Road Trip in Northern New Mexico

Description: Jeanette Arboth, daughter of Judy Thomeczek of Las Animas, poses with a friendly dealer of Chimayo Chile at the Spanish Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday. (Photos By Bette McFarren)

Published: 08/15/2021
Byline: McFarren

Road Trip in Northern New Mexico

By: Bette McFarren

Three women from Southeastern Colorado were going to an 80th birthday party for our Southeastern Colorado playwright, Tencha Avila, in Santa Fe, N.M. People from northern New Mexico flood Durango every summer, so they thought they would return the favor and play turistas in Northern New Mexico.

Northern New Mexico Trip Bette McFarren SECO News seconews.orgJudy Thomeczek of Las Animas takes a picture at the Spanish Market in Santa Fe, N.M., on Saturday.

They started at the Spanish Market on Saturday morning. Beautiful sunflowers and well-crafted jewelry caught their eyes, but the prices and the problem of keeping the sunflowers fresh drove them to the exotic bread instead. A colorful chile farmer from Chimayo sold them some bright red chile powder.

Road Trip To New Mexico Bette McFarren SECO News What to do with your old bottle caps - make a mosaic like the one in Meow Wolf in Santa Fe.

They took in Meow Wolf, a fun house that almost defies description. It resembles an escape room in that there is a mystery to solve. However, the time limit is much longer and you are not really locked in, though sometimes you may feel as thought you are. The colors are bright and luminescent, staged by the same artisan who crafted Game of Thrones. A big favorite was the luminous dinosaur skeleton and the gigantic glowing fish bowl. The tree house included a roofing section to climb and an old-fashioned bathroom, complete with toilet bowl where you could see a small boy reflected in the descending drain.

Road Trip To New Mexico Bette McFarren SECO News seconews.orgHanging out in the Meow Wolf fish bowl in Santa Fe are natives from Southeastern Colorado.

Saturday morning in Santa Fe involved a huge crowd, but by the bravery of one person going in person to the La Fonda Hotel to make a reservation, the three actually had lunch in the great La Fonda dining room, enjoying tortilla soup, a magnificent platter with chile relleno and magnificent enchilada, as well as customary beans and rice. The beans were shelled fresh beans. The chairs resembled wooden thrones. They treated their Santa Fe friend, who ordinarily stays out of the downtown area on feast days.

Road Trip to New Mexico Bette McFarren SECO News seconews.orgCruisin’ the drag in San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, on its 170th birthday, Sunday on the way home. Missed the big car show on Saturday.

The skies split open with flooding rain, thunder and lightning shortly before lunch, stranding the group in an art gallery with really good paintings and sculptures. The proprietor knew we were not really prospects who could afford any of the wares, but we were happy to enjoy them, as the cloud appeared to be directly over the gallery.

The Southeast Colorado trio had left late and gone straight to Santa Fe on Friday, but coming back, discovered parts of northern New Mexico on a road less traveled by. One of them remembered the weavers and the chile fields of Chimayo, but they never found them. However, they did see an aqueduct made by Spaniards three centuries ago and still in use to water the fields. They saw it beside the road on the way to Truchas. The former New Mexican in the group was happy to show them something she remembered, unmarked by a sign to attract tourists.

Road Trip to New Mexico Bette McFarren SECO News seconews.orgTaking a rest in a hollow tree at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Ever wonder what happened to all that old green carpet from the ’60’s and ’70’s?

The Land of Enchantment is not too far south of here. One of the trio used to live in Santa Fe as a young teacher, unaware that Tony Hillerman was an editor at the Santa Fe New Mexican, working across the street from her apartment. It was snowing hard one winter day when she asked her friend Katy Martinez if people would laugh at her for using an umbrella in the snow. “In Santa Fe? No, smile a little, maybe.”

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