Day 18: Friday, May 17, 2013
Start: Tucumcari, NM
End: Santa Fe, NM
Miles Driven: 201
Total Miles: 3,053
Today’s voyage was more Interstate than back roads, but we made a couple of side trips off the Mother Rode that made the travels very worthwhile. Much of Route 66 is either impassable, rough road or under I-40 from Tucumcari to Santa Rosa. So, first thing out, we sped down I-40 near the speed limit. We reached Santa Rosa and drove around the downtown area…not much to see so we moseyed on.
Along the way, we paced a freight train. For whatever reason, in this setting, even a train is dramatic!
We soon came to the Highway 84 (Route 66) turnoff towards Santa Fe. It was a long, straight highway with little traffic and dramatic views of mesas and desert. We loved it! We reached I-25–our turn-off to Santa Fe–but instead of heading South towards Santa Fe, we decided to go a bit North to visit Las Vegas. No, there isn’t a casino or glittering signs. It’s a small town of less than 15,000 people. Established in 1835, it’s the ‘original’ Las Vegas.
Our route today also put us on the Santa Fe Trail (I-25, today) as well as the Old Pecos Trail (in Santa Fe). We were just steeped in history today!!
We really liked Las Vegas. It was a charming little town. We walked around the town square, and voila! There was a quilt shop! The ThreadBear Quilt Shop is owned by Ann & Michael Siewert. However, today, a nice lady, Martha, was there to chat (and sell me fabric, of course!). When I was getting ready to leave, Tom came in with the pups. Of course, Martha swooned over them. It turns out that she had Dachshunds when she was growing up.
Las Vegas was a satisfying stop. We got our fix of small town America and sweet people (Tom chatted with a guy while I was in the quilt shop). We then hit the open road again. While I-25 was speedy, it was still magnificently beautiful. It was a far cry from the Texas Panhandle. When we were experiencing our open road driving the Panhandle yesterday, it was a dry and desolate drive. Tom said to me, “Hey, there’s oncoming traffic!” I looked down the road and said, “It’s a building, honey.” Today’s drive was a bit more…picturesque. 🙂
Driving up I-25, I noticed a big green space on my GPS. It turned out to be the Pecos National Historic Forest. We decided to make a second side-trip to take a look-see, and we’re very glad we did. We stopped in the Visitor’s Center where Tom was able to use his National Parks Senior Pass and get us in for free (WHEEEE!). We learned that there had been a huge Pueblo here, now in ruins. We watched the short film describing the history of the Pueblo and then went out to see the ruins of the Church that was built by the Franciscan Monks to try to ‘save’ these doomed pagans. Fascinating stuff!
We got back on the road and headed for our destination for the next few nights, Santa Fe. We booked a room at the Eldorado Hotel and Spa in the heart of Old Santa Fe. We’re just a block from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum! While the location is nice and the room is comfortable, I have to say that we had MUCH better and FRIENDLIER service at the Drury Hotels. I am not really impressed by the lack of staff here and the cold, rather snooty service. However, I am looking forward to exploring Santa Fe and to my Spa treatment on Sunday! 🙂
As usual, the pups have made themselves at home here in Santa Fe. Juliet continues to amaze us with her change in demeanor and her real progress in socialization. She’s finally becoming less timid and is more willing to explore and greet other dogs.
We had a nice dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe–just a light dinner of soup and salad tonight. We plan on hitting Tia Sophia’s for breakfast tomorrow and going museum hopping! I also found a REAL rubber stamp store about a block away. I haven’t seen one of those in years!
We plan on staying in Santa Fe until Monday. It will be fun exploring this town and tasting the lively cuisine here!