The very next day we piled in our hosts’ car and drove up to Taos. “Drove up” meaning both heading north and ending up at an even higher elevation. The scenery on this trip was breathtaking.
Along the way we stopped to photograph this collection of vintage gas pumps along the Rio Grande River.
I thought of the Rio Grande as a mighty river like the Mississippi, but it is far smaller. You can always tell where the river is because it is lined with cottonwood trees and other greenery which is scarce in most of New Mexico. If you stand next to the river you can feel a little humidity, which is virtually non-existent in New Mexico! It is so dry there that sometimes rain evaporates before it even hits the ground.
The Rio Grande must have been a much larger river in the past. Here is the gorge it carved out of the land over many many years. This thing is deeper than it looks. I’m not afraid of heights, but looking down into this cavern made my stomach all fluttery.
On the other side of the bridge is Earthship, a neighborhood of radically sustainable homes made of recycled materials such as rammed earth and glass bottles. We were very disappointed to find that the model home was closed and we would not get to take the tour. Hopefully we will all be living this way in the future.
Pop Quiz: What is the difference between a Pueblo and a Reservation? A pueblo is land where Native Americans have always lived. A reservation is a place that was created for Native Americans who were moved there from other areas. I didn’t know that either.
Our next stop was the Taos Pueblo. This place is old. Really old- like 1000 years. It is a barren area with adobe buildings and a large stream running through it. Some folks still live there with no electricity or running water. Others live in town, but maintain small shops with handmade goods in their family homes. We liked the blue doors.
There were two of these multi-family constructions on the pueblo. Probably one of the first apartment buildings in North America. The wooden racks in front were used for drying food and the mound in front on the left is an earthen oven. We visited a shop in this building where the owner played a drum and sang us a Pueblo song. He told us that he had studied music in New York City and that he and a relative have a music show on the local PBS affiliate station.
We headed back to Taos and visited the old town square. There was a wonderful artsy vibe with lots of place to shop. This city seemed much more authentic than Santa Fe. As usual, I was drawn to colorful fibers and textiles.
At this point, I was a little dehydrated and walking around much farther above sea level than I was used to. I felt like passing out, but was able to revive myself with mass quantities of iced tea. Then we headed back to Albuquerque, once again enjoying the scenic drive.
We stayed one more day doing some last minute shopping and making our first visit ever to a Trader Joe’s. Here are a few more pictures from the trip.
The Sandia mountains where Larry went hiking with our host and his dogs.
A restaurant wall I wanted to save for the color scheme.
While we were there, a handicapped girl about Gwen’s age rolled through the door in a wheelchair. I had a nice visit with her and her mother. They had driven all the way from Florida to pick up their son and brother from the Univ. of new Mexico. This may sound weird, but I miss being around differently abled people. They have so much to give if you know how to be receptive.
This trip was just what the doctor ordered for both of us. While we had Gwen, travel was difficult to impossible. But here we were – taking a long road trip to a place so different that it seemed almost foreign! We heartily recommend New Mexico as a vacation destination and plan to come back and stay longer.