June 19-Taos NM Day 1

Another fitful night of sleep. I had the car packed up and was on the road by 10am.

On the way to Taos, I saw the turn off for the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and considered taking it but decided not to because I couldn’t tell if the roads were paved the whole way there, and how long it might take. It was also really hot out and I didn’t want a repeat of the previous visit to a National Monument. So I kept on driving, which I sort of regret because I’ve heard it’s amazing.

The drive from Aztec to Taos was eye-scorchingly beautiful. I went on small state highways through many tiny towns and settlements. The main consistent landmarks I noticed were post offices. There were a lot more than I would have expected. The post offices were also tiny.

The landscapes varied, from a dusty, sandy beige desert with random rock outcroppings and the occasional tree to scenes that looked like they could have been in the non-Mandalorian parts of Utah, except they were also beige and green too instead of orange. There were some red mountain sides and lots of rocks. As I got closer to Taos, there was more water visible, in creeks and streams as well as reservoirs stocked with fish.

Joshua and Jonathan kept me company on the phone when I had service. Joshua and I discussed our plans to meet up in St. Louis and drive to Chicago together. Jonathan found me some places to eat in Taos.

When I got closer to Taos, I called my host and asked if I could arrive a little early, around 2pm instead of 4pm. He was very accommodating-a theme with David.

I had trouble finding the place because AirBnB has the wrong address on file. David had previously tried to fix this but has had no luck. I called him when I drove past a bunch of nondescript driveways with gates and fences that all looked the same to my city slicker eyes. He told me to turn around and drive back and look for a large black truck nosing out from one of the driveways. Again, so helpful!

When I finally got to the place, David explained with a lot of pride how he built his man cave, and welcomed me to use any of it. His main rules were, “No parties-unless I’m invited!” and “Respect my property and I’ll respect yours.” Very reasonable. The rental had two “rooms”, one was a small bedroom that had a fridge and coffee maker and a basket full of goodies, and a POWERFUL WINDOW AC UNIT THAT WAS ALREADY ON AND THE PLACE WAS ICY COLD, which I greatly appreciated after the last place.

I got all of my stuff into the bedroom, then David showed me the rest of the man cave. It had a weightlifting bench, a bar, a turntable with Judas Priest LPs next to it and a bunch of other man-cave-y type stuff. There was a shower and separate WC that were spotless and looked to be quite recently installed. He invited me to use all of it, and to call or text him if I had any questions or needs.

David’s friend Robin was over visiting when I arrived. The three of us spent some time talking. The conversation turned to politics, with me being on the far left, Robin being center right and David being to the right of Robin. I appreciated their perspectives and I was reminded how different the realities of the various parts of our country can be.

They asked me about life in Portland and I talked about alternatives to traditional public safety models like Portland Street Response. They asked me about last summer’s protest activities and I explained that I had been protesting along with other BLM supporters. They listened respectfully and we talked about my work. Overall it was a good conversation and I appreciated that they heard me out as we sought common ground.

I thanked David for being so flexible and hospitable and told him I needed to eat some food and then take a nap. He left me to it.

I drove into Taos proper and checked out one of the places that Jonathan found. It was decent, simple New Mexican cuisine and I devoured it. The patio where I sat was very comfortable. There was an umbrella at my table. This was A Good Thing because when the sun wasn’t beating down mercilessly, there were thundershowers.

View of La Cueva patio in Taos New Mexico

La Cueva Cafe Taos NM.m4a

On my way back to David’s place, I noticed a lot of bakeries. This was exciting because of how much I love bakeries. I stopped at the grocery store and got mac and cheese, cereal, cottage cheese, chocolate oat milk and yogurt for dinner and breakfast for the next two days. The mac and cheese was Juliette’s recommendation. Thank you Juliette!

Before sunset, I asked David if there was a good vantage point to take pictures from. He told me about a location about 7 miles out of town. It did not disappoint. I got some photos and some time lapses. As usual, you had to be there, but here is some of what I took anyway.

View of orange sunset behind little fluffy clouds outside of Taso New Mexico

View of tree decorated with colorful objects outside of Taos New Mexico

View of sunset with desert vegetation in foreground outside of Taso New Mexico

Time lapse video of sunset outside of Taos New Mexico

Jacob M Brostoff @roadtrip