We were up at 7:15am, and after a short breakfast we were off to Santa Fe via the back way on Rt. 14 through Madrid with side trip to Cerillos. Sheina had suggested that we take the back way up to Santa Fe via Rt. 14 and we are so glad she did! What could be an hour and a half or so drive took us six and a half because of all the great picture opportunities along the way as well as a couple hour stop-over in Madrid, really one of the highlights of our entire trip.
The spectacular views and sweeping vistas all along this road truly showed the grandure of New Mexico. Although Sue got some terrific pictures, nothing can convey the sense of great expanse and different colors that you experience first hand. Sue was constantly yelling, "Stop the vehicle! Stop-the-vehicle!" I'd skid to a halt off the side of the road, she'd jump out of the car, run around snapping pictures, and then jump back in with a "Great shot! Let's go!", And off we'd roar until the we'd round some turn to reveal another spectacular shot.
Sue's notes tell it all: "OMIGOD!! Unbelievable scenery and the eccentric town of Madrid. OMIGOD!!!!!"
The comment about Madrid (pronounced with the accent on the first sylobol in New Mexico) is the result of the really unique and quaintness of this artsy, little village. As we rounded one of those bends in the road, we came into Madrid with Chumani Gallery on the left. With another, "Stop the vehicle!", I whipped the car into the lot. There was a large gate that revealed a sculpture garden that Sue had spotted, and we walked around in there for awhile admiring the different works of art among the rock formations. Very nicely done.
As we walked up the entrance of the gallery, we fell into conversation with the owner, Jessie, and a friend of his. He took us into the shop and showed us a spectacular assortment of hand crafted jewlery - much of which he had cut himself, though he sent the pieces out to Native American silver craftsmen for mounting.
It turns out that Jessie had started out in life doing image enhancements and manipulation, even Disney. It was fascinating listening to him talk about his work, even mentioning that he did some photography himself when Sue commented on some of his works on the wall. Jessie said that his skill was in the editing, but that his partner Pamela just down the street was a fanatic, gutsy photographer with a keen eye for composition who would make him drive her all over the place on the spur of the moment to get somewhere just in time for the right light. When I mentioned to him that sounded like Sue, he said we'd have to visit her at her shop just down the street.
And we did just that. Pamela's Dreams really cute little gallery was just down the hill and across the street from Jessie's so we walked down and introduced ourselves. We must have spent an hour in there chatting with Pamela. What a wonderful person, and so willing to share her experiences and knowledge of photography with us. She pointed out some of her pictures that Jessie had enhanced as well as some just spectacular untouched work or hers. Before leaving, a beautiful silver turquoise bracelet caught Sue's eye and I just had to buy it for her.
After checking into our hotel and jumping into the pool for a cool-off, we went out to dinner to Dinner For Two and had one of the best meals I have ever had!