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SF1You know you’re in New Mexico when every town stars with the word ‘San’ or ‘Santa’.

Well, every town that is except for the intriguingly named ‘Truth Or Consequences‘ which (yes, go back and click on its hyperlink!) is a real name for a town not far from the campground where I sit and type this right now.

Today was New Mexico day, and it started with the hardest challenge of all – finding a same named place. In a state which has clearly got Mexican influences stamped all over it, I was originally going to go the rather drab and barren ‘Angel Creek’ down in the south of the state.

It would have taken me way off Route 66, added a day to my schedule and probably been not that interesting.

SF3As it was, I was mucking about on Google maps, and discovered – must to my bemusement – that just an hour north instead of where I was staying was the delightful town of Angel Fire instead, and what’s better than a creek? Well a fire, of course! And one that has the name of stripper too – and so it took us up into the northern part of the start where it gets more Colorado-ish, and stunning winding rounds around mountains evolve and take you past some lovely scenery.

A skiing resort in the winter, Angel Fire was delightfully unblemished by ‘The Man’ and there wasn’t a McDonald’s or Holiday Inn in sight as we went to a lovely cafe, chatted to woman in the information centre, did a geocache, and tried to get as close as we could (and failed) to the hundreds of prairie dogs that were running around every to try and take their photo. Cute little things. Well – cute fat little bastard – things, more like.

A cruise back down Highway 84, and we stumbled upon – completely by chance – an independently run museum – one guy who collected old gas pumps, signs, road signs, cars … anything do with American motoring of days gone by brought together in one beautifully lit up ensemble, complete with replace neon parts where they had failed.

Yes, this was the Classical Gas Museum in Embudo, NM and the owner insisted (no, really!) that I wear an old style peaked cap that the gas attendants used to work back in the day. I was in retro-auto-heaven and snapped a hundred photos.

SF2And so to Santa Fe. A beautiful, beautiful red-bricked building down .. funny, because you could see it was laid out ‘block’ style like so many American cities, and yet it looked nothing like any American city I had ever seen before because it clearly had ‘Spanish’, well ok … ‘Mexican’ influences written all over it in the design of the buildings, and the art & craft & hippy world of all the people milling around and appreciating the live music being played by an impromptu jam session in the green in the middle.

And what do you when you find such a beautiful little place? That’s right .. head for Starbucks (I know, I know, but I was thirsty), when I realised that what with it being my birthday tomorrow, I would get a free drink using my loyalty gold card, but my voucher would have been sent to my home address, and I haven’t been home for, ooh .. six weeks, so I wouldn’t get it.

“No problem” said Nikki, the barista when I explained this to her, and she gave me a free drinks voucher to use next time I get the urge to line Howard’s pockets some more. She also took this opportunity to show me her Starbucks-partner-number tattoo, which I also took the opportunity of photo – and I promised to blur it out or make it small enough so that you all can’t read it and get free coffee.

And one final moment … when we did escape the clutches of SBX and check out the sights and sounds of the city, could there be a better moment when we stumbled upon ‘The Underground Gallery‘ – an art/gallery shop in one of the back streets, complete with a London Underground roundel, and so an obligatory photo moment was …. well … obligatory. Perfect!

Right then, I’m 37 tomorrow. That’s a bit old, isn’t it?

7 responses to “Santaland”

  1. Steven says:

    Happy Birthday mate.

  2. MumTina says:

    Did the owner of the hat insist you wear it or keep it? It would be a lovely souvenir to have. What a great Museum, harks back to the days when motoring was fun and not a chore. HB by the way, not officially until midday for you of course.

  3. Chris says:

    Happy Birthday Geoff!

  4. geofftech says:

    midday, er.. you mean, midnight?

    it was a fun old store, for sure. and we liked it more because we stumbled on it completely by accident, i drove past it, spotting a row of rusty gas pumps out front as we did and i was all like “hang on a sec, what was that?”, and we turned around to go back to it, cool.

    thanks for birthday wishes all.

    telling sign of changing face of media: ‘HB’ blog comments = not many. ‘HB’ facebook comments = loads. blogs are dying, facebook taking over ??/

  5. Rudi says:

    @geoff: I think that blogs are becoming less popular as the “one-stop shops” of Facebook and Twitter make blogging (or “micro-blogging,” which is what FB and The Twit™ really are) a lot simpler. Folks dig the fact that they can post small bits and bats of info, rather than feel the pressure to compose a more lengthy treatise (not necessary, I know, but it’s a big stumbling block for a lot of people in the age of short attention spans).

    Blogs aren’t dying, per se, they’re simply no longer a wildfire, hot-ticket, must-have thing in the current web ecosystem. We’ll see the same die-down on FB and The Twit™ soon enough, once the “first love obsession” wears off.

  6. geofftech says:

    makes you wonder what will be the next ‘must have thing’ then next to come. i.e. in 5 years time what will be around that’ll have us saying “people just don’t post bits on facebook anymore like they used to…” ?

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