We hold the hottest RV campground ticket near Santa Fe: Cochiti Lake and the Buffalo Grove loop. It’s a Corps of Engineers camp with water, electricity, and a dump station. It’s only $10 a night with America the Beautiful, and offers superb views of the lake and nearby mountains. We saw a dead diamondback on the road, but no eagles or other big raptors. That is good news for the convention of bunnies dancing around us. Kat’s hummingbird feeder sells out faster than a coastal Wal-Mart when a bad hurricane’s moving in. The hummers pretend to fight, but there are no injuries, and it’s too cold for most wildflowers just yet. These little buggers may be migrating to Colorado or Canada, and they need to fatten up. Kat’s doing the birds a solid, and we will be here to feed them another week.
The Shed is a famous old New Mexican restaurant nestled into Santa Fe’s central market square. We came for a Cinco de Mayo lunch and chuckled at their Special of the Day, a $15 margarita. We ordered Road Food’s recommended Taco and Enchilada Special with red chile sauce. It was almost too peppery to eat, and they forgot to serve the ordered beans and posole, but we managed. The chips and guacamole were good, but The Shed is not a 5-star joint.
El Parasol serves authentic New Mexican street food and earned its 5 stars, but deserves 6. Wait, the Sterns don’t award 6 stars. We hit that customer-less joint 3 minutes after 11:00 a.m. hoping we weren’t too late for Parasol’s breakfast burrito. Alas, breakfast was gone. I ordered a green chile cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles, and tomato. Kat wanted something light and called for a soft taco with beef, veggies and chile sauce. Both were indeed “worth a trip from anywhere”. We will return to El Parasol to get that breakfast burrito. Write that in your book; it’s in mine.
Kat’s ambitions for Santa Fe include a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and perhaps a bargaining bout in The Plaza over turquoise jewelry. We have learned from the Google that real turquoise is just about mined out; a nice chunk of the real deal will run high into four figures with a good silver setting. Much of what’s out there now comes from China and is man-made as concrete. Concrete is a good metaphor for fake turquoise: both are amalgams of rock, finer rock, and an adhesive. Both are brittle, but we have learned to reinforce foundations, sidewalks, and highways with steel. So far the Chinese are not doing that. Why should they bother? Where they come from “Is no guarantees”. No brands either. And no product liability. Why do we keep buying their junk? Because it comes cheap, and despite what our mothers told us, many forget that “You get what you pay for”.
Cochiti Elementary & Middle School, just within the boundary of the Reservation, lies on our route home from Santa Fe. We drove by as school was letting out. Cochiti’s carpool line was as long as those in College Station. Most drivers looked Native American. This made me feel good on multiple levels. These drivers live in the Rez, but have the income to buy a decent car. They cherish their culture but have chosen to set their young on a path to success in the 21st Century. Best of all, they understand how few old birds know enough to teach everything in home schooling.