the great american road trip take 4: new mexico

Today was a wandering kind of day, a completely unplanned kind of day. Since neither of us were terribly familiar with the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area, we decided to roam around, hit a few things we'd heard about and get to the hotel early.  Here are a few of the highlights:

* If you've ever seen the giant drum we keep as a coffee table, you'll probably recognize the merchandise in this place- the Taos Drum Company.  My dad bought an honest-to-goodness pow-wow drum here about 20 years ago. We inherited it when he moved, and whe the kids found out that this was the birthplace of the drum, they insisted we stop, "for pa."  So we did. Yoda had a great time banging away on $2000 drums, while Punk and Kooka admired the little beaded knicknacks. We stopped for a teepee picture out front (which was right next to what I am quite certain was a huge rattlesnake hole), then we were on our way.

* Next stop, Santa Fe, where we ate tamales and fajita wraps from a street vendor. Completely, totally, wonderfully, perfect southwestern food. We browsed through the open air plaza, where the natives sold handmade jewelry. I didn't buy any - but really wanted to.

* Before we left town, Punk, Kooka and I made a visit to Loretto Chappell, home of the miraculous stairway. The miracle is not just that there are no supports holding the double helix built stairway, but also how the stairway came to be in the first place. I won't spoil the surprise - you can google it - but I will say that all three of us were awestruck. We took a moment to light a candle for Pa, and say a few prayers in the sanctuary. It was a nearly surreal experience, and we couldn't help but feel moved. 

* Next on our route was Albuquerque. We checked into our hotel for a short swim before heading downtown to the Route 66 Malt Shop. Our waitress, Dawn brought us hot shoestring fries, juicy burgers, spicy homemade root beer - and for me, the green chile cheeseburger, which may be the only kind of burger I will ever eat again. Kooka said it was the best burger she'd ever had, and Punk even gave up the promise of dessert for a second cheeseburger. It was that good.