Our brief stay in Taos was probably my favorite part of our trip. Well except for the White Sands… and the Sandstone Cliffs (coming up in the next post)… and Santa Fe… obviously I have issues choosing favorites. Taos was something special though. It’s the type of place you immediately feel at home and welcome in. Artsy, but not pretentious. My one wish is that we could’ve stayed just even another night here.
Upon reflection Taos and the days either side of that visit were definitely my favorite of the trip. For me it was different enough terrain to give me a permanent rubber neck while driving and trying to take everything in.
I also experience one of the most beautiful lightning storms ever! And that’s saying a lot since I’ve seen some stunners. It was right over the top of use though and the colors were just shocking. We had to abort our late night photo shoot due to hail but that made it even more of a memorable night.
After this I think I have one more New Mexico Road Trip post in me. It’s been difficult weeding through all the photos and having to choose favorites. And just LOOK at that storm! I was hiding beside the car while taking this, trying to keep my camera at least a little dry, but Jillian couldn’t help but run out and chase it.
I know it maybe seems like an excessive amount of old gas tanks but I just couldn’t get enough of the old rusty colors. Plus, when do you ever see so many together like this?!
I had originally planned on splitting this post into two parts but I just didn’t want to break up the images! I lump my experiences together by region so it just seemed odd to try and separate these out.
Santa Fe is a kind of assault of colors on the eyes. It was a constant OH! Let’s go there! Let’s see THAT! We HAVE to stop there!
We stayed two nights in Santa Fe which is the longest of any area that week. Partly because we were just tired of driving for hours in that little car another day in a row but also, there was just SO much to see. Did I hear a statistic (I love stats) that Santa Fe has the most art galleries per square foot than any other area? I think that’s for real but I’ll double check that. It definitely felt like that!
Santa Fe is also home to my favorite thrift shop ever now. It was fantastic enough that upon seeing the storefront, we became so excited that we dashed out of the car without dropping some change in the meter. Yes, I received a parking ticket, and Jillian happily paid half the sum of $16. I think she just felt sorry for me though since I’d already incurred the speeding ticket a few days before. I indulged in a nice margarita directly after to help me forget!
Santa Fe felt like there was something around every corner that would be new and exciting to take photos of. And did I mention the colors?! Ha… I think I did.
I also heard some of the best DJ mixing ever. Walking along the streets we were drawn into the cutest little cafe by the rhythmic beat. Out on the veranda there were only a few patrons enjoying the music so we thought we’d stay awhile… or a few hours. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect and I have one of the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted. Sublime.
We decided to try to boy race later that night, since they seemed to think we couldn’t hang, us in our cute little barbie car blasting Ace of Base. Okay okay- so I didn’t beat them. My excuse is that I genuinely thought an officer was pulling up behind me and I was going to do nothing but obey the law in the strictest sense as I didn’t want another ticket! So I lost them but it was fun nonetheless. Ellie Goulding sang us back to our hotel but not before coming to a screeching halt to take a photo of that beautiful Mary Sculpture in front of the old mission style church. She was something to behold at that time of night. She’s bigger than you think.. maybe 10 or 12 ft tall.
I had an amazing time in this lovely city and will definitely visit again sometime. Hopefully with a pocketful of cash, because it is rather pricy and there are so many beautiful things. I’d probably spend it all in a particular store and warehouse made up entirely of reclaimed materials. I nearly lost myself.
After typing Albuquerque into Google and my maps program a bazillion times I think I finally have the spelling down. Jillian and I arrived late to the city (as always because we would end up distracted by whatever we would find along the way) and although we were quite tired we made the decision to go find these famous neon Albuquerque lights. Let me preface this by saying it was probably around 1am and this was post- white sands, so my eyes were dying and I was in glasses. We had no idea what nightlife in Albuquerque was like but did notice groups of people walking the streets so we felt safe(ish) and we were tired to the bone, but we were here so – again – what the hell!
We walked a couple blocks and immediately realized we were slightly out of place. Raggedy pony tails, casual clothing and camera packs. We stuck out a bit. When we arrived, we were told they close down Central every Friday and Saturday night to stop the drive-by traffic. I’ve traveled quite a bit and experienced all different sorts of nightlife but Albuquerque… well, it felt a bit… aggressive. It wasn’t that I was made to feel uncomfortable in any way; no cat calls, no pestering by large groups of guys waiting to get into the various clubs. It was just an overall feeling that tangibly hit you when you walked along those few blocks. We wandered around a bit, taking photos along the way, and maybe stayed out an hour but arrived back at our hotel on edge and energized. It was a decidedly odd downtown area at night.
The next morning we woke up late to the sound of the banging on our door by housekeeping. It was 11am and it took a few minutes to figure out when checkout was. Thank goodness for 12pm checkouts! We tried walking to the historic district but aborted that decision about halfway there since it was SO HOT! I’m a desert dweller and handle quite extreme heat but we’re not stupid enough to do too much in it! Why I thought it was a good idea to walk a couple miles in 95 degree heat with humidity is beyond me, but I’m thankful we turned back. We experienced our second-worst Mexican food meal of the trip (and probably ever). It shouldn’t be this hard to find good tacos in New Mexico! Other than that, the historic district was lovely and quaint with lots of great shops to peruse. My goal for this trip was to purchase a hat and wallet. I succeeded in purchasing neither but thoroughly enjoyed myself nevertheless. I love how a conversation started every single time we entered into a new little shop. People were extremely friendly and enjoyed sharing travel stories.
The night before we had noticed a little coffee shop that we wanted to try the next day. We headed there right after we got some shopping out of our systems. Not only was the coffee pretty great but the owner was extremely sweet and helpful in recommending places to visit in both Santa Fe and Taos. We explained to him our Mexican food disappointment thus far and he listed a few restaurants where we could hopefully get our fix. He made an impression and was nice enough to let me photograph him. I forget him name (I’m sure Jillian has it jotted down on her handy dandy notebook somewhere) but no matter. I won’t forget the experience.
Breaking Bad friends will understand the significance of the Dog House!
Sometimes you need to step out of your normal everyday life to feel inspired again. Sometimes that just means taking a different road to work or starting a random conversation at a diner with someone you’ve never met. Sometimes you have to step into something that shocks your senses.
The White Sands National Monument shocked the senses for me!
This road trip was a great inspiration. At first New Mexico doesn’t seem all that different. The terrain is often very similar to a good portion of Arizona. The heat was definitely the same when we arrived! The newness of the area, though, the unknown roads, cause you to take another look. The subtle differences started to flood into my consciousness!
And then there’s this place.
While chatting to the man who was working on the Roadrunner Sculpture I mentioned in THIS post, I asked him about the White Sands National Monument… was it worth visiting? We received a resounding YES. The next question was… what if it’s windy? Should we visit if it’s windy? Umm, that could be difficult.
Over coffee in Las Cruces I checked the weather and it was definitely going to be windy, but we decided what the hell! We’re here. The white sands looked amazing and who could resist the urge not to photograph them? Definitely not us.
You could see where the dunes were located miles and miles before you arrived at the entrance to the park due to the huge white dust cloud seen in the distance. We hesitated momentarily and considered another route. I actually hate the wind. Loathe it. Often, on windy days I refer to stories about wind so strong and lasting so long that it drove people insane.
The wind was enough to nearly topple me over. My legs were thoroughly wind blasted. I was unable to wear contacts for almost a whole day after this short visit. But it was SO worth it. I’ve never seen such blindingly white sand. If anything, the wind made the experience even more epic. Who wants to take an easy photograph? Stepping out of our little convertible on a beautifully calm day certainly would’ve been easier, but I feel like I earned these photos. We arrived in the harsh, glaring, early afternoon sun and got to work and by work I mean having the most fun ever!
Once I visit a place I’m usually pretty satisfied. I don’t need to visit again especially since I have quite a long list of travel destinations but one of these days I’ll visit the white sands again. It’s just too beautiful not to.