Just a bit further on from the bridge over the gorge we catch our first glimpse - "there they are, over there" as my eyes light up and I find that childlike wonder I quite often get when I am inspired (Betsy says it's awe but you know my childlike wonder is better than that!). We turn into the dirt road (well it had to be didn't it?) to the "visitors' centre" One of the first Earthships to be built in this high desert of Taos.
This is not lived in and is used as a way of spreading the word about sustainable living in this way.
Basically the tyres are rammed with earth and they form the back wall of the home and a heat store to release heat after the sun has gone down.
The front wall, south facing, is glass. You have solar panels for electricity and solar heated water, the water is all collected from roof run off. This collected water is filtered and used for drinking, cooking and washing. The run off water from washing, waters the plants that are grown indoors, just inside those south facing front windows.
This water is then used to flush the toilets which in turn goes into a normal septic tank but this overflows into an "outdoor garden" in effect a final clean before being returned to the earth. I could go on about all the systems (as you know I could) but instead of that it's probably better I leave it to the experts at: http://www.earthship.net
I am literally blown away by this concept, or at least the thought of living "free" so much so, I want one. I don't just want to buy one (there are a number for sale) I want to build my own, so, you never know :)
Inside they are full of curves and just have an amazing feeling of "homeliness" you can run wild with designing the free flowing interior, not to mention the exterior.
So here's to running wild - oh, we are already :)
Now we get to the real reason of why I wanted to get to Taos - Earthships! No not something from Star Wars, though they may look like it, these are almost completely self sufficient homes. The Earthship uses old vehicle tyres and other recycled materials such as bottles and cans in its construction. So you see we had to come and look.