The Pleasure of Ruins

“The ascendancy over men’s minds of the ruins of the stupendous past, the past of history, legend and myth, at once factual and fantastic, stretching back and back into ages that can but be surmised, is half-mystical in basis. The intoxication, at once so heady and so devout, is not the romantic melancholy engendered by broken towers and mouldered stones; it is the soaring of the imagination into the high empyrean where huge episodes are tangled with myths and dreams; it is the stunning impact of world history on its amazed heirs.” Rose Macaulay

New Mexico of Mine

Land Of Enchantment

“When I got to New Mexico that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air–it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different. I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Wide open spaces capture your attention sinking you into its vastness. One can feel so small but yet so large with life soaking in the fresh air. Not a soul for miles. Just you, the wind whispering the richness of this soil, the fresh hint of rain, gentle kisses from the sun. And in the evening the closeness of stars. I can only agree with her sentiment, New Mexico is different and not like anywhere you’ve seen before and it’s mine.

I fell in love with New Mexico nine years ago when I came with my husband and our daughter to his family’s ranch. Forty miles outside of Taos and a few miles before entering one of the oldest cities in Colorado, a recently paved road leads up toward the mountains to a humbling place called Amalia. His grandparents 14 1/2 acres leading up to a river and expanding toward the mountains is part of a land grant. There is not much to do here as you are forty miles from the nearest stop light and the “corner” store is at least 15 minutes down road. Family and friends stop by on their way to wherever they are going, a short visit turning into lunch then dinner. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A place to recharge. Not a street lamp in sight, only the stars.

Amalia, New Mexico

Although with time comes changes this little area remains slightly untouched. There are still viejitas who live down dirt roads with minimal modern “luxuries” and/ or electricity cooking to perfection empanadas and tortillas on wood burning stoves that melt in your mouth you can’t wait to dip them in red or green chili. If you are looking for the best place to hunt antiques ask no one else. My favorite viejita is one of my husband’s cousin. She is a feisty hip-hop loving viejita in her mid 70s never leaving home without her hita (her 38 special) and she’s never to shy to share her opinion. Each visit we are to never leave empty handed.

Our first stop in Taos was  Michael’s Kitchen for their red chili. My breakfast of choice was a Christmas style Martin’s Breakfast Burrito made with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, diced green chile and hash browns wrapped in a flour tortilla. The Christmas style comes into play in the way of the burrito being covered (or smothered) in both red and green chili sauce. Let me tell you 1. I had to split the burrito and 2. I made sure to get extra red chili. As a Seattlite we are big on our Starbucks coffee but Michael’s had excellent coffee. You can buy it here at their online shop

The Long Way Round

a road trip west

With maybe two hours of sleep my husband and I rose to his mother singing at the top of her lungs “it’s time to get on the road!” We both turned our heads looking at each other as if reading the other’s mind “what the heck did we get ourselves into?” A road trip that’s what. A road trip with his parents. Phones fully charged, camera at the ready, truck packed to the hills and the cooler in arms reach of the rear window; we’re set. In the cover of darkness we packed ourselves in their Honda Ridgeline me at the wheel, my mother-in-law as my co-pilot we headed east.

Our first stop of the morning was breakfast and of course there is not much open at 6 a.m. We landed in Yakima as the sun rose and stopped at Mel’s Diner. The coffee was amazing and much needed and so was my omelette.

Our waitress gave us a tour of the diner showing us the artwork on the walls.

We drove until we couldn’t settling on staying the night in Provo, Utah. A beautiful “old town” set against the backdrop of mountains.

Two things were going against us when finding a restaurant on Saturday night. 1) it was prom weekend so the hotel we stayed in was host to a few prom goers getting ready and staying the night as well as a wedding. 2) It was also Easter weekend which made it harder to find open restaurants on Sunday in the small towns we traveled to. Planning on my next drive around to be able to take more time to see the sights in each small town we visited.

We opted for the longer routes which gave us faster highways. This decision actually ended us with taking a longer way around then planned. After we stopped in one of the cutest small towns in Colorado for lunch we mistakenly missed our turn which added about an hour or so to our trip. We went through a few more smaller towns, plains, two lane roads with few chances to pass slow vehicles then winding through a mountain pass where our truck stopped working 5 miles before Antonito, Colorado (one hour away from our destination). It didn’t take long for a tow truck to reach us. Several family members who were near by came to our rescue to help us divide our truck load into two cars. Tired but wound up we made it to the family ranch late in the evening. Again, I can’t wait to do this drive again.

8:06am
After Sunrise
Into the Mountain Pass