Saturday morning we decided to drive up to Santa Fe, New Mexico, by way of Albuquerque. A new air filter for the Alfa was on our list of must do's. Craig changed it the last time about two years ago, and it was not an easy job for him. The air filter is a big cylinder that is about 24 inches long. I know Karen's Steve can do a brake job in a parking lot, but most RV parks discourage DYI on-site repair work. So we decided to take the easy way and have it done at the Albuquerque Freightliner shop. We called ahead, drove in, and they did the job while we went to lunch and then waited in the lounge for a little while.
I had not made any reservations in Santa Fe, so as we headed that way I called several RV parks looking for a spot. Since it was Memorial Day weekend they were all full! No problem. One of my new resource books is Casino Camping. I had checked it a few days earlier and saw there were a couple of casinos near Santa Fe where we could overnight.
We parked at the Camel Rock Casino on US-84/285, where we were the only RV in a large sandy lot, and had a peaceful night.
Personally, I don't mind an overnight at a casino, but we wanted to spend several days in Santa Fe and I am not comfortable boondocking and leaving the rig all day. It was OK in Los Algodones because we were only there for a day and there were a lot of other RVs there too. But at this casino we were away from the building, just off the freeway, and our Verizon reception was weak.
So, Sunday I got back on the phone and found a regular RV park that had a spot for us. We drove over to the Santa Fe Skies RV Park, got settled and went to downtown Santa Fe for the rest of the day.
We wandered thru several galleries and gift shops. The downtown area is a big step up from many of the "gift shop and tee shirt store rows" in some of the other places we have been. Much of the artwork was original and priced in the thousands.
This quartz and stone sculpture was at least six feet tall.
Even though we had a tourist map of the old town area, we felt a bit lost and overwhelmed. We were happy to find an information desk at the Palace of Governors and picked up information about the guided walking tour offered every morning by a POG volunteer.
The fact that it rained overnight and was quite cool worked in our favor, because instead of the usual group size, there were only two others wanting to go on our tour, which lasted over two hours and cost a reasonable $10 each.
I highly recommend this type of guided tour. They are often much better than commercial tours on busses where the guide rattles off a canned patter.
Our guide told us a great deal about the history of Santa Fe as it is shown in the existing architecture.
Most of the buildings, and homes all around, are of the Santa Fe pueblo style. They are all stucco, painted in one of 40 approved adobe colors.
Our tour started at the Palace of the Governors and the main Plaza.
We were taken into a typical court yard that is now a shop that sold colorful yard sculptures.
Another courtyard was a wildly growing garden.
As the walk progressed we hardly noticed the sun was coming out and the streets were getting more crowded.
Our guide pointed out several places we might want to come back to on our own. We learned a lot and enjoyed it very much.
After the tour we took a break for coffee at a charming little restaurant, and then went to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
This was one of Craig's favorite pictures of Georgia and a friend.
What a smile!
On the way back to our car we visited a few more galleries and went into the Saint Francis Basilica Cathedral. A typical, but beautiful old church.
We were both very happy to go home to the RV at the end of the day. I love having my own bed to sleep in.
One of the things I noticed all over Santa Fe was the amazing lack of graffiti. All those stucco walls and fences and not a single tag to be seen. Come to think of it, there were no beggars at the intersections, or homeless pushing shopping carts either.
Where are they?