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New Mexico – Land of Enchantment Part II

September 17th, 2010 Posted in The Mother of all Trips

I still owe you an explanation for New Mexico’s nick name “Land of Enchantment”. Just the fact that Billy the Kid was born here fills the country with legend. But also UFO landings that were first evidenced and then hidden and denied, atom bombs built and tested here and roadrunners that drive black cats crazy show to which extend New Mexico obviously fires people’s imagination, good as well as bad.

My imagination ran wild here. I was immediately captured by the wild and untamed beauty of the landscape. Turns out, I am a desert and sandstone formation type. Still no clue, what I am talking about? Well, first of all, look at the following pictures. Did you ever see the clouds as near to the ground? It feels like you just have to stretch your arms out a little to grab them.

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Alright, I also wouldn’t know what to do with a cloud in my hand, but still, it is enchanting to witness this sky looking like freshly cleaned with Windex, and it is for free!

Did I mention that the Very Large Array is situated in New Mexico, searching for extraterrestrial intelligence? (well, maybe they should direct their antennae to the earth once in a while) I am sure that there is a scientific reason to plant it here, but I also love the idea that ETs would choose New Mexico for their landing on earth…

The second reason for me to immediately fall in love with New Mexico is its diversity. After driving a completely straight road through desert like nothingness all of a sudden a bridge leads you over a breathtanking and vertigo causing deep gauge. 

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You can drive a hundred miles without seeing a living being. And around the next bend you suddenly see these buildings, which are so called Earthships. They are completely constructed from recycled material and produce all necessary energy themselves.

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As soon as you start to believe that there is absolutely nobody living in a perimeter of at least 500 miles, a bunch of mail boxes next to the road indicate that even here somebody receives junk mail, BedBath&Beyond coupons and invoices…

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Leaving the south and driving into the mountains (to reach Las Vegas, NM in our case) brings about a complete new landscape. But first I need to bore you with some more cloud pictures. Aren’t those clouds just heavenly? And aren’t they supposed to? 😉

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I mentioned mountains, right? Here they are… They lead up to a city called Las Vegas. But don’t be mistaken by the name, it was Sunday, and Las Vegas, NM behaves nothing like Las Vegas, NV. It was a total ghost town that day. And the only thing we could spend any money on was a donation of a few bucks to one of the homeless gathering in the park.

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Las Vegas, NM

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Well, I would definitely give Las Vegas a second chance on a weekday… It is beautiful, no doubt about it. But somehow this city seems to like to be left alone. Understandable with all the tourism in Santa Fe and Taos, but still, a little more life would be doing it no harm.

On our way back down to Santa Fe I ultimately found my place in New Mexico. As Georgia O’Keeffe in 1934 we stumbled over Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu and its surrounding cliffs. Well, Ms O’Keeffe was inspired to some of her most amazing paintings. I was only inspired enough to let the camera click until it started to go up in smoke, but this is only due to my personal lack of creativity, not of enchantment!

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At least we have one thing in common…

More of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work can be seen in the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe:

One more painting of Georgia O’Keeffe has to be mentioned here, even if it has nothing to do with New Mexico…


This tree hangs in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford( It was first hanged the wrong way…


…and didn’t make a lot of sense. But somebody recognized it and the mistake was corrected.

Back to the land of enchantment. And although the dry air gave us both nose bleeds this is definitely my favorite place so far. I totally understand why Georgia O’Keeffe tried for years to make the Catholic Church sell her the Ghost Ranch. Well, she was successful in the end. I won’t be…

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Back in our enchanted hotel we had an enchanted dinner and some enchanted drinks listening to enchanting flute and guitar music until we couldn’t take any more enchantment. The enchantment overdose of the last few days let us sleep like babies and dream of aliens, clouds, black elephants and, to include Augustin’s dreams: beer.

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This was our tour through New Mexico. Let’s see what we found in the Rocky Mountains. Good night for now!

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