Monthly Archives: March 2012

Thursday, March 21nd

Coffee in hand, ready for the long drive ahead of me.

Just went 20 miles the wrong way so I had to backtrack through the mountains. At least it was a nice drive.

Driving through Lincoln National Forest. This is been one of the best drives so far. You have winding roads, ski runs, farms, free range cows, horses, hills covered with trees.

These roads are pretty empty. There’s not much to see on the sides of the road. It’s pretty barren land with a sprinkle of cows here and there.

Entering Texas. Hating the fact that these roads are two lanes. One lane each way, so every 15 min or so I have to pass someone and waste my gas in the process.

It’s a little sad. A lot of the towns I’m passing are run down. There are a lot of abandoned houses and broken down cars in the yard.

I’ve never seen oil drilling/hammer looking things before. They’re all over the place here.

One thing I’ve noticed here and no where else is on the side of the road, to mark an accident scene/memorial, there is a photo of the person in addition to a cross.

Lots of windmills. The kind that generate power. Never seen them before in the us.

Just got pulled over for going 96 in an 80 – eeks!! Thankfully he just gave me a warning. I need to pickup K from the airport!! She’s already there and I’m 2 hours away!!

The landscape looks a lot like what I’m used to. Grass, trees, flowers. Some of the houses are huge!!

Finally, after sitting in traffic for an hour (10 miles) I’m here!! The JW Marriott is huge. There’s a TPC gold course on site and a heated lazy river 🙂

A delicious margarita (strawberry with jalapeno-infused tequilla) and dinner (ribs and Mac & cheese) with K!! Yum.


Wednesday, March 21st

Breakfast at Los Poblanos. Beet and potato hash with eggs and homemade turkey & fennel sausage. Accompanied by homemade chocolate pound cake, fruit salad, homemade granola, and organic apple juice. I felt like such an old lady eating my breakfast, reading the paper, basking in the sun. It was glorious!

Walked the grounds. Came across several peacock friends, the lavender fields, the gardens and the farm animals. They let you in with the goats and the chickens. I feel in love with the two new baby goats. One was 5 days old, the other one 15 days old. They’re like dogs – love being petted and scratched.

If you can’t tell already, I highly endorse Los Poblanos and will definitely be back. If you’re considering a trip to the Southwest come here! And bring me along in your suitcase!!

Sadly it’s time to leave for my next destination. It’s going to be a four hour drive to Cloudcroft. Gorgeous scenery along the way. Most of the time I’m driving towards snow covered mountains. There are ranches and farms, old abandoned houses, but mostly desolate, dusty land. Dont get me wrong, it’s beautiful. With the radio on and the window down, it’s an awesome drive.

Stopped at the world’s largest pistachio (I think it’s the largest). It called me from the side of the road. I had to stop and get a pic and picked up some green and red chile flavored nuts.

Drove up the mountain to Cloudcroft – a ski town. I’m staying at the lodge tonight, which is haunted by Rebecca. I’m eating at her restaurant later tonight.

Now I really am an old lady. I’m eating dinner at 5:30pm. It’s funny they call themselves “fine dining” but a guy’s wearing a camo hat in the corner. My food was good – chicken breast stuffed with a poblano chile and corn sauce. It was $26 though! How do these places get away with charging NYC prices? My AmEx card is working overtime this month.

Tomorrow I’m meeting K in San Antonio. I have a 10 hour drive ahead of me. Going to bed early tonight!

Tuesday, March 20th

Can someone please tell New Mexico that it’s Spring?  It’s still freezing here.

Breakfast in the burbs at a local favorite, Telecote Cafe.  I had blue corn and pinon pancakes and Huevos Yucatecos – a corn tortilla topped with black beans, 2 eggs over medium, green chile, cheese, pico de gallo, and served with fried bananas.  I’m finally getting over this phobia of eating alone.

On the Turquoise Trail to Albuquerque.  For some reason I thought it was going to be a dirt trail with vendors dotted along the way.  It was definitely paved and a major road.  There were a few mining towns along the way with gift shops selling local turquoise, pottery and weavings.

Petroglyph National Monument – Boca Negra Canyon.  Three trails where you can see hundreds of rock drawings.  One trail takes you to the top of a mountain with gorgeous views of Albuquerque.

Checked into the hotel.  I’m staying at the Los Poblanos Inn & Farm.  This is the most picturesque setting.  The rooms are in the old ranch house.  There was a peacock outside in the courtyard.  There are over 25 acres of land.  They grow lavender in the summertime.  Two baby goats were just born yesterday.  You can see the mountains from the farm.  Simply serene.

Waiting in line to hop on the Sandia Peak Tram, the 2nd longest tram in the world.  It’s 2.7 miles long and goes up to 10,000 feet. The top is 17 degrees with 15 mph winds.  I got some pics but they never turn out the way they did when you saw it.  Sometimes the camera just doesn’t capture the beauty of the scene.

Green Chile Cheeseburger from Blake’s, a NM burger joint with made to order burgers.   I haven’t eaten since breakfast so I scarfed this down!

There’s something about Albuquerque that I really like.  Maybe it’s because there’s a little bit of green grass, maybe it’s because of the mountains are so close to the city, maybe it’s because I’m staying in a nicer hotel.  Whatever it is, I’ll definitely be coming back.

Monday, March 19th

I’m in my rental car and off to explore New Mexico!  First stop is Bandelier National Park.  It’s a gorgeous drive an hour West of Santa Fe.  What I love about this state is one minute you’re driving along the flatlands with snow-covered mountains in the distance, the next minute you’re driving up winding roads with walls of layered rock, the third minute you’re driving among snow-coated trees.

I start my hike at the Main Loop Trail, which will take me to the main attraction at Bandelier, the Frijoles Canyon where you’ll get to see cave dwellings with rock paintings and rock carvings.  It’s a nice easy hike.  At the cave dwellings, you can actually climb ladders into the homes.  It’s easy to imagine what life was like 600 hundred years ago.

I meet so many friendly people along the trail.  Most of them are older couples and there’s one family from Colorado on spring break.  Did I mention that people say hello here and smile?  Most of the people I met are not from here but it’s nice to see smiles when you’re traveling.

En route to Taos via the High Road, the scenic route.  The roads are windy, I pass horses grazing, small towns all with simple houses, drive Carson National Forest and see some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in a long time.  Fortunately it’s sunny today but still cold.   I drive into some of the towns and stop to take pics.  Each one has a church.  Most of them have dogs that scare the crap out of me and run and bark along my car.  At one town I have to reverse because two dogs would not let me pass.  Seriously, I was starting to freak out because they were barking and growling at me and I thought I was going to run them over.

This part of New Mexico kinda reminds me of Switzerland.  You have the snow covered mountains and the valleys.  The villages/towns along the way.  Of course there are many differences but the ones that I’ll point out are that the Swiss villages are quaint and well maintained, sadly the NM houses are a little in disarray and run down.

I finally get to Taos and the pueblo is closed this month because of a ceremony.  I know this already but thought I’d still make the drive out here.  I thought there would be more to see but the downtown is very small and I don’t even get out of my car.  There are ski resorts in Taos.  Maybe I should take up skiing.

A visit to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  The 4th highest bridge in the US.  It’s freezing up there and the winds are blowing like crazy.  It’s quite a site to see the river running through the canyon below you.  Unfortunately, it’s too cold and nothing else is around there so I turn around and head back to Santa Fe.  I’ve got another pretty ride to look forward to.  I take the Low Road on the way home and drive alongside the Rio Grande with the sun streaming into the car it’s a great drive back to Santa Fe.

Dinner at The Shed.  My friend who grew up in Santa Fe recommended this place.  It’s a Santa Fe institution offering New Mexican cuisine.  I’ll have to admit, one thing I dislike about traveling solo is eating by myself.  I found a seat at the bar ordered a beer and perused their menu.  I started with a cup of posole (a stew made with hominy) and had a blue corn cheese enchilada topped with red sauce and a blue corn turkey sausage taco topped with green sauce.  Both were delicious.  I ended up making a friend at the bar so I didn’t feel so lonely after all.  Last night in Santa Fe.  Off to Albuquerque tomorrow!

Sunday, March 18th

Hello Santa Fe!

It feels a bit like a ghost town around here. I guess compared to NY, every place is going to be a little quieter and wasn’t that what I was looking for anyway?

Unfortunately this early on Sunday most places are closed but I’m able to wander the streets and see the Plaza – the main square.

It’s pretty chilly today – 55 degrees with strong winds. Brrrr.

Stopped into La Boca, a tapas restaurant for coffee, churros (on the house if you mention their website) and eggs over chorizo, bacon and potatoes.

A visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Lucky me, there was a docent talk where I learned all about Georgia O’Keeffe. Did you know she studied advertising before going to art school in NY?

I took a trolley ride to learn more about Santa Fe, the second oldest city in the US. It was actually pretty interesting and a great way to hear about the history and see the landscape of the city. Santa Fe is already at 7,000 ft and the trolly took us up another 500 ft near the mountains.

I’m starving so I head to the Five and Dime, formerly Woolworths and had a Frito Pie – basically a bag of Fritos topped with chili and cheese. They serve it in the bag. There were a bunch of locals eating at the counter alongside me.

I walked to Loretto Chapel (beautiful spiral staircase made without nails or screws) and Canyon Road (street lined with galleries). There’s a quaintness to Santa Fe. It’s because all of the houses in Downtown must adhere to the adobe style of architecture. Sometimes you can’t tell what buildings are hundreds of years old and which ones are new.

It’s hailing and there are 25 mph winds. I’m heading back to the hotel for a lil break.

I always enjoy checking out the local grocery stores, especially when I’m in a different country. Whole Foods is next to my hotel so I just grabbed some stuff from there. It’s actually more expensive than I thought New Mexico would be. The prices are comparable to NY. But you can’t find green chile at the hot bar in NY.