We slept well last night. This morning we headed toward Sant Fe. I wanted to make connection with the Santa Fe Trail. Of course Santa Fe is this huge city with terrible traffic. Not much guidance to “Old Santa Fe” for someone just passing through. Eventually I saw a sign for Route 66 and the Old Pecos Trail. I headed out on an expedition and ran into Museum Hill.
There were several museums on that hill, but it was a daunting commitment to wade through three museums, each dedicated to a different people. So after taking these pictures I returned to the Old Pecos road and Route 66. This led me into some fascinating country. I was on the Santa Fe Trail. I saw this sign.
I had previously read out this battle, and never expected to travers the place where it had happened. The sign sits beside a two lane lad in the sticks. Further down the road I came upon another major find the Pecos Pueblo National Monument. Tofu and I spent a couple hours checking out the site.
Where the hills level out is where the Pass is located, where the Civil War battle took place. (Please forgive the three “there”s. I’m a little rum dumb… even though I haven’t had anything to drink).
There are three separate Pueblo’s in the area. At its peak there were 2000 First Nations people living here. Coronado showed up in 1598 looking for gold. After the people got tired of dealing with him they sent him on a wild goose chase. Coronado got all the way to Kansas, before turning back in discouragement. In 1620 more Spaniards came with priests to build a church. The people put up with the priests for more than 50 years before revolting and tearing the church down. Of course, a new church was built in the 1770’s. The first invaders were the Apache. The Pueblo people worked things out with them. Then came the Spaniards. Then came the Comanche. Next we’re the Mexicans in 1828. The non Spanish Europeans didn’t show up until 1821, traveling the trail to Santa Fe.
So this was the highlight of my day. After that I was on the desert highway traveling through endless mesas, until Tof and I arrived in Tucumcari. My natieAmerican clerk at the Motel 6 told me the town is named for the mountain (which I haven’t seen do to the weather). She said the name represents the coming together of two tribes through a romantic tragedy. Two lovers from separate tribes were told they could not be together, so they went to the mountain and jumped off a cliff. When they jumped they called out the other’s name… Tucum! Cari! Hence, the mountain and this town.
I had a philly cheese steak sandwich and a cholesterol shake. No need to try this place again. Tofu is fast asleep. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, We’ll be in Wichita Falls, Texas tomorrow night. Oh, there is a rodeo college here in Tucumcari, as well as a dinosaur museum.
I’ve pretty well got my route set from here to Plains. I’ve been thinking on Paul Simon’s words, “there’s some part of me wants to see Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, I’m going to Graceland”. I hope you all find Graceland tonight. Love.