Monday, January 17, 2005

On The Road

Well I got back on Sat. 15th around 6:45pm, and was pretty tired from the trip, so no postings until tonight, Mon. 17th. As to the trip itself, it turned out to be quite an adventure, and fun overall. On Wednesday I left in spotty winter weather, and did ok until right before Walsenburg, where I slid sideways off the road and into a snow drift. The front wheels of the car sank into snow and soft dirt, and the front wheel drive would not gain any traction in the loose dirt and snow. I messed with this for a short while, and a snow plow eventually made a second run next to my vehicle, and the operator saved my hide by pulling me out of the predicament with the snow plow. I was stuck probably only a little over 30 minutes, fortunately. I continued on after an hour delay in Walsenburg due to weather and accidents, toward Alamosa, through La Veta Pass, another very treacherous stretch, where I saw an overturned big rig on the side of the road. After crawling blindly through fog and snow in the pass, I came out at Ft. Gardener, and then Alamosa shortly thereafter, an 8 hour drive that should have taken 5 hours at the most in good weather.
The next day I left around 9:30 am for Santa Fe, heading through Antonito, Las Mesitas, another mountain pass, and coming out at Chama, NM at 11:30am, where I ate some great chorizo and eggs at Viva Vera's. Then it was on to Dulce, NM, the center of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and reservation (which I'll say much more on tomorrow). This was a major part of the trip, so more in depth commentary will follow on this. After Dulce, it seemed logical to me to head south, which I did. Not having a good map, and stopping on the side of the road in the great expanse of the Jicarilla reservation to asked a parked Indian women for directions, I found that although I could still proceed on to Santa Fe, another route out of Dulce would probably have been more ideal. Oh well, I got to see the entire length of the reservation, a great undeveloped expanse, where I also saw a dead coyote on the road shoulder (with an intact head but only a rib cage in the middle of the body, with the animal on its back facing upward - spooky!), as well as a bald eagle rising into the air from the side of the road, dropping perhaps a dead raven from its long talons. I arrived in Santa Fe around 6 pm, another day of long driving. Ate at Lotaburger (got the cup still to prove it), and left the next day about 10:30am for San Luis, CO, first stopping at the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico, a traditional family stop at a Spanish Catholic shrine of sorts, then on through Taos, Questa, Costilla, then San Luis. In San Luis I went to the Stations of the Cross, famous bronze statuary of the Stations that go up a hill (which I climbed/hiked), culminating in the Cross and a church (closed)at the top. This was a wonderful, snowcapped, experience, which I captured in photos. That evening I ate at Mrs. Rios Mexican-American Restaurant in San Luis, great food served by whom I presumed to be Mr. Rios, the only person I saw there, besides myself. From there, a dusk to darkness drive back to Alamosa, through Manassa (home of Jack Dempsey, the Manassa Mauler).
The last day of the trip, Saurday, I left Alamosa around 10:30am again for the Great Sand Dunes, which were completely covered with snow, as expected. I spent several hours here, climbed the top of a dune (a personal goal denied to me in childhood), and snapped some decent pictures. This was also a wonderful experience, with very few people around (who looked like little spots climbing other dunes), leaving a sense of personal communion with the natural, silent beauty of the area. From here, it was on to Walsenburg through La Veta Pass again (ate quickly at Carl Jr.'s in Walsenburg), and then on to Denver, all in great weather, where I arrived around 6:45 pm, just in time to see the Tsunami Aid concert, with my favorites Norah Jones and Sara McLachlan. All in all, a great, interesting, informative trip, with more as to my Dulce experiences in the next posting.


Post a Comment

<< Home