Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High Road to Taos

I seem to do a lot of combining business and pleasure. The lure of a free ticket to New Mexico to do some consulting work, turned a business trip into a trip with the family. So as a family, we boarded a plane and went to New Mexico. We actually split up. Ava and I flew on American, while Beth and Halle flew Southwest where we had some vouchers.

As an Army brat we flew a lot over seas. I loved to stare out the window and see the land below. Even today, I am fascinated by what I see below. Look at all those green circles in what would normally be brown desert. The dark black rectangles are, well cow shit. Those are feed lots. Most beef consumed in this country is sent to a feed lot to be fattened up before sent to market. The industry calls it "grain finished" but in reality it is fattening up to increase the hanging weight. The taste difference between grain feed and grass feed is remarkable. I always find it odd that they do this.

This looks like some kind of constellation. It is actually a wind farm. Flying or driving across the country you see a good number of these wind farms. More are being built everyday.

I have no idea what this is. It is big, that is for sure. Ava's guess was bombing target. Any one know? We saw this as we approached Albuquerque where we were united as a family. Our first destination was Taos with a few stops thrown in for good measures.

Like I said, a few stops. The Espanola Stop and Eat is now on the list of "must do's" for New Mexico. You have to go by here if going to Taos from the South. If you follow Google Maps, and are trying to take the High Road to Taos and the directions are missing two crucial turns, you will also go by here. Good thing the directions were wrong...

As you can see, this is a place of great value. Not only are the prices good, but the food is excellent. I highly recommend the green chili cheese burger. Order two, for you will definitely want a second. A local lady gave us directions and even a few pointers for the rest of the journey North. My only regret was we did did not stop again heading back South. It is hard to feed a family of four for under $20, even harder when you want something good. The Espanola Stop and Eat gets a five star rating in my book.

The first place we stopped after lunch was in Chimayo. This is the destination for thousands of pilgrims every year. Many pilgrims come, some on foot, to this little village from all over the world. Many miracles are attributed to El Santuario de Chimayo.

The story goes that a peasant farmer saw a light coming from his field. When he dug in the spot he found a cross. He took the cross to the church a few villages away to give to the priest. When he returned home he found the spot to be emitting an intense light again. In the ground he found the same cross. He repeated his actions and it happened again. He looked at this as a sign to build a church on the spot.

This is oddly the same story of Juan Diego and how the Virgin of Guadalupe presented herself to him. What ever the story, the faithful come. The dirt from the Church is also said to heal the sick in miraculous ways. People leave their testimony of healing and also crutches and prosthetics as thanks. I wish I could have taken some photos in the Church, but all the ones I tried hard to take without being seen, came out so blurry you could not tell a thing. I was trying to break the rules and the Church was not letting me. I have my container of dirt. The dirt is said to heal the sick. I will let you know how well it works. Hopefully I never need it.

We walked around the streets of Chimayo. I found many photo opportunities outside of the Church.

There are many things for the faithful to buy.

I am often inspired by the devotion I witness in stops like this.

We did stock up on some chilies while here. The Caribe chili is grown locally and has an intense flavor.

The High road to Taos offers many photo opportunities. Leave yourself plenty of time to drive slow and take it all in. There is so much to see if you just take your time.

Be sure your tank is full. There are not many gas stations along this stretch of road. I did not run out of gas, but it was an observation.

Life is slower out here. The life style is a little more tied to the land and the natural cycles of things.

After many hours of driving through the mountain roads we got to our friends house in Taos. The adobe wall out front was a welcoming site.

The stiff margaritas that Leslie served up were rather welcoming also. It was nice to be with such close friends again. We always stop by and visit The Kushners when we come to Taos. Unfortunately the visit is often too short.

1 comment:

Wil said...

Guessing here - Alamogordo? Showing my age here, but I vaguely recall aerial photos in Look or Life magazines showing the concentric circles of the perimeter roads of the test site. As the Wikipedia entry says, Alamogordo is "famous for its connection with the Trinity test, the first explosion of a nuclear (atomic) bomb."

Then again, those may be the tracks made by a gimungus irrigation system, now defunct, due to a lack of water.

The imagination stutters at the possibilities.