Santa Fe, NM to Durango, CO via Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch - 224 miles
The day started well leaving the beautiful St Francis Hotel around 830, having packed the bike and getting out of the city pretty easily on R84 heading North. Again, blue blue skies but due to the altitude pleasantly a lot cooler but still in the 80's!
Seemed like an easy enough route, couldn't really go wrong but past Espanola it didn't seem like I was getting into the hills but navigating thru Indian and Hispanic settlements - 6th sense I guess but knew it was the wrong route and probably just diverted towards Taos by 15 miles. Thankfully got back on track on R84 which opened up to beautiful landscapes - really breathtaking. Having visited Georgia O'Keeffe's Museum I knew that I was fast approaching her famous painted landscapes and I was not disappointed when reaching them and her Ghost Ranch just past Abiquiu, NM. Incredible ...as she explained 'All the earth colors of the painter's palette are out there in the many miles of bad lands. The light Naples yellow through the ochres - orange and red and purple earth - even the soft earth greens.'
Continued up to Chama and Pagoda Springs and already the landscapes were changing to green verdant fir covered slopes reminiscent to the Alps.
And entering Colorado - wow, no wonder everyone falls in love with the place - exquisite landscapes with mile upon mile of rolling green hills, horses galore and red wooden chalet homes.
But hey Colorado is also the home of the big brown bear and incredibly coming around a corner the bear and my eyes met! He was wandering close to the roadside, climbing uphill without a care in the world - the temptation was definitely there to stop and record this rare sighting but for this once I thought I'd drive slowly, enjoy the site but not stop! Later in Durango speaking to a number of people who lived there, none had ever sighted one and said I'd been lucky. As they say, this once I'd been in the right place at the right time!
3 or 4 eagles flying overhead added to the majesty of the landscape and views of The Rockies.
Got into Durango which is acknowledged as a 'western' town and was enraptured by its easy going ways - even saw the massive steam train pull into Durango station but more of that tomorrow.
The only down note today which annoyed me, was loosing on the GoPro camera the 2 best films Ive done so far and recorded - the footage along R66 and riding alongside the Santa Fe cargo train which went on forever, and amazing film of the colourful Bad Lands that Georgia O'Keeffe painted - those I'll just have to hold in my own memory bank - on the ever positive note it could have been a lot worse and the scenery for filming I'm sure is only going to become more spectacular.