Great American Road Trip – Day 2

Route: Abilene, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Miles Driven: 475
Lodging: Casa Pasifica Bed and Breakfast
Best Eats: Tomasita’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Heard on the Radio: Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper); Small Town (John Cougar Mellancamp); I’ve Got Mexico (Eddie Raven)
Miles Run: 3.2 (Abilene, Texas)

Texas is BIG. We learned this today. In fact, it took us thirteen full hours of driving to get out of Texas. It’s almost as if Texas doesn’t want you to leave, as it doesn’t even tell you when you have crossed its border. No sign to say goodbye, no “y’all come back now”. We didn’t even realize that we had driven out of Texas until we reached a nondescript New Mexico welcome center that is easy to miss if you blink. In fact, we did miss it and had to turn around to go back to it. Not the most enchanting introduction for a state that calls itself the Land of Enchantment.

Welcome to New Mexico! On the Texas-New Mexico border.

Welcome to New Mexico! The only sign marking the Texas-New Mexico border.

We’d started our morning with a blissfully cool run near our hotel in Abilene. What struck us most in this Texas town about which we knew nothing was the friendliness of its people. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with smiles, including one elderly gentleman who stood on his front porch as we ran by his house and, showing a thumbs-up sign, yelled “Way to go!”

Several hours later, we entered New Mexico in Clovis, a small, dusty town on the prairie and stopped to visit one of M.’s childhood friends. She and her husband had recently been stationed there at nearby Cannon Air Force Base. It was a welcomed break, and a chance to exchange stories about moving from place to place. Frieda also had the opportunity to run around the backyard.

The open road toward the mountains of New Mexico.

The view from the car as we headed toward Santa Fe.

It was just after 6:00 pm when we finally arrived in Santa Fe. We checked into the Casa Pacifica Bed and Breakfast, a quaint, quirky little place near the city’s Old Town. We had plans to meet up with one of my old high school friends for dinner. It had been nearly a decade since we’d seen each other. It was great to see her and catch up on the last several years. She took us to Tomasita’s, a Santa Fe favorite, which served typical New Mexican cuisine… a bit different from the Mexican food to which we had become so accustomed in Matamoros, and very good. Sopaipillas were the specialty… essentially fried dough that could either be slathered with butter and honey for a tasty dessert or stuffed with green chiles, meat, and cheese as a savory option. Of course, we tried them both ways.

Outside Tomasita’s in Santa Fe with my friend.

After dinner, we wandered through a few of downtown Santa Fe’s narrow streets lined with craft shops, restaurants and cafes, and most of all, art galleries, stopping to listen to a bluegrass band performing on the street. It wasn’t quite something we expected to see in New Mexico, but made for a cozy Saturday night scene under a clear night sky with a gentle breeze just cool enough to warrant a jacket. The perfect end to another great day.

New Mexico barbecue.

Barbecue and Smokehouse in Santa Fe.

Thank you for reading!

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