The Road Around Taos

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July 18th 2019
Published: July 19th 2019
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Today we were dealing with a sick dog. Beamer got into something outside last night, while Steve was walking him, and it did not agree with him at all. He has been sick all day. Hopefully he will be better tomorrow.

So, we are here in Santa Fe for three days and intend to take in as much of the countryside as we have time to see. We left the hotel this morning at 8:40 AM and 81 degrees (which started out at 59 degrees at 7 AM and rose to 100 before the day was over) and headed north toward Taos. Before long we were in the Tesuque Reservation and as soon as we crossed over, we saw our first Casino. There were many along this part of our journey today. One of the first things I noticed was the artwork on bridges, overpasses, and retaining walls. One would instantly recognize it as southwest art with earthy colors and geometric shapes. At this point, I want to mention this. I have never been a fan of southwest architecture…you know…adobe houses. But they are growing on me. The simplicity of their design, with the flat roofs and rounded corners, no detail, nothing fancy, very simple and always in earthy colors that blend in with the land…I must say, they are soothing to look at. I am liking them a lot.

As we drove north, we were surrounded on three sides by mountains in the distance. Again, as was the case yesterday, the more we drove, the more the topography changed. We began in prairie-like surroundings, drove through fertile valleys that lie along rivers, and through parched desert, with the iconic tan and pink surface colors and sage bushes. And as always, we came upon places we did not expect, some were a pleasant surprise and, as is sometimes the case, one was a disappointment.

We saw a lot of black rock that told us there had once been a volcano eruption in this general area. And my research tells me it was probably the Ute Mountain located above the the Taos Plateau.

Our first stop was at the Rio Grande Gorge. And from our vantage point at the pull-off, the water was rushing south at a pretty good clip. There were rafting ventures going on and vans dropping them off and picking them up down river. We stopped at the visitors center and chatted with the volunteer there for a bit and she told us about the dams that control the flow of the river and how high the water can get. She reminded me of a friend of mine whose name is Elizabeth. (You know who you are. Hope your summer is going well.)

We saw a large but crude handmade sign on the road today with only one word printed on it…IMPEACH. I wonder who they were referring to, huh?

After we passed through Questa, we saw a sign pointing us to the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, commissioned by President Obama in 2013. We went for it and followed the sign to another sign that said we were entering it. After that sign, there was nothing…nothing but a dry, parched expanse of land cut by a flat road that seemed to be going nowhere. With nothing to guide us, and after seeing nothing for miles, we turned around and backtracked to the main highway and proceeded on our way. And this was the disappointment for the day. We have no idea what the purpose was of this commission.

We took a turn eastward and drove toward Eagle Nest. As noon came and went, we began looking for a place to eat lunch and we found a gem at Eagle Lake, where we parked the car under a shade tree, made sandwiches, and sat and watched people fishing and walking and relaxing by the lakeside. It is a relatively small lake…we could see it all…and it has a walking path all around it. People were getting their exercise for the day by making the rounds. The tall trees beside it reflected on the glassy surface that was rippled only by the plunks of the fishing gear cast from the shoreline.

We drove into Carson National Forest, up into the mountains, along the Red River as it was flowing downhill. And we found the little town of Red River, a ski area that would remind one of Breckinridge in Colorado. The mountain with its ski lifts (running) was to our right as we drove through this quaint and bustling little town of restaurants, inns and gift shops. There were a lot of people walking around enjoying the comfortable 81 degree temperatures.

The road continued east, climbing through a mountain pass, up to 9820 ft., and over the other side to Eagle Nest. And, as time was getting the best of us, we began earnestly making our way back to our hotel, which was still two and a half hours away. The temperature got up to 100 degrees but I know it will cool down tonight. It always does. This part of New Mexico reminds me of Maine, climate wise. And Steve kept saying it would be a great place for people further south to spend the summer. I agree.

We got back to the hotel at about 4:30 and got settled for a well earned rest. Tomorrow we will investigate Albuquerque.

Additional photos below
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19th July 2019

Still here!
I’m reading daily but keeping comments simple now. Usually read next day as I’m in bed usually when daily is posted. Enjoying each day. Hope Beamer is better.
19th July 2019

Sorry About Beemer
Hope he is better today. Keep us posted.

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