Woke up feeling like crap balls. The cold is back and it brought a migraine with it. Even soaking in my trusty slipper tub and watching the cows graze only helped marginally. Jean, the lovely woman who owns the boxcar, graciously, and without even knowing of my plight, encouraged me to stay as long as I would like and even offered to let me spend an additional night at a reduced rate. Alas, duty called, so after a slightly extended snooze in – Marigold was loaded up and spinning her wheels: it was time to retrace our steps to Santa Fe.
After receiving several suggestions to do so, we chose to take the “High Road” between Taos and Santa Fe. It’s properly called the “High Road to Taos,” but we were being rebels and taking it backwards. Which meant reading all the Googled directions end to start. What could possibly go wrong? (Spoiler alert: Nothing did.)
Fairly quickly, the road starts winding through the mountains, and all of a sudden we’re treated to glimpses of tall skinny REAL pine trees and . . . what’s that . . . it couldn’t be. . . SNOW!
The road rolled on, passing through tiny little quirky towns where a resident would have a chain of gold painted bicycles lining their garden, or the sole restaurant would be called Sugar Nymphs. Soon we were back in the desert, which reminded me of a milestone I forgot to mention a few days back. Annie and I saw our second tumbleweed today! (The first was outside of White Sands Monument I believe). So cool!
(Note: This photo was recreated with another, non-tumbling tumbleweed. The official second tumbleweed tumbled too quickly for capture.)
Further down the road, at a scenic overlook, while I stopped to take in the sweeping panoramas. . .
Annie was doing . . . this . . .
That’s right. She found a giant mound of dirt and enthusiastically set to woogling in it.
Did somebody mention dirt? Well, I think I did, and I’m not sure you’re ready for our next detour, brilliantly pointed out to me by a friend who shall be named later. Just outside of Santa Fe is El Santuario de Chimayo, or, as I prefer to call it, the Shrine of the Holy Dirt. All kidding aside, this small church, built in 1815, is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the country, and is known as the American Lourdes. If I were to have visited visited on Friday, there would have been thousands with me, some having walked miles, and some carrying crosses.
The name of the town, Chimayo, refers to hot springs that were sacred to the local Pueblo Indians. As (one) legend has it, before the church was built, a group of priests were conducting some religious rites one Good Friday on a hill nearby. One of them saw a mysterious light in the distance, followed it, and found a cross half buried in the dirt. The cross was removed and carried in a procession to the nearest church, ten miles away. The next morning, the cross had mysteriously disappeared from the church and returned itself to its original locale. The foolish priests had to dig the darn thing up twice more before they got the message that it wasn’t going anywhere! So, since the Mohammad wouldn’t come to the mountain, they simply built a new church over the spot.
And here’s the best part. The hole where the cross was found is still there. And many believe that the dirt has magical healing powers! So for the last two centuries, folks have been coming to this spot and helping themselves to the dirt, and yet THE HOLE NEVER RUNS OUT OF DIRT! IT MAGICALLY REPLENISHES! (Please note: Step Doug bought me this exact same trowel from Amazon in case I needed to bury my poop while camping. Make of that what you will.)
But, if you’re going to dig up some magic holy dirt and take it home with you to cure your migraines (hypothetically), well what are you going to put it in???
HOLY DIRT BAGS OF COURSE!!! (Note: Holy Dirt Bags is going to be my new favorite interjection.)
I also bought a corndog (recurring theme) which I figure may have been somewhat prepared with the Holy Water they also have, so that’s gotta help knock out this cold right?
Our pilgrimage complete, it was on, at long last, to Santa Fe. Of course, by then it was late in the day, and there was no time for much more than a stroll around the plaza (plazas don’t photograph well)
Time was short as I had to make haste for a secret assignation. Annie and I were to be wined and dined and treated like the Queen and lady’s maid we are. By none other than the one and only Laurie W, out here in Santa Fe as well by total coincidence!
Laurie took me to Cafe Pasqual’s, an authentic New Mexican restaurant right off the plaza: the food was delicious, the atmosphere was adorable, and the Tres Leche cake was to die for. We had total fun and it was awesome to see and spend time with a familiar face. Afterwards, Laurie put us up in her dad’s gorgeous home with spectacular views of the sunset over the mountains and then the glittering lights of the city at night. Annie was allotted the master suite with aforementioned amazeballs views, king size bed, comfy lounging bed, and private courtyard. As was only fitting.