Our stay in Santa Fe was another great week in New Mexico (we really, really like New Mexico!) On Tuesday, we did a little bit of walking and sight-seeing around town:
We saw the Loretto Chapel and it’s “miraculous staircase” — a spiral staircase without any obvious support. I was expecting something a wee bit more miraculous, but ok, nice stairs:
Nearby was the oldest church in the U.S., built in 1610:
…and the oldest house, built in 1640:
We had heard a lot about the food here, so we did a rare dinner out to try some New Mexican cuisine. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spicy food, but it was still quite delicious.
On Wednesday afternoon, a bunch of girls and their horses descended upon the quiet rodeo fairgrounds where we were camping. It was some sort of girls’ horse club, which understandably stirred up some horse-envy with Carrie.
Watching these girls practice their barrel racing turned out to be some nice family entertainment:
Amy took a cooking class on Thursday morning…I’ll let her tell you about that:
Amy: ”I had seen an advertisement for this local cooking school in a tourist guide. I was immediately excited about the opportunity to attend a class that taught southwestern cooking.”
“I decided on a class called ‘Chile Amor!’ The New Mexican chile is the state vegetable and I had heard about the legendary Hatch (NM) Chiles, so I was intrigued. The rest of the family doesn’t like spicy food so I was hoping to learn to prepare this infamous vegetable in a way that my family would like. It was a fantastic class! I learned how to prepare three different chile sauces (all mild) and homemade corn tortillas. I spent the rest of the week finding the local ingredients and I am eager to prepare this for the family.”
As I mentioned last week, my laptop was on the fritz, but Fred here at Computer Medics in Santa Fe really helped me out. He rented me a loaner (and put my hard drive in it) so I had everything I needed to get in a good workweek. My laptop was shipped to Apple for repairs, and I got it back by the end of the week. All is right with the world again.
The design software that I use for my work recently had a major upgrade (Adobe CS6 Suite…yum), so I was really eager to download that. It was several gigs worth of data which would have put us way over our monthly limit, so we went to the library to use their internet. Connectivity issues aside, libraries offer a nice change of work environment and I always get a ton of stuff done there.
On Friday, we took a side trip to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument for a picnic dinner:
Afterwards, we took a quick hike (more of a walk, really).
These rocks are made of layers of ash that came from surrounding volcanic eruptions several million years ago. They take on the cone- or tent-shape when the ash-rock erodes underneath a harder “cap” rock. It was cool, but I wish we could have stayed longer. They hustled us out at 6:30.
As I predicted, the girls spent a lot of time outside visiting the boarded animals at the rodeo fairgrounds where we were staying. They named this horse Kitty (his real name turned out to be Leroy):
This cow woke me up every morning with her incessant mooing, which wasn’t a bad thing I guess:
Part of Amy’s search for chile sauce ingredients took her to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. She said it was an impressive spread of local vegetables, herbs, honey, flowers, baked goods and handmade items that is open year-round.
The girls and I stayed back, slept in and then played on the rodeo equipment:
We left Santa Fe late Saturday morning and headed back towards Taos. Along the way, we stopped at Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, NM. I was expecting a quaint, quiet museum, but it’s really a conference/retreat center which was sort of busy.
Just up the road, however, were some cool red rocks that we stopped at and climbed on a bit:
We met up with John and Sue — long-time friends of Amy’s parents — who live just outside of Taos. We camped in their driveway on Saturday night.
They live off of a dirt road in a pretty remote area, so their view is quite spectacular:
We had a great time eating dinner, learning more about their travels (they traveled full time for seven years), and learning more about beautiful New Mexico.
The girls enjoyed the hot tub outside:
I regret not having a picture to go with this, but I woke up about 3am and realized I had forgotten to turn off the supplemental breaks in the car. I didn’t want the car battery to drain, so I got up and went outside to shut it off.
Cloudless sky. Zero moonlight. No light pollution to speak of (there were just a few tiny lights way off in the distance.) Yet I could see my surroundings perfectly thanks to the collective light from a zillion stars.
I thought I had seen starry skies and the Milky Way on this trip already, but not like in middle-of-nowhere New Mexico. It was unforgettable.
The next morning we went to a nearby local favorite hiking spot in Carson National Forest:
It was a great climb and a great view. I particularly loved the constant smell of pinyon pine in the crisp air.
I stitched together a 360 degree panorama. Click the image for a bigger version:
We had such a great time with John and Sue, and we are grateful for their hospitality. This certainly won’t be our last trip to New Mexico, so we look forward to our next visit with them.
We spent most of the afternoon making our way back to Colorado.
We’re now staying at really nice campground on base at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs:
Some friends from Indianapolis moved out here last year to take a teaching position at the USAFA, and they kindly invited us to attend the Air Force graduation ceremony on Wednesday (and they got us this sweet camping spot too!) The President is going to be there, jets will fly over, etc…it’s sort of a big deal.
We’re all very excited to see the pomp and circumstance surrounding an Air Force graduation. Some pilots were doing some training exercises this morning; fighter jets were screaming over and around our campground. The ground was shaking. It was awesome!