Today was just a driving day to get to Santa Fe in new Mexico where we have more things to see. We drive about 300 kms which took us about seven hours including our many stops.
It had snowed overnight and everything was dusted with a light cover of snow. It was a bit thicker on the sections of the road that were in the mountains, but even in Cortez where we stayed overnight, the landscape had a thin cover of white. It was -2C when we walked across the car park to our car. The sun was out and it was bright sunshine. I’m sure that my American friends will laugh at this feeble amount of snow and cold, but to us it was quite magical. It is something that we never see at home – especially to have such a cold day with bright blue skies and sunshine..
We drove south, passed Durango, and stopped at the resort town of Pagosa Springs which is famous for both its hot springs and also being the location of the heaviest snowfall ever in Colorado. I thought that this little pine tree would make a perfect Christmas Tree.
For a long way, we drove through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was very interesting scenery with many small ranches and farms.
Our lunch spot was at a the tiny town of Chama which is located just 11 km south of the border into New Mexico. We did a couple of lengths of the main street tp see if we could find a good place for lunch and settled on the only obvious location – The High Country Restaurant. It was like eating in a 1950’s diner – laminar tables and a simple menu that only seemed to consist of burgers and sandwiches ( a fancy American term for a burger in disguise)..
Chama is the western terminus of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, a steam-driven, narrow gauge heritage railway which carries visitors during the summer months. It is the remaining 64 mile portion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad’s San Juan Extension built in the 1880s between Alamosa, Colorado, and Durango, Colorado. The route was abandoned in the late 1960s and the tracks from Chama westward to Durango were torn up soon afterwards.
The environment became more arid as we continued south. By mid afternoon we were back to seeing rock outcrops extending from the higher hills above the river valley through which we we were travelling.
We crossed the Rio Grande at one stage. I think it is the same river that eventually forms the border between the USA and Mexico, but I can’t be sure.
During our drive,I found myself humming along to the tune ‘Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe’ only to realise I had the wrong song in my head! Of course, it’s ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose’ – a different place entirely!
We arrived in Santa Fe late in the afternoon looking forward to exploring some of the old town area tomorrow.