Most of these photos were taken on the last leg of our trip, back to Arizona, but there is a smattering of other randomness because I forgot to post a few fabulous photos somewhere along the way. I’m warning you… there are a lot of photos! Haha! It’s been amazing sorting through them. Normally, the editing process can be a bit tiring for me, but with every photo I opened, I relived the moment I captured. That’s the sign of a photo well taken.
We headed south from Taos and took the Turquoise Trail. We were told that we just HAD to stop in this little artist community called Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid). Absolutely adorable with a shocking amount of galleries and shops for such a small town.
We took the 40 home for a very short while and then turned off onto a smaller highway and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. It was about an hour longer according to my maps program on my phone, though because of the stunning beauty we kept stumbling upon, it probably added an extra 4 hours. I think it was maybe 4 hours of driving and during that time we passed maybe 10 vehicles. That’s my kind of road.
The sandstone cliffs were remarkable. It was one of those random moments where we just turned down an unknown road. I almost turned back because I felt guilty about driving the Miata on a dirt road (you didn’t just read that John). I promise it was a VERY well kept dirt road and I drove VERY slow. We had many moments like that on this stretch. We just happened upon great turnout after great turnout. The best part of any trip is when you wander down a road you didn’t even know existed before that moment you saw the turn for it. I’m not one to really do too much in the way of self portraiture but when you’re in the presence of the self portrait queen it kinda rubs off. This was my first official test using the remote triggers and I’m fairly pleased with the results! I hope to work on this more in the future. I did need rescued at one point as I managed to get myself out onto one of the cliffs and couldn’t manage to get myself back. Jillian gladly helped and it’s beyond me how she just hops over the deep crevices without even flinching. It’s enough to make my stomach turn.
While driving we realized we were following the same storm west that we had photographed in Taos (remember that amazing lightning?!). This made for dramatic landscapes, colors and shadows and not to mention the odd burst of rain. It was breathtaking. As we crossed the border into Arizona the sunset was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. It’s almost as if Arizona was welcoming me home.
This is the last of my New Mexico posts. It’s quite the doozy right? I hope you enjoyed following our adventures. I’m already trying to figure out what our next adventure will be.
“A journey is a person itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America
Here’s to being taken again soon.
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?!
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.
Thursday the 26th I headed east to New Mexico, picking up my girlfriend Jillian on the way. She and I have been been on many adventures and this definitely won’t be the last! We decided we wanted to road trip this summer in my husband’s new little convertible, to a place neither of us have been. New Mexico fit the bill. We headed south via Tucson and stayed in an unremarkable town I already forget the name of. The next morning we were delighted to stumble across this grand sculpture!! And when I say stumble I mean I was pulled over for speeding and ended up in a rest stop while the officer gave me a citation. Sheesh. But we did discover this beautiful creature and as luck would have it, the artist was in the process of finishing up some concrete work for this bird’s new home. Apparently he’s traveled all over the state of NM despite his large size. If you look closely at the details you’ll notice he’s created from reclaimed materials, most notably a bazillion tennis shoes, crutches and keyboards!
We stopped briefly in Las Cruces, grabbed a coffee and hit our first little shop. The color! The statues! The DUST!!! It’s a recurring theme for this trip. Copious amounts of dust.
Photos are being edited bit by bit and I will continue to post them as they’re ready. I can’t wait to share more of this amazing adventure!