It's been a while since I've added another day of our 2012 cross country road trip adventure, and the thought crossed my mind when I realized it's been over a year since I started posting this journal of our travels, whether I should cointinue or not. Considering how some of my favorite photos are still to come, I had to keep going - especially since this was one of our favorite days! So, without further delay, here's the next installment, and a promise to finish this before 2014 is over.
November 1st, 2012, Thursday: Waking to another blue sky, sunny day in Texas we enjoyed a decent continental breakfast downstairs then went back up the elevator to our room to shower, check email, and get ready to hit the trail.
After a grocery run while in Amarillo, we continued west on I-40 through Texas and into New Mexico! Woot!
West of Santa Rosa we exited onto hwy. 84 towards Las Vegas (we didn't know there was a Las Vegas in New Mexico - did you?) where we missed the turn onto hwy. 518 towards Taos and had to do a little backtracking.
There we started climbing out of the flat grasslands into more mountainous, rocky terrain. Hello trees! We crossed over a couple of passes into Carson National forest where it was a lot cooler.
There were a few glimpses of fall color, but most trees were already bare. We passed Sipapu ski resort area, then started dropping into the Taos valley.
In Talpa we paused to take a photo of the decorated graves, remembering it was the Day of the Dead.
We then turned onto hwy. 68, to Taos.
It was interesting to see so many single story buildings, most in the southwestern adobe style. This route was Taos’s busy, commercial strip - slow going, but soon we pulled into the town center. Finding a free parking lot, we stopped, tucked things away then put on another layer to go explore. It was 4:45ish and we could tell it was going to get cooler as the evening progressed. We wandered through the Taos Inn first, where we were given a tour of one of their unique rooms. It was cozy with a separate sitting area, fireplace, real low ceilings and door frames we had to duck under. We both agreed it’d be a fun place to stay some day.
We walked into a nearby gallery where we chat with a very talkative fellow. He filled us in on the good places to camp and we were happy to hear most campgrounds in NM are free. After some window shopping we went into a cool vintage shop called Horse Feathers. There we met Lindsey, the owner. He was such a friendly fellow, we truly enjoyed our visit with him. He told us his favorite local restaurants to check out while Brad bought a spiffy western shirt. From there we walked up the block amazed by the color as the sunset bathed everything in a soft rosy glow. This is the southwestern light artists rave about! I was enamored, and wanted to start painting immediately, but had to settle for some quick pics with our small point and shoot camera.
Once the sun was down we began to freeze, so we went back to the truck for warmer clothes. Hungry, we took off in search of the Guadalajara Grill, where Lindsey recommended we get the guacamole. We did along with ordering two chili rellenos to share. The guacamole was fabulous - everything is made on site. Delicious salsa too, a bit salty, but not too hot. However the chilies were HOT for me - I’m a wimp! They were quite large so we split them lengthwise and I was happy to see bits of cooked carrots and zucchini in with the cheese. They were tasty, but I liked the guacamole best. As we left we spotted the moon about to rise over the mountains, so I pulled out our telephoto lens and used the top of the truck cab as a tripod to shoot a bunch of photos.
Since we weren’t through exploring Taos we decided to save some money and sleep in the Walmart parking lot. As soon as we bedded down about 9:30ish, almost immediately a street sweeper began to clean the parking lot. Oh joy. It zigged through the lot eventually shaking our truck as it buzzed multiple times past us. We wondered if it was trying to annoy us or trying to hurry and get through for us. Luckily we thought it was kind of comical, but finally it quit and we were able to sleep pretty well.