cars today – Arthur Edge and Andrew Duncan
Warning that Hotel la Fonda had jinxed our credit cards and they would be
rejected – Ken went on to say that he had plenty of credit on his – enough
to buy a new Morgan!
Warning of thunderstorms and flash floods
Left Santa Fe on a country road past Ben & Judy Fryrear’s last house,
onwards to Pojoaque and Santuario. At Chimayo most MOAers visited a Mission
with what is said to be Holy Soil (we gather that Ken was highly amused to
see it transported on site by wheelbarrow)! Most people were suitably
impressed – we actually missed the spectacle.
We drove on through lush valleys with cicadas chirping loudly; there were
several shrines high on the hillside and a plethora of weavers and artists
advertising their wares. The houses in Chimayo had corrugated roofs and we
noticed that there were fewer mobile homes.
The scenery soon changed to a rocky moonscape with snow on the mountains
(several striking peaks amongst them Wheeler 13161 feet Baldy 12441) as we
arrived in Taos, a real tourist spot. Here we visited the Kit Carson Museum
where the guide was a descendant of his third wife and told the story of the
famous man just as it was. On the crossroads stood a popular figure of an
aging hippy and his trusty bicycle, dressed overall in flowing “flower
power” garb, long hair intermingled with his beard and “blessing” us all
with the two fingered sign of “Peace” – at least I think that’s what it was!
A couple of miles outside the town stood the famous Taos Pueblo; considered
to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA; entrance fee
$10 each and $5 for the camera! It was worth it to see the largest pueblo I
have ever seen and, as one who visits mainland Spain regularly, what a real
pueblo is! We walked around taking many photographs, particularly of the
church which was spectacular in its simplicity and is a registered National
Historic Landmark; with fine carved wooden beams or Vigas and a choir loft.
The central alter figure or Santo is the Virgin Mary wearing a pink nylon
The two main structures of the Pueblo are called Hlaauma / North House and
Hlaukkwima / South House. These structures are said to be well over 1000
years old. We saw how the bricks were made of adobe. Adobe is earth, straw
and water mixed and poured into forms ready to be baked in the sun. Later
they are stacked and bonded together using the same adobe mixture. In early
times the entrance was by ladder through the rooftop; today they use
doorways although the ladders are still present. We chatted to an Indian
woman who was most interesting and gave us a personal insight into what her
life is like there and how much she missed her children who have moved away.
We also bought some of her unique jewellery and gifts.
There was just time to visit the Rio Grande Gorge; one of the highest
suspension bridges in USA. Both sides of the road leading to the gorge were
huge fields of fragrant sage and we parked alongside a couple of stalls
selling local wares. The gorge itself is 650 ft deep and Golden Eagles are
said to nest in the cliffs. The eagles were notable by their absence but we
did see people rafting on the river below as we stood trying to keep our
camera still as the bridge juddered to the rhythm of the trucks crossing
just a few feet away. There was a stretch of excellent high plains motoring
R64 Cimarron to Raton
Our arrival in Raton ( pronounced Ray-tone) was heralded by a huge street
sign reading “Raton welcomes Morgans over America”. We were greeted with a
complementary buffet provided by the hotel and also greeted by the
mosquitoes! There was the usual stampede for the washing machine at the
Holiday Inn Express! Some had an early night whilst the usual crowd nipped
into town for a noggin.