Roads to Santa Fe – 84 N between I-40 and I-25

Even though I get to live in Santa Fe these days, I grew up in Logan, New Mexico. For those of you unfamiliar with the northeastern corner of the state (which is pretty much everybody in the world), Logan is 24 miles north of Tucumcari. Canadian River Country, home of Ute Lake, land of many ranches and mesas and coyotes and deep canyons and rolling hills. Just another beautiful piece of New Mexico.

I’m kin to half of Quay and Curry County, so I’m on the road to a wedding or a funeral or a get together almost every month. Makes for a lot of time on back roads driving through New Mexico. I love a back road, getting off the freeway to see what I’ve been missing. This happened a couple of weeks ago when I was headed home to Santa Fe.

I decided early on to take the scenic route, choosing Hwy 84 west of Santa Rosa to get me from I-40 to I-25. The sun was shining, it was a brilliant June day, and I had my camera on the seat next to me.

Dilia churchElton John’s “Tiny Dancer” played on my car stereo as I crossed the Pecos River just before I got to Dilia. It was an absolutely perfect New Mexico moment. There were cattle on the east side of the road in an alfalfa pasture, mesas in the distance, and I could just see the top of the yellow Catholic church in Dilia. Everywhere I looked was a potential photo. But I learned long ago you sometimes have to put the camera down and just look at things. So I did.

This is Rudolfo Anaya Silence of the Llano country. This is isolated, rugged, frequently unforgiving land out here, land where Anaya says the wind and the quiet and the lack of human contact might just make you crazy in February or March. But on a sunny June day, this is quintessentially beautiful New Mexico country. We’ve had a generous winter – the snow was frequent and deep and on this particular drive, the wildflowers are everywhere and the grass is green.

The only thing likely to make me crazy on this road is that I don’t have enough time to explore. I’ve always wanted to get off the road at Dilia and drive to Anton Chico. I want to take the side road a little further north and go through Tecolote (the names are enough on their own to compel your presence). I want to know what happened at Apache Springs – what’s that ruin on the side of the road?

Seeing Hermit’s Peak in the distance, I know I’m almost to I-25. I’m as excited about that leg of the trip as this one. I’ve recently reread Susan Shelby Magoffin’s Down the Santa Fe Trail and Into Mexico, and I want to travel some small part of the Sante Fe trail to see the same things she saw just before she got to Santa Fe in 1847 after being perhaps the first white woman to traverse it.

But at the moment I’m almost to Romeroville. And Ihermits peak have just a handful of photos to describe my travels. I want to spend another hour or two on this road.

One of the things I want my kids to be able to say about me when I’m long gone is that I was never afraid to look life right in the eye and embrace it. When they were growing up, we didn’t have great financial fortune in our little family, but maybe that was a good thing. Maybe it helped to heighten our awareness of what we did have – great health, roofs over our heads, lots of books to read, and a home state that is (yeah, I’ll say it again like a broken record) both beautiful and unique and full of surprises around every turn.

Take the long way home. Take the scenic route. Take a back road into Santa Fe.

It’s a cliché, but cliches are cliché mostly because they’re true – It’s the journey that matters, not the destination. My journey last week was amazing. Just another day in New Mexico.

Bunny Terry 505.504.1101

20 Vereda Serena Santa Fe, NM 87508