Day 10, November 8, 2016
Start: Taos, New Mexico
Via: High Road to Taos (in reverse to Santa Fe)
Destination: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Total miles for the day: 198 miles
Total miles from day 1 start: 2718 miles
We had the free breakfast in the hotel and it was actually really good! The coffee, green chili, eggs, PERFECT potatoes, everything was top notch! And everyone was extremely friendly.
The reason we’re here: Taos Pueblos. This village has been around for thousands of years (since 1450 AD they believe) and it hasn’t changed much. What we see today is pretty much what the Spaniards saw when they “found” the land. They had described adobe structures stacked 5-6 stories high. It’s one of the longest standing communities in the US. The homes are made of brick and mortar and then covered with adobe. The outside gets redone every year. There is still no indoor plumbing, running water, or electricity in the village. Their water source is the river which is sourced from the Sagre de Cristo mountains (the village backdrop). One of the major changes over time is the placement of the doors. Originally, the entrance to each room was a square hole in the roof instead of where we see them today. This was done so to prevent intruders. When under attack, they would remove the ladders used to climb into the room. There are about 1,000 people who still live there.
New Mexico is a very artsy place. Taos inspired Georgia O’Keefe so much, she ended up living there for a while. The town also inspired Aldous Huxley when he wrote Brave New World. Marc and I were also inspired. We’re aren’t exactly “art people” but we somehow ended up walking out of Taos Pueblos with a drawing by a local artist, DeAnna Autumn Leaf Suazo. She had a series of Pueblan girls in traditional attire holding modern day items painted with watercolor on original sheet music. It’s an interest commentary on today’s world in traditional Native American culture. “Call Me Irresponsible” was sold to us by her proud father. His passion for her art was probably half the sale. I also just loved the detail, all the colors, and the character – it just makes me happy looking at it!
Rio Grand Gorge
We left Taos Pueblos and went to check out the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. We walked over it and it was insanely high. I don’t understand how they built that bridge at that height. It’s ridiculously scary. I’m not sure how you capture height in photos but here’s the view!
High Road to Taos
And then we were headed down to Santa Fe! Using my hand dandy Southwest USA Lonely Planet, we took the scenic route: High Road to Tao in reverse. Pine trees, meadows, snow capped mountains, rocky mountains, and all this Native American history/culture all on one road. It was beautiful and interesting. A lot of the small towns we passed through looked so run down. Kind of rough witnessing Native American poverty first hand.
The last stop El Santuario de Chimayo, this famous church known as the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in the U.S. It was so peaceful. They had the seven stations of the cross. This church gets visitors from all over the world, so it was little shocking having the conversation: “where are you from..NY… no where are you from… oh how’d you know! California… no no where are you like from you know?” The South never showed their judgment.
Anyway, we made it to Santa Fe and had some great Mexican food. It was around 4:30p when we finished and apparently, everything in Santa Fe closes at 5p! And that’s about when the sun sets too so we really didn’t see much of the city. We briefly walked around the Old Town, appreciated the architecture, and went into the shops and galleries that were still open. They had amazing pottery and art. I’m apparently a huge fan of Southwestern art.
We then drove an hour to Albuquerque where we were staying at a Route 66 motel. Very retro.