Thursday February 27, 2014 Quality Inn Room 108 Santa Fe, New Mexico 3:46 PM MST
Today dawned with a beautiful sunrise but within an hour or so the sky began to fill with huge clouds that completely blocked out the blue sky and most of the sun, Temperatures stayed in the 50’s except for the Nambe Pueblo just north of Santa Fe, when it rose to the low 60’s for awhile. It seemed so strange to know that we weren’t going to return to the Roadway tonight after four nights. Still, it seemed time to move on, since we’d pretty much seen all we wanted to see. We decided against Los Alamos because the only thing that seemed interesting is the Science Museum. For us, after teaching science for so long, and because physics, particularly nuclear physics wasn’t my favorite subject, we decided to skip it. We may, on a future trip, venture out toward Ghost Ranch and Bandelier National Monument but it just felt like time to move on.
We did have some little things to finish up before leaving Espanola—such as seeing its Plaza which turned out to be quite large, modern and clean. Also, we needed to eat—chose La Cochina, which serves New Mexican food, not Mexican, as our waitress was quick to correct. I wasn’t sure what the soup was—thought it was Menuto but it was Pistole—hominy and pork. Did not care for it. I also had no idea what the puffy pillow was or how to eat it. It is sort of a fried bread that gets cut open and is coated with honey and eaten as a sort of dessert. It was really different and quite yummy—sopapilla! Have to find a recipe!
As you can see the meal was huge-all I expected was the three tacos as the taco plate was listed! I opted for shredded beef rather than ground beef or chicken. Bill ordered a Cochina burger which was a huge bacon burger and included a large salad as well as the veggies on the burger.
Lastly, a bank run for cash and the sign about the Okhay Owingeh Pueblo through which we’d driven each day. There is a very large Native presence in this part of New Mexico. Many pueblos which were involved in the ill-fated Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish around 1680. I also wanted to visit the little Chapel of the Holy Boy of Atocha. Of course, it is padlocked but even on the outside it is a lovely little building.
We then headed back to Chimayo to take the remainder of the High Road to Santa Fe, since it begins there and ends in Taos. I also wanted to quickly check the gift shop to see if there were any post cards of the interior of the Church. ( Our waitress at Chili’s last night grew up in the area and she bemoaned the fact that the Santuario where she attended Mass so often as a child has become so commercial and such a tourist attraction. It is truly touristy although I’m sure there are many who come to pray and to attend Mass while in the area but there are many who’ve just come to, as my Dad used to say, rubberneck.) As it turns out, I was able to get some interior shots as well as one of the grotesque scourged Christ. In walking around another side of the Shrine I found a couple of more details, missed yesterday. I particularly like the statue of St Francis with the birds. Although I was not supposed to do it, I could not resist taking one picture in the Church—the encoffined Christ that so startled me yesterday. Walking in from a darkened vestibule to an illuminated life-size corpse gave me a bit of a start.
Continuing South on SR 98 we passed through badlands and in the distance saw so much virga it made me sad—the area could use rain so much and this teasing by nature is so unfair. 98 is a relatively short road and soon we t-ed into 508 which led us to the Nambe Pueblo. The Plaza is a small cul-de-sac the center of which is the San Francis of Assisi Church the ladies raised the money to repair but we were unable to photograph it. It was open, however, and I asked a young man sitting, with his phone!, in his car if I might go in. He said yes. ( I loved his huge earring in his ear lobe which was basically gone—I know there is a name for these big plugs but I never can remember. ) When I entered the Church I was surprised to see a casket lying in state and three men speaking softly at its side. I quickly sat and said a prayer and left without looking around. I apologized to the young man, but he said it was okay, he was meeting many new relatives. I said I’m not a relative and didn’t mean to intrude but said a prayer for the deceased. He said it was perfectly fine and thanked me for the prayer. How distressing but I know I was respectful and I’m sure did not upset the people.
Just outside the main Pueblo was a rather new looking and affluent looking church, Sacred Heart. As with all these churches, the back faces the road and presents the same type of geometric apse. Continued to the Southern terminus of the High Road and entered 84/285 once more. Arrived at the Quality Inn fairly early—3 PM but wanted to get blogging and pix done early. Haven’t been sleeping well past 230 am and need to get some rest before tackling the sights of Santa Fe tomorrow and Saturday. We’ve reserved the room until Sunday morning—should be enough time to see a number of things—what we don’t get to will wait for a return trip. We always come to New Mexico and love exploring. Thinking we may do Chaco this year—we keep putting it off. Can’t wait to get to the Palace of the Governers tomorrow. Til then, take care! KandB