• brandenfugate

Road Notes: Day 179


New Mexico is full of stark landscapes, vast nothingness, haunting mountains, wildlife, and desolate towns. We drive by so many things that we think “oh god I want to take a picture of that.” Often times this is when we have some place to be. We knew we wanted to take a day to just explore and stop wherever we want and take pictures without being on any kind of schedule. Today was that day.

On our way to Santa Fe a few days ago we saw so many places we wanted to stop. Today, we essentially recreated that drive. Before we even left Taos, we found a few vendors selling piñon. This is a nut that comes from a pine tree that only grows in the American southwest and northern Mexico. We had some piñon ice cream recently, and were really curious about getting some raw piñon to play with in cocktails (and pancakes duh). Luck was a lady, and we found the jolliest piñon vendor this side of the Rio Grande. We stocked up on all things piñon and left seriously happy. Next we pulled off at a few places along the shores of the Rio Grande, exploring some of the wildflowers and cacti, watching kayakers and rafters go down the river. Of course, we needed to eat, so we popped into a barbecue joint called Sugars. It was damn good. Between this place and Jethro’s BBQ truck, Taos has some good options. We stopped in to Black Mesa Winery and did a tasting. If you are ever in the area, their tasting room is a fantastic deal and they produce a huge variety of wines. Overall, we were pretty impressed. The 2012 Cab was exceptional, the dry rose was very complex and refreshing, and the Merlot (which I never usually drink, but tried at the behest of the bartender) was very well balanced. Branden and I often have differing tastes in wines, and there were certainly some that he loved that I didn’t and vice versa. He though the riesling tasted too much like stinky feet (I really liked them), and I thought the Petit Verdot was too oxidized, but it reminded him of a nice sherry and he guzzled it up. The best part of the vineyard was the 1500 year old petroglyphs that are scattered around the estate. The owner gave us some direction as to where to find them and let us explore on our own. Well, not entirely on our own. One of the many vineyard cats walked along side us the entire way.

Back on the road, we stopped here and there for pictures. We eventually made it all the way to Española. This town has a lot of character. We passed so many cars with airbrushed tributes to deceased family members. So many lifted trucks and bouncing cars. So many El Caminos. Get the picture? We love photographing these kinds of places. From the shuttered motel with the antique neon sign, to the mountainous landscapes, it was a town that I could spend days photographing. As the sun was setting, we left the small town in pursuit of landscapes and stumbled upon Camel Rock near Tesuque Pueblo. It was a magnificent neon New Mexican sunset. I am certain that there is no place on earth that has these kinds of sunsets. It is breathtaking.

Today was Mother’s Day, so we have to give a big shout out to our mommas. Thank you for birthing us. Thank you for raising us. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for loving us.

Road Notes are timed entries—written in thirty minutes or less at the end of each day. Considerations are made for spelling/legibility but not for grammar. Deal with it.


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