Santa Fe

Cross of the Martyrs, Overlooking Santa Fe

23rd June – 284 miles from Amarillo, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Another long stint took us to Santa Fe, with the flat plains of Texas gradually giving way to the mountainous terrain of New Mexico. The lowest point in the entire state is over 2800 feet above sea level, and a gradual climb took us up to Santa Fe itself, at over 7000 feet.

Downtown Santa Fe. Photo by Spencer

We checked in early to a motel on the outskirts, and set off to explore. Santa Fe was a pleasant town, small enough to be walkable, and the distinctive adobe brick architecture gave it a feel unlike anywhere else that we’d seen. It was very hot, and very bright in the harsh sunlight. The centre of Santa Fe has a park called the Plaza, surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants, and we found a shady spot outside of a cafe to watch the world go by with cold drinks.

The Ore House Bar and Restaurant, Santa Fe

After returning to the room to freshen up, we headed back to eat on the balcony of the Ore House restaurant and bar, overlooking the Plaza and enjoying the evening light. Our waitress was from the UK, and was working in the restaurant while camping in some nearby woods on a roadtrip with her American partner, a much more adventurous trip than our own!

Coincidentally, Bill Bryson drank in the same bar on his visit to Santa Fe in his book “The Lost Continent”, where he described getting rather drunk because the thin mountain air increases the effect of the alcohol. There had, in fact, been a sign in our motel room warning us of that very fact, so clearly it’s a common problem for visitors. Perhaps that’s why we chose a basement bar for the remainder of the evening, where we played pool with some locals and drank several bottles of an excellent local micro brew beer.

24th June – 287 miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Pueblo, Colorado

San Miguel Chapel, Santa Fe

The effects of the beer at altitude took more of a toll on Spencer than on me, but I was still feeling a little shaky the next morning. While Spencer tried to sleep off the worst of his hangover, I took the alternative approach of fresh air, and went out for a walk. I eventually made my way up to a viewpoint overlooking the town, and even early in the morning the light was intense and every shot looked like it had been taken with a polarising filter.

Miniature Golf outside of Taos

Leaving town, we headed north towards Taos. En route, we found a miniature golf course to the side of the road and seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We had both recovered enough for a game, and we couldn’t resist the novelty. It wasn’t crazy golf, but instead was a heavily undulating test of putting with real sand and water in the hazards.

Heading into Colorado

We continued north to Pueblo, Colorado, with the mountainous scenery growing greener as we left the desert behind for the Rocky Mountains. After the night before, we both needed a quieter evening, and we took the opportunity for a much needed visit to a launderette.

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