Diary - Day 13




Jeremy's Pictures

Day 13 Tuesday May 24th Santa Fe NM – Raton NM

Pauline & Peter Camm

Colin's Picture



Minus 2 cars today – Arthur Edge and Andrew Duncan
Drivers’ Meeting
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 lace frock.
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.

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