Sandia mountains that we rode the tram up to last Wednesday.

It is called the Turquoise Trail because of the Turquoise mines located along the route. We pulled off the main road to visit the town of Cerillos. It has one paved street and the rest are dirt. A few artists shops, saloons, and a gift shop interspersed with the old houses and mobile homes are scattered among the pines and aspens. Cerillos was at one time a very important mining town with 21 saloons and 4 hotels.

Next we climb up into the mountains, and come to the town of Madrid. (Pictures on right and below) It is pretty much an artist haven now, with galleries, shops, cafes and coffee shops in the old houses. Madrid had a large coal mine that produced thousands of tons of coal for the railroads. After WWII when most of the railroads switched to diesel, the mind shut down and most of the town was abandoned. In the 1970s many of the artist and others moved in, refurbished many of the old shacks and took up residence. It is an interesting little place to say the least.

Further up the road we went through a lengthly section of road construction where the pavement had been removed. We were forced to slow down to 15-20 mph through this rough section. In front of us I saw something small crossing the road. As we got closer I could see it was a giant spider! It may have been a tarantula, I'm not really sure. I have never seen a spider big enough to see as it is crossing the road. Possums, Frogs, Chickens crossing road, but NEVER a spider that big.

On the way back we passed the site of the Albuquerque balloon Fiesta. The weather has not cooperated this week with the balloons but there is still quite a crowd there! We didn't see any but we sure saw the traffic.

After a stop at the grocery store on the way back to the RV park, we decided we needed to catch up with our laundry. The facilities at this RV park are very well maintained and absolutely spotless. We rounded up enough quarters to wash and dry 3 loads, so I guess we'll have fresh underwear to explore the desert. Here's a picture of Pam outside the laundry mat at Trailer Ranch RV Park.

As soon as I save and publish this post, we'll pack up, hook up the Civic and head west. Tonight we'll probably be in Grants or Gallup or someplace in that general vicinity.

I am not sure when I'll get Internet again. It may be as late as Monday so If you don't hear from us for a few days don't worry, we are just on the road.

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