LAS CRUCES & SANTE FE, NEW MEXICO
Trip Date: Thursday- Tuesday (election day) early November, 1999
These events were recorded from memory on November 19, 2002 during the 5th annual Girls' Weekend (GS) in Washington D.C. and also on October 19, 2003 during the 6th annual GW in Galena, IL.
We flew into El Paso, Texas and rented a car, then drove to Las Cruces. We stayed at the (something) Smith Mansion, a bed and breakfast owned by a married couple in their 50's. Very interesting place--they didn't separate their own living space from the public part of the house, and we felt as if were staying "with" them.
There wasn't much to do in Las Cruces-Kathi went to a gym one day while Lori explored a bit.
We rented bikes at a great rate for the entire weekend, and rode around quite a bit one day exploring. Las Cruces is a fairly utilitarian-looking town without much to offer in the way of interesting scenery or architecture, and we were glad we had planned to drive up the state to see some other cities.
On our way up to Santa Fe, we saw the signs for White Sands National Park and decided to stop & visit. We hiked in the desert through miles & miles of pure white sand, undeterred by the signs that said, DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE TRAIL OR YOU MAY GET HOPELESSLY LOST! Kathi was on a Beanie Baby kick this whole trip and was ecstatic to find some for sale in the gift shop at White Sands National Park. Also found there were some great wood-scented incenses.
The drive up to Sante Fe was about 2 hours and we went through very few towns....mostly miles and miles and miles of white sand and desert. At one point in time, Lori had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad and after holding for as long as possible, finally asked Kathi to just pull over and let me find a cactus to go behind!!
In Santa Fe, we stayed two nights at a rather posh B & B which we decided was not really our style, although it did have a nice hot tub out back which we did take advantage of very late one night (without any bathing suits, if I remember correctly?) BUT, on our first night there, we went to dinner at the strangest, funkiest, most interesting restaurant we'd ever been in, Cafe Oasis. We had to climb a ladder up into a loft (kind of reminded me of climbing up to the top bunk of a bunk bed) and sit crosslegged at a low table, and our server handed everything up to us. The place was a converted house with many rooms, all with a different theme. Really wild place, with great vegetarian food.
Kathi was in school full time during this trip & had to get a bit of homework done, so, in Santa Fe we split up for a couple of hours...Kathi to the library, while Lori went to Loretto Chapel with a "miracle staircase" which had no nails or visible means of support, and is made of an unidentifiable wood. We visited the main market square where many Native Americans came and sold their products. Kathi & Lori both bought rings (Lori still wears hers to this day) as souvenirs for themselves as well as souvenirs for loved ones (a silver guitar pick for Tom, silver lottery ticket scratchers for Louise and Nanni).
On the way back to Las Cruces, we stopped over at a youth hostel in Truth or Consequences (yes, this really is the name of a town!!) This was ANOTHER very funky place. It had a natural spring-fed hot tub that overlooked the Rio Grande River and some mountain range (name forgotten). We stayed in an ice-cold trailer, but paid only $11 apiece for the privilege. That night we sat around a campfire with a few Germans and a couple of other international travelers. The Germans were quite pleased and surprised that Kathi could speak to them in their native tongue (Lori always LOVES to watch the faces of people when Kathi starts speaking German!) We were up the next morning with the sun and in the hot tub by 5:30 or so to watch the sunrise over the river. Absolutely beautiful!!After doing our hostel-mandated chores, we were on our way back to Las Cruces to drop off bikes and pick up stuff from the Smith Mansion.
This trip yielded no real slogan or theme, but it was at some point during this GW that we determined we would choose a different state to visit every year, with an ultimate goal of visiting all of them. We also realized that in order to do this we'd better try to double up a couple of them, or we'd be out climbing the Rocky Mountains when we were 90 years old!!