April 5 – 13
Two weeks in artsy Santa Fe! There’s so much going on at this stop that I’m breaking it up into two posts. Even Jackson had a grand time at this location, and we had friends join us on their vacation, too.
Santa Fe Skies RV Park
We were delighted to find lots of amenities that we actually used and enjoyed at this RV park. They had an inside sitting area complete with couches and were totally dog-friendly. Jackson quickly got into the routine of going to the clubhouse to get dog treats and sit on the couch with us. The bowls of M&Ms by the door for the humans didn’t hurt our feelings either.
There were metal sculptures all over the property, a walking trail around the entire place and bunnies galore. Three of them routinely grazed right outside our door every evening. But the best part? Well two best parts actually – the huge dog park and the sunsets.
Santa Fe is known as the place for painter’s sunsets and we had a different show every night, right outside our side window.
Oh, but the dog park ranked right up there. Jackson became fast friends with Wash, a newly rescued pup. We hit it off with Wash’s mom, too. Chris is traveling solo and is a huge Firefly fan, just like Pat. The dog’s name is from one of the characters on the TV show. I personally never warmed up to it, so it was good the Pat had a fellow fan to discuss the finer points of the show. Don’t get a true fan started on the Firefly cancellation!
Jackson and best buddy Wash. They romped, they played, they tried to figure out the alpha thing. (Not sure they ever really got that straightened out.) It was so exciting that Jackson was practically a dead lump for week two after Wash and Chris moved on.
About the only thing we didn’t like here was the wind and the dust. There were several huge wind events while we were there, and I’m still trying to clean out the dust that was blown into every crevice of the motorhome from the 70 mph gusts. Needless to say, no grilling out at this stop.
On one of our first nights there, a lady came running up in a panic yelling for help. We had the screen door open, so Pat jumped out to see what she needed. The plume of smoke coming from their RV a few spots down told the tale. He popped back in to grab the fire extinguisher by the door and I grabbed the other two mounted in the coach. By the time we got to the trailer, their next door neighbor had the fire out, but horrible smoke was still billowing out the doors. Turns out their refrigerator caught fire. The propane/electric fridges are notorious for catching fire if not kept perfectly level. In fact, we swapped ours out for a residential fridge so we wouldn’t have that worry.
Consider this my public service announcement. Get yourself working fire extinguishers, know where they are, and know how to use them. I think this is every RVer’s worst nightmare aside from a wipe-out on the highway. But it can happen in an instant in your sticks and bricks home, too.
And the rest of the story. This couple only had the trailer for 6 months, just replaced the refrigerator, and just left Dallas the day before for a week-long trip to the Grand Canyon. I give them great credit for resilience. They put the trailer in storage so they could continue on with their travel plans, and will pick it back up on the way home. Talk about making the best of a bad situation.
Santa Fe Railyard
We headed down to the railyard on a Saturday to stroll through the farmer’s market. We did find the market, but spent most of our time with the artist vendors. The work here is so unique. I stopped to point out a necklace to Pat since it looked like the all-seeing “eye” from Lord of the Rings. The artist uses museum quality taxidermy animal eyes in his jewelry artwork, and the necklace I admired was made with a python “eye”. I also found several photographers displaying pictures of the same tree I photographed at Tent Rocks. And, our favorite? The beautiful hand blown glassware. We decided it was time to retire the McDonald’s Shrek tumblers we’d been using and replace them with two gorgeous glasses. Read on below about our glass-blowing adventure for the rest of that story.
Fun little touches in this artsy town. What a good way to re-purpose those unused newspaper vending machines.
Lunch was delicious at Tomasita’s. Instead of chips and salsa, they give you free sopapillas with honey butter. I don’t have a real sweet tooth, but these were to die for. We’ll be back for more.
Bandelier National Monument
Time to get out there on a hike. The trip to Bandelier was an investment, but well worth the 40+ mile drive. A look down Frijoles Canyon.
Bandelier is the home of the Ancestral Pueblo people and the village ruins on the grounds are quite extensive. Up on the trail, we had this view of the village of Tyuoni (QU-wen-nee). The pueblo (around 1200 AD) had multiple stories and entrance to the individual rooms was by ladder through holes in the rooftops. That explained why we weren’t seeing doorway openings.
A few more views from our hike. You could clearly see the holes in the cliffside that once held beams to support multiple stories of cave dwellings. We climbed up the ladders to peer inside. Nice and cool in the caves.
A word about National monuments. Before going to White Sands National Monument, we had the mistaken idea that they were nothing more than a spot for a plaque or perhaps a small structure on the side of the road. A ranger set us straight. A national park designation requires the approval of Congress while a national monument only requires the approval of the President. National monument oversight is still with the National Park Service and the places cover quite a bit of land, so they look and feel pretty much like a national park. Presidents often designate national monuments as part of their legacy as they depart office. Herbert Hoover did just that with White Sands, Bill Clinton gets the nod for Tent Rocks, and Woodrow Wilson gets credit for Bandelier. Now you know.
When we purchased our glasses, we asked Bob about his upcoming studio time. He told us to show up at the Jackalope pottery studio on Wednesday and we could watch him work. That’s just what we did.
Just as we arrived, he was setting up to make the identical glasses that we bought. Representative pictures of the process – taking out the initial blob of glass, rolling it in the colored chips of blue, white & copper, shaping the glass, and torching the copper specks to make them gleam.
The finished product being tapped off the punt to go into the cooling oven. I love my new glasses and drink from them every day, but I couldn’t quite part with the Shrek glasses. I’m sure they’re collectible.
These boots were made for walking. Jackson ended up with tender feet after the wild fun week with Wash. Even the gravel roads seemed to hurt him. But, the boots don’t thrill him either. See how he snubs us? Now that we’re putting them on every day for hikes, he’s better with them and seems much for comfortable walking about. He knows it’s for his own good, but that doesn’t make him happy about the footwear He’s like a toddler. He’ll grudgingly let you put them on, then presents each foot so you can take them off when we get back to the motorhome. In between, he prances like a pony.
Next up – the rest of Santa Fe and fun times with Lisa & Al. See you on the way!