2012 USA Roadtrip: Vail, CO to Santa Fe, NM

We left Vail at 10:35 a.m. We went Hwy. 24 out of Minturn. Coming into Leadville we had great views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. The Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway was indeed scenic. We saw wonderful views of the Collegiate Range—and the signs identified Mt. Yale and Mt. Princeton for us. The road continued being lovely well past Salida. Once we got into the area of the Great Sand Dune Preserve and National Park we were in a windy sand storm and the visibility was compromised. It got flatter and flatter. Once we passed the border into New Mexico the terrain started getting more interesting with lots of sagebrush, piñon and juniper.

We had timed our departure from Vail to arrive in Salida at lunchtime. We actually arrived at 12:40 p.m. for lunch. We had asked our food writer friend, Claire Walter, where we should eat in Salida. She said the Laughing Ladies. Unfortunately that was closed on Wednesdays. Claire put us in touch with her friends who live in Salida. One of them, Lisa DeYoung, suggested the Cambodian restaurant there. Unfortunately it too was closed on Wednesday. We decided to go to the Boathouse Cantina because it is right by the water and Lisa thought there might be some activity in the Arkansas River to amuse us. She also said that she would try to come to see us at the restaurant after she finished work and before her next meeting. We had a Margarita Salad ($10) at the Boathouse Cantina, we sat a table right by the river and we were amused by the kayaker who was taking a lesson and was still clueless. As we were leaving the restaurant, Lisa pedaled up to us on her bicycle. A very attractive and fit looking young-ish woman who obviously enjoys living in Salida. What a kick! She said she was planning to be in Santa Fe within 2 weeks and we told her that we’d like to rendez-vous with her there and spend more time with her. Hopefully it will work out.

After we met Lisa, we continued on to Santa Fe. The trip was 317 miles total--just about at our limit for a day of travel on our road trip. We arrived at 5:50 p.m. at The Bishop's Lodge, the resort hotel that Dimitri chose for us. Usually we would roll into town and look at a few hotels and chose one for our first few days while we look for longer term accommodations. This time, because we wanted to stop and meet Lisa in Salida, we wanted to have a place to stay already booked.