Alamosa to Taos

I’m a little behind because we didn’t have any service in Taos, and since then I’ve finished my part of the ride and come to El Paso, but I have lots of photos, so here’s a reconstruction.

The ride to Taos was mostly nice steady descent out of Colorado. I wanted to take things slow so I asked Mike to feel free to zoom ahead since I know he really enjoys going fast sometimes. Some of the sights I saw:

There wasn’t much water out here, so when I heard a splashing, I looked over. This is tough to see but that dot in the water is a duck paddling away leaving a small wake. It reminded me of seeing a solo crew shell on the Potomac, serene and quiet, and made me smile.

The first town (if you could call it that) was Manassa, named by the original Mormon settlers for Manassah, one of the tribes of Israel. If you’re a boxing fan, this might interest you:

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Manassa was also home to a beautifully laid out and kept lumberyard. I saw some men near the entrance who looked to me like they were Amish or Mennonite in the way they were dressed. Perhaps conservative Mormons in the area dress that way too. Regardless, I was very impressed with the craftsmanship on display.

The next town was Conejos, a bit off the highway so I didn’t turn in. But I think everyone in our group took a photo of this sign and probably better photos than mine of the church:

This is what Google says about it: Colorado’s Oldest Church was built in 1858 and is still standing and used today, over 150 years later. Our Lady of Guadeloupe Parish is located in Conejos, Colorado just north of the town of Antonito.  Conejos means ‘rabbits’ and there’s a Conejos River nearby, so that’s probably where the name came from. But I’m doubtful we’d ever name a town “Rabbits”. It just sounds better in Spanish, right?

Not too far after that sign we made a big left turn. The left turn occurred at the railway yard of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. They were getting one of the engines ready. From far away I first saw dark smoke and then white (combustion and then steam). As I turned the corner they were bringing it out. It was SO cool!

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It runs from Antonito, CO to Chama, NM, 64 miles through the 10,015 foot Cumbres Pass and the Toltec Gorge. I would LOVE to take that trip someday!

The small towns along this stretch were so beautiful. Many of the buildings have murals or paintings. Although the style was distinctly Mexican influenced, the quality and quantity of the paintings reminded me of going through small villages in Bavaria where people have displayed what they love on the outside walls to provide enjoyment for everyone who goes by:

The next big milestone was this:

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You can see in the distance a whole lot of road … and nothing else. That was the case until we got to Tres Piedras (3 Rocks) for our rest stop. Jun30.17

There was a great restaurant across the street — the Chili Line Depot. They had apple pie made with chilies and pinon. I tried a bite of Ruth’s. It definitely had a kick! I bought some chocolate cookies with chili for the group to try. Again, the kick but in this case it really sneaked upon you! This artwork was in the restaurant:

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From there the scenery was pretty boring until we got to the Rio Grande Gorge. Unfortunately, by the time I got there I had no battery left on my phone so I didn’t take a photo. When I was going back up to get my other camera I was told that Mike wasn’t feeling well and was in the shelter area. I went there instead and missed the photos of the Gorge. But here is an internet one:

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By Daniel Schwen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10878282

Being concerned for Mike and getting him to the safety of the church I joined the van and finished the day into Taos by car. There we were greeted by the Presbyterian Church and shuttled up to their camp, Loma Verde, in the Taos Canyon.

More on that tomorrow!

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