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Santa Fe Trail


4-14-10, Tesuque Pueblo, NM - After nearly 2000 miles of travel the wagon finally drove into downtown Santa Fe, on the old historic Santa Fe Trail.  Probably due to the fact that I wasn’t carrying Yankee trade goods, the crowds didn’t line the street, nor did the senoritas throw flowers. But, I did get a lot of waves, picture takers and ‘thumbs up’ from the local citizens.

Not long after we pulled out this morning, I turned onto the Old Santa Fe Trail. The road was very narrow and winding, but there wasn’t much traffic, so we didn’t cause any traffic backups.

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Doc and Bill - After the long trip across the prairie - finally in Santa Fe. I think they could still taste the dust and hear the cracking of the bullwhips from nearly two centuries ago!.

After making a westward turn into the city, we stopped at a museum complex to pose before a statue dedicated to the long ago Yankee Wagoneers, who took the long, arduous, and dangerous crossing of the plains to bring trade goods to Santa Fe, following the Mexican liberation from Spanish rule.  The statue is a life sized bronze, and is titled “Journey’s End”.

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They didn’t have hitching posts, so I turned around in front of the museum and hit the trail. Not long after leaving the museum, the Santa Fe Trail joined with the Old Pecos Trail and the amount of traffic really increased.  Due the narrow roads and challenged drivers, I didn’t have any time for picture taking on this portion of our trek.  But thanks to Brenda Trujillo, there was a good picture of me passing downtown, in front of the State Land Office building.

I wanted to drive the wagon to the Plaza, but the road didn’t look like anything I wanted to put the wagon down, so I chickened out and went around the plaza (that’s probably why I missed the senoritas!)

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Doc whispering to Bill, “Heck, what do they mean ‘Journey’s End’; it’s not even half over!”

Before leaving downtown, I pulled over in front of an apartment building to read the map.  Unfortunately, I delayed a lady going home to pick up some medicine for 60 seconds - she sounded a little upset - oh well! 

On the advice from a guy this morning, I left town via Bishops Lodge Road. This turned out to be great advice for it was a quiet and scenic avenue. Doc and Bill did a great job pulling some good sized hills on the way out of town.


Trekking through downtown. We’re long enough to just about make up a whole wagon train ourselves!  Photo courtesy Brenda Trujillo.

Just before lunch, a very nice lady stopped us and gave me a nice donation.  I saw a lot of this in Santa Fe. By and large, nearly everybody I encountered was very supportive and glad to see me.

 Lunch was fairly quiet, with only a couple of visitors. It started off a little exciting though, as I forgot to set the brake and we were on a slight grade. With the horses tied to the wagon, it started rolling slowly forward. Shouting, “Whoa” to the wagon did little to stop it, but I got the brake depressed before it rolled 20 feet (on a nice wide turnout). However, this did teach me something really important - I’ve got to get the wagon listening to me as well as the team does!

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Typical Santa Fe street.

Right after lunch, in the ravine below the road, I spotted my first grove of Ponderosa pine trees.  As we started down the second half of Bishops Lodge Road, a babbling brook was flowing alongside us. After all the dry country we’ve been through, this was another welcome sight. 

The northern half the Bishops Lodge Road is irrigated from the brook, and is a really nice oasis of green. It winds through green grass and trees and is lined with houses built with the Pueblo architecture.

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About to turn onto Bishops Lodge Road in front of the Masonic Temple

I stopped several times during this portion of the trip for photos, to meet people and to let some kids pet the horses. The road ran out at US 285, which turned out to be very busy. However the shoulder is good and we had no problems.

Tonight, I camped across from the casino, on the Tesuque Pueblo Indian Reservation. I’m the only one in the free camper parking area and the team is inside their playpen for the night.

This was a ‘Jim Dandy’ Day!

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Typical scene on the outskirts of Santa Fe.  There are mountain ranges to the east and west.

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When you hit the Ponderosas, you’re really in the west now!

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After a lot of dry country, a little brook is a peaceful thing.

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Traveling down the northern half of Bishops Lodge Road

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Our camping spot, with the southern part of the Sangre De Cristo mountains in the background