June 22, 2018
When we plan our RV adventures we always like to stay in an area which allows for easy day trips to numerous poitnst of interest. Santa Fe is abundant in that respect. In this trip we were somewhat disappointed not to be able to do one of our planned visits to hike and bike the newest US National Monument, Valle Caldera.
The extreme drought has spurred wild fires in the area and as a consequence some of the back country trails have been closed to the public for the past month or longer. But not to worry, there is still lots to do and we certainly took advantage of that and planned alternate biking trails in the Santa Fe area, as well as making more time to visit cute little towns nearby.
We decided to test our electric bikes on The Santa Fe Rail Trail which is long enough and challenging enough to make me glad I had an ebike. This trail takes you 17 miles from Santa Fe towards El Dorado. The end of the trail is single track and quite rough but we managed to do around 25+ miles round trip. The trail is unpaved gravel road that winds through beautiful desert country. Some areas are very steep climbs (this is where the ebike was a champ) and then white knuckle descents some with sharp gravel turns. Here I must disclose that I’m a bit of a wimp, Leo was having a ball riding down these hills. I took a bit of a spill on one of these sharp turns but thankfully no harm done, what’s a little bruise after all. Overall it was enjoyable, I think next time I’ll be prepared, I’m still trying to get used to my electric bike, it’s fantastic to be able to take these hills like the young and beautiful riders you see on these trails 😄
The next day we took the scenic New Mexico Highway 14 “The Turquoise Trail” about 25 miles to the town of Madrid and the neighboring town of Cerrillos. Madrid is a quaint small town with a very large artist community and as a result, many lovely art galleries and shops. Needless to say I was I heaven, we went into every single shop where beautiful jewelry, gifts and fabulous art abounded. The prices are a lot more reasonable than in Santa Fe so if you are looking for a nice piece whether it’s a painting, sculpture or other art forms, I would highly recommend you check out the galleries in Madrid. Leo found a beautiful Kachina from a Hobi Indian artist depicting a Warrior Spirit. He has been searching for a kachina ever since he saw them on our trip last year. After a little bit of barganing (yes, you can make offers) he was able get a good deal and the kachina will be coming home with us. This particular kachina called “Knife Wing” represents the Sun God, their most powerful Hobi spirit. Many Hobi homes have a Sun God as a form of protection. We will be bringing this protection to North Carolina.
We also had a wonderful lunch at The Hollar this road side restaurant was fantastic. Leo and I shared a fried green tomato BLT that was to die for and the outdoor patio was delightful. Madrid will be a place we will definitely return to when traveling in this area.
Another easy day trip from Santa Fe is the city of Albuquerque. We have plans for a longer stay there next year but nevertheless we decided to take a drive to ride up to the Sandia Mountains on the Sandia Peak Tramway. This cable tram is the second longest cable tram in the world (the one in Chamonix, France which we actually rode many, many years ago is the longest). The cable tram span is 1.5 miles long and has a vertical rise of 3819 feet (that’s 1163 meters for you non US people). This tram takes you to the top of Sandia Peak which is part of the Cibola National Forest where we planned to hike the summit’s many trails. But unfortunately the trails where closed due to the drought and extreme fire danger. So we ended snapping a few pictures and enjoying the temperature at the summit, a very pleasant 71 degrees (the base was at 98). Factoid, the word Sandia means watermelon in Spanish. The rock composition is such that in winter and with some snow on the peak, at sunset, it turns a lovely pinkish color which reminded the Spanish Conquistadores of a watermelon.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Santa Fe and we plan to take it easy by walking down Canyon road. I wrote about this art district area of Santa Fe in my Blog post of 2017 We are also looking forward to a dinner at La Boca. We have had many recommendations of this tapas style restaurant and can’t wait to try it. Stay tuned for pictures and review on my next post which should be from Dolores, Colorado. We are very excited to visit Colorado in the summer as all of our trips to this great state have always been in the winter to ski…. see you there! 😄