..........A little blog about the little things in life..........

Monday, October 18, 2010

On The Road Again (Part 3) - South to Santa Fe

Our destination now is Santa Fe, and we're taking our time getting there.  Spent some time in Castle Rock checking out golf courses, the town, etc., and drove around Pueblo a bit.  Our destination for Monday night is Alamosa, Colorado in the San Luis Valley.  I made Tom stop in Walsenburg to check out a bead shop and the car battery died!  Bad luck.  But, we were only 1/2 block from a garage and auto store and we had a new battery installed in less than 30 minutes!  Good luck!  Considering where it could have died (miles from nowhere in the mountains) - even better luck!

Our new BFF installed our battery in a jiffy and we were on our way toward Alamosa.  (The white dog watched the whole procedure from inside the bead shop!)

Highway 160 climbs over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and we finally were able to see some colorful aspens as we made our way over LaVeta Pass (9413 feet). 

It's been years since I've been in Alamosa and I was pleasantly surprised - lots of interesting restaurants and stores and a very cute "downtown".  Alamosa is in the San Luis Valley surrounded by mountains - lots of agriculture in the valley - famous for their potatoes.  There is a college there (Adams State College), a golf course, and The Great Sand Dune National Park is about 30 miles northeast, and there are several wildlife refuges nearby where flocks of sandhill cranes, geese, ducks, whopping cranes, etc. visit on their yearly migrations.  We drove out to a refuge near Alamosa the next morning in hopes of spotting some sandhill cranes, but only saw Canadian geese, ducks and a lone hawk! 

Leaving Alamosa we took 285 south to New Mexico, and wouldn't you know it - we hit a traffic jam!  So annoying!

Moo-ving on, we soon came to the little town of Antonito, where the eastern terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad begins (or ends).  It's America's highest and longest narrow guage scenic railroad and travels between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. 

I "borrowed" this photo from their website.

We crossed over into New Mexico, enjoying the vistas, while keeping our eyes open for a place for lunch. 

After driving many miles without a town, we finally came into the little village of Ojo Caliente (which means "hot eye" in spanish).  It is well know for it's mineral hot springs, but we by-passed the springs for a stuffed sopapilla at a small restaurant in the very small village.  And they just happened to be right next door to a small shop that had Indian jewelry - Charlie found a very interesting turquoise piece. 

On the road after lunch - our destination the little village of Chimayo where we wanted to get our supply of red chilie flakes.  Chimayo was founded in the 17th century by Spanish settlers and is famous for weaving, red chilies and fruit orchards.  Traditional Hispanic and Tewa Indian arts include wood carvings, paintings of saints on retablos and bultos (sculptures) and tin working.  But the reason so many travellers come to Chimayo is el Santuario de Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas - a small chapel which is known for it's "holy dirt" which supposedly can cure ailments.  Whether you believe or not, it's a beautiful spot!  We left with no holy dirt, but a bag full of crushed dried chilies for Tom's green chilie stew!!

On to Santa Fe and the conclusion of Part 3 of our Road Trip. 

Coming up - One day in Santa Fe.

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