My flight was pleasant enough, and after landing I headed to the rental car shuttle. I learned on the bus from a fellow passenger that there is a bus that goes from the ABQ airport to Santa Fe. I tucked that tidbit away for future NM trips.
I really don’t like to rent cars. I prefer to use transit if possible, but there is no subway to Taos that I’m aware of, so I lined up in the queue and finally had my vehicle. I mapped out my destination online ahead of time, and *assumed* it would be an easy hour drive on what looked like, in map form, to be a bustling highway between two brightly-lit metro areas. I’ve done the drive from Milwaukee (usually Miller Park) to my Chicagoland home a number of times at night and it’s well lit, and goes by in a snap. Well, the distance between the outskirts of Alburquerque and Santa Fe is mostly unlit, and I didn’t notice reflective lane markers, either. Additionally, there was a malfunction in the rental car causing a trunk light to stay on constantly plus a bright red warning light on the dash. Well, it wasn’t a pleasant, easy ride but luckily it’s not all that far, so once I approached Santa Fe, the roads were well-lit and I felt more comfortable. I think I could do it again if I had a vehicle with better headlamps and a auto-dimming so I could use the brights most of the way.
I checked into an adorable, renovated classic Route 66 Motel, the Silver Saddle Motel. As soon as I got in the room, I regretted that I was only there for the night. Absolutely charming, with a gorgeous tiled shower, thematic decor, plus a comfortable bed and linens. Continental breakfast was awesome, and served in a neat gift shop/gallery of crafted items and antiques. I think about it often, and hope to return sometime to spend more time exploring Santa Fe.
I headed North toward Taos, and planned to check in early to the B&B “casita” I rented. I called ahead and the owners were fine with that. I dropped off a few things, then put on my layers of clothing, chucked my helmet in the car, and pressed onward toward the mountains. It was a scenic drive although at times some of the “roads” seemed to be roads in name only. Finally, I arrived at the mountain. I had no idea where I was supposed to park or where to go after parking.
I saw a stand-up haywagon-esque contraption rolling by filled with skiers/boarders, so I jumped on. Then I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to get off, so I hopped out at the next stop. Luckily I wasn’t carrying much gear beyond a tote bag with my wallet and helmet in it, because I ended up walking a lil’ before I found the “gondolita” that shuttled me further up the mountain to the main lodge area.