Sunday, August 14, 2011

Down to Santa Fe via Four Corners

I had never been to the Four Corners before, so since I was only about 45 miles away, I decided to swing by to see it on my way to New Mexico.

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Just west of the large mesa where Mesa Verde is located, the landscape immediately begins looking like all those old western cowboy movies and TV shows.  Flat, dry valleys with a few large buttes in the distance.  I kept thinking I’d see a stagecoach roll by!  But I did see some tumbleweed roll across the road.

The Four Corners monument is on Navajo land, and since they’ve made quite a tourist attraction out of it, they wanted an admission fee of $3 per person.  No big deal for a solo traveler, but a large family might re-think the value of stopping here.   It was basically a concrete plaza with markers showing each of the four state boundaries (Arizona, Utah, Colorado & New Mexico).   There were a number of benches, but tourists were mainly just coming to take their pictures at the marker itself.  Surrounding the plaza were vendor booths where tribal residents could sell their wares.  There didn’t seem like much to look at or to buy.

It was pretty amusing to see how creative each person wanted to get with their photo pose—some got down on all fours with their butt sticking up in the air!  Others did the backbend gymnastics move (stomach up).   I decided to just go the lame boring route--- sorry folks!

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I had hoped to get a shot of Millie on the corners, but discovered that dogs are not allowed on the plaza, so Millie had to stay with all the other dogs in their motorhomes.

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So, within about 15 minutes, we were on our way again and had “been there, done that” with the Four Corners Monument!

The drive to Santa Fe was long and fairly boring, with the exception of the large rock formation called Shiprock, which could be seen for at least 60 miles! 

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I originally thought I’d overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot just north of Santa Fe, but when I parked and went to start up the generator it would not start—no sound at all.  So, on to Plan B and trying to locate a campground at 6:00pm on a Friday night!

Fortunately, I had good cell service and my trusty iPhone/iPad app called Camp & RV to quickly locate and call nearby campgrounds. 

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This app is a “must-have” for every RV’er!  I don’t like to make advanced reservations that often, so I use this app nearly every day when traveling to find my best overnight option—be it a Wal-Mart parking lot or a campground.  If you don’t have a Apple device, it’s also available for Android phones, or for free via any web browser. 

Side Note:  A few days later when using this app, I happened to submit feedback to the developer (there’s an easy link in the app to do so).  He responded right away and we had a nice email chat.  Turns out, he’s also a View owner and happens to live in Santa Fe!  Too bad I didn’t realize this when I was there, but Adam seems like a great guy and very dedicated to making the data in his apps as current and accurate as humanly possible.  Thanks for the app, Adam!

Ok, back to our originally scheduled program Smile .  I called and found a nice campground to stay at for the weekend, Rancheros de Santa Fe, so with reservations now made, I could now relax and enjoy the evening again! 

With all the driving we did on Friday, we spent most of Saturday resting around the campsite.  However, Millie did need a quick shopping trip to Petsmart to get more dog food (and of course, plop her paws up on the checkout counter to get her free dog biscuit!).  I also had to get my fix for some wonderful southwestern food that always seems to taste better in Santa Fe (yummy blue corn enchiladas!).

On Sunday morning, I ventured out to revisit historic downtown Santa Fe.  Not much has changed since I last saw it about 10 years ago, which is just fine—it’s a great place to stroll around and check out artwork and museums.
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Sunday afternoon, we left Santa Fe to drive up to Taos (a town I’d never been to before but had been eager to see for a number of years).  There are 2 roads to Taos, so I took them both! —the low road along the Rio Grande river (and, yes of course, Millie went for a quick swim in that nice river!)
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and the scenic “High Road to Taos” through the mountain forests and small native farming villages:
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When driving the river route, the road climbed from “river level” to “mesa level” up on top.  It was a good place to stop and to start enjoying the incredible skies of Taos!
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