Driving to the west. Leaving Route 66 for Santa Fe and Taos, then crossing New Mexico’s desert to sleepy Farmington.
Tucumcari, 12th April
We need a change from Amarillo and all these decaying Route 66 attractions.
We opt for Palo Duro Canyon. A Texan State Park a couple of km south of Amarillo.
Despite a winter storm approaching, thus a temperature drop of more than 30° since yesterday evening, we hike to a rock formation called Lighthouse. Well, currently it’s about 0° C.
Nice view from the top.
The next morning we continue on Road 66. To Tucumcary.
A few km west of Amarillo the famous Cadillac Ranch. 10 old Cadillacs rammed into the ground. Nobody understands why they did that, but it attracts everybody. Whatever. It’s just important that all visitors spray whatever they consider cool on the cars and that’s it. By the
We continue on Route 66 – I40. Perfect highway, 4 lanes, many trucks, speed limit 65 – 75 mph.
A short stop in the tiny town of Vega. To see the rather failed renovation of the former Magnolia petrol station by the National Park Service. Maybe they should better remain with natural wonders.
And to admire the cow opposite the gas station. Probably not really linked to Route 66, but amazing to see a ruminating cow at the roadside as Swizzyland claims the monopoly on this kind of attractions.
A few kms further Midpoint. Not really a town or a village. Rather the mid point of Road 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Those guys driving from Route 66’s real starting point know by now they made 50%.
A place with an all-important signboard and all kind of memorabilia.
Then we cross into New Mexico to reach Tucumcari.
Formerly an import overnight stop offering more than 2000 beds for the tired Route 66 traveler. Nowadays, a sleepy village with a main road lined by these formerly famous motels, some still functional, many closed down long time ago. As usual, many could not survive the competition of these standardized chain motels near the highway Americans love that much.
Fortunately the really nice and well-kept Historic Motel 66 has survived. The place we rescue ourselves from the bitterly cold’n’rainy weather.
Of course, at that time the
Santa Fe, 14th April
Weather is still terrible. Around 0°, a mix of rain’n’snow. This afternoon it should improve.
Who knows. We drive on to Albuquerque. Not because it’s a terribly interesting town, but to avoid Santa Fe which is currently snowed in.
On the way a stop in Santa Rosa. Some more signboards.
Near Albuquerque weather seems to improve. Sun for the 1st time in 4-5 days. A last thunderstorm …
… and we arrive in town.
A visit to Albuquerque’s Old Town.
The most interesting – a Flamexico competition. A mix of old Spanish Flamenco and Mexican Mariachi. What a difference to American Greasy-Burger-Eating culture.
Then on to real Old Town. Unfortunately the whole area completely degraded to a hotspot for souvenir sellers, galleries selling all kind of doubtful art and eateries. Despite some nice buildings it feels like 1 of these artificial old towns in China or a casino in Las Vegas.
Of course, remains the plaza – and the famous cathedral. Here the guys definitely take care of the health of their poor sinners in search of a minimal indulgence of their fateful deeds.
By the way, whatever’s your opinion about Old Town, there’s excellent beer – Marble IPA.
The next morning beautiful weather is back. Now something for Prado: a gravel road on the way to Mount Sandia – the nearby mountain of
It’s pretty cold. A glimpse of Albuquerque …
… and we’re on the way to Santa Fe.
Well, Santa Fe: famous for its adobe architecture and …
… the hell a lot of tourists.
Famous for its plaza. The place for a relaxing siesta; …
… or to make the ultimate deal for Indian souvenirs often genuinely made in China.
A place with famous adobe churches and …
… last but not least galleries offering all kind of art for the well-heeled.
Some reflecting bad taste of Trumpian dimensions and …
… definitely all asking prizes going beyond of any Trumpian imagination.
Farmington, 17th April
Quite astonished how many visitors are sneaking around.
Then we drive on to nearby Los Alamos. Our highly esteemed senior readers in the higher 90ties surely remember this place. Here the 1st atomic bombs were built during WW2 and tested on the Japanese population.
Well, we definitely don’t visit Los Alamos to honor this. It’s more because it’s just next to Bandelier.
Arriving there, we quickly understand that everything is still top secret, or contaminated or maybe Americans are simply ashamed of this place. Who knows.
You can just see a former guest house for visitors and a few adjacent buildings. And the so-called father of the bombe – in bronze.
Somehow difficult to understand why somebody should visit this place.
On to Taos.
Another 1 of these famous places in northern New Mexico. Described as even more mystic and breathtaking than Santa Fe.
Well, we’re rather disappointed. It’s very small, even more concentrated on tourist’s needs and expectations than Santa Fe. Definitely a dream for an art gallery addict. We’re not.
The next morning to the Taos Pueblo. The most famous of the Native American Communities. A World Heritage site.
We arrive, not expecting too much. Assuming souvenir shops in every house, 1000s of tourists – well, the usual.
Reality reflects a pretty different picture. Beautiful adobe houses, few souvenir shops, next to no tourists.
Well, there’s a drawback. You can only visit very few places. And for that the entrance fee seems to be a little bit far from reality; even for a World Heritage.
Then we’re on our way westwards. To Farmington. Despite its reputation to be the origin of all backbenchers in the US, it’s the largest settlement in north-west New Mexico.
A stopover at the Chimayo Church. Probably the most famous of all adobe sanctuaries. And visibly an important place of pilgrimage.
Then we’re on our way to Farmington. Some 4h thru the desert landscape of the Navajo Nation.
Yes, Farmigton definitely uphelds its reputation. Except for the Three Rivers Munchery’n’Watering Hole – a pretty cool place, should you successfully convince the waitress that you don’t want to be placed in the deepest corner of 1 of their overflow rooms.
Of course Farmington is not the reason for our visit in this area. It’s the nearby Bisti Badlands. A wilderness area not too known to travellers; nevertheless pretty famous for its beauty.
Badlands with 1000s of hoodoos formed by
An area with petrified wood hidden between hoodoos, cracked giant eggs somewhere in the landscape and stones even
Well, that it for this post. But don’t worry, we’re still on the road. On the way to Ushuaia. Enjoy reading and remain jealous until the next post will be released.