Diary - Day 11




Jeremy's Pictures

Day 11 Sunday May 22nd Chama NM – Santa Fe NM

Margaret & Philip Parkes

Colin's Picture



After a wonderful evening dinner on Day 10 at the High Country Restaurant we rose promptly to pack up for another exciting run.
Early birds went to Mass at St Patrick’s and excitement in the car park, Morgan running repair workshops in full flow as an Indian Chief from the Hickory Apache Tribe and his cousin Bernadette, arrived in full tribal dress.

What a photo call. The Chief had a very old photo of a relative taken in an old British car and wanted to re live the moment. Unfazed they moved around the vehicles, posed for everyone in and by the cars, relaxed and chatting with the eager MOAers. To be able to see the tribal robes at such close quarters and hear the history of the beadings and tokens was fascinating.


Still full of the Chief’s visit we took the chance of a 30 minute trip up into the Rio Grande National Forest. There amongst pine trees at the mountain snow line a chance to photograph the cars in the snow and on the return journey to visit the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway Depot, housing a fascinating collection of ancient rolling stock. Silently the engines stood the snow shovel and spinner on the front idle, the empty waiting room with cast iron wood fuelled stove silent and cold. Unfortunately, the seasonal trips from New Mexico State Line to Colorado had not commenced.
Back in Chama a return for breakfast, again, at the High Country Restaurant where Chef was on form cooking full breakfast to order - juggling eggs – oops one on the floor – delighted at the unexpected numbers of the night before.
(Just as we were leaving I met a Cliff Palmer of Chama Valley Times a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost & Ford Model A & T owner, but no time for a visit! –Ed)
Back on the road. The Valley of the Rio Chama. Spring was really with us and temperatures warming up 70F(21C). Chalets with their steep snow clad roofs behind us, meadows with new spring grass and buttercups, a mare and foal grazing in the morning air, sweet scents as a blue jay swoops across our path.
On the side of the road a deer, further along a gopher on Morgan watch, bolt upright counting the cars as we all went past. Dramatic scenery through Carson National Forest the many miles of tarmac under our wheels passed by quickly. At Camel Point, yes a rock remarkably resembling a Camel, we really got the hump at the extensive road works, the heat soaring down and as always hoped the radiator stays below boiling.
Through into the capital of New Mexico - Santa Fe (Holy Faith) for our next overnight stop at the splendid Hotel La Fonda.
Santa Fe at 7,000 feet has been coping with around 7 years of drought. The City that moves from winter to summer in two weeks relies on melting snow for their water supply from the mountains and has now had to drill locally for other water.
It felt as though we were in Mexico. The strong Spanish influence adobe pueblo style architecture in deep terracotta was baking in the sun and we became totally absorbed in the incredible atmosphere of the place. A haven for the artist community and full of galleries, so many it would be hard to visit them all in a short trip.
After check in at Hotel La Fonda, go for a swim in the stunning courtyard pool. Relax with a swim, pot of tea and chat with fellow MOAers after the days travel. Ben & Judy Fryrear hosted us with a superb drinks & canapés reception on the rooftop La Terraza Room. It was picturesque viewing the town and its historic major Church and buildings in the evening sun.


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