One Hundred and Twelve Photos from a Thanksgiving in Santa Fe

Warning: This is an insanely long post with 112 enlargeable photos and lots of text. I don’t even have the attention span to read it, and the amount of photos will bring all computers but the most robust mainframes to their knees. If you make it to the end, you will be handsomely rewarded.*

On Thursday, J and I left on a jet plane for the drier and colder scenery of Santa Fe, New Mexico. My parents did the same.

If their plane left Dallas at 10AM and was flying at 500MPH and our plane left San Francisco at 9:25AM and was flying at 550MPH, what time would the two planes collide over Albuquerque in a massive explosion of fire and aluminum?

Answer: They won’t collide because the plane from Dallas would arrive two hours earlier.

My sister picked us up, and we drove for an hour to Santa Fe.

The designated cooks put the finishing touches on dinner, as father, J and I went for a blustery walk around the neighborhood.

Driving in from Albuquerque.

Classic car in my sister’s driveway.

The backyard, a desiccated dog poop minefield.

Walking around the neighborhood, I spotted this typical blue gate.

A modest house with porch swing.

Berries at sunset.

Festive and rustic fence.

The rail line and walking path behind my sister’s house.

Father and J on a below freezing stroll.

Fifteen for two, thirty-one for two. That’s a go. That’s Cribbage.

Boob mug collection sitting on the windowsill.

The next day, we walked along the tracks into town, ate lunch, and went on a hike around Twomile[sic] Reservoir in Santa Fe Canyon Preserve. Afterward, my sister gave haircuts to all of us.

The passage between train tracks and street.

Santa Fe mural.

The Santa Fe Southern Railway.


Sneaking photos in the maze of old doors and woodwork of Secret & Sons. Most of the the pieces were imported from central asia.

The entrance to Secret & Sons.

Fountain in the town square.

You see ristras hanging everywhere in Santa Fe, but I found it unusual to see them in this garbage altar in the parking lot of the Loretto Chapel.

Altar inside the Loretto Chapel.

The “miraculous” staircase inside the chapel. Tourist trap or wonder of carpentry?

Prayer candles.

Looking upwards towards heaven.


Earth tones.

Hiding from the camera.


Tall stalks of what I call “Rasp Plant.”

Snow dusted path.

Warm, moist beaver damage spotted near the water’s edge. They had felled at lot of trees.

Damn, an beaver dam.

Branches arching into ice.

Fungus amongst us.

Red rock, pinyon pine, and wonderful smells.

Not tomatoes.

Hotel constructed in the adobe style.

The scrimmage line between tourists and Native Americans selling jewelry near the plaza.


Rustic backyard.

House and guesthouse.

Pumpkin burial ground.

Walking through a neighborhood.

Old truck seen through fence gaps.

Public building.


Getting our hair cut by my sister.

Pondering the human form.

On Saturday, we packed six human beings into a car and drove outside of town to Bandelier National Monument, a 33,677 acres National Monument preserving the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo People.

Besides being a beautiful canyon, the remains of the old cliff dwelling and village inspired the imagination. It must have been an idilic place to live, unless Frijoles Canyon always smelled of farts.

Loading up the cargo for a trip to Bandelier National Monument.

Desserts in the desert.

The canyon road into the park.

The park headquarters.

The first sign of habitable caves along the Main Loop Trail.

Reconstructed cliff dwelling.

The remains of Tyuonyi village in Frijoles (“Bean”) Canyon.

Another view of Tyuoni.

Reflected light.

Mother with her new purple streak.

Italian woman ascending the ladder into a talus house.

Inside the cliff, looking out.

Cactus and caves.

Looking down Frijoles Canyon with Long House on the left.

Our posse.

We took a detour off the main loop for another half mile to see Alcove House. This pueblo was the home of around 25 Ancestral Pueblo people. The site is reached by a 140 foot climb up 4 wooden ladders and stone stairs. Alcove House has a reconstructed kiva that offers views of viga holes and niches of several homes.

Icy creek.

Towering pine.

Ice texture.

More ice!

The first ladder to get to Alcove House

J on the second ladder.

Father on the third.

J illuminated by the cliffs.

Peeling agave.

The kiva inside the alcove.

Father in the shadows of the kiva.

Shadows stretched like the marks on the thighs of a lady that grew too fast.

The unusual looking Abert’s (or tassel-eared) squirrel looks like a cross between a common squirrel, a rabbit, and a great horned owl.

Well, I’m stumped.

Speaking of great horned owls…A GREAT HORNED OWL!

On Sunday we walked to breakfast, drove around town, then went to the Circus Luminous.

The three broads and I walking to breakfast.

Behind the tattoo parlor.

Abandoned house with the front yard overgrown with saplings.

Old Chevy.

The fortress.

This cat was making faces at us.

Breakfast burrito smothered in both red and green chili.


Another gate.

All sorts of drugs are being bought and sold under this pole.

Hanging with mister chicken coup.

The highlight of the day for me was getting to explore the unsecured abandoned horse racing track: The Santa Fe Downs. One of the gates was unlocked, and I had free run of the place expect for the locked doors to concessions and the skybox.

Trailer and water tower.

Abandoned grandstands.

Empty seats getting overgrown with grass.

The old race track.

Overgrown entrance gate.

The parking lot.

Looking at the once primo seats on the balcony.


The ass of an ass.

On Monday we went to lunch then searched for geocaches. For the uninitiated, geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world. It’s like a treasure hunt.

After lunch, we went on a quick drive into the mountains, only to turn back due to icy roads. We parked and went on a quick hike only to find the car battery dead on return. Luckily a loner was walking his dog and was willing to help jumpstart our car. We drove to a garage, waited in a room smelling of fresh tires, and got the battery replaced. From there, it was time to head to the airport with my parents. We took the “scenic” route through Albuquerque, passing through what were once old ranches and along Route 66.

Snowy mountain.

A quick hike.

Geocache found in the plaza.

Another found by the Loretto Chapel.

Signing the finder’s log.

Signs along Route 66 in Albuquerque.

Wiener dog sign.

Assuming the position?

Rooftop sign.

Zia Motor Lodge.

The Aztec Motel.

Bike parked outside a room.

The Lobo Theater.

Motel Hiway House.


J and I flew home Tuesday morning. I was sad to leave family and the clean dry air of the old city in the desert. But I was excited to come back home to all the uncertainty, volunteering, and leisure that currently defines my life.

Even if everyone believes Mark Twain once asserted “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” have none of these fools been to Santa Fe?

Santa Fe is way colder, muchachos estúpidos.

*I lied. But thanks for reading. If you liked anything in particular, please mention it in the comments.
November 30th, 2010. Categories / Santa Fe

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