My husband and I went there on our honeymoon in the summer of 2010. Our plane technically landed in Albuquerque, NM, whereupon we immediately booked a room in a cheap hotel. My husband and I were so exhausted from our early flight that we fell asleep on the bed for about two hours. At one point we awoke, turning down the bedspread so we could further explore dreamland, when we noticed some things on the sheets and in the rest of the room that were not kosher. We took our refund (which was like pulling teeth to get), got in the rental car and decided to see how close we could get to Colorado before we had to settle in for the night.
Albuquerque looked just about like any other over-developed metropolis in America, which is hardly surprising when one considers that there’s a major airport in that city; there has to be something that appeals to every kind of tourist that gets off of the plane. Husband and I saw a plethora of souvenir shops that did not appear dissimilar from the tacky, beachy shops along the Florida coastline where we come from. As we drove further north, however, this is when we began to notice that things were different. Buildings became more sparse, giving way to a more maize-hued landscape. We began to see steppe-like rock formations, and passed some areas where native reservations were located. Later in our journey, we drove by red clay-colored mountains, which were simply beautiful set ablaze with the sunset. We drove by great expanses of verdure and many quaint farmhouses before we finally stopped at a steakhouse in Chama, NM, for dinner. There was some live music playing there, which was a nice touch.
Husband and I didn’t have to drive far before we discovered a mom-and-pop motel to hang our hats. It was nothing spectacular, but it was clean and comfortable, which was all we wanted. The owners of the motel – a husband and wife – bent over backward to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed.
The morning after… we stepped outside, took deep breaths, and reveled in the cooler, thinner, cleaner air. Husband and I surveyed our surroundings: lush trees characteristic of the land and no trace of pollution. Buildings were well-maintained (compared with certain areas of Florida that husband and I were used to) and flowers were blooming. Guess the absence of sea-salted air helped in that regard.
That morning we drove (and walked) all around Chama and fell in love with the town, there were all sorts of little specialty stores, art communities, and other delights. Afterward, husband and I continued on our journey, finally making it into Colorado. We booked another mom-and-pop motel room, equally good as the last, in Pagosa Springs and loved that place, too (I think that husband and I especially loved every place we went because it wasn’t Florida). The town lived up to its name, as there was a lovely, rocky spring there that folks could fish in.
Throughout the rest of the trip, we drove through the Rocky Mountains, which was a major highlight of our trip. I almost have no words to describe it. The trees, which covered the mountains, were very lush, beautiful, and green. The air, even in the thick of summer, was chilly in the higher elevations, which I loved. Husband and I spotted a train trekking through the mountains as well.
There’s much more of this story to tell but I’m fading quickly and my bed is calling my name. Stay tuned…