Day 3, Oct 3, 2013 – Another short drive. This time, from Santa Fe to Taos. The latter is one of the famed ski resort areas in the country. Not so on Oct 3. Thursday was a warm and sunny day, with temperatures in the 70s F (except at higher elevations (over 9,000 ft) where they dropped to around 60F). Everything was sparkling. Colors were beautiful. And the bonus of the day’s trip was that I discovered another Eagle’s Nest! (above – more on that later).
On our way to Taos, we talked about seemingly endless construction that’s taking place on New Mexico highways and interstates. Every so many miles, there would be another road building side, another delay in traffic.
Something else we’ve noticed that sets this state apart is casinos. Move over Las Vegas, here comes New Mexico (in fact, there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico, too – on the I-40 north of Albuquerque). Every little (Indian) tribe seems to have built a casino on their land. Wikipedia lists 27 casinos in New Mexico. Based on what we have seen, that’s only a partial list.
“We have seen more casinos than gas stations on this road,” I said to Elizabeth at one point during our drive from Tamaya to Taos.
They do bring jobs, money for school and health care on reservations, we are told. But also corruption. Money always does. And pollution. We walked into one of the casinos in Tamaya areas looking for a restroom. It stank of smoke to high heaven. Worse than a tobacco factory. I could not wait to get out even without getting to a restroom. And then, I felt like taking off my shirt and washing it right away to get out the stink. And then my hair, too. Yuck!
Once in Taos, we started out our tour of the area with a short visit to the town’s main square. That’s where I learned some fascinating historical facts while Elizabeth was looking at some shops.
Did you know, for example, that the Europeans arrived here less than 50 years after Columbus discovered America? [I just realized I am writing this on Columbus Day 🙂 ]. That’s long before the British colonists’ arrival at Jamestown, Virginia (founded 1607, briefly abandoned in 1610), not to mention other settlements which came later.
Elizabeth benefited from our brief visit to Taos because I happen to find a fur hat for her that matched perfectly a Siberian fur coat I bought her in Constantinople (Istanbul) from a Russian fur dealer. She is modeling it in the above right picture, the warm weather notwithstanding. 🙂 I benefited from a cup of coffee. And then we hit the road (see the map below).
Even before we left town, we came across these three equine travelers. And the trees along the side of the road hinted of things yet to come when we hit the mountains.
The scenery was beautiful and the drive enjoyable. Except when we got to a 9,000 ft level pass which made Elizabeth feel a little lightheaded. But I reminded her that we had gone to the top of Haleakala volcano back in Maui in our open Jeep and she had no problems with altitude there (over 10,000 ft). She seemed to feel better right after that. 🙂
In her former life, Elizabeth had lived in Albuquerque briefly with her family. They even owned a piece of property outside of Taos. So this was a familiar terrain for her. Not for me. I have been to Santa Fe several times before, but this was my first ever visit to Taos and vicinity. So I was quite surprised when Elizabeth started to talk to me about Eagle’s Nest here. Looking at the map, I saw that we were heading that way.
Once we got to Eagle’s Nest, of course, we had to stop and get some souvenirs. So we could wear them at Eagle’s Nest in Scottsdale, Arizona – the name of our home here.
The drive from Eagle’s Nest back to Taos via Bobcat Pass and Red River was particularly scenic. Check out this composite picture, for example.
We made it back to Taos in the nick of time. Elizabeth had her taste buds set on Michael’s Kitchen, her favorite restaurant in town. And we had made it there just before 2:30 PM, the time they close daily.
That was our only real meal of the day. That evening, we drove back to Santa Fe to attend the concert performance given by the Hungarian State Dance Ensemble. So we knew we would not have time for dinner.
The concert was great. The group was very energetic. It seemed that the Hungarian rhythms come in only two varieties: fast and faster. 🙂 Once gets exhausted just watching them.