Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In Taos with Taos

Those who have been following this triptych from the beginning may recall an original posting that said we were traveling with Taos, the greyhound, to Taos, the place.

We started the trip with some misgivings, this being the first time we have traveled with Taos in the car.
All has gone well so far.

So, on one of our last days in Santa Fe, we finally coaxed Taos into the back of the Honda Element again and took off for Taos.
Her transport has been one of experimentation. We laced four bungee cords across the cargo area – after removing the second row of seats. These criss-crossed from roof to floor with space between them to place two pads that we brought from Taos’s sleeping arrangements in Florida. We wedged the pads between the bungee cords, which supported them upright, and placed her bed on the cargo area floor. A First Class traveling compartment for our Queen.

We drove through the Town of Taos all the way up to the Ski Valley.
Several years ago, Randy, our son, and Bill built a 10-unit ski lodge in the Taos Ski Valley. We named it Taos Mountain Lodge. Randy operated it for seven years, and actually made money at it, at least when the winters were abundant with snow. In bad snow years, it was a struggle akin to a drought in the prairie. After seven years it was time to sell it to another “snow farmer”.

We don’t go back up to the Ski Valley often since we have “outgrown” skiing and never had time on our buying trips to take the
drive up the winding Ski Valley road to that 9,000-foot elevation. But we did it this time. It was our first stop. Then it was portrait time for Susanne and Taos in front of the Taos Mountain Lodge sign. As we drove back down , we reminisced about the many, many good times we had there. Along the way, we stopped at the Taos Cow Ice Cream shop and deli. We have a long history with Taos Cow ice cream, from designing advertising for it to Randy’s participation with the management of the company. It really is excellent ice cream, with a sinful butterfat content and flavors like pinon caramel, holstein sunset and chocolate oreo. Yes. We succumbed. But just one scoop between us. In the Town of Taos, we toured the plaza. We had spent many hours there in the past and it was nice just to see it again. The plaza has changed little but the shops surrounding it have changed a lot. Many of the Indian art shops and galleries that we used to visit have been replaced by more pedestrian, commercial entities.

Finally, we stopped for late lunch/early dinner (linner?) at Embudo Station in the small village of Embudo on the river road between Santa Fe and Taos. Tables are set out on a patio overlooking the Rio Grande as it flows south toward Albuquerque. Just upriver are the rapids that have launched a zillion rafters and kayakers. At this point, however, the stream becomes shallower and the paddlers have been pulled from the river and packed off on buses before the waters drift past the relaxing diners at Embudo Station.

Embudo Station is named for a long-gone railway station stop. It has been a regular stop for us when we have traveled up or down the river road. It was one of the first places Bill, Randy and Sue stopped for lunch when we drove up to Taos that first year to look for land.

If you are ever in this area, about 41 miles north of Santa Fe, be sure to stop at Embudo Station. Look for the blue bridge that crosses the river from the road to the parking lot. If you get there before the brisket burritos run out, you are in for an eating treat to match the scenery.