Turquoise Trail

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, November 10, 2007

Taking the NM14 south from Santa Fe to Tijeras we set out to discover the hidden 'gems' along the "Turquoise Trail". Eagerly we sped past the Santa Fe Prison and the Correctional centre (isolated in the desert, looking very unwelcoming, perhaps we could learn something from this way of doing things!) we headed along this fabled trail. Enticed by stories of real western towns that Hollywood doesn't even need to remodel and of bygone days we pulled off the highway onto a dirt road - yes another one! Becoming a bit repetitive isn't it? This was Cerrillos, turquoise was mined here by the Indians in the 1300's and subsequently it became such an important mineral centre that the town had 21 saloons in the 1800's Today...well see for yourself...Would we live here...let me see...
A little 'jaded' we continued hoping for better things ahead. We weren't disappointed, Madrid - pronounced Mad - rid - was well, definitely interesting. From its boom town times when coal shafts were sunk 2500' below the surface, to bust when coal use declined it became one of those ghost towns we've read of. However 'reborn' in the 70's when the artists moved in, today its main street is a wonderfully fascinating stroll. 


There is definitely something appealing about this hippy existence, no one seems to have a care in the world. Could we live here...probably not, though I'm sure Malc would love the opportunity to create: he's been really inspired here in NM.
Again I think we benefited from visiting off season, a few tourists wandered up and down...was that an English accent?  Yes! We spent a good few minutes chatting to some people from Scunthorpe who were staying in Albuquerque on holiday for 2 weeks. Mike is an architect at home and he and Malc bemoaned the bureaucracy of planning regulations at home as we told them about the earth ships further north. Here we are, tourists ourselves but extolling the virtues of this great country and offering advice on where to go and what to see!
As we stood in Mad- rid's main street the clouds of desert dust billowed by covering everything with minute particles, giving it all including us that kind of 'used' look! Could we live here...maybe not.
We carried on through San Antonio and Cedar Crest, to Tijiras, but Madrid remained the highlight, not for the English company, but for its quirkiness.
If you want to know more about the history of the towns on this trail there is a web site...isn't there always! www.turquoisetrail.org but I think our piccies are better!
Back in Santa Fe we had waited for the Saturday Farmers Market to stock up on some good local produce. It was its first day in its new winter quarters at Sanbusco -  an acronym for Santa Fe Building Supplies company, which traded from the now rescued premises.

 It stands in the railyard which itself is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Expecting great things - remember the farmers market in Calgary, we negotiated all the road works, closed streets and finally found what we were looking for - well almost. It wasn't quite what we expected. It reminded us a bit of the Saturday market in Halifax NS, as usual we spotted the curious and quirky. We bought a huge sour dough loaf and some wonderful 'winesap' apples having tasted a sample first of course.  
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malbet on

Re: Glad you had a good time in Mad-rid
Nice to get your super comment - we enjoyed New Mexico a lot and Mad-rid was certainly one of the highlights. We will be back...

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