Day 17: Santa Fe to Ruidoso, NM (228 mi)
24 Oct 2008 -- Back on the road, writing again from a Holiday Inn Express… tonight in Ruidoso, New Mexico… after a drive longer than anticipated.
We got off to an itchy and edgy start – maybe anxious about the vaguely planned days ahead. We headed for the Turquoise Trail on Rt 14 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Our final boutique+Starbucks in Madrid left us with a sour taste as they charged us 25 cents for an extra paper cup. As intense and enriching as the Santa Fe art scene was, I think we’ve had enough of artsy pretensions.
The morning belonged to the eccentrics. In Cerrillos we had fun at the Casa Grande Trading Post, Petting Zoo & Mining Museum – a dusty homegrown conglomeration of antiques, mineral samples, a few goats and a llama. Then Tinkertown – one of those wacky environments made of junk and obsessive collections. Both places made us smile (photo above). Both far-out places, in tumbleweed territory off Rt 337, made us remember that the only time is now and the only place is here.
The owner-creator of Tinkertown hand-painted a large sign that said the following:
This is the way worlds begin... We want to shape matter because we want to live and life is where one can nourish the soul as well as the body. To nourish the soul by using the hands, lifting stones, digging earth, putting sticks together... to combine things, to give them each a place, make them carry loads, let them surround and let them enhance our actions... The people that hold a mirror to society and each of us is seeing something different from one's specific point of view. My own view & preoccupation with ordinary people's role in the life and death of built environments makes me see first of all, a tremendous source... the creative source of energy that throughout history made buildings & cities exist.
I was sad to read that he died at a fairly young age with dementia.
We needed our iPhone GPS to help us skirt around the Albuquerque interstates and back onto the scenic mountain route. After we poked along for awhile, I started checking the AAA book about the nearest place with a hotel. Oh-oh… suddenly supper and a good night’s sleep seemed too far away… so we veered off the picturesque county road back on to State Rt 55. The mountains faded into the distance as we hit wide open cattle country with arrow straight roads. Ate our sandwiches in the parking lot of a gas station in Estancia, then headed south.
The plains were beautiful in their austere way and we sped along till we hit the mountains again around Ruidoso. As we labored up the mountain, the day seemed endless. But then, poof, here we are. Good ole Pizza Hut for dinner, with a Bud Light. New territory.