We had driven long and hard our first two days on the road back in order to dawdle a bit in New Mexico and Arizona on our way to my uncle and aunt’s home in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Our route for June 30 & July 1 from Tucumcari, NM to Cottonwood, AZ
Our Monday June 30 drive was a mere 170 miles from Tucumcari to Santa Fe. Carla and Jeanette were excited to see the artists, shops, and museums. We should have bought gas in Tucumcari but didn’t see a gas station on our way to I40. Well, we should have doubled back; we were under 1/4 tank and that makes me nervous out in the west where you may be 60 miles from a gas station. We stopped at the tiny “town” of Newkirk, NM. It is really a small gas station with very old style pumps. It would have been an enjoyable throwback moment but the gas was very expensive and there was no TP in the women’s rest room and the owner was indignant and said “NO toilet paper!” So I just put in a few gallons; enough to get us a little further down the line. But it was a nice morning and a railroad line was just a stone’s throw away. We could see miles in each direction and no trains were coming so I grabbed a couple of shots.
Tracks are straight for miles in Newkirk, NM
Clouds reflected in the rail near Newkirk, NM
The clouds floated above us as we drove westward.
Clouds above and behind in New Mexico
We got to Santa Fe and checked our bags in at the El Rey motel then immediately headed into downtown Santa Fe, the oldest (and maybe highest) capital city in the United States. We took a tram tour of the city and saw old pueblo buildings, the art center, and other sites. Living so close to the end of the Oregon Trail as we do, I was intrigued by the Santa Fe trail. Those pioneers were tough.
Memorial for the end of the Santa Fe trail
We also enjoyed a nice lunch with some exquisite mango soup at the La Fonda hotel.
Jeanette, Carla, and Howard enjoying lunch at El Tovar in Santa Fe, NM
After the tour and lunch we split up for a couple of hours to pursue interests – museums for Carla, window shopping for Jeanette, and people watching for me. I hung out in the beautiful downtown plaza and watched the world go by. I soon thought I was in Mexico or Spain rather than New Mexico.
After nice night’s sleep we stopped for a moment and got Jeanette to pose
Jeanette at the El Rey motel in Santa Fe, NM
One could easily spend three or more days in Santa Fe and not see everything; but we didn’t have three days – and we need a reason to go back. For now we headed to some of our favorite places in northern Arizona.