Thursday, October 11, 2018
A long day homeward bound
On Tuesday, Miss D. and I headed for Cimarron, NM, about three hours from Cañon City, CO. It was an interesting drive, to put it mildly! We started off with low gray skies, mist on the road, and a fair amount of drizzle, sometimes turning into light rain. By the time we reached Raton Pass, the weather had turned thoroughly nasty. This picture, taken by Miss D. during one of the clearer intervals, doesn't show the full vision-dimming effects of wind-driven snow and sleet, but they made driving difficult. I was glad we have stability control on our new-to-us vehicle. The road conditions and blustery winds were bad enough to need it.
We wended our way carefully down the pass, and emerged from the snow and sleet at a lower elevation, very glad to be out of them.
We arrived at the historic St. James Hotel in Cimarron by midday. It's worth a full review of its own, which I'll post later this morning. In this post, I'll concentrate on our activities in New Mexico and our homeward journey. After checking in, we dropped most of our bags in our room and decided to head for Taos, an historic town in New Mexico that's become famous as a center for artists and writers. It's only about 55 miles between the towns, but it took us almost an hour and a half each way, thanks to very twisty, narrow roads through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The scenery was beautiful, as the full colors of autumn were on display. Miss D. snapped this picture through the windscreen as we came around a sharp bend. It's a bit blurry, but shows you what the aspen trees of the Rocky Mountain region look like at this time of year. They were all around us.
Taos is fascinating, but the traffic is absolutely crazy. The town was established during the period of Spanish colonization, long before the USA took ownership of the region after the Mexican-American War, and its streets reflect that era - wide enough for horses and carts, but nowhere near wide enough for the volume of motorized traffic now using them, let alone bigger vehicles like RV's and buses. It took forever to get through choked intersections and find a parking space, which was priced at levels more appropriate to the business district of a major city than to a small country town. I was not happy.
Be that as it may, we were able to visit a few art galleries, and found several paintings that interested us. Unfortunately, our budget didn't run to buying any, but it's clear that Taos' reputation as an artist's center is fully justified. I found this one, "Heritage: Taos Pueblo" by Richard Alan Nichols, to be a real inspiration as an author. I reckon I could write two or three full chapters of a novel, based on what's depicted in it. Fascinating! Click the image for a larger view.
Sadly, priced at $15,000, there's absolutely no way it will ever adorn my walls! My thanks to the gallery owner for allowing me to take a picture of it, and giving me permission to display it on this blog.
Many of the buildings were original structures, in adobe that's been repaired and repainted many, many times over the centuries. Kit Carson's house may still be visited, and the sites of many historic events have been preserved. (Miss D. and I had to laugh as we passed the Martyrs Steakhouse, named [presumably] for the victims of the Taos Revolt of 1847. I couldn't help asking, "Does that mean they serve real medium-rare martyrs?" Sometimes our sense of humor is perhaps a bit near the bone, but when you've lived through a lot, you tend to get that way . . . )
Time pressed, so we headed back to Cimarron and our hotel. Miss D. was feeling very under the weather, the result of too long at altitude, so we had a quick meal and then went to bed.
We left Cimarron early on Wednesday morning, and headed homeward. We broke our journey at Amarillo to have lunch with Alma Boykin, then went on, enjoying the (much) thicker, more breathable air at lower altitudes. After a long nine hours in the car, we arrived home by late afternoon, to joyful greetings from the cats. (Why does drooling over one's arm, while puncturing one's skin with its kneading claws, count as "joyful" in a cat?) We were both pretty worn out after ten days on the road, so we slept well last night.
It's good to be home. My thanks to all of you who said a prayer for our traveling safety.