648 miles: Santa Fe to Kearny

*Today’s blog is the third of four chronicling the journey from Tucson to Santa Fe to Kearney to Madison with my father: an adventure of self-discovery, awareness, acknowledgment, and acceptance.

Leaving Santa Fe at sunrise.
Leaving Santa Fe at sunrise.

On December 22nd 2014, waking up at 5:00 am in Santa Fe felt good yet familiar.  I was excited and anxious to hit the road.  One of my favorite times of the day is sunrise.  It’s the tipping point to the day’s demeanor.  Will it be good or bad, don’t know.  But let’s just live another day to see.

My father and I packed the pickup truck with caffeinated beverages in hand and traveled on Highway 68 onwards to Taos.  The morning sunrise was the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen.  Took a permanent memory photo that will linger forever.  This might be the place to retire and reconnect.

On the way to Taos...
On the way to Taos…

We saw a bald eagle flying over the Rio Grande’s waters.  The highway runs adjacent to the river scattered with wineries, breweries, poverty, and jagged rocks.  Arriving in Taos, we stopped at the World Cup Café for organic scones, coffee, and tea.  A mature gentleman named Dave and his falcon Questa offered friendly conversation.  He knew of Frances Hamerstrom, who my father had spent time with in Wisconsin.  She was a renowned ornithologist, naturalist, author, and famous for her bird research.

The Rio Grande is grand.
The Rio Grande is grand.
Never gets old looking at...
Majestic in both directions.
Dave and Questa in Taos.
Dave and Questa in Taos.

Went to the Taos shopping square looking for a leather belt for my nephew but left with a handmade scarf and turquoise earrings.  Found a fly fishing shop, and the guide working had family roots to my hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  Bought a hat, shirt, and guidebook for my husband to plant a revisit seed.  This truly is small world.

On Highway 64 is Cimmaron Canyon State Park, where it started to lightly snow.  In the small village of Angel Fire, it opened into a vast meadow of clouds and heaven.  Eventually, we drove upon a group of Antelope grazing in tall grasses.  We were about to greet tough road conditions.  White, heavy, and billowing winter clouds camouflaged the approaching mountains.

Clouds and open fields...
Clouds and open fields…
An antelope blends into the landscape.
An antelope blends into the landscape.
Big storm ahead.
Big weather ahead.

East of the high plains in Limon, Colorado, a buffalo prairie is now a source of wind energy.  At nightfall, the wind turbines looked like an alien or apocalyptic landscape with cattle grazing underneath.  It was wonderful to see alternative energy at work but strange amidst an evening winter storm.

Wind turbines on planet Earth?
Wind turbines on planet Earth?

Darkness arrived and we wanted to make our final stop in Kearney, Nebraska.  Found our hotel via icy roads and were welcomed with friendly service.  A hot shower at midnight was the perfect remedy to plot the final leg of our journey to Madison, Wisconsin.  Onwards!

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