Thursday, November 15, 2012

DAY 85- Historic Taos & Another Vegas...

I left the hotel and headed south about ½ mile towards the Taos historic area.  I had driven on the main road through the area and had visited the Taos Historic Inn the night before but hadn’t really gotten a full look at the area.  I turned on Carson Road and parked in a free parking lot.  I walked around the Historic area.  Most of the shops were not opened and I was wondering if I was really hitting it during the off season time.  I did see a wonderful little courtyard area as I checked to see if a gallery was open. 
Photos- There are several courtyards in historic Taos.

I crossed over Hwy 68 to heart of the Historic area.  I visited a couple of art galleries; one of which was a collective.  I ended up talking with the gal that was manning the collective about bicycling in the area.  She did it a little bit and had recently been joining her daughter in running in the area too.  She was real nice and I asked her what the winters were like in Taos.  She said that it got really cold and snowy; nothing like what I’ve gotten used to in Utah.  I asked her about other things in the area too. 

I continued to wander along.  I went to a t-shirt shop where I found a Taos t-shirt that I liked; a big surprise.  NOT!  I talked with the clerk at this shop and found out that quite a few of the businesses didn’t open until 11AM.  She didn’t know why but they did.  But she did say that it was a slow time of year until they started getting some REAL snow and then the skiers would be swinging by.  She teased me that I was more than welcome to hang out in her shop with her for the day; that was she wouldn’t be too lonely and I wouldn’t be chilly.  I had left my gloves in the car, and it was a bit chilly.   She was a bit of a character.
Photo- A side area of historic Taos.

Next, further down the way on the other side of a courtyard, I went into a clothing shop where a young gal had managed to get me to try on some items of pricey clothes that I really did not need at all.  She was a good salesperson.  She was fun to talk with and it was just fun trying on stuff that I knew I would never wear or need.  I felt like I was shopping with one of the gals.  I thanked her for her time and wished her luck finding an earring she had dropped just before I got there.  She said she had forgotten about the earring while I was there.

I went into a sporting goods store down the street where they had a covered outside area that you could shop in.  I was kind of hoping to find a cheap winter cap but the cheapest I could find was $35.  I also looked at some nice winter jackets but they were way too pricey for this girl.  But I was having fun and the people in the area were fun to talk with.  I went in several more shops and eventually through another courtyard area.  I had a side walk vendor ask where I got my bag; he liked it.  And I couldn’t remember where I had gotten the bag.  I apologized to the guy and he said no worries gal.  I continued to explore and took a couple of turns.  I was almost across the street from where I went for dinner last night. 

I was in the mood for late lunch.  I found a nice little restaurant called Graham’s Grill which I had seen in the same booklet as the Adobe Bar I went to last night.  I went in and asked to see the menu.  There was a pumpkin bisque that sounded wonderful and I was very much in the mood for some soup.  I asked to be seated and was shortly after waited on. 
Photo- One of the entrances to Graham's Grill in Taos.

I ordered a mocha latte, the Pumpkin New Mexico Red Chili Bisque with a Caesar salad.  The server seemed glad that I knew what I wanted.  I could understand; on one side there were a pair of women talking over their open menus and on my other side was a guy with glass of wine, menu off to side and he’s pecking away at a laptop.  A HUGE green cup came with my steaming mocha latte.  I had to let it cool down, but I always love it when coffee is served in huge ceramic cups.  I looked around while I waited.  The walls were a warm lemon yellow; there were touches of royal blue and sage green with vaulted ceiling.  It was a fun atmosphere with a hint of yuppie. 

The bisque with salad arrived.  The salad threw me for a bit.  It was a Caesar dressing served over part of a still intact baby romaine lettuce head.  I definitely needed to use a fork and knife for this salad.  Awe! The bisque was amazing!  First there was the sweetness of the pumpkin and then the spice of the red chili and other spices would give it a wonderful kick but not too much of one.  The balance of the sweet and spicy was pure perfection.  What a wonderful meal it was and if the recipe for this bisque was in the cookbook that was being advertised on the table it might be worth the purchase.  But the last time I got to cook was over two weeks ago; what did I need a recipe book for?  But if any of you are looking for a gift for a cook in the family I bet this would be a good cookbook to get.
Photo- A bit of snow and evergreens heading south out of Taos.

Off south I went on Hwy 518 out of Taos; this was called a scenic byway.  I went through a forest of evergreen trees with bits of snow on the ground here and there.  The road wound around, up and over.  It was really a pretty drive and there was little traffic.  As I headed more south the scenery changed from evergreens to a more rocky arid landscape and then eventually to an almost flat dry brush.  There’s a lot of variety in the New Mexico area and maybe that’s why they call it the land of enchantment.
Photo- A rocky landscape as I headed further south towards Las Vegas,NM.

I drove into Las Vegas, NM and wouldn’t have known it until I saw the city limits sign.  Eventually, as I drove further there was a Wal-Mart and strip malls along the road.  It was nothing like the other Vegas; this one was a small town with no gambling.  I quickly got checked into my hotel, ran to the post office for stamps (got to keep the Popette in formed), and then ran by the visitor’s center.  The lady at the visitor’s center was in the process of locking the door when I arrived. 
Photo- The landscape just before Las Vegas,NM.

She asked me how she could help and then gave me a historical brochure that had over 900 different locations in the town; 900, huh?  That could take me awhile.  Most of the places were buildings that had historical significance for the Santa Fe Trail which went through the area.  I drove around for a bit and tried to get my bearings and find places.  But it was getting dark and it was hard finding places in the dark.  I grabbed some take out and went back to the hotel.

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