sweetfigs   s w e e t   f i g s


                in pursuit of a fruitful life


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vacationing in the Southwest, Santa Fe to Ruidoso

This is another blog entry written while we lacked consistent internet access.

Another gorgeous day in Santa Fe. We slept in (woohooo, vacation!) and thankfully, D looks almost normal today. Yesterday, when he was hiccupping his way up and down the aisles of the unfamiliar health food store, he turned bright pink and looked so miserable. I hope we’ve seen the last of that.
We get the car loaded up (just call me Muscles) and then set out for a short drive around Santa Fe to get our bearings before we leave. We take the road that rings the oldest part of town, Paseo del Peralta, randomly turn off every now and then to explore the residential neighborhoods, cruise along Canyon Road, where there must be 100? art galleries, and then wend up into the hills, where the homes are further apart. We like all the pretty stucco houses and that we’ve avoided the tourist season, but we don't like the unplowed snow. Some streets are really clogged, and since I don't know my way around, I wind up taking a few bad ones that lead to even worse ones. D’s stomach muscles still hurt from his hernia surgery and I feel bad about jostling him.

On the way back to town we happen upon the very popular Santa Fe Baking Company. If you’re going to Santa Fe, put this place on your list. It’s a bakery-café, and even though it’s in a strip mall, it still manages to be cozy and a little off beat. The walls are brightly painted and filled with really good consigned art work, and there’s a guy playing guitar (it‘s the weekend). Next to a display case which is crammed full and then piled high with cookies, pastries and bread, a line of people wait to place their breakfast orders. We pick out some cookies to stash in the car and sit down to a feast of enormous blue corn pancakes, fresh fruit, poached eggs, pulpy OJ, and rich, dark coffee. This place is a 10.

OK, time’s up! We need to get on the road. No firm schedule, but we’re in northern New Mexico and we want to be down in west Texas by tomorrow night, so we need to drive 4-to-6 hours today. As we head south toward Albuquerque, it occurs to me that some of Santa Fe’s best, like it’s silver jewelry and artwork, have barely been a blip on our radar. Even on vacation, the things we’ve sought out here, like the health food store, bakery café, yoga studio, and massage therapist, are the things we gravitate to back home.

South of Albuquerque, we cross the infamous Rio Grande:P1000409

We get off Interstate 25 and take the smaller roads toward the southeast corner of the state. Gradually the desert and scrub brush give way to grasses.

We stop to admire what's left of an old mission church, the Abo Ruins of the Salinas Pueblo Mission.
If this isn’t enough of the Abo Ruins for you, there’s a big Abo Ruins pool on Flickr.

Back on the road, east of Abo:P1000429

Late in the afternoon we reach Ruidoso, a little town that’s boomed into a ski and snowboard haven with two Indian casinos. We hate it. Ok, maybe not all of it.

We do enjoy a delicious dinner at the Casa Blanca Restaurant, and D gets to have the southwest green chilis that he’s been hankering for.

But our lodging is horrid. We’ve taken a chance by staying at a non-chain, because, no offense to the hard-working people at the Comfort Inn across the street, but we don't want our only hotel option in every town in America to be a Comfort Inn. Good plan, bad execution.

At 6 am we quit trying to sleep in the cold, dirty, noisy, uncomfortable room and just get in the car. I don’t do my morning workout, shower, comb my hair, or even brush my teeth. I just get dressed, load the car, and turn the key.

It’s a shame that we don’t want to stay in Ruidoso long enough to check out what appears to be the perfect spot for some alpaca lace weight yarn, the Royal Fiber Spinnery. I also noticed a real cute quilt shop that might have been fun.

The silver lining to a crack-of-dawn departure is that we’ll have plenty of time to get to west Texas by tonight.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking us along on the trip, R. I've never been to the Southwest before, except briefly in Arizona. I don't usually associate NM with skiing. My ignorance showing :o)

Anyway, Ruidoso means noisy. Too bad the Comfort Inn did not disappoint, though it sounds like the minor low point in an otherwise terrific trip thus far.

2:43 PM  

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