and just like that, it was our last day in new mexico. we’d been hearing from everyone on our trip that we needed to drive up to santa fe because it’s not too far and definitely worth a visit, so since we had a car and no other plans, that is just what we decided to do! but first, we did make a couple stops to some breaking bad filming locations. the dog house drive in was from the night prior, and walter white’s house was that morning. you can pay for official rv tours, and i imagine mega fans everywhere (like my mom) would be all about that!
we lucked out with a gorgeous day for a drive up interstate 25, and i loved taking in all the landscapes on our way. the skies here are so wide, and i wish i had a better camera and better picture-taking skills to do it all justice. so, if you are not impressed, you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself!
now, i didn’t have much in mind for what we would do when we got to santa fe, but one thing was on my must list: meow wolf. i’d heard about this art exhibition a few years ago, and they only have locations out west. and, who would have guessed it, they have one in santa fe! i figured this was a now-or-never type of thing, so we pulled up, bought our tickets, and excitedly got in line. but, just as they were about to call our group to begin, we heard sirens and saw all the doors suddenly open. i thought maybe it was just part of it all until we were ushered away from the building and informed there was a gas leak. noooooo! only steps away and then it was out of reach. we stood around for a bit and listened to see if there was a chance we’d still get to go, but with the fire department needing to come and check things out, we unfortunately could not wait and had to cancel. surprisingly, there were many out-of-staters also checking out meow wolf. i cannot lie, i was disheartened it didn’t work out. but maybe another opportunity will present itself to check out this immersive experience.
a little down and a lot hungry, we drove into santa fe to get some lunch. we parked in the la fonda garage and chatted it up with the front desk folks to find out where to go and what to do and see and, of course, eat. they overwhelmingly suggested we dine at the plaza cafe, and that is where we went. this bustling spot is right on the plaza, and i can imagine the outdoor seating is extremely popular in the warmer months. the dining room was already pretty full when we arrived, but we were quickly seated at a table right up front.
it was that weird time between proper breakfast and proper lunch, making it hard to decide what to eat. it didn’t help that all the plates on all the tables around us looked incredible. i wish i could have somehow sampled everything! after much deliberation, phillip decided on the norteno tacos and i on the santa fe frito pie. folks, if you know phillip and i at all, we both can do a lot of talking at the table, but the only sounds were our forks scraping the plates and our stomachs growling in satisfaction. we even had a little room left to try their homemade biscochitos, a traditional new mexican cookie. honestly, i cannot recommend the plaza cafe enough!
with full bellies and renewed energy, we spent the rest of our afternoon in santa fe strolling the streets and taking in the local sights and history. some of the highlights included the cathedral basilica of st. francis of assisi, the loretto chapel (including the miraculous staircase), the oldest house in the usa, and the state capitol building (the only round one in the whole country!). this list is just a tiny glimpse into what santa fe and the surrounding areas have to offer. i hope we get a chance to come back again for a longer visit!
it was time to head back to our hotel, pack up our things, and get ready for our flight the next morning. but, new mexico was not done with us yet! phillip took us on a detour so that we could ride the sandia peak tram. now, before our trip, i’d been casually researching what to do in albuquerque, and something that came up again and again was the sandia peak tramway. phillip was a little skeptical, and honestly i did not think we were going to go. however, his adventurous spirit kicked in, and before i knew it we were riding in a very large tram with a lot of other people on a very steep cable up to the top of the sandia mountains (did you know sandia is spanish for watermelon? now you do.). i wouldn’t say i’ve ridden a lot of trams in my lifetime, but for some reason i was expecting a much more gradual incline. this was quite the opposite. the ride is smooth, yes, but you are going up very high alongside very steep cliffsides on just two cables. phillip can confirm i had a white knuckle grip on the handrail the entire ride, and i am certain there was a very audible exhale of relief when we reached the top, where it was barely ten degrees! it was so cold and so windy that we barely could stand to take our hands out of our gloves to snap a couple pictures. maybe it is better that way, to just remember it ourselves. 🙂 we had timed our visit perfectly because we got to watch the sun set pretty much all the way up and all the way down. it was a thrilling and unique experience, and i am so glad we had the chance to enjoy it.
reinvigorated with a fresh spurt of energy, we enjoyed our final meal at the 66 diner. i mean, where else would we go? we sat at the bar, split a chocolate banana milkshake, patty melt, and cheese fries, and reminisced about our trip. i am so grateful we went outside the box to stretch ourselves and explore something different and learn something new. new mexico has so much to show, and i encourage you to consider it when you’re planning your next getaway. you just might find yourself pleasantly surprised.