Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Visit To The San Luis Valley

A brief road trip...

I took some much needed time off last week and made a brief road trip to visit Erik in Crestone, CO, He's been interning at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. At the end of the month he moves on to his next AmeriCorps contract in Massachusetts. The Baca NWR, where Erik has been interning since July, abuts the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.

I did my best to use no road twice. I took AZ 87 from Camp Verde to Winslow instead of Interstate 17 through Flagstaff. Had supper at the Holy Cow in Albuquerque with my old friend, David Puthoff. Crashed at a convenient motel across the street that demonstrated what sort of room $37 buys in Albuquerque. Pro Tip: spend a few more dollars and stay at the Days Inn across the parking lot instead...

After accidentally crossing the continental divide I took a serendipitous (utterly unplanned) detour on NM 537 north through the Jicarilla Apache Nation. The drive though Carson National Forest on NM 84 from Tierra Amarilla to Tres Piedras was beautiful. Had lunch at the Chili Line Depot in Tres Piedras.   Their pulled pork sandwich was very nice and their home made potato salad was just right. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside Taos was an unexpected surprise. Then it was north through San Luis - the oldest town in Colorado, and west to Alamosa. After attending a going away party for another team member, Erik and I stayed at the Riverside Inn, a cozy old school motor lodge.

We spent Saturday at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We climbed the Great Sand Dunes, visited Zapata Falls, and sampled the first and second batches of beer at the new Crestone Brewing Co. We ate too; I had the locally-sourced yak pot roast. Instead of camping in or near the park we crashed at Erik's bunkhouse at the refuge.

Sunday morning I drove (and Erik motorcycled) from Moffat to Salida for breakfast. What a beautiful stretch of road and living history. Sunday afternoon we soaked and were massaged at Joyful Journey Hotsprings Spa. We slept in a yurt.

I drove home today by way of Durango, CO along US 491 south through the Navajo Nation to Gallup, NM. Should have stopped at Shiprock for a picture but I was focused on getting home. I used the mundane I40 to I17 to 169 route to arrive home after an uneventful 11 hour drive.