day 3… but no one told us there was a parade…

Michelle made pancakes for breakfast. We all learned that Michelle likes peanut butter on her pancakes. The rest of us stuck with Aunt Jemima. Yummy!

By 9:30 we were ready to head out: Angela to visit a Corgi list friend in Monte Vista, a little over an hour south and west, the rest of us to Taos, NM.

The drive to Taos was not overly exciting. More of the same landscape – towering mountains to the east, which were absolutely stunning – and desolate, flat, sagebrush covered flatlands. NM landscape was only slightly different – there were some noticeable plateaus to the south and west. We turned off the main highway toward Taos and it was even less impressive. A few adobe houses spotted the landscape, a lot of run down properties with towering mountains in the distance.

Finally… we arrived in Taos and ended up in a long line of traffic crawling through the outskirts and into the downtown area. There were people lining the streets. They’d brought their lawn chairs, their umbrellas (the sun was beating down), their coolers, and they’re settling in. We crawled through town. There was no place to pull over, no place to park, no signs to indicate what was happening though it wasn’t hard to guess! Sidestreets are blocked with yellow tape and police cruisers. Merry rolled down the car window while we were sitting in traffic and asked one of the lawn chair folks – yep, it’s Fiesta! The parade would start in 20 minutes.

We got to the other side of Taos and spotted a visitors center. Bathrooms and information!! Just what we needed. We’re starving, too, since we’d planned to arrive in time for lunch. At the visitors center we got a good map and a recommendation for a restaurant just north of Taos up toward the ski areas. We also got directions that took us through Taos neighborhoods and no where near the parade route!!

Thirty minutes later we’re in Arroya Seco, sitting down for brunch at Gypsy’s. I had a shrimp with guacamole & pico salad; Merry had the eggs miga; Margaret bacon, toast & potatoes, and Michelle, the Mediterranean salad. Excellent food. A storm tries to roll in. After lunch we strolled the art galleries, pottery places, and stores of the tiny town before hitting the organic ice cream store, the Taos Cow. The Rio Grande chocolate (with pinon nuts and chocolate chunks) was excellent. Michelle said the coffee oreo ice cream was great, too.

Some photos from NM. Click on the left photo in the photostream to see the 5 photos.

3:15pm. We headed down the mountain and back into Taos. We spotted another side road that would take us off the main drag (where the parade was). Even the side road was slow going but we turned into a small parking lot just off the plaza area. It was 3:45. We told Angela we’d be back at the cabin by 7:30, so we gave ourselves 1 hour 15 minutes to shop in Taos. We explored the kitchen store – I found a trio dip mix, a NM magnet, and some green chili chicken soup mix. At another store I picked up a bright covered throw for Jen. The stores were warm – no air conditioning – since the outside temps were in the mid-70s. Nevermind that we were at 7000+ feet and the sun was pretty darn hot!! Ah, well…

The plaza itself was very crowded with vendors and people. Other stores weren’t too busy, which made shopping easy. I beat the others back to the car and downed some leftover water. Shortly after 5pm we were on our way north. We decided to take a different route that skirted the mountains. The views were fabulous, including the storms rolling in with big lightening strikes. We ran into some rain but it wasn’t too bad. The drive was pleasant and it didn’t take us long to get out of NM and cross the border into CO.

Apparently the town of San Luis, CO, also had a festival that day. We didn’t have to crawl through the town, but there were lots of revelers. Interesting Catholic Church there on the hill overlooking town. Pretty impressive. Drove through Ft. Garland… the fort was closed, not that we had time to stop. Then we got behind a 3 vehicle caravan that couldn’t decide whether to drive 50 or 65 (the speed limit). We were behind them a LONG time, even as we turned west toward Alamosa. I wouldn’t mind passing 1 or 2 vehicles on some of the road stretches we were on… but 3? No. Not fun. So we remained a little frustrated traveling behind these guys. Argh!

At Alamosa we turned north toward Crestone. Finally made it back to the cabin a little after 8pm. Michelle made pizza for dinner. We dragged out the veggies and dip, chips and salsa, and cut up the watermelon and strawberries. Stuffed.

Finally got downstairs for movie night: Firefly, episode 1.

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