I promised to put up pictures of my trip to New Mexico, and I've finally got a little bit of time to do it. The first photograph shows that all the conveniences of home are available in a little roomette on the train. I could plug in my computer and have a picture of Ace to look at. There wasn't Internet access, but I suspect that will happen someday. I found a really nice backpack for my 17" Mac and my Nikon, which also held the stuff I needed for overnight.
The room converted into upper and lower bunks, although I think the upper bunk would have been on the narrow side. During the day, the potential two occupants could sit across from each other and play cards, because there's a fold-away table between the seats. I didn't try to use the shower on the train because it was hard enough to use the sink with all the jostling. But I really enjoyed having a room of my own.
This is my friend Melinda's house, which sits on 10 acres outside of Santa Fe. It was designed by her husband, who now works in Las Vegas for some large architectural firm, and it is spectacular. I am especially jealous of the kitchen, which is enormous.
I photographed the house in the early morning, from outside of the guest house, called a casita. In the next photograph, you can see the guest house. I've had offices which were smaller, and the shower was huge.
The bathroom and closet of the casita were far bigger than any I have in my house and I loved the fire place in the sitting area. I was able to pick up the wireless Internet from the house, so I made a few of my posts from there after I said goodnight to Melinda and the pets in the main house. Fortunately for my allergies, the casita is a cat-free zone. This photo was taken late afternoon the day I arrived. Look at the beautiful, blue, western sky.
And here's the view looking out to the south and west from the living room of the house. I'd love to see it with the 11' Christmas tree Melinda had last year.
I've had concepts of dream houses in the past, but the cost of land and construction has pretty much put a dream house in the category of "Not in This Lifetime." Melinda has a lot of sweat equity in the house--they did a lot of the work, like laying floors and painting themselves--and I'm not sure I've got that kind of energy, either.
Here's Melinda with the handsome Vento, her Lusitano stallion. They make a lovely team in motion. He's a really sweet horse who likes being the center of attention and he's got great moves. Melinda's trainer showed her a "new gear" when I watched a lesson. At his first show--I think he was introduced at second level--the judge wrote "a bit of an over-achiever, isn't he" after he had a hard time coming to a halt and did a piaffe instead. She's going to go great places on him. I'm looking forward to watching his progress when they come out to L.A. for a couple of months this winter.
This is the train station in Lamy, where I arrived and departed. It was built in 1880, and the sign in the ladies' room reminded people that the pipes are also that old. There was some wonderful tile work inside, and I was quite taken with the cage surrounding the ticketing area, as shown in the next photograph. Lamy has about four buildings, including an old deconsecrated church that gets used for location-shots. There used to be a good restaurant, but I guess not any more. I met a photographer at a workshop in L.A. almost two years ago who had relocated her business from here to there. I wished I had contact information for her.
The Lamy station is the stop for Santa Fe, which is about 20 minutes away by car. My friend Lira thought it was where she transfered to a bus to go to Denver, but I'm not sure if she's correct about that. While I was waiting to board the train to come back to L.A., I had to wait for several organized groups of travellers to disembark for the buses into Santa Fe. There were also several groups who had priority in seating before I was assigned a seat coming home. I was far less impressed with the way I was treated on the return trip than on the east-bound route.
Here's the Southwest Chief as it arrives in Lamy on November 6. My request for a window seat was ignored and I was put on the aisle next to a college girl who was on her way to visit her sister in Ventura. She had a hard time sitting still and was up and down and in and out a lot. During the day, I could understand it. At night, when I was trying to sleep, she managed to trip over my legs several times, which made for a bad night's sleep for me.
Still, traveling by train is far more civilized than flying, and is a lot more relaxing than driving.