A long strange trip

Man, the drive from Albuquerque to Breckenridge…It was a journey that started in a flat rocky desert sporadically dotted with cactus. We then traveled down an impossibly straight road that grew into greener sections of America with gentle rolling mountains. The final stage passing through Hoosier Pass at 11,000 feet traveling between giant imposing mountains, a series of steep Rocky Mountains that stand well over 14,000 feet ¬†called the Collegiate Mountains.

God, I loved it all. I loved being stuck behind an old pickup truck that had a Sheep Dog in the bed, no tailgate, no problem.

I loved the generous staff at a restaurant in  Alamosa. At the end of the meal they insisted we try their sopapillas free of charge.

There was a rain storm that loomed on the horizon about 50 miles away, I loved inching along until we were immersed in gray and purple.

Near the town of Crestone (which seems like a fascinating place, but we had no time to stop), we heard the DJ on the only radio station talk about getting out on that weekend to the alien observatory and watch UFOs. He knows they are out there and that someday he will be proven to be correct, he knows this is certain.

I loved driving through South Park, which is where the TV cartoon is based. A quirky place!

We saw cowboys and hippies. We saw a lady hitchhiker with dreadlocks get picked up and rode along in the bed of a pickup. We saw a man on a bicycle miles from anywhere.

It was an amazing trip, but we may have did a little too much. Jaclyn has already revoked my vacation planning privileges for 2017 and mandated that next year we will be relaxing on a beach.

 

 

Day 5 – Santa Fe & Albuquerque

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Santa Fe is a town rich in nooks and crannies, little alleys worth exploring, tiny shops with objects ranging from cheap to expensive, all equally interesting. We had done little shopping on our trip until Santa Fe, but we made up for lost time by purchasing wares from street vendors. It was not all about the shopping, they take their food and drinks seriously and I could have spent a lot more time in this city.

There was one dreadful encounter and one remarkable site that I would like to recap. The dreadful was when Winston needed to use a bathroom and so we went into this galleria and found a public restroom. As we stepped inside and headed to a stall, a nasty dog poked his head out from under the stall and produced a vicious growl, warning us to use a different bathroom. We complied and headed elsewhere. This experience was the only negative thing that we saw in Santa Fe, the positives far outweighed the negatives, but it was startling!

The remarkable experience was the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. The story goes that the chapel was built incorrectly so that the second floor was inaccessible. The reason the second floor was inaccessible was because the church was not long and the second floor was very high up, so a traditional staircase would not work. They considered destroying the second floor and rebuilding so a traditional staircase would work, but they had little funds and decided to wait in hopes a better solution emerged. On the last day of their hold out, a poor man on a donkey came and said he would build a staircase for free. He built it with nothing but a hammer, t-square, and saw. He was often seen soaking wood in buckets of water. Upon completion, he disappeared. He made the most incredible spiral staircase out of wood. A fun fact about the staircase is that it did not have a banister for the first two years, it was eventually added as the nuns were so scared that they would slide down on their behinds.

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One more interesting story about Santa Fe, I will let the pictures do the talking. It is important to note that we met many Native Americans in Santa Fe who were selling their merchandise on the streets and in shops, so their culture is very represented in this town. It is also worth noting that they were all generous and friendly merchants and our experiences with them were very positive and enlightening.

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We left Santa Fe and headed to Albuquerque. We were going to visit Jaclyn’s relatives who live out here and tell them all about our pilgrimage. They had visited us out east before about 7 years ago, the kids were small and now tall with wonderful accomplishments to report. It was wonderful catching up with them all and learning more about places they live.

Before meeting up with family, I decided to take the kids on a tram to Sandia Peak. Jaclyn and the kids had never been on a tram.

Jaclyn was very scared. She told me later, “I initially thought about telling you that I refused to go, but I thought, maybe I will forever be disappointed or wonder if I maybe would have actually liked it, so I decided to go. I now know that I did not like the experience.” The kids loved it, I loved it, and the views were spectacular. Nothing like a tram ride, there’s a good one in Palm Springs, California, but they say this one in Albuquerque is the nation’s longest.

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