Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011-07 Santa Fe New Mexico

Santa Fe NM

Campground:  Rodeo Fairgrounds.  $20 full hookup (30 amp service).  Dirt, back in open sites next to the horse and cattle area.  Quiet location and within a short distance to all the big shops, mall, and eateries.

Campground:  Coronado State Monument.  $18.50 with a weekly rate.  Electric/water.  Really nice enclosed Ramada with picnic table.  Paved sites with trees.  Nice vistas from campsites.  Within one block of the Casino and $2.95 breakfast.

I arrived on a Sunday around mid-morning before the heavy winds were about to begin.  There’s snow on the tops of the surrounding mountains and it got down to freezing Sunday evening.  Amazing what a little more elevation will do to the temps.

I had planned on staying at a Cochiti Reservoir campground, but when I arrived, all the electric sites were filled.  Fortunately I had a plan B and headed to the Rodeo Fairgrounds for  a campsite.  Although there are a few commercial campgrounds right in town, they are a tad more expensive.

Santa Fe is called the City Different.  Local Tv stations provide weather for the entire state.  Quickly showing the NE, SE, SW, NW sections making for a blur of temp numbers across the TV screen.  They also provide in depth coverage of the winds which can be as high as 50 to 70 mph.  I remember when I lived in Orlando Fl, the weather included only the Orlando suburbs area to Daytona.  One would have never known that Tampa and the west coast existed by watching the local weather there.

The Rodeo Fairgrounds are close to all the main arteries in town including all the national chain stores and a ton of restaurants.  Of course all the big stores have the look of adobe structures, as it’s a requirement in the city of Santa Fe.  Did you know they paint their window frames and doors turquoise blue to keep out evil spirits.  Both a Spanish and mid-Eastern tradition.

Mid week I went into the heart of town with all it’s historical buildings, capital, churches and art galleries.  In front of the La Fonda Hotel, one of the original Harvey Houses, I joined one of the open air Trolley tours.  Covers 8 miles and lasts 1:15 minutes.  I find it’s a great way to get ones bearings in a new city, learn some of the history and discover places I’d like to go back and explore more in-depth.  Santa Fe has a ton of museums so one could be kept busy all week just going through them.  After the trolley tour, around town, up canyon Road, which has row after row of art studios, I settled on hitting a couple historical adobe churches and the Capital building only blocks from the heart of downtown.

The Loretto Chapel was the first.  Not an adobe chapel, it was done in a French design and run by an order of nuns.  After the chapel was completed without a stairway up to the choir loft, the nuns prayed for someone to come and help them construct one.  After nine days of prayer, a mysterious carpenter appeared and built a free standing spiral stairway.  Without a banister… one was later added as the nuns were scared to climb the stairway without one.   Anyone into architecture will appreciate touring this beautiful little chapel.

The second Chapel I went to was the San Miguel Chapel, said to be the oldest church in the United States. Building began in 1610 of  thick adobe walls.  The Loretto Chapel was to be the center piece of the nuns who were brought here to teach the girls.  San Miguel Chapel became the center for educating the local boys.

Lighting a few candles for those who have died or who currently have aids or cancer, which I always send a prayer  out for as I’m traveling and visiting churches across the country.  You never know when God will pop in and listen to our prayers you know.

I then continue up the hill to the Santa Fe Capital.  Shaped like a round Kiva.  The Santa Fe capital is quite accessible to visitors.  I even walked into the anti room to the Governors office.  She wasn’t in that day.  The capital building has a rotating display of New Mexican art worth well over 5 million dollars.  Art is everywhere on the 4 floors of the capital and well worth wondering around and viewing them.  I’ve previously been to the official State Art Museum and must admit there were more paintings on display in the capital building than in the art museum.

One of the ongoing exhibits is called:  Motels and Motion on the Mother Road:  New Mexico, A people’s survey of Route 66.  A most unique project to capture in pictures, paintings and signage, the culture created along Route 66.  One of the ongoing projects is to use abandoned motel signs to post messages and poetry throughout the stretch of Route 66 going through Albuquerque.  One sign reads:  “I clap for you in my head all the time“.

One of my last stops for the days touring was at a local art gallery in town called Kiva Fine Art.  It’s owned and run by Paula Rhae McDonald.  I had to go in and see if I could take a couple pictures of some of the most dynamic paintings  by the artists Yellowman and Ben Nelson.  A father and son duo portraying the Native American warrior and other subjects.  Modern art displaying the past and present scenes that make up the Wild West.

I was just mesmerized by their paintings.  Paula Rhae besides being a business woman,  is also a musician. And she was kind enough to give me a copy of her music on CD.  You can check her out at: and request songs by Paula Rhae McDonald.  And I might add not a bad image to enjoy as Paula Rhae is quite the Cowgirl looker….
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Finally I’ve traveled back to Albuquerque for a 2nd repair on the water valve regulator.  So now I think the camper is finally all fixed and ready for some good traveling.  But before I head out on my great adventure, I’ve decided to have a hernia operation.  I’ve seen a Dr and surgeon and the surgeon told me I would eventually need it fixed.  Even though I’m feeling much better, it’s best to have it taken care of, like maintenance on the truck.  So I’ll schedule the outpatient surgery next week.  The Dr. told me it should heal in about 5 days and I can be back on the road in 10.

The good news is, I’ll be able to visit with my niece/family and sister Ann during this period.

Note: more photo's on my Picasa web site.
Happy trails to you….

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