This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Friday, August 24, 2012

Santa Fe (Holy Faith)

After spending the morning trying to learn as much as I could from professional photographer Bob Pearson I returned to the RV to learn that Carol Ann wanted to try another French restaurant.  I reminded her that we just had a French lunch a couple of days ago (at a rebuilt Airstream trailer).  This one is supposed to be better, she said.  Okay, we would go to this restaurant.

When we entered the restaurant’s address in the Chevy’s navigation system it asked if the street number we entered was for 402 North Guadalupe Road or South Guadalupe Road.  South, said Carol Ann.  We drove 4 or 5 miles, found South Guadalupe Road and drove to the 400 block but didn’t see a 402.  The very nice lady in the Chevy navigation system was telling us to “make a legal U-turn” as we had obviously passed it.  We went back down the street and still could not find 402.  Carol Ann called the restaurant.  You guessed it; they were on North Guadalupe Road, not South.  At least it wasn’t very far to 402 North Guadalupe.  There was no parking allowed on the street anywhere near the restaurant.  There only 3 parking spaces in front of the restaurant, and they were taken, but a sign directed us to additional parking in the rear, where we discovered a very small parking lot that was already full with only 5 or 6 cars.   It was so tight that I had to back out from behind the restaurant.  I then spotted what looked to be a pay parking lot down the street; however, it turned out to be an “employees only” lot.  I had no choice but to drive around the block and return to the restaurant to wait for someone to leave. 

Have you ever tried driving “around the block” in Santa Fe, the old part?  It is simply not possible.  If you pass your destination you may as well go home because there is no “going around the block.”  The Santa Fe blocks aren’t block-shaped as they are in most cities.  They are weirdly shaped and no two seem to be shaped the same.  When you throw in the one-way streets and the alleys, which are called streets but are about as wide as a sidewalk, you never know what is around the next corner.  We GOT LOST trying to go around the block.  No joke.  We could not find our way back to Guadalupe Road.  I mean, not for a while.  We just kept making turns until we finally found the road again but we were back in the 100 block.  No problem, I drove back to 402, pulled into the back, and parked in front of the garbage dumpster.  Then we went inside and I asked if this was a garbage pickup day.  Good thing it wasn’t.

We were seated and given menus.  The names of the menu items were in French, but included a description in English.  I decided on the “Sandwich de Dinte,” which was described as a turkey, cheese, tomato, and lettuce sandwich on homemade bread.  When the waitress came over to take our order I asked her how “Sandwich de Dinte” was pronounced in French.  Her answer was “I don’t know.  You are asking the wrong person.”  So I just ordered a turkey and cheese sandwich, which turned out to be very tasty.  After eating, we purchased some French pastries for later.

Now we had to go to Wal-Mart to buy a water filter for the RV and a new cell phone for Carol Ann.  There was a Wal-Mart on the way back to the RV park and we found it without any trouble.  The problem was that this Wal-Mart did not do AT&T, with whom we have a contract.  We were told that the “new” Wal-Mart did do AT&T.  Fine, I said, where is the “new” Wal-Mart.  About 4 miles further south near I-25, he said.  After we had passed under I-25 without seeing the “new” Wal-Mart I was tired and a bit aggravated so I turned around and told Carol Ann that we were going back to the RV and take a nap.  Then we would go find the “new” Wal-Mart.  No sooner had we turned around than I spotted a Wal-Mart-sized building back across I-25.  We could barely see the sign on the side of the building facing us but it did say Wal-Mart.  As we approached the store we did not spot any other signs.  There was no big Wal-Mart sign near the street nor was there a sign on the front of the building facing the street!  Only on that one side was there a sign.  How the hell do they expect anyone to find it?  It was purely by luck that we saw it.    After I managed to find an entrance to the unmarked parking lot and parked the car, we went inside and found the cell phones.  We wanted to add an iPhone 4 to our AT&T Family Plan contract that is in our son-in-law’s name.  Well, unless we could prove that we were authorized to do so we could not add a phone to the account.  Therefore, I will be sharing my iPhone with Carol Ann for the remainder of the trip.  We went back to the RV and pigged out on French pastry, which almost put me in a better mood.  We didn’t get an RV water filter, either.

I wanted to know who the insane drunk was that laid out the streets in Santa Fe so it was back to the Internet and another history lesson.  I’ll keep this one short.

There is some debate over who actually founded Santa Fe.  Juan Martinez de Montoya established a "plaza de Santa Fe," a private settlement, in 1608.  About that same time, Don Pedro de Peralta was appointed the new governor of New Mexico and given a set of instructions from the viceroy of New Spain. Among these instructions was an order to create the Villa de Santa Fe as the capital of the province as soon as Peralta arrived there.

When Peralta arrived in New Mexico, he ended Martinez’ entrepreneurial colony and established a royal colony instead.  He applied the order to establish a villa to Martinez’s settlement of Santa Fe, raising it from a plaza, or village, to a villa, or town. In other words, the king’s orders to Peralta did not establish the town of Santa Fe, but simply elevated the already-existing settlement to that rank.

So, who founded Santa Fe?  Martinez or Peralta?  Personally, I don’t really care.  However, it was Peralta who laid out the streets to resemble pretzels.  The way towns were build back in the 1600’s was by laying out streets in a radiating grid from a central plaza.  Many of the streets were narrow and included small alleyways that “eventually merged into the more casual byways of the agricultural perimeter areas.” 

Then, in 1912, just to add chaos to confusion, the city planners declared that historic streets and structures must be preserved.  In other words, the streets couldn’t be messed with and so to this day they remain almost the same as when laid out in 1608 – 1612.  They have a least been paved.  

Tomorrow, at 7:00 AM, I meet the other workshop attendees at Kasha-Katuwe National Monument (Tent Rocks) where I hope to survive the hike and climb that is required to reach a really great photo-op.

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