Ride the Train to Santa Fe

Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
Coronado RV Park
What I did
Ride the Train to Santa Fe

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today is the last travel day of the trip. Tomorrow, we start our over 1,500 mile drive back home. Since the Rail Runner worked so well yesterday to Albuquerque I decided to take the train again today, this time to Santa Fe. I caught the train at the last second around a quarter to 8:00. This time I took my bike so I could get around Santa Fe and take a few bike trails as there is an area to keep your bikes on the train. Again, why do we not have this in Georgia? This time the train cost $7 for the round trip for the hour trip there and the hour trip back. It would cost me around $40 to drive the truck the same distance and who knows how much in parking. Most of the trip was through rural farm lands around the Rio Grande and it was nice and relaxing – a great way to commute.

The train was a little delayed as the electrical systems broke down. The last 15 min of the trip was without AC so it did get a little hot and humid inside. At least it was not in the afternoon. We got to Santa Fe just before 9 and I went off on my bike down this paved trail next to the tracks. My plan was to ride in the morning, have lunch, and then hit the town's museums and shops in the afternoon. The trail was very easy at the start as much of it went downhill. Soon I was away from the tracks and road along a wash in town around parks and neighborhoods. It would be so easy to commute by bike in this town. I rode out to the west side of town for about 30 min. and then headed back. This was much harder as it went up hill AND against the wind. By the time I made it back close to downtown I was pretty tired. At this time I had rode for 1 hour and wanted to go for another. So I took the bike path the rest of the way around the train tracks to the Southside of town. This route took you past the interstate and on a dirt path or mountain bike path. At this time I was a little tired and did not hit the really hard places on the trail. I made it about a mile out and decided to comeback as I still had most of the day to go in Santa Fe. By the time I made it back to downtown it was around 11:15 and time for a break.

I biked to the old town center and parked it. Time to check out the place. First, I needed to refuel. I kept reading about this place in Santa Fe called "The Shed." So I decided to try it out. It was just one block off the old town center and located in this small plaza. It opened at 11:30 and I got there around 11:45 and it was already booked. I did get a seat at the bar. This place was definitely one of the best on the trip. In a rare occurrence on this trip I actually ordered a drink – a Prickly Pear frozen margarita; one of the best I have ever had. For an appetizer I had a great gazpacho. And the main meal was a sampler platter of Chili Releno, Taco, Enchilada, Tamale, with Green and Red chili sauce. Another great meal – everything written about The Shed is true.

After this great meal it was time to hit a museum. One the square I went inside the Place of the Governors which was the major seat of power for New Mexico for over 100 years. There were two parts to this place – the original building and the new building that held the Museum of New Mexico. The old part had some artifacts from the time before New Mexico was a state. They had some of the floor taken up so you could see some of the original adobe foundations from before the white man came. Some of the rooms were recreated to look as it did over 100 years ago when it was the seat of power for New Mexico. They even had a chapel inside. Just beyond the courtyard was the new part which was very well done – almost Smithsonian quality. It took you from the earliest times of New Mexico to modern times with great exhibits on the native peoples, the Spanish conquerors, the US-Mexican wars, the Wild West, and statehood. There was even an exhibit on the Atomic Bomb development. Each exhibit had actual artifacts from the period, even those from the early Spanish explorers.

After this museum, I rode my bike two miles outside of the downtown area to hit another one – the International Folk Art Museum. The bike ride was not fun as it was uphill and getting close to 95 degrees outside. Another top notch place. It had folk art from over 100 countries in this place. The first exhibit was on the art of conflict which focused on art from Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and the floods in Pakistan. Very powerful works of art. The next hall focused on the folk art of the Andes Mountain region with some great items from Bolivia. Another room had textiles from the world. The last exhibit, the permanent collection, took up half the museum and had folk art representing the world inside with all kinds of dioramas. Much of it looked like toys collected from all over the world. You could really spend a whole day here reading up and looking at all the artifacts. This is another must see museum.

By this time it was around 3:30. There were some other museums in Santa Fe that I wanted to see but time was running out. This will just have to be another place to come back to on another trip. I rode the bike back to town – this time much easier as it was downhill. I parked the bike in the same place just off the main square and started my walk around the old city in and out of shops. Since this was the last travel day of the trip this would be my last chance to get some southwest things. The real downtown tourist area is about 9 blocks in size and I tried to walk everyone of the blocks and check out the interesting stores. I did not hit any art galleries – I knew I would not buy any art – and the clothing boutiques. I hit mostly southwestern type tourist shops – of which there were plenty. I did get a really cool bowl – for dipping or soups – that had some petroglyphs pained on the outside. Then I got a small handmade Navajo pot with all kinds of cool designs on it. I also got some food mixes with green chilies. I spent so much time walking around that I missed my first train back. So I had to wait around another hour to catch the second train. Being in Santa Fe, this was no problem as I ate a street side tamale and watch a mariachi band on the stage in the square. I could really spend some more time here.

My hour was soon up and my small EF backpack was stuffed with stuff. I biked the short ride back to the train station with 20 min. to spare but just walk right on, parked my bike, and grabbed a nice plush seat on the Rail Runner. Not near as many people on this train as there was this morning. But the bike rack did fill up. The ride back was great as I just watched the desert landscape and irrigated farmland whirl by. I got back around 8:00. Pooh, Quique, and I took a nice sunset walk around the campground. Pooh had another relaxing day around the RV. I was kind of sad since the trip was now really over – all we had to do was the long drive back. Around 9:00 we had dinner at the McDonalds down the road to use their WiFi. The food was good but the WiFi was slow. After two hours of this we went back to the RV for a nice siesta.
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