Taking the High Road

I do not want to bore you with tales of woe back home in Virginia and here in Nevada, but, without being overly optimistic,  things are moving along!  As far as the Virginia abode, repairs are being scheduled and everything is on track.  Now if we can keep those pesky squirrels out of our house long enough, we can continue to make progress! As far as our adventuring on the road, we have had some unexpected challenges but we are trying to stay calm and have some fun when we can squeeze it in between visits to repair facilities.  The food is an adventure in itself–I just can’t get enough of this southwestern fare–yummy!

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Yes! It is TOTALLY as good as it looks!
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We have found such charming places to dine—each one of them with a special ambiance of their own.
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Bob got really adventurous one night and chose the rabbit-rattlesnake sausage for his meal. Don’t know why.  He did say afterwards that it was a little bland and…well…chewy. He said he just felt like something different. Ash said it looked like a snake lying on his plate and wondered if the snake ate the rabbit and then they cooked the “snake a la rabbit” inside. No, Ash, that’s not the way it worked but it makes me a little queasy to think about it…

In between our dining experiences, we are currently in and out of the repair shop in Albuquerque.  We could almost unhook the RV in our sleep by now!  However, the folks at Myers RV are fantastic and are working hard to get repairs completed so that we can get back on the road.   We dropped the coach at the shop early this morning and we plan to do the same thing tomorrow.  They ordered the replacement parts today for overnight shipment so we count that as progress! So early morning again tomorrow–but a positive way of thinking about it is that we will have more time to see some of the things we want to see!

So far, RVing has been a mixed bag of fun and, well–not so fun.  But the fun parts definitely outweigh the negatives–and we are learning to try to have fun even if we are tense about the latest challenge.  Trying to stay positive!

Since we have been in Albuquerque we have done some fun things that I will get to eventually–but for now I’m going to back up and tell you about our last day in Santa Fe–or in that area anyway!  And that is, of course, our trip on the “High Road to Taos.”  This route encompasses huge mountains, isolated mountain towns, remote artist colonies–and gives you a better understanding of how the early Spanish settlements are still reflected in the little towns today.  We saw much of this influence in the mission churches along the way.

The scenery on the way to Taos makes this very short distance between Santa Fe and Taos an extended trip.  I had to jump out of the car every time we rounded a curve to take more pictures! The scenery can go from stark, dramatic desert to heavily forested mountains in just minutes. DSCN7256DSCN7244DSCN7240DSCN7366 We finally made it to Chimayo’, famous for the Santuario de Chimayo’.  With its quiet and peaceful gardens, beautiful artwork, its numerous chapels and sanctuary areas, and the stream of devoted visitors, it is clear how important this sanctuary is to the community.

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Bob having a quiet moment in the Santuario de Chimayo, a beautiful mission church known as a center for curing the sick.  Or maybe he’s asleep?
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Santuario de Chimayo’ located in Chimayo’

A star attraction in this little village is the Rancho de Chimayo, a restaurant in a 19th-century hacienda-style building.  More fantastic food in an awe-inspiring setting.

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The food, the huge portions, LOTS of guacamole and salsa, the sopapillas and honey—I was in heaven!
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The is the outside of the hacienda where we had lunch. Notice the strings of peppers drying from the roof. The belief is that hanging strings of peppers bring good luck–and of course it’s a great place to dry out the pods.

After eating such a huge meal in the middle of the day, we got back on the High Road and headed toward Truchas, where Robert Redford filmed the The Milagro Beanfield War. Unfortunately, our minds must have been very muddled since we wound up miles into a back country  road that reminded me of the peaks and valleys of the Sound of Music.  The dirt roads had ruts that took every effort of our mighty little jeep to get us turned around and back on the right track.  Nevertheless, I did convince Bob to stop at one of many artist showrooms nestled in the nooks and crannies of this beautiful countryside.  Bob had a nice mini nap and I got in a little shopping. Then we went into the forest and circled through miles of beautiful scenery until I drifted off to sleep and awoke just in time to see the San Jose de Gracia Church in Trampas, a colonial-era church that sits in the middle of a very small community.

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The San Jose de Gracia Church in Trampas, a colonial-era church.

But the highlight of the church sightings was the San Francisco de Asis, the 18th-century mission church that was a subject of many of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.  And beautiful it was–after we finally found it in Rancho de Taos.  Following GPS on this treasure hunt dumped us into a private road, and lead to some “intense” discussion of the merits of GPS.  Finally, the good old fashioned method won out, and we stopped at a couple of places until we found someone who could give us directions.  It was well worth the extra trouble!

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The front doors of the San Francisco de Asis. Beautifully simple in adobe.
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This 18th-century mission church was regal in its peacefulness.

Miraculously, behind the mission church I found an art studio that also carried used books by local New Mexico authors.  I walked away a happy camper with a bagful of books for less than two of the books would have cost brand new.  Can’t wait to dig into them! On to Taos, our last stop on the High Road.  We found it to be a charming, tidy mountain town with interesting adobe architecture and buildings that have made it through hundreds of years.  We saw the home of Kit Carson and was given a short summary of his accomplishments.  We explored the streets and buildings and alleyways, shopping a little and soaking up the ambiance.  A few young street performers were on the Plaza and appeared to be singing for their supper.  Before we left for Santa Fe, we decided that we were actually hungry enough to eat again so headed to the restaurant in the Taos Inn for dinner.

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That’s our dinner at the beginning of this post–you know–my blue corn enchiladas and Bob’s rattlesnake!  Interestingly, we sat in a little alcove where we could look through this little cubby window into the bar.  I loved the wooden ceilings and unique little dining areas sprinkled through the main floor.  And some nice soft jazz followed us as we walked out the door.

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Peeking into the bar from our dining alcove. Note the antique wood covered ceilings.

On the way back to Santa Fe we traveled through the gorge along the Rio Grande.  I’m sure it was beautiful but I soon passed out and was not much company until we arrived back to the Baby, waiting faithfully for us.

I will catch you up on our travels over the next couple days.  There’s so much going on, I feel like I am living in multiple universes. So farewell for now, dear family and friends!  Happy trails!

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