Apache Country. First to Ft. Sumner where Billy The Kid is buried-thankfully- We’re on a quest for donuts to go with our coffee and Melrose New Mexico looks likely. Three big cattle trucks are stopped, right on our highway--a pen complete with cowboys there to greet them with a herd to load. We have to pull into the oncoming lane to get around them however. Yep, New Mexico for sure. I don’t know the difference between a mesa and a plateau but we’re seeing short shaved of hills at Taliban Outpost. Taliban?
You’d think they’d change their name.
Now coming into Ft. Sumner I look for a stockade but find only a historical marker, not to be confused with Virginia’s Ft. Sumter of our American Revolution which is where the Star Spangled Banner was written by good old Frances Scott Key. Darrel told me that Key was on board ship as a British prisoner, watching the battle on the shore. Next morning the Stars and Stripes were still standing--but I digress.
Near Santa Rosa we’re getting higher and scenic--no power lines or wind machines or buildings. Just rolling gold and green sagebrush. The beautiful desert still exists! On a hill, Santa Rosa is beautifully spread out and clean. The Pecos River is full, about forty feet across, running deep and south fast. I’m here to tell you this is the best of the historical West. Diesel gas is posted at $3.17 per gallon--or across the street, $2.92 per gallon. The New Mexico freeway overpasses are pieces of Southwestern Indian Art.
Uh oh, now there’s a billboard jungle out here in the middle of nowhere at exit 234 on I-40. What are they thinking? 20 miles of billboards? Maybe if they figure they will group them then the rest of the countryside will be left without them?
Yellow black-eyed-Susans line the road and some cactus have yellow blooms. We plan to stay in Chama, above Santa Fe for a couple of days so I can paint. We’re on the famous old Route 66, feeling mighty restored, surrounded by such nothingness and a beautiful day. The Jemez Mountains are huddled almost beyond our view. But since they’re 3000 feet high I can still see them. The Coyote (trailer) issues have been interesting, though the critter is really comfy. This morning Darrel sprayed some Tinactin on his feet, which set off the smoke alarm. He disconnected the battery to shut it up but it kept on screaming until I turned a fan on it. Then he turned on the heater because it was under 60 degrees this morning, which started the smoke alarm all over again. We’re hard on RV neighbors.
More yellow, this time Goldenrod plants, soft green sage, dry grass, dark green mesquite and red dirt with granite rocks makes the taller hills post-card perfect. I must have Indian blood, I love it so. Visibility has to be about 100 miles. You gotta wonder where the ponds come from out there. We’re approaching Santa Fe but know the Coyote and truck will not fit the old town streets, as we’ve been there before, so we won’t see the best parts this trip.
Lamay, El Dorodo is where I’d live if we moved here. In the hills south of the city. It’s a clear 65 degree Santa Fe Day. We see box adobe homes that look like they’re part of the land set in among mesquite trees. Now we’re going through an Indian Reservation--Tseseque, then Pojoaqise, complete with their casinos. The 84 is a scenic highway for the 80 miles to Chama, New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border. And we agree to read up on the flu shots tonight. We hadn’t gotten them before we left Atlanta.
Albiquin Ghost Ranch sits at 78 degrees and red at the base of the eroded cliffs, then white, then yellow, topped off with stacked stoneshale and a dusting of mesquite--far below at the base is the Chama River, surrounding its length three canyons by cottonwoods and oaks. The cottonwoods are lined with gold as they enter fall. And upward we go over the top of the mesas at the lower end of the Rocky Mountains.
Purple flowers join the goldenrod or wild mustard. There must be something of old Santa Fe here but it’s really hard to find among all the people. Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the U.S. Mini Mt. Rushmore faces peer down at us around every mountain curve. And here’s a historical marker at the end of an amazingly steep climb. Now what could have happened clear up here in Tierra Amarill, New Mexico? The friars must not have known they could go around the steep hills, poor babies.
We just passed through Dulce, New Mexico--my mother’s nick namesake, Dulce, means “sweet” in Spanish. Her twin’s nickname was “Tot” because she couldn’t say “Carlos” when they began to talk at a year old.
Chama is adorable at 7800 feet--a little bitty town with blue flags on the lampposts, flower boxes filled with lavender petunias. I didn’t know petunias came in lavender. The RV park was a knockout after the mudholes of the plains.
Abby found out about bullthorns today. She was not amused even after I pulled it out. I remember those miserable suckers from when I pulled them out of my own feet as a child. It taught me to wear shoes when I was learning to never spit into the wind or pull on Superman’s Cape.
To read more, please visit my blog: http://melodyscott.blogspot.com/
Melody D. Scott | MelodyScott.com