It is becoming clear that while the girls and I would prefer to hike and do outdoor activities, Glen enjoys scenic drives. So, yesterday and today, we drove outside of Albuquerque to see what else was out there. Interstates 25 and 40 intersect Albuquerque. 40 runs east and west; 25 runs north and south.
Yesterday, we took I25 north and then, some smaller roads to San Ysidro. A friend told us about a feed store that is also a natural history museum! As we drove through what appeared to be arid desert, we could see the green spots where water flowed and brought life to the rocky soil. The mountains were striated with layers of red and white. Road blocks at intersections protected Native American reservations from infections carried by outsiders. Though the road ahead held the lure of springs, volcanic calderas, and forests, they were all closed. Instead, we looked ahead to CWW Feed Store.
Upon arrival, it appeared to be your normal feed store. Stacks of feed, bundles of hay, cowboy boots and western shirts. Until you looked up. Connie Collis, the Crazy White Woman (her words) who owns the store, was married to Dave Collis, a world-renowned hunting guide. In several areas of the shop, his prizes are displayed. Glen enjoyed seeing all the taxidermized animals from around the world, while I was focused on the cute clothes, jewelry, and gift items. In fact, I bought the white Mexican style blouse in the photograph!
Today, we headed south on I25 before going east. I had an epiphany last night. It is not as though all the beautiful and unique places in the world are hidden behind the gates of the National Park system. The same landscapes that they are noted for don’t stop at the boundaries. So, even if we can’t get inside, we can seem much of what we might find inside on the outside, too.
Today, I told Glen to surprise me (something that shocked both Glen and the dogs as I am not generally known to like surprises) and we headed to Pueblo National Monument in Mountainair, New Mexico. We drove down on the west side of the Manzano Mountains, enjoying the wide rangeland and sweeping views of the mountains and buttes. Mountainair was a small town that must have been a bustling community at one time. A dozen or so historic buildings holding art galleries, a bakery, combination deli and market and a hardware store lined the wide main street. Of course, everything was closed except the deli where we got a delightful lunch to eat in the car.
Then, we drove to one of the three sites in the National Monument and found that we could see some of the ruins from the road. A three to four hundred-year-old Franciscan Mission rested just over a hill. In the small town nearby, we found a similar structure of more modern construction as well as the ruins of an adobe cottage. We enjoyed the ride and the new scenery and arrived back “home” to the hotel in time for a siesta!