Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Out of the West

 Sorry I've been quiet the last few days but I've been out of town in far off Santa Fe New Mexico. Those of you who've been reading the blog for a while may recall that a few years back I went West to visit my friend Laura. She and her husband were kind enough to invite me back for a second trip, this time to see the fall colors. (My previous visit was in June.) Couldn't have come at a better time, since I've been reading a lot of Westerns and I'm maybe going to write one. This trip gave me ample opportunity to see the Real West up close.
  Plus, this trip also included a special guest star, my pal Beth, whom you may have seen commenting on various posts here. Here's the cool thing. Laura, Beth, and I have known each other Online for over a decade, but while I had met both of them in real life, the two of them had never actually come face to face, so I got to witness the meeting of two friends and it was a blast.
   This trip wasn't as heavy on the sight seeing as my first visit. We spent one day wandering the art galleries and shops of downtown Santa Fe. I mentioned a couple of times that if I ever take up painting again, I'm moving to SF. Not only does it contain amazingly inspiring vistas and a unique quality of light, but there are more galleries there than I've ever seen anywhere else.
   Beth had the awesome idea of taking the overnight train from her home in Chicago to Santa Fe and we picked her up at a small, rustic train station in the small town of Lamy. The station, with its iron ticketing cage and massive benches would have fit right into a Western movie. And get this. There's a small used book store inside the station. Now I want to take a night train somewhere.
   At the gift shop of the Governor's Palace (the only building I know of where both Robert E. Howard and I have visited) Laura and I gave in to our mania for reference books. Laura got more books than me, but I got some great ones, including what is considered the definitive book on Billy the Kid and The Lincoln County War.
   Highlights of our day of actual sightseeing included a visit to the home of Kit Carson and a surprise trip to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a vertigo inducing span of epic proportions, We walked out into the middle of it and though I have no fear of heights, I must say it was a loooong way down. We also visited an ancient church in Taos, which is older than Atlanta. An amazing place.
   Since all three of us are writers, we spent a lot of time talking writing and just hanging out. Laura and her husband David took us to some wonderful restaurants and I got to meet Laura's parents, who are just terrific people.
   Western wise I got to see sagebrush and Ponderosa pines up close, as well as many other examples of other New Mexican plants. Plus a big helping of buttes, mesas, arroyos, dry washes and all those things Western writers like.
   All and all it was a great trip and I hope to go back again. I did hit a slight snag getting home, but I'll blog more about that later. For now it's back to real life.


Riju said...

Santa Fe and the surrounding canyons have been most memorably depicted in Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's novel "Thunderhead", which is about a team of specialists looking for Quivira.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I will check that out, Riju. Thanks!