Monday, April 18, 2016

Three Weeks in New Mexico

It's now mid-April and over a week since we left New Mexico.  I haven't posted much about those three wonderful weeks in the "Land of Enchantment" - maybe because it was just that - enchanting. Or maybe I was just lazy, or maybe there was just too much to write about. Considering that we're now heading North and West to new adventures there is little chance that I will ever get around to detailing our weeks in New Mexico but what I can do is summarize what we learned there.

So here they are, the top 10 things we learned about New Mexico (in no particular order)
Not included in the list but this is the
best commuter rail ever-
The Rail Runner

  1. New Mexico has a state decoration and it is the Chili Rasta. There are everywhere and they are big.  Santa Fe has the longest ones measuring in at 5 feet.  And just to be clear - these are hanging everywhere, all over the state.  And they are real. Hatch, New Mexico is the chili growing capital of the world. If you want to see lots and lots of chili's and thousands of chili rastas drive through Hatch. You don't even have to stop, just drive down the main street and  you will see more in those three minutes than in the rest of your entire life.
  2. The state parks are awesome. We stayed in five different ones. They were all different but all well run, with good trails, and outdoor stuff, as well as nice facilities. This is no secret. New Mexican's love their state parks...especially at Easter when they all descend for egg hunts.
    City of Rocks State Park.
    Lots and lots of rocks. Lots of Egg hiding spots
  3. New Mexican's are not fond of Texans.  It all stated in 1841 when the president of Texas invaded and laid claim to the state and continues to this day when Texans show up at the state parks in droves and mix their Easter eggs in amongst the local's. 
  4. Columbus, New Mexico (website features a chili rasta) is code for cheap, good Mexican optometry which can be obtained right across the border from Palomas, Mexico.
  5. Towns name and other words are often pronounced in un-expected ways. Everyone will tell  you that New Mexico is a blend of (at least) three major cultures, Spanish, Native American and Anglo. This makes for a culturally diverse and interesting state. It also so made it so that I stopped attempting to pronounce the names of most towns and geographic features until after a local had already done so. (and still managed to flub a few)
  6. According to the Forest Service Rangers, while there are black bears in the area one doesn't
    S.D. scoping out the Mountain Lions for me
    need to worry about them.  You should however carry the bear spray in case you meet up with a mountain lion. Oh, and stay together, they tend not to attack if there is more than one person. 
  7. When the weather forecast, or a local says that the wind is going to blow and it's springtime prepare for the wind to really blow. They're not talking a light spring breeze. They're talking about sustained winds of 40-50 knots with gusts in the 60s. Oh, and this being desert, there will be lots of dust in that wind so prepare to not be able to see more than five feet in front of you and to spend the following day(s) cleaning dirt out every remote corned of your car, truck or camper. If, on the other hand you have something in need of a good sandblasting - just bolt it down and your problems are solved!
  8. Flashlights are illegal in New Mexico. (Well not really, but they should be) The night sky, anywhere in the state is awesome!!!  We spent nights along the Rio Grande near Taos and a few more at Bandelier National Monument and every night just stood outside and looked and looked at the sky.
    Typical Descent! This one into the Rio Grande
  9. Any road may, at any time suddenly turn from a flat wide paved surface into a narrow, winding, dirt free fall into a river canyon.  There are three major wild and scenic rivers in New Mexico and several smaller streams, tributaries, washes, etc. Since the predominate land is sedimentary, anytime, and any place that water flows tens to form deep, steep valleys and canyons.  The roads follow the contours so it's important when plotting the day's drive, especially when towing an RV to careful note the terrain and any sudden, or even small switchbacks that may appear on a road. 
  10. Santa Fe is The Best Capital City ever.  Truly representative of the state, which as I point out in the next point, is awesome!
  11. And last but not  (and yes that's more than 10)--- it's just awesome!! I love New Mexico. The place and the people are unassumingly lovely. Diverse, interesting and open.

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