Thursday, January 5, 2017

Stay Happy

Road Trip Day 3
Miles Driven Today: 479
Total miles: 1825

The desire for a strong cup of coffee pulled me from the warm embrace of the down comforter.  I packed up the car and started driving. Neighborhoods of Pueblo style homes with cacti studded yards in every direction. Good morning Santa Fe! 

It seemed most of the town was still asleep this time of day. Artists are not usually known as early risers. Only the runners and a handful of tourists were enjoying the morning air. I decided to drive in the direction of downtown and stumbled upon a magnificent park. Excited by the light filtering through the trees of gold, I quickly found a parking place and packed up Patrick and my camera.

This perfect walking trail edging the art gallery community was enough to tempt me to move here. The colors, the light, the air, it was all so overwhelming.  Patrick was in heaven.

I plugged downtown Santa Fe into my phone so I’d have the right direction and then spent the morning wandering. The bluest skies you will ever see are in Santa Fe and the October air was a crisp 68 degrees. I closed my eyes for a minute and felt my breathe.

Couples walked hand in hand from the boutique hotels. The town was romantic in its serenity and I started to crave company on this exploration. Here I was alone without coffee. Where’s the damn coffee shop?!?! I walked past a Starbucks disinclined, and continued looking for a local place. I made very few rules for myself on this trip but one of them was if whenever possible, no chain restaurants.

I continued to explore and photograph downtown. I saw a couple sitting in bistro chairs deep in discussion and holding coffee cups. Eureka! I put Patrick in my low slung shoulder bag. I stood in the doorway of the chocolatier shop pointing to my Bag of Dog miming if I could place a coffee order. The man at the counter laughed and waived me in. I ordered a latte with house made caramel. He asked me where I was from and I told him about quitting my job and hitting the road. Both employees had worked corporate jobs and moved to Santa Fe to live a simpler life.

“I just want to make one person at a time happy with a cup of coffee” said the woman making my latte.

She handed me the cup, I took a sip, laughed and said this would make me happy for the rest of the day. She smiled with pride; I thanked them both for the conversation and walked down the street smitten with my beverage. About 10 minutes later I walked over this written in chalk on the street. 

The comfort of this temporary street art statement was powerful. I searched my head for the usual suspects; panic, stress, and dread. But all that was with me today was this new awareness, a sense of joy.

I continued walking, treating my eyes to the Art in every direction.

After noon I decided to start my drive to Phoenix where I would be staying with my friend Jenna. The 7 hour drive from Santa Fe to Phoenix is picturesque with strong contrasting rose hued desserts, deep blue skies, rugged mesas and towering peaks. 

Patrick demonstrating relaxing road trip positions. Its important to stretch. 

The landscape changes dramatically around Flagstaff were I was driving through at sunset. I studied the roadside looking for a place to pull over to photograph it. The sky-scrapping evergreens blocked most of the view. The steep inclines and small shoulders kept me on the road. Just when I thought I would miss it, I saw a sign, Scenic Point. 

Thrilled, I immediately pulled off the interstate, not noticing an enormous hole in the road. My front tire when in, there was a loud crash as I bounced around in the gravel and slammed on the breaks. I grabbed by camera, and got out of the car scared to look. I was half expecting part of my car to have been left in that hole. But after a quick investigation, everything appeared okay. Whew, just a little drama to increase my heart rate. 

Taking my attention off my car, I looked up at the sky.

I stood upon the peak, high up in the mountains. The sky was on fire and burned in every direction. The pallet changed every minute, deepening in warm and cool tones simultaneously. 

I started the day with the pleasure of enjoying artists imagination and the pleasure of natures display now ended the day. I'm still happy! 
Next stop Phoenix. 

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