Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Mexico May 2016 Westward Ho! 14 Cochiti Lake COE Campground, Pena Blanca and Santa Fe NM

Santa Fe!  One of those places I have long planned to visit and finally we were on our way and it would only be for a short time because our window was closing on the time we had left before getting to Laguna Niguel, CA by June 6.  We'd talked of going to Taos too but it would be too rushed so we decided just to visit Santa Fe and stay about half an hour outside at Cochiti Lake, another Corps of Engineers campground.

Sandia Mountains from I-25 north

The Rio Grande

Having eaten lunch after our visit to Coronado Historic Site we drove the rest of this leg comfortably and arrived by mid afternoon.  I had not scheduled a site but we were able to easily find a spot in the non-electric section which we wanted since it would be sunny and we really wanted to be using solar more.  The site was great, perched on the top of a small hill we could see the lake from both the front and the back and behind us stretched the plains with the Jemez Mountains looming above.  The Jemez along with Sangre de Cristo range form the southernmost part in the Rockies.  Cochiti Lake is dammed and thus administered by the COE.

Sangre de Christo Mountains above Santa Fe from Rte 22

Cochiti Lake, Peña Blanca

Don and Cadbury on the evening walk


I had contacted a childhood friend from St Croix and we'd arranged to meet our second day and head to a museum so Don and I took the next day to visit the downtown area and several historic sites.  We started with the San Miguel Mission which is the Oldest Church in the US, headed to the De Vargas Street House/Museum, the Oldest House in Santa Fe and then down to the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi and then had lunch, before starting our walk around the rest of town.  We ate in a lovely sidewalk cafe and spent the entire time engaged in conversation with a couple from CT which was yet another bright spot in our travels as we shared experiences and suggestions.

San Miguel
Oldest Church in the US


De Garza St house

Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi

 Street scenes in Santa Fe

A parking garage

When Vivi and I were arranging where to meet she'd sent me a link to the NM National Guard Museum which I'd told her I wanted to visit because it focused on the Bataan Death March in which a disproportionate number of New Mexican National Guard units had been represented.  There would be a WWII reenactment group there that day so we'd get "2 of the price of 1."
 Our visit proved to be more than we could have wished for as we got to speak with the various re-enactors representing medical corps, and Italian and French resistance fighters as well as a few Luftwaffe and SS re-enactors.  The museum was excellent with a comprehensive collection of paraphernalia from all wars and a well laid out displays.

From there we went to the Museum Hill Cafe to meet Vivi for lunch and then visit the Museum of Indian Art and then continued to Vivi's house where we spent a lovely afternoon.

Our last day in Santa Fe we'd be spending at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks so after our visit with Vivi we did a quick supermarket run and then headed back out to the lake where the clouds were starting to come in for what was supposed to be a cloudy/rainy day the next day.

Previous Stop: Coronado Historic Site
Visit: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks
Next Stop: Westward Ho! 15 El Malpais National Monument Grants NM and on to AZ
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