Saturday, March 1, 2014

US50 Phase 1: A busy day that ends in Santa Fe NM

Oct 25 On to Santa Fe, eventually

Got up this morning and climbed a trail on the other side of the canyon, the campground side.  It starts at the far end of the park and winds around up behind loop that makes up the upper campground. From there the trail continues to wind up and around the head of a box canyon and eventually crosses some exposes rock before ending up at another overlook. It was about a 2 mile round trip and 400 feet up and again I had the trail to myself.
After that I broke camp, which pretty much consists of folding up the window shades and starting the engine, took advantage of the dump station to fill/dump the tanks then and headed out, retracing my steps 10 miles or so north up the Pecos River valley to IH25.

From there its about 30 more miles to the Pecos National Historical Monument near the town of Pecos. (Still the same Pecos River.) The monument encloses the site of the remains of a Pueblo that sat here in one form or another for over 1000 years before the last 27 residents moved less than 100 years ago further west to a sister pueblo where a few of their descendants still live today.

The visitor center has a good introductory movie, a really nice museum, and a great interpretive trail, even if I did have to kill time to let a school group out on a field trip get out of the way. All this sits in a pass at the juncture of the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Great Plains to the east. There was even a Civil War battle fought up here in the pass.
This also happens to be the site where the archeological method of examining rubbish tips was first practiced.
Like much of the history of this country I had mixed feelings while wandering this site. The ingenuity and business skill of the original inhabitants is fascinating and somehow uplifting, but the whole site is in the shadow of a Catholic mission which marks a time when Europeans were practicing their take over and subdue policies. (Of course that's a pretty common policy for most so-called civilizations and it still goes on today. . .) 

After a very late lunch I got back on IH25 and went the rest of the way into Santa Fe.

I picked a campground about 5 miles south of the city center.  My choice was influenced by city bus route #2, which runs right by the entrance to the RV park and terminates/originates at the bus terminal downtown. And if you don't want to risk crossing the busy Cerrillos Rd to catch the in-bound bus, (I don't think they had motorized traffic in mind when they named this road for a wild and untamed place but in a way it's still appropriately descriptive!) the campground is close enough to the end of the #2 route that it's only a short detour to catch the outbound bus and ride it to the turn-around point. For $2 you get a pass good on all routes all day. There are a bunch of museums downtown and art galleries nearby, including one that is affiliated with Orchid Tree Gallery of Round Top TX. which graciously displays some of my wood carvings and turnings.

I did have a case of the jitters by the time I backed into my campsite. Haven’t seen traffic like this since Kansas City! Interestingly, New Mexico is very sensible when setting speed limits, not like Texas with its 85 MPH freeways and 75 MPH two lane roads! And I have found that New Mexico drivers seem to stick to these limits and are not nearly as aggressive as Texas drivers, but the traffic did seem to get a little faster as I approached Santa Fe.

I just heard on the news that the temps in Red River (Where I was a few days ago.) are going to be low enough for them to start making snow tonight to get ready for the Nov 21 opening of the ski hills.

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