When I hit the courthouse, I could have kissed the ground. This leg was the most stressful one thus far, in fact the most stressful drive I’ve had in a very long time. Getting out to photograph was a delight because my adrenaline was just a little bit up and I needed to burn it off. As for the courthouse, well, if you had asked me to imagine what Taos would have built for itself, I would have imagined something similar to this, all adobe and kitsch. Not that it’s not attractive in its way, but I have the feeling that many Karens, Ivankas, or whatever name you choose to use depending on your take on the question, have brought and pressed their suits in this building.
I really liked that stone sculpture out front, but the metal one? I like my art more representational than abstract. From one angle it was a bull, from another it was a demon, from a third it was a crawfish? What was the artist trying to do here? I haven’t a clue. But I find the idea of a crawfish here to be quite perverse in a not terrible way.
My first attempt at a cache was thwarted when, as I was preparing to get out of the car, a homeless guy came up and decided to make camp for the evening right on top of it. Then I noticed there’s a Geotour here so I went to grab one of them because they’re all easy. And pictured above is the one I grabbed. A cardboard box? Really? That’s not going to last for crap! I know there’s like 350 days of sunshine around here, but it’s already damp from rain today! And that 15 days a year may have some impact on the cache. Besides, from what I understand, Geotours are not cheap. For that kind of money each year, you’d think someone would make sure the caches are at least up to snuff! But I guess a cache is a cache is a cache. Who knows? Maybe I’ll come back through here when I come back to New Mexico and finish the Geotour!
So I thought about going up to Angel Fire because, as high as my elevation was, I thought it would be cool to grab an even higher elevation cache. I thought about it, though. The sun was finally going down at this point and if the road to Angel Fire was anything like the road from Mora, screw that noise. I’m sorry for the language since there could be sensitive ears (or, technically, eyes, I guess), but BLANK THAT. BLANK THAT in the gall bladder. In that spirit, I thought further… My intended morning start was planned to be in a place that would probably require an hour and a half of driving through similar conditions. If I was going to be there at sunrise, I’d have to leave at 4:30AM-ish and drive through more mountain roads at night. BLANK THAT, too. So I’ll rejigger my itinerary a little and tack on a different county at the end. It’s better than dying on a mountain road in the dark, no? And the great thing about all the overplanning I do is that it’s usually easy to call audibles like this with minimal muss and/or fuss. I pulled into a Wally World parking lot because they’re safe (and I was a bit amazed to find they had one there in the center of high faluting ski-valley-ville), got some sleep (because there wasn’t a hotel with an occupancy within 100 miles), and headed off refreshed and awake, down a major road, and met the sunrise not in my original destination for the day, but in the next location…