A New State and A New City

23 April 2013 in Memories, Traveling

After leaving Arkansas we headed west on I-40 passing through Oklahoma City under cover of night and with no big cities ahead of us we took rest in the parking lot of another truck stop in western Oklahoma.

Starting bright and early—though the phrase seems silly when applied before the sun actually rises – wouldn’t “bright” require a fully risen sun—we laid rubber to asphalt or pavement or whatever Oklahoma set beneath us and worked our way into the state of New Mexico. There are very few states west of the Mississippi River that we’ve yet to travel through, but this was one of them.

20130402-DSC_0784_low-resWith a day to spare we decided Santa Fe sounded like a fun diversion and so we left our smooth, four lane interstate for the slightly rough two lane highway that would carry us north to Santa Fe. Arriving early in the afternoon we found a campsite at the cleanest campground I’ve ever seen. Well I guess the campground was pretty standard, but the bathrooms. My gosh. I don’t know that I’ve seen a bathroom – campground, restaurant, hotel or otherwise that was so well kept. I know this seems like a silly thing to discuss, but that’s how nice they were. I’m talking about a giant spotless mirror, polished chrome faucets, counter tops and sinks so clean you wouldn’t mind having dinner off of them. And the showers and toilets cleaner than your own home’s. Most public bathrooms I avoid using at all costs, but these were so clean I actually looked forward to using them.

Anyways, after setting up and getting the cats settled we headed into the old downtown area. Here the streets were lined with adobe buildings as far as the eye could see all painted roughly the same medium brown. It was a little off putting to be honest. It almost looked fake, like all of these structures had be erected in the last few years and while they were meant to look old, they really just looked like a southwest themed village at Disneyland. It was too clean, too well kept and too uniformly painted. Like an aging Hollywood actress nipped, tucked and injected with poison it looked nice, but was void of any of the wonderful character that the passage of time can bring.

20130402-DSC_0730_low-resWhile a little monochromatic and lifeless, the little downtown was fun to explore. The shops catered mostly to the well-to-do with art, jewelry and clothing that was well out of our budget, but fun to peer through the windows at. Despite a wide assortment of shops the streets seemed eerily empty. There was the occasional foursome of elderly folks in matching khakis and fleece wandering casually with money to spend, but in no hurry to spend it. Then there was their polar opposite – young kids who looked homeless, also wandering, but not in search of things to buy, more likely just killing time and daylight. Shiftlessly walking about because there was nothing else to do.

We appeared to be the only ones who fit perfectly in the middle by age and by our socioeconomic standing. While not in a position to allot expendable money to frivolous things like jewelry and art we were hoping to sample some southwestern cuisine while in Santa Fe. After checking several menus in the downtown area that either excluded us via price or simply didn’t offer the food we were looking for we made our way down to the train station where we came across Tomasita’s. From the outside it looked too swank for us and we were sure when we entered the food would be once again out of our price range. And even if it wasn’t the likelihood of finding vegetarian options was slim. But we were surprised to find both reasonable prices and a wide array of veggie options.

20130402-DSC_0770_low-resThe food ended up being amazing! I had the Vegetarian Combo with a grilled veggie enchilada, a bean taco and rice and beans. Lindsay had the Vegetarian Tamales. Both of our meals came with red and green chili sauce and Sopiallas. We had never had or heard of Sopiallas, but they were amazing. Basically they’re a slightly flaky, air filled bread with a faintly sweet taste. They were served with a honey butter, but also worked well for wiping your plate clean.

While the food was great the city of Santa Fe left something to be desired. I know we didn’t see it all, but I can’t say it’s at the top of my list for cities we’ve visited so far. I would return, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

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23 April 2013 Memories, Traveling

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