Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Santa Fe Trail

We started the day a little late in North Platte, Nebraska after breakfast and a stop to visit the local celebrity.

... and we arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico around 8:30 (Central Time). I like flying in an airplane as much as the next person but there's something you miss when you get on a plane in an airport that looks like every other airport, and get off in another airport that looks like every other airport.

I'm a small-town guy who still thinks it's pretty cool to go places you've heard about and watched the transition of the geography along the way.

Here's what I mean.

You can be driving along Nebraska -- which at this time of year smells of manure, but that's OK, I grew up around cows. Cameras don't do it justice. It's just a big hunk of sky from one end to the other, with the occasional tree.

You cross into Colorado and the geography instantly changes to high desert.

And you drive for a few hours and you start to see mountains a hundred miles away...

Then, around Denver, they get really big. We drove south to Colorado Springs and stopped for a shot with Pike's Peak (we think) in the background.

Just behind us is the U.S. Air Force Academy. When I was a kid, that's where I wanted to go. But they needed people with perfect vision flying jets back then. Now, they'll let anyone fly those things. (g)

Then the geography flattens a little bit, and from a long way away, you see the Spanish Peaks. There was snow on the ground here and it was interesting that there was no snow across Nebraska and northern Colorado, and more snow the farther south we went.

Farther south, near the New Mexico border, we stopped to read about a massacre of miners and their families, at the hands of the U.S. government, at the behest of the coal mining companies. It outraged the public and that led to the beginning of labor laws, the laws that people nowadays consider unnecessary intrusion of government in private business.

We climbed up through a pass, into New Mexico and from the shadows of the mountains we saw the most amazing sight (again, not properly captured by little cameras): Below us, bathed in sunlight, was the desert of northern New Mexico.

You get across by putting the speedometer on about 80, and waiting about two hours.

Eventually, some small hills start popping up, and as the sun set, we headed into the mountains again, about an hour from Santa Fe.

1,265 miles so far -- about the same distance as Woodbury to The Berkshires. Tomorrow, we play tourist in Santa Fe.

A few years from now, we'll probably make this trip again -- in an RV airplane currently under construction. It'll be different, but it won't be better.

(I urge you to click each image to see the larger version)


RadioNed said...

Enjoy your well-deserved vacation, folks. Let me know if you make your way East. I have some hot "visitors" Tribe tix earmarked.

GML4 said...

Great pics and comments! Looking forward to the day I can take a trip like this with my family.

Bernie said...

Very enjoyable Bob. Great pics. I did a similar trip in the RV7A. You will enjoy your RV as well. Both modes of transportation have their pros and cons. Best regards.