Getting our kicks: New Mexico

Crossing into New Mexico from Texas was a huge milestone on our cross country road trip: we had finally ENTERED THE WILD WILD WEST (how many times will I use this phrase now that I live in the west? The limit most likely does not exist) after stops in Nashville and Dallas!

Once over the border, we were officially in a different time zone, a different region of the United States and the landscape changed so drastically and so abruptly — it was semi-alarming. Suddenly we were looking at mesas and the desert and red dirt and round little bushes scattered across the land. I’m fairly certain the phrases, “ho. ly. shit.” and “WHAT ARE WE EVEN LOOKING AT?” escaped our mouths on more than a few occasions.
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We pulled into Tucumcari, New Mexico shortly after entering the state. It was a small town, but it’s the largest city between Amarillo, Texas & Albuquerque along I-40W, and it’s known for being a significant town along what used to be the Historic Route 66. Let me tell ya something — they milked everything they could out of the fact that Route 66 used to run through the town and I was obsessed with the kitschy, retro feel that lingered.  The term ‘Route 66’ is splashed across roadside billboards and McDonald’s bathroom walls and gas station signs and run-down little motels. It was almost like the entire town was holding on to the past — there was a nostalgia that hung around the quiet little place that felt like a longing for Tucumcari’s glory days of a distant ~yesteryear~.


Santa Fe was by far our most anticipated destination of the road trip. It just seemed so weird when we imagined it while planning the trip — adobes, mountains, a unique cuisine, adobes, a diverse population, live music, old Spanish-style churches, adobes… was this city even really part of the United States?IMG_1520We arrived in Santa Fe as the sun was setting on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on the fact that it was mid-week in January, but we found Santa Fe to be something of a ghost town. By the time we headed out for dinner around 6:30, most shops & restaurants were closed and finding a place to have a beer later that night was definitely a task. Though it took a little bit of research and poking around, the places we ended up checking out for our quick stint in Santa Fe ended up being exactly what we expected: the perfect combination of quirky style + laid back charm + Native American influence + artsy funkiness.IMG_1468 IMG_1469 IMG_1500 IMG_1513The next morning, we spent a few hours eating at the highly recommended (by both my aunt & the Food Network!) Tia Sophia’s for breakfast, strolling the streets, and shopping. Something I found super interesting about Santa Fe is that it has a population of only about 75,000 — for some reason that number seems so small! Another fun fact: Santa Fe is the capital city with the highest altitude in the United States at 7,000 feet. Coolio, huh.IMG_1556IMG_6391 IMG_1550 IMG_1539 IMG_1521Leaving Santa Fe that morning was sad, because we felt like there was so much more to the city that we didn’t have the chance to experience. I guess that’s what happens when you zip through cities in 24 hours or less… but the sadness subsided when we got back on the road: it was the final day of our road trip and by the time the sun went down that day we would be in my new home in Colorado!IMG_6402

Have you ever been to Santa Fe or elsewhere in New Mexico? What should I check out when I go back?

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  • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

    That looks to have been a fantastic road trip. I’ve actually never been to New Mexico (well, one foot has been because of Four Corners) so it’s high on my list of states to visit as part of my ambition to visit all 50 states (I’m currently stuck at the half way mark). It’s one of my husband’s favourite states so I’m sure we will visit at some point in the next few years. We also have a vague plan to renew our marriage vows and then go – with the kids – on a road trip along Route 66 for the “honeymoon”. So many travel plans; so little time.

    February 4, 2015 at 10:30 am
    • Reply Kristen

      New Mexico is by the far the most shockingly beautiful state I’ve seen in the US– it’s hard to believe it’s part of America! Your travel & renewal plans sound great!!! I hope you go soon!

      February 7, 2015 at 9:50 pm
      • Reply camerapacker

        I enjoyed your px. We have been there a number of times and it always entrances us.

        June 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm
        • Reply Kristen

          Thank you! It was definitely a beautiful place!

          June 1, 2015 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply John

    When you go back and if you can visit The City of Rocks near Deming.

    February 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Thanks! There is so much left of New Mexico left to explore!

      February 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm
  • Reply Allison Knight

    Ugh LOVED Santa Fe!!!! Even the hotel we stayed at was ~so~ Santa Fe-esque. Can’t wait to go back and explore more !

    February 7, 2015 at 12:52 am
    • Reply Kristen

      YESSSS let’s return to Perry asap

      February 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm
  • Reply per mare...

    Reblogged this on per mare….

    March 9, 2015 at 1:45 am
  • Reply Keldon McFarland

    I’ve always liked watching first timer’s reactions when they see The Land of Enchantment–New Mexico.
    You had quite the trip to my home state and home town, Tucumcari. Yes, the “West” does exist. “Yes” it is a desert. “Yes” the Route 66 is milked for everything it can get. There are many historic groups and enthusiasts who pass though. People from all over the world have an interest in the fabled Mother Road. (But it was just the street that I drove on every day growing up!)
    I’m glad you liked your stay and got to see Santa Fe, the City Different. It’s the oldest capital city in the US, home to many flushing and merging cultures. The food is amazing. (Don’t eat “Mexican food” outside of the Southwest–and Texas doesn’t count!)

    Bienvenidos , y disfrutar !

    December 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I appreciate your comments! It was a great introduction to the Southwest. There’s still plenty left for me to see though!

      December 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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