Postcards from New Mexico
Once upon a time I spun a globe and declared to my sisters that I would go wherever my finger landed. It landed on Albuquerque which, at the age of ten, I couldn’t even pronounce. Though I did pass through New Mexico on a solo trip around the U.S. in my early twenties, I wasn’t able to tick Albuquerque off my list. The Greyhound bus I was on sailed through the southern part of the state, straight into a sunset I’ve never forgotten.
I was long overdue to return and knew this was the year when I found out New Mexico was celebrating its 100th year of statehood. I wanted Pat to see that sunset and knew he’d have an affinity for a dry, clear climate much like the one he grew up in. At mention of natural hot springs, he booked tickets. Then he surprised me with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the territory and its people, the result of countless – and surprisingly accurate, it seems – illustrated pulp cowboy novels he’d consumed as a kid in Sicily.
We flew to Albuquerque (tick!), grabbed a rental and drove the classic loop through Northern New Mexico: past ranches and ghost towns along the Turquoise Trail, then flowering orchards and new baby foals on the High Road to Taos. Across the Rio Grande Gorge, south to the ancient hot springs and modern spa at Ojo Caliente, spectacular Georgia O’Keeffe Country, sophisticated Santa Fe and welcoming Albuquerque. And we did it all on the one tank of gas we left the airport with!
It would be very hard to find a destination with a more intriguing cultural mix and cuisine, more funky artists’ enclaves, more world-class museums and more soul-stirring vistas. Or fresher air or friendlier people! We met a lot of fascinating characters on the road. New Mexico transforms you and a taste of its attitude and aesthetic only whets your appetite for more.
For now, postcards from the enchanted road: