El Camino Real

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September 6, 2022, Gallup- Last night, it came to me that much of the messaging I’ve been getting of late, as to what course of action should be followed, has come to me through other people. This morning, though, the message was loud and clear-devote the morning to Taos and its surroundings, especially along El Camino Real-the “King’s Road” towards Santa Fe, along the East Rim of Rio Grande Gorge.

Taos has been a town through which I passed, not spending much time there-until today. With a commitment to myself to drive as far as this old mining town, I freed up a few hours to make friends in Taos, as well as time to stop and see people I love dearly in Santa Fe, Madrid and Moriarty.

So, parking KIA in a free dirt parking lot, I walked a long a row of art galleries, not purchasing anything this time, though I will spend more time picking out at least two art pieces, on a future visit, weather-permitting, in December.

Here are a few of the shops along Kit Carson Way.

View of Couse Center, a forum for promoting arts in Taos.
Garden in courtyard, Mission Gallery

As last winter’s New Mexico visit was centered on the O’Keeffe Museum, so I fully expect to devote a few hours to the Couse Center, in the days between Christmas and New Year’s. I will be able to get a good cup of hot coffee at World Cup, at the east edge of Taos Plaza.

Drink for thought, World Cup Coffee House, Taos
World Cup is the Taos link in my chain of connections

An energizing visit with a mix of very hard-working people and laid-back former attorneys and factory workers established this connection, much as prior encounters at Henry and The Fish and Double C’s Diner did for Santa Fe and Moriarty, respectively.

Like Santa Fe, Taos has La Fonda Hotel in its Plaza. Here is a look at the lobby and its hearth.

Lobby of Taos La Fonda Hotel
Fireplace, lobby of Taos La Fonda Hotel
Alley, off north side of Taos Plaza

After this, I went south, about three miles, to Ranchos de Taos, the original Spanish Land Grant settlement. Here, there is a smaller plaza, and Iglesia San Francisco de Asis.

This is the central church of Ranchos de Taos

Heading towards Santa Fe, I came upon a spot where Rio Grande is flowing rather rapidly, and another, where the river is more languid.

Note the small rapids in two spots along the Rio Grande. (East Rim of Rio Grand Gorge)

A few miles south, here is a fishing spot, favoured by local residents.

I will be back, again, weather-permitting, very soon. The rest of the day saw short, but very genial visits with friends at Henry & The Fish, Java Junction (Madrid) and Double C Diner,where I got a take-out meal, as it was too early for dinner. The chicken enchiladas were just as tasty, when I got to Colonial Motel, here in Gallup, as they would have been had I dined in. Having good friends at a coffee shop or eatery is even more important to me than the fare itself.

Finding friends all around, this has been a marvelous journey.

Brightness, Under A Half-Moon

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September 5, 2022, Taos- About seven miles west of this town of Puebloans, hippies, cowboys and off-the-grid Libertarians, there is a bridge across Rio Grande Gorge. About a mile further west, there is West Rim Road, which takes people to old Apache campsites, new marijuana farms and a Buddhist stupa, atop a hill and past various homes built by Apaches, South Asians and the above-mentioned Libertarians. Among those who built a home, on ancestral land, is a friend, G. She and her surrogate grandson live in a comfortable solar-powered residence, about a mile off West Rim Road.

When I was leaving Colorado East Baha’i School, earlier today, I felt very strong energy, telling me to go towards Taos and G’s home, and to do whatever it took to visit them. So, after helping with the clean-up at CEBS, and bidding farewell to new friends, I headed down I-25, and arrived in Taos around 5:30 p.m. With my usual penchant for following general directions in a skewed manner, and for not checking my phone while I was driving, I missed a few last-minute updates-which came while I was on “Flag Road”, as her graded road is called. I also missed G, while going in one direction, only to turn around and see her, while driving in the opposite way. Call it lighting effect, fatigue or, as one local astrologer said, “the Taos effect”, in the end I followed G slowly up the driveway, and in short order was enjoying the delectable fresh garden vegetables, with chopped tuna and non-glutinous rice, that she had prepared in honour of my visit.

A half-moon guides us tonight, and with its energy, G filled me in on the events that have transpired since I last saw her, in Tucson, at her son’s residence. Grandson, M, proved a quiet, but congenial young man and seems like he will be an asset to G, in the months ahead. The time there was well-spent, and the house will not be hard to find, when I am next in this part of New Mexico. As the evening turned to late night, I headed back into town, and now am resting in Super 8, on Taos’ south side.

G’s brightness is always evident, no matter the phase of the Moon.

Two Corners of Enchantment

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October 24, 2017, Prescott- 

Whilst returning to this Home Base, in late July, I chose a route through the Oklahoma Panhandle, and into northeast New Mexico.  Bypassing the town of Clayton, I headed towards Folsom, a ghost town of sorts, whose approaches took me through some Badlands and the Cimarron Mountains, which eventually took me past Capulin Mountain- a National Monument where I hoped to stop for an hour or so.  Monsoon rains removed that possibility.

Here are a few views of the territory between Black Mesa, OK and Cimarron, NM.

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The area south of Black Mesa is high desert, and full of rugged, little-traveled BLM roads. The rock formations, as elsewhere in the Southwest, seem to have petrified beings hanging about.

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The pine-clad ridges took over, just northeast of Folsom.

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So, too, did the monsoon rain.

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I found Folsom not showing many signs of life, but several signs of history.

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Below, is the former Folsom Hotel.

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I briefly stopped in Cimarron, and later in Taos, which will each be places to revisit, in their own right, at a later date.

Here are two photos of each.

The St. James is Cimarron’s premier hotel.

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Taos is known for its art and for upscale accommodations.  I like the down home aspects of the place.

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My goal was to reach Prescott by the following morning, so I did not tarry in Taos, as tempting as it was.  I did briefly stop at another gem, not far from Taos:  Rio Grande Gorge.

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Fast forward to October 11.  I passed the eastern Arizona towns of Safford and Duncan, heading towards AZ Rte 78 and US 180, which would lead me to Silver City, in New Mexico’s southwest region.

The Gila Wilderness lies between, and is every bit as rugged as the areas described above.

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I found my way, that night, to Tammy’s Cafe, in tiny Cliff, NM and a local man named Justin regaled me with stories of ranch life and the opportunities it availed, for random exploration of early American ruins, many on private land. Tammy’s had good food, as well, although the wait gave Justin nearly an hour to spin his yarns.

NEXT:  A continuation of this month’s trip to New Mexico:  Gila Cliff Dwellings