Cochiti Lake Campground – Santa Fe, New Mexico (Part Two) – April 15 – 27, 2023

This is Part Two of our stay at Cochiti Lake Campground and Santa Fe, New Mexico to visit our friends, Tim and Alan. Part One can be read here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 we drove into Santa Fe to meet our long-time friends, Tim and Alan, at their timeshare for a tour of Santa Fe Plaza and to treat them to a meal to celebrate their anniversary.

I am always enamored with the adobe style of architecture and New Mexico is a great place to see many examples of it everywhere you look. Tim and Alan’s timeshare is built and decorated in that same style. We can see why they enjoy spending time here.

They took us down to the old part of Santa Fe and the square there, dating back 400 years. The square, known as Santa Fe Plaza, has long been the economic and social center of New Mexico’s capital city, as well as being the location of a multitude of historic buildings and events in the storied past of “Land of Enchantment”. The Plaza is landscaped with trees, walkways, and benches and surrounded by storefronts, memorial markers and monuments. Founded by the Spanish in 1609, the Plaza was a defensive and strategic location for their armed forces and was roughly twice the size it is today. It later served as the endpoint marker of the Santa Fe Trail.

One of the storefronts in particular caught my eye; a men’s clothing retailer known as “Parts Unknown”. In the old days of professional wrestling, any masked wrestler was always introduced by the announcer as being “From parts unknown” so as to give no clue as to his identity. We visited that and various other stores, as well as picking up a smoothie to sip on as we walked around and through the square.

There was also an open market of craftspeople selling their wares, mostly handmade jewelry along with other decorative items under an open yet covered type of sidewalk. Cindy picked up a couple of things that she thought were attractive and well-made. We also toured the street in front of The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and the extensive lobby of one of the oldest hotels in the Plaza. The area is thick with artistic expression in the forms of statues, paintings and building murals. It was fun to watch artists on the street as they sketched The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and other beautiful buildings from various points on the streets around the Plaza.

In honor of their anniversary, Cindy and I had told Tim and Alan that we wanted to take them out for lunch or dinner. They took us to the restaurant of their choice, Cowgirls Bar B Que not far from the old downtown Plaza. We had some delicious food and enjoyed quite a bit of time just eating, talking and catching up (even though Cindy and Tim usually FaceTime every Sunday, lol) with each other.

The only drawback that day was that the weather was VERY windy and dust and dirt were blown around. As Cindy and I drove back to the campground in the early evening, even the normally starkly beautiful mountains looked like washed out paintings due to all the dust in the air.

Thursday we rested in Nomad, but the temperature was forecast to be below freezing that night, so I got out our heated water hose (and remembered to plug it in this time) to prevent any of our pipes from bursting due to being frozen.

On Friday, April 21, 2023 we drove back into Santa Fe to meet Tim and Alan for a tour of the Canyon Road Art Trail. The Canyon Road Art Trail is a half-mile long street with the highest density of art galleries (over 80) in the United States. These galleries were once private homes, most in the adobe-style so prevalent in the area, that now contain artwork ranging from traditional to contemporary, Native American to Western, realistic to abstract and in every form from paintings to sculptures to metalwork and photography, created by artists both local and from all over the world.

We also took the opportunity to visit the nearby Longworth Gallery and its owner Lisa J. Rodgers. Several years ago Ms. Rodgers opened her gallery’s courtyard to Tim and Alan for their wedding ceremony and served as a witness. It was such a pleasure to make her acquaintance and spend some time in her gallery, surrounded by beautiful art as we talked about issues facing the country and the world.

Afterward, we had a late lunch/early dinner at Tomasita’s, a delightful Mexican restaurant. I ate entirely too much, but I hadn’t had anything since breakfast and the food was delicious! Even after a 45 minute drive back to the campground, Cindy had to roll me out of Voyager and into Nomad.

We got up and left early Saturday morning, April 22, 2023 to meet Tim and Alan at their timeshare and get to the Santa Fe Farmers Market at the Santa Fe Railyard by the time they opened at 8am. This was one of the largest and best farmers markets we’ve been to in a long time and most of it was conveniently indoors. I strolled down the street to take photos of some of the decorated rail cars and visit the block-long Artists Market where craftspeople share their wares. But mostly I walked down to visit the Santa Fe Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookstore, Beastly Books, owned by author George R. R. Martin. Unfortunately, the store did not open until 11am and I did not want to hold everyone up from visiting our other stops that morning. Plus, I would have just been tempted to buy some of his autographed books and I really have no room for them in Nomad.

We left the farmers market with bags of produce and bakery items and drove to a “hoodoo” store mostly for Tim and Cindy to shop, but Alan and I also did our share of looking around. The owner was a very nice lady from California who had opened her shop several years ago and also practiced Reiki. It was a fun stop for all of us. Then we walked down the block a bit to a soap store and bought a few of their items as well.

Sunday was a much-needed day of rest for Cindy and I. Even though we typically walk a mile or two each day, we had spent most of the previous few days doing nothing but walking and/or standing and we were both bone tired.

Monday, April 24, 2023 was our last day to visit with Time and Alan. We drove to their timeshare and just sat around visiting for a while, then drove to a nearby hamburger place named Lotaburger. It’s a walk-up where you place your order at the window and wait for your order to be completed. There were a few outdoor picnic tables to eat at but we were taking ours back to Tim and Alan’s to eat. While we were waiting on our orders it started raining, so we got a little wet since their was only a small overhang above the order windows to try and stand under. We got back to the timeshare and enjoyed the food and shakes.

Then Cindy and I said our goodbyes to Tim and Alan. It is always good to see them. Last year we visited them at their home in California and this year in Santa Fe. Who knows where we’ll see them next? Afterward we stopped at the post office to mail Amber’s birthday gift, stopped to pick up some prescriptions and then returned to Nomad.

Tuesday we had rain in the morning which turned into thunderstorms in the afternoon. We had wind gusts up to 35 mph, so Nomad was shaking a lot. It didn’t bother me since I had fun riding out 55-60 mph winds in Nomad last November, but it made Cindy a little nervous. Wednesday we relaxed and packed up most everything so we would be ready to leave the next day without much delay.

But, in the words of poet Robert Burns, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men” would make his sentiment ring true. We were just about to leave on Thursday, April 27, 2023 when Cindy noticed that one of the RV tires was flat. We have two road service companies we pay for, but I knew that the closest one would be coming from 28 miles away in Santa Fe and I could change out the tire myself before they would ever arrive. We ended up leaving about 90 minutes later than intended, but I felt fortunate we had been able to deal with in the quiet of our RV site instead of on a busy road with traffic whizzing by.

All in all, it could have been a lot worse!

Thanks for following the Wandering Wetheringtons.

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