Monday, July 9, 2012

Tripping through the Southwest

Over 2,700 miles and ten days later, with a car trip through Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, I am back to Colorado as a happy camper.  Sister Pam and I went through hundreds of small towns on fairly untraveled roads, and also a few congested interstates, with absolutely no car trouble and just a few highway blockages.

Taos, New Mexico was hardly a sleepy tourist community of artists.  The evening we were there, a local band played music in the square across from our La Fonda Hotel.  It was a bustling place with lots of people reticent of the 1960's.  And boots, my the boots!...also drugstore Indians and carved wood totems:

Shops, restaurants, bars and a great favorite place to eat called Doc Martin's (lots of history here) were on the agenda.

Hollyhocks were everywhere, even springing up from concrete cracks on footpaths.  They are such happy flowers.  I'll be painting some soon as we captured lots of photos of them.

Quaint photo opportunity in Taos:

While in Taos, I bought a (watercolor) print from artist Karen Blair.  She paints hollyhocks by the bucket load.  Take a look at her work here.  This is an example of Blair's work, found on her website:

Then Santa Fe, just an hour from Taos, held several delights, my favorite being the Georgia O'Keefe Museum (and gift shop).  Long time fan of O'Keefe, I got a refresher course on her background and work from a docent at the museum.  Other than buying a gift for my SIL for his birthday and one post card, the entire journey there was worth it just to visit the museum.  Here are a few pictures and links:

Pictures of clouds, thunder clouds and rain showers from alongside the road in New Mexico:

This picture was borrowed, but you can imagine the lightning we saw.  This just displays it better than I could:

Thousands of wind turbines (close to 7,000 and added daily) lined the highway south and east of Amarillo, Texas.  We were told that each landowner was given $10,000 annually for a wind turbine to be placed on their land, and that most of the energy is currently sold to California.  Pam and I were amazed that the turbines went on for miles and miles as we drove south and southwest through Texas toward Austin.  They are HUGE ... 350 ft. high... and the propellers are almost as long.  It was an amazing sight.

(click on picture for close up)

And those ubiquitous iron horses pumping up oil were everywhere alongside the Texas highways, as well as cheery sunflowers:

The trip home, after lastly visiting my friend Kathy and her daughter Ellen in Denver was fairly quick.  Kathy and Ellen put on a show, complete with lots of pictures and souvenirs, of their trip to China last summer with the CCAI on the morning I left their house.

(Picture of a picture of Ellen in China last year while on a trip back with adoptive parents and children.)

The longest day driving was home to Grand Junction, Colorado from Austin, Texas was 12 hours, but it went quickly because I listened to an audio book The Distant Hours by Kate Morris.  This is a highly recommended read, and an especially highly recommended listen.

Thanks for indulging me by looking at my photos. The trip was definitely worth the drive and more enjoyable than flying there and back, because I got to revisit the southwest and appreciate the beauty of the area without being locked into a specific time frame.

Souvenir of Mexican pottery, home and planted with succulents:


  1. Hi Nancy! I'm so glad you're back! I loved hearing about and seeing Taos. I have not been there. We've driven by but not visited. We should!
    I love the hollyhock/truck painting, too!
    Welcome home, traveler!

  2. Glad you're back Nancy - I look forward to your posts. I have a hollyhock obsession at the moment, the painting you bought is very pretty. You went to some interesting places too. Betty

  3. OMG what a wonderful trip! I can't imagine riding that far! Well, I did it when I was about 12! All the way from Georgia to Yellowstone National Park... that was a long ride!

    Happy to have you back! LOVE your pottery and plant, beautiful! Welcome home! Give yourself a little rest time!

  4. Beautiful, Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the beauty.

    My son`s opinion of Taos, "a bunch of old Hippies!" He was fighting fire in the area and in his late 20`s. I was kind of amused at his assessment. I didn`t think he knew what a Hippie was. I am a fan of hollyhocks too. They do well in our part of the desert.

  5. What a fun roadtrip for you and your sister and how inspirational for an artist like you!

  6. What a lovely vacation! I love road trips. The world is full of amazing little towns and apparently flowers too. Not sure I would have noticed the flowers. How nice that you did.

  7. Oh, this blog post brought back fond memories! We've stayed at the La Fonda too! (I recognise the wooden Indian).

    And I didn't know those were called iron horses, my husband and I christened them nodding donkeys.

    I wonder, were either of you affected by the altitude in Santa Fe or was this not an issue because you drove there? It took me a full 4 days to acclimatise!

  8. Wow, that was quite a trip! Sounds wonderful.


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