– Denton, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico –

This weekend, we gathered the old Alaska crew (Mark, Ripley, Kristy, Katy, Sonnie, and Sabre) and drove to Santa Fe to spend our “spring break.” The truth is, some of us had Monday off during spring break week, so we decided to take a long weekend in New Mexico. Mark has been missing his breakfast burritos, but we won’t mention those until tomorrow. Believe me when I say that those were half of the reason Mark wanted to visit New Mexico in the first place.

If you’ve been reading along with my blog, you’ll recall that we drove a Chevy Suburban to Alaska last summer, and we all loved it. Mark and I have been dreaming of getting a Tahoe, since we don’t need a car as large as a Suburban. My parents were having similar dreams, but they actually bought a Suburban back in January. Now, we don’t have to rent our family trip vehicle. It’s been pretty nice so far.

We started our morning at 5am in Denton, where it was raining and very humid. Mark and I had the Suburban overnight, but we still didn’t manage to get too much of our stuff packed into the car until this morning. We were in Gainesville to pick up my parents by 7:30am, and we stopped in town for donuts before we began our trip west.

The new Suburban
The new Suburban

Today, we’ve been reading The Demon in the Freezer, by Richard Preston, which is a non-fiction book about smallpox and (a little) about anthrax and how they can be used as biological weapons. We should finish it by Monday, when we are driving home. It’s an interesting read, and quite eye-opening.

Our morning was pretty quiet. Once it stopped raining, the weather was lovely. We stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and drinks and gas along the way, but nothing was too interesting before lunch. We’ve made the trip to Amarillo so many times that I swear we could make it in our sleep. Mark was our driver this morning, so I rode shotgun. We stopped at Jimmy John’s in Amarillo for lunch just after noon.

Past Amarillo, we hopped briefly onto Historic Route 66  in the ghost town of Glenrio, where we took some photos of the abandoned buildings. Glenrio is right on the border with New Mexico, so just after our stop, we entered the Mountain Time Zone, and it was 12:30 once again.

Ghost town in Glenrio
Ghost town in Glenrio

From Glenrio, it was only a few more hours to Santa Fe. We made one more stop at a gas station in between, where we walked the dogs. Sabre and Ripley blatantly refused to drink any water this morning, which we all thought was pretty dumb of them considering how dry it had gotten as we crossed into New Mexico. Alas, you can lead a canine to water but you can’t make her drink. Goofballs.

At around 3:30, we stopped at Pecos National Historical Park, which is just outside Santa Fe. The park is mostly cultural, and preserves the ruins of an old church that belonged to a Spanish mission and the Pecos pueblo village it was built in. We didn’t actually know that before we went. Mark had seen it on the map, and we knew we wanted to stop somewhere interesting today, so we drove in not really knowing what to expect.

We were delighted to find that it was a pretty cool little park, although the visitor center was closing at 4pm, so we had to hustle back to view the ruins. You can walk between the visitor center and the ruins, although my parents were not interested in walking, so we drove around to park near the mission instead.

Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park

The former church is the most interesting structure in the park, as most of the pueblo ruins are low walls where buildings used to stand. In front of the church stands a kiva, which is an underground room that the Pueblo used for traditional religious rituals. It was built after the Pueblo revolted against the Spanish and Christianity around 1680. It’s interesting to see such an obvious symbol of their defiance right in front of the former mission.

It is worth noting that the park was entirely dog-friendly, and Ripley had a blast sniffing her way down the paths through the buildings. We chatted with a Park Ranger about how adorable Ripley is before we headed out sometime after 4. When we got to the gate, we thought we were locked in, but the gate opened again when we approached in the car. I guess they were serious about closing at 4.

Mark also wanted a picture of the park sign, so we drove back out the way we came in to grab a photo. We didn’t make everyone take pictures with the sign, since it isn’t a real national park. From there, we hopped back on the highway and drove into Santa Fe, which was about 15 miles away.

Ripley being adorable for the park ranger
Ripley being adorable for the park ranger

Since we’d gained an hour and it was nearly 5pm locally, we were all starting to feel pretty hungry. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed across town to Gabriel’s, which is a Mexican restaurant that Mark and I visit all of the time when we are in Santa Fe. Our food was fantastic and came out very quickly.

Of course we had the guacamole special, because who doesn’t love it when someone makes a giant vat of guacamole right at their table? Mom had fajitas, Mark had veggie tamales, I had black bean enchiladas, and Dad had something giant and meaty and wrapped in a tortilla. I didn’t actually hear him order, but he ate all of it, so it must’ve been good, whatever it was. Gabriel’s has a list of vegetarian entrées, with at least six options. I know Santa Fe is considered a bit of a hippy town, so I shouldn’t be too surprised about all of the veggie options, but I think it’s worth mentioning that they really try.

Black bean enchiladas at Gabriel's
Black bean enchiladas at Gabriel’s

Tomorrow we’re going to get up and try to work out in the significantly thinner air here. We will be wheezing embarrassingly before it is all said and done, I’m sure. After that, we’re planning to get Mark’s breakfast burritos and then drive around the areas surrounding Santa Fe, which should make for a lovely day. It’s supposed to be pretty windy and a bit cooler, so we’re a little bummed about that, but Mark is so excited about his burritos that the rest of the day could be terrible and he’d be satisfied that we had a great trip, regardless.

– Trip Total : 656 miles

One thought on “Santa Fe Trip: Day One

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *