I had not traveled NE New Mexico in over 30 years, it was the time of no interstates and running two lane route 85 to get from town to town across the north. I was very curious to see what Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque would look like after my hiatus. Exiting I-25 and into Santa Fe during a blustery rain squall and with the light dwindling, it would be a mute point to try to go downtown tonight
When camping in an urban setting I have established a protocol for finding the best, safest and most convenient campsite for the Sprinter. I ask Garmin to show me the direction to the nearest Marriot. Upon arrival our first priority is finding a level spot. With a level rig the water runs where its supposed to ….down the drains of the shower and sink, it also gives me what I believe is best sleep, with head ever slightly uphill. The Sprinter is almost the "best" stealthy rig. The Sprinter is of standard width, no wider than a Ford pickup and fits most parking stalls. Its nice not to have that barge RV look! At @ 23' in length we usually back in. Parking at the Marriot we "usually" can link into their guest's wifi as well. Parking among dozens and dozens of vehicles makes us far more inconspicuous. The only time we might stand out a bit is when I run up the lil Espar diesel heater, lil Espar is our source for our hydronic heating solutions. The Espar winds up its lil burner sounding and smelling somewhat like a miniature Learjet. More on the German made Espar heater and it's very efficient functionality in a future post.
In the morning its nice to have quick and easy access to restrooms and maybe a cup of coffee. I use blackout curtains on the few windows, once installed the rig appears totally vacant, even with using any and all of our interior LED lights. I have been extremely fortunate in our urban camping adventures.
Morning of my first day in SF I fire up some coffee and toast thinking next step - I'd pop right into the downtown square and start my journey in visiting as many galleries and museums as possible. Know that Santa Fe has the third largest art market in the USA just behind New York City and LA. Priding myself (like everyone else) on having an "artistic" eye for composition and symmetry in photography I know I am really going to enjoy this fantastic opportunity. As I leisurely walk from gallery to gallery I appreciate the arts, western to contemporary modern I drink it all in. With permission asked of gallery owners I capture the images of my favorite works.
It is clear that today's Sante Fe is built on a very old southwestern town. Proof is in the adobe buildings and churches that have survived hundreds of years. Of particular significance is the San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in the US and built @ 1620. The church is still used daily for mass and worship, patronage is incredible with standing room only for daily and sunday masses. With evening coming and having been fully engaged in the entertainment of the "arts" I start the search for what might be some of the better local cuisine. Out of the blue my sis Terry who resides in Tucson calls to check on my whereabouts. Sharing that I was in Santa Fe, she is quick to offer suggestions on where to gain the best of Santa Fe, I head for The Shed. The Shed is well known for it's New Mexican chili concoctions, it was fabulous. The next night demanded BBQ, Terry not letting me down recommended the Ranch House, again an upscale, very popular restaurant, it too was top notch … if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, by all means head to either of these restaurants for maybe the best food in town.