We left early in the morning and our first stop was Watson's feed and hardware store to get the best donuts in town (or was it the only donuts in town?). Tucumcari has been hit hard economically in the past several years and the severe drought conditions have made things worse. To try to keep his feed and hardware store open, George "Dody" has opened a BBQ restaurant on the weekends, has a greenhouse where he sells plants, and even sells donuts. He told me he used to own cattle as well but now, because of the drought, he is down to a few cows in the back.
The place was fantastic and Dody took me inside to see the restaurant. I sure wish we had been there on a weekend! He makes a brisket and ribs and they even have entertainment.
Dody asked where we were headed and when I told him, he said we best get on the road pretty fast as there was a huge wind and dust storm heading coming and Tucumcari was going to be hit the hardest. He told me they have not seen dust bowl conditions like this in over 80 years and that when a dust storm hits, you cannot even see in front of you (like we had kind of experienced the night before). It seems like we are continually just one step ahead of these severe storms!
The skies were as blue as can be and it was windy but not dusty as we drove West. You can see by the condition of the road we were driving on part of the time, wind could be detrimental!
We encountered livestock on the road (on the road!) and noticed a big change in the terrain. It is now very dry and barren.
I am loving driving through these little towns. We are seeing so much more than we would if we drove on the highway.
The skies are so blue and the clouds phenomenal ... I cannot resist taking photos out the window as I drive ... this iPhone is sure taking great photos!
We stopped at Pecos National Historical Park to see the ruins.
It was SOOO windy out here!
We stopped in Santa Fe for the night and checked into the El Rey Inn right on the old Route 66.
The exterior of this Inn is fantastic and the grounds beautiful. The inside of the room was not as great. The next time I come to Santa Fe I will stay closer to the downtown / Plaza area.
It was too early for diner but we had not eaten lunch so we stopped in for some Margaritas and some chili dip and tortillas. New Mexico has a lot of "Mexican" food but it is different than we have in Southern California. You will find honey on the tables and they offer red or green sauce. The best part I think is the sopaipillas! Sopaipillas are like a fried puffed pastry that is served as dessert or in place of bread. You can add butter and honey to them and they are worth every calorie!
Santa Fe is filled with tradition, antiquity, color and flavor ... it is a city like no other! It has art from ancient to modern and there is so much for the eye to see. I wish we could stay here longer!
The Plaza area of Santa Fe is filled with art galleries, museums, shops and restaurants all centered around a square. There are also a couple of beautiful old churches - the Loretto Chapel and the The Chapel of San Miguel por Barrio de Analco.
The Mission of San Miguel of Santa Fe is in here as well. Constructed in 1610 it is the oldest mission in the United States. The mission bell was cast in Spain in 1356, and then brought here by oxcart in the early 1800's.
Next to the mission is the oldest house in the United States (or so they claim).
After we walked our 10,000 steps (haha) we sat down for a traditional New Mexican dinner.
The Margaritas were floated with a tequila based Sangria. We had to try them ... they were tradition! We were told they were so strong in alcohol that the state only allowed two per person. We are going to sleep well tonight!