So I got some bad advice.
It all started off innocently enough. Why take the boring route from Denver to Santa Fe when we can take the pretty route? The one recommended, repeatedly and with vigor, by a local?
Well, in short, because...
About the time the elevation imagery on the gps was looking frighteningly vertical and I was coming to the realization that I'd made a horrible mistake, Lance called on the walkie talkie to tell me Loretta was spewing some pretty copious smoke, and instead of it being the usual diesel-under-load black it was a shocking grayish shade of white. Not good. We were on a crazy high grade, with nowhere to turn around and limping along with a significant loss of power; she finally crested the summit at 9630' amidst much coaxing, pleading, and patting her dash with "come on Old Girl".
We eventually made it to Santa Fe, where friends were waiting for us. After taking a moment to shake off the flop sweat we headed out to a traditional Santa Fe dinner with sopapillas, blue corn tortillas and the best chili relleno I have ever had.
|One of the best things about our nomadic lifestyle is being able to catch up with friends on the road|
Downtown Santa Fe can be a bit crowded if you get there in the afternoon. On the second attempt I arrived early on a Monday morning and the crowds were a lot more manageable - in fact I found parking right in front of the Cathedral on the Plaza.
|Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi|
The Cathedral is amazing, and the accompanying graveyard has a metal sculpture over the entrance that translates precisely from Spanish to "God gives and quits", likely meant to reference "The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away" from the story of Job's suffering, but the literal translation works, too. This church was not the first one built here, previous churches were destroyed by angry natives, the most bloody of which earned the label The Pueblo Revolt. I expect many a Spanish settler on the receiving end of the natives' wrath may have felt "quit" in the 1600's.
|The door to the cathedral is covered in vignette sculptures like this|
|The stained glass windows are breathtaking|
Santa Fe is an adorable town. The homes and businesses all share the same pueblo adobe style and are painted in desert colors. The downtown plaza is an organized chaos of street vendors, many of them from local native tribes, selling handmade wares.
|A Gallery just off the Plaza, in typical Santa Fe architecture|
Within a few days we found the right folks to give Loretta the attention she needed, so down the hill we went to Albuquerque to hand her off to the Cummins specialists. Fingers crossed that the white smoke isn't fatal.