A&A Spend A Week In Santa Fe With Friends
End of Week #73
Rodeo De Santa Fe, Santa Fe NM > Chosa BLM Campground, Whites City NM
Miles traveled since last week's post = 295 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 9,869 with trailer
Coming to you from the southern New Mexico desert, near Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains. Today it is clear skies, sunny, and 90 degrees! We are boondocking at a BLM campground just outside of the National Park before we make our way into Texas again. In preparations to come here it was most definitely not supposed to be this hot, however this area is experiencing a heat wave with record breaking temps and here we are in the middle of it. (Seems to be a trend ever since we left Gualala?)
We just wrapped up over a week in northern New Mexico, in Santa Fe, with our long lost friends Tom and Tania. It was so great seeing them and spending so much time together after more than 8 months apart. We used to all live about a mile or two from each other in Minnesota for several years, so needless to say the long distance away from each other has been a change for us all!
I honestly don't think we could have asked for a better experience in Santa Fe with them and we had a really fun time hanging out and exploring the area. This week's post is focused on all that we did while we were there!
A&A Spend A Week In Santa Fe With Friends
Santa Fe is New Mexico’s capital, and sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. It’s renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture and as a creative arts hotbed. Founded as a Spanish colony in 1610, it has at its heart the traditional Plaza. The surrounding historic district’s crooked streets wind past adobe landmarks including the Palace of the Governors, now home to the New Mexico History Museum. The city sits at an elevation of over 7,000 feet above sea level, and is filled with a legendary culture you can't describe, you just have to experience it.
Where did we stay
I feel very fortunate to have come across a true gem of a place to RV camp, right in the middle of Santa Fe, and only a HALF MILE from our friends house. We spent 9 nights at the Santa Fe rodeo, with full hookups and a locked gate entry. We were surrounded by horses, other rodeo residents, and travelers passing through the area. It literally took us about 2 minutes to get to T & T's house from this location, and we felt safe and secure for only $25 a night! That is a steal in Santa Fe, as most other RV parks go for $45-$60 per night. Staying at this location saved us a lot of money, especially since due to current covid restrictions all state parks are only available to New Mexico residents and a lot of other forms of camping are completely closed.
I give this place a solid review, and am already sending other RVer's their way! Jim is in charge of the rodeo and he was more than accommodating to us. We would definitely stay here again!
What did we do
Hang out at the T & T Pueblo
This was our first time seeing T & T's new pueblo house, and it was as cute as I had imagined. Tania decorated it with her sugar skulls and succulents and it was filled with love and affection from their two boxer pups. (This was also our first time meeting their new puppy, Chunk!)
As we had a lot of catching up to do between the four of us, we spent a lot of time at their house (mostly at night), eating, playing adult board games like monopoly and scrabble (paired nicely with fresh drinks), and watching scary movies like the Conjuring. One night we even got to check out their roof and the famous swamp cooler.
RV browsing, groceries & Madrid
One of our first few days together (before we took a mid-week break while T & T had a few days of work), we all took a day trip down to Albuquerque. While we were there we went to Aloha RV to take a look at some travel trailers and 5th wheels and show T & T what the nomad living quarters is all about. Adam and I got to daydream about our future 5W upgrades, and take a look at a 2020 upgraded version of our current Imagine trailer too. (We own a 2019.)
While we were down in Albuquerque we all also hit up Costco to replenish some stockpiles and later in the week Adam and I got some goodies from Tom's work at Trader Joe's too.
The very best part about this whole experience was definitely our drive through the artistic town of Madrid (pronounced Mad-drid) on the way back from Albuquerque. Tania was super excited to show it to us and to stop and have a good time, but unfortunately it was just getting dark as we made our way through and it had already been a long day for all of us out RV browsing. Later on, we also found out that our neighbor at the rodeo loves Madrid too and she has family members that own a business there. We all planned to take a another day trip back to explore but then the week flew by and we ran out of time. This is a place I feel like I have to return to!
No trip anywhere is complete without getting at least a little hiking action in! (We are RVing AND hiking the USA afterall...) Of course, like always, I wish we could have done even more hiking since there are so many great trails to explore, but here is a list of some of the awesome places we did check out:
Bandelier National Monument - We were able to enter the park with my Access Pass, and it was only about 45 minutes from T & T's house. The drive there could not have been more stunning, with green trees and mountain cliffs. This monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged canyon and human dwellings that date back 11,000 years ago. The park is filled with petroglyphs and cliff dwellings to explore, and some to just take in their beauty from afar. We climbed through some of the ruins and went up over 150 ladder steps along the side of a cliff to check out the Alcove House. Climbing on the ladder was extremely scary for me, but the views and the history made it all worthwhile.
Pecos National Historic Park - Pecos was much smaller in size, compared to Bandelier, and it was also a shorter drive from Santa Fe, but the beauty of it was just as captivating. It is located in the middle of pinon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands (literally all my favorite desert forests) right at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The park has remains from Indian pueblos and explorers that once called this place home. There is also remnants of the ancient mission church from the Spanish explorers - a place that has so much to tell you from a horrific past of the United States history.
Picacho Peak - Located in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this 4 mile hike gained about 1,200 feet in elevation and was only about 10 minutes from where we were staying at the Rodeo. Adam and I completed this hike alone one day while T & T were working and we got to check out amazing views of Santa Fe and the surrounding mountains. It's been awhile since we have hiked so much in high elevation, so it sort of kicked my butt a little, but the views always make it worth it in the end. This trail was highly rated on All Trails and other hiking blogs and websites, so I figured it was one we couldn't miss!
Santa Fe Plaza (downtown)
I think I can confidently say that downtown Santa Fe is one of the absolute cutes and most quaint downtowns I've ever been too, especially considering this is the capital of New Mexico! Right away when we entered the town square I immediately felt like I transported into Jackson Hole, WY - with it's wild, wild, west vibes and decorations. Downtown Santa Fe had a total pueblo, old west feel to it, and it was lined with shops, antiques, bars and restaurants, and a whole lot of history. It felt completely open and inviting and was somewhere that I'd love to explore at night. Honestly this is probably one of my favorite downtown's ever and I feel like I'm going to be talking about it for a long time.
As the heart of downtown Santa Fe for nearly 400 years, the Plaza remains the central part of the city, hosting Indian and Spanish markets and other annual events as well as community gatherings, concerts and more.. (when there are not Covid restrictions of course!) Downtown is artsy, it is historic, and it has incredible landmarks like The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis.
Here is some of the fun stuff we explored in the Santa Fe Plaza:
Farmer's Market - This wasn't exactly downtown, but it was just outside of it. Every Tuesday and Saturday Santa Fe has a large Farmer's Market that takes place at the Railyard all year long. I've never been to a FM before that had such an amazing vibe and energy - even operating at only 25% due to covid. There were vendors lined on the streets and in buildings on each side of the main strip. You could smell chili peppers everywhere and vendors were making chili pepper wreaths and animal shapes out of sage. This was by far my favorite FM experience!
Shops - Over the weekend we spent some time perusing the shops with T & T, checking out all of the cute little gift stores and gem shops. You could spend a whole day just walking around and looking at things!
Draft Station (& Rooftop Pizzeria) - Tom, Adam and I took a trip to this rooftop brewery one afternoon to enjoy some local brews in the sun. From the patio you had views of the entire downtown square and we had so much fun people watching and enjoying the weather - and we also had killer views of the Basilica. It was kind of odd though... for the first time ever, we had to have our temperature taken in order to enter the restaurant. Adam and I made many jokes about being brain zapped...