It was an amazingly flat stretch of bare desert, with jagged tips of mountain poking their way up at the outer edges. The land had been suffering drought conditions for several years now, so there was very little green.
Art galleries abounded. Who needs an art museum when the shops are so amazing! These warrior sculptures were made entirely of leather.
And these busts were typical of the storefront window displays. Statues, paintings, jewelry, pottery, geckos, geese, and gardenias.
Even outside the buildings, art abounded. . . or graffiti. Or both, depending on your point of view.
Old sidewalks led under shade trees, and the adobe benches were inviting. Even though the sun was shining and temperatures were in the low eighties, it was cool in the shadows under the continuous breeze.
Everywhere we looked, we saw adobe. (We surmised they must have a building code that says: If it isn't adobe, at least it has to look like it.) Gas stations, fast food chains, motels--even Walmart--were all wearing adobe.
An official building seemed to be the only one allowed to irrigate the lawn. People strolled and lolled about on it, as if it were a public park. Maybe it was.
This lot at the edge of a busy uptown street was full of columns. I guess one could buy them to enhance a garden or front entrance. It just looked whimsical to me to see so many gated entrances to nothing.
Here are a few more examples of the ubiquitous adobe. Flat roofs are common, like they seem to be everywhere there is little rain.
This is actually the facade of the Santa Fe Art Museum. We didn't explore this one, as we had already been through the historical museum around the corner and a multitude of hopeful little shops in hidden crannies, some with fountains in the sunlit courtyards.
On the outskirts of the city, I felt a sense of endless space. The sky was huge above me. Large black buzzards swooped in open blue sky, and there were crunches and rustles under my footsteps when I ventured out to snap a picture. These two were taken next to a Wal-mart parking lot.
Occasionally, a tumble weed loosed it's gnarled grip on the gravel and took off across the landscape, seeking a ravine or a moist crevice where it could settle in for the long, hot summer.
A few trees managed to survive on the plain and climb the sides of mountains, persisting to the very summits. This was the view along the interstate--all the way to Albuquerque. Flat clouds in a beautiful blue sky cover.
Turtle and I rode serenely along. We had been to Santa Fe and found it worth the visit.