Santa Fe NM to Lafayette CO

Wednesday, May 27

IMG_1300This morning we woke up and headed straight to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum of Art. I’ve heard of Georgia O’Keefe before, but never paid much attention to her artistic style or way of life. After learning more about her at the museum, I realized that she lived in Canyon, Texas, for a period of time while teaching. This jogged my memory and I realized I had read about her in the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon.

The Georgia O’Keefe museum was classy but not over the top, and I didn’t feel out of place wearing worn-out jeans and a sweatshirt. I don’t consider myself much of an artsy-fartsy person in the sense that I could scrutinize a piece of artwork for hours, but I do appreciate beautiful things. I loved her use of colors and texture in her abstract pieces.

Fun fact about Santa Fe: apparently if you get lucky enough to find a broken parking meter like we did, you can remain parked there for around two hours without paying and you won’t receive a ticket. I received this information from a few business-y looking women walking by along the street, so don’t quote me, but they also said your car cannot be towed, and the worst thing that could happen is you might receive a ticket. We experienced neither and remained parked there for two hours, so it appears they were right. Traveling on a budget is even easier when you can cheat the parking meters!

IMG_1323After the museum we proceeded to walk around a plaza area that was about two blocks away. Santa Fe was so cute and adorable and beautiful all at the same time that I could have cried. As much as we’re trying to be all footloose and fancy free and not be locked down with travel plans, we’re still under a time constraint with all the other places we want to visit before we head home. I’m already planning my return trip to see more of Santa Fe. Next time I’m going to travel to Amarillo, take in the musical “Texas,” loop down to Ruidoso for a day of racing, drive up to Albuquerque, take the “Rail Runner” train to Santa Fe and spend several days taking in the sights… Maybe next summer!

Onward and upward! We took the Taos Highway from Santa Fe to Taos. The scenery was beautiful and the road seemed to be far from dangerous, but there was an incredible amount of crosses scattered alongside the road denoting car crash fatalities. If we would have counted there was probably more than 30, which deeply saddens me. Hug your loved ones today and drive safely. Put phones away, designate a driver or slow down a bit. Whatever it takes to arrive home safely.

IMG_1458When we reached the outskirts of Taos we veered off onto a different path which took us past various campgrounds and eventually to the Vista Verde trail head. In Spanish, vista verde literally means “green view.” A woman we spoke to at a visitor center pronounced it Vista Vur-dee, which I got a kick out of. The word verde is pronounced vair-deh if you’re speaking Spanish.

The trail itself was beautiful, and we hiked a bit over a mile to an overlook above the Rio Grande. It doesn’t even pay to try and explain how spectacular the view was, because neither words nor pictures do it justice.

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After arriving back at our car we drove up a steep gravel road to the top of the gorge. Down the road a ways was the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge. This bridge is huge, and I mean seriously HUGE!!! Despite both of our irrational fears of bridges, my mom and I walked all the way across and back, and then drove over it. The stress of the experience might have taken a few years off of my life, but I sure hope not!

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Based on the suggestion of a woman we met along the road while passing through Taos, we stopped for supper at a Mexican Restaurant called “La Cueva.” I ordered their ceviche while my mom got some sort of seafood enchiladas, and we both ordered smoothies. No kidding, this was probably some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life. In was heavenly, and I thought my mom was going to cry tears of joy after the first few bites of her food. The prices were also very reasonable and the place exuded charm. If you happen to pass through Taos, a stop at La Cueva is a must.

IMG_1563From Taos we rode the Enchanted Highway to Red River where we stayed at the Riverside Lodge, which was far from the one-star hotels we’ve been frequenting. The place was adorable and incredibly reasonable in price. The cozy atmosphere of this little ski lodge motel made for a very comfortable nights rest.

 

Thursday, May 29

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because it’s late and I’m about to fall asleep on top of my laptop.

This morning we took off and drove the Enchanted Highway to Questa, New Mexico, where we then headed north into Colorado along scenic back roads.  I couldn’t even tell you where we were, but I saw some of the most gorgeous scenery EVER. I absolutely cannot express enough how in awe I am of God’s creation. (The photo below was taken after we crossed into CO)

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We made a pit-stop in San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, and hiked to the top of a large hill/small mountain to see the Stations of the Cross Shrine. This trail was lined with statues of Jesus, and told the story of his persecution and eventual death on the cross. It was beautiful and moving. The trail ended with a small Catholic temple nestled at the top of the hill. The final statue is of Jesus ascending into Heaven with his arm outstretched in the air. As my mom and I were taking pictures of the statue, a small bird flew over and landed on His outstretched hand and sung a beautiful song. It was one of those perfect moments that you don’t forget. This short climb was my favorite part of our adventure thus-far.

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IMG_1724From there we proceeded to Colorado Springs where we hiked some more and took in the scenery. I risk sounding redundant, but I really cannot express how beautiful this place was. This entire trip has been beautiful.. and amazing.. and beautiful.

We made it to Lafayette, Colorado, where we’re staying the night with my lovely cousin and her wonderful fiance. You’ll hear from me tomorrow in South Dakota!

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