Plain plains


Out in the desert flats, the horizon is wide. Even in a city.

We made it to Santa Fe* in time to lunch at the highly recommended The Shed. Nothing pretentious, despite the James Beard award posted in the waiting area. And we did wait; the place was mobbed. But the dining area is a series of small spaces, including in an outdoor patio, so while you dine you don’t feel like you’re in a large restaurant (nice!). We had some enchiladas and some carne adovada, all very yum. With the sides, the lunch orders were substantial, so we only wanted a modest sandwich for dinner.

Heading east, we pondered staying in Roy, but the town was just too desolate, and the hotel was right out of the 50s, and not the best of the 50s either. Roy is doing far better than Yates, however. Yates is on the NM state highway map, and even has a sign posted on the road at the east and west ends of town. But “town” it isn’t. Ghost town, yes. Now, it’s a bend in the road with one ranch house and outbuildings. No lights on when we went by at dusk plus a few minutes. Couldn’t tell if the house was abandoned, but there was a looming combine parked out by the road, as if it was for sale.

Even after sunset, we pushed generally eastward. The vegetation and landscape shifted dramatically as we motored beyond Las Vegas (the NM one). We saw pronghorns everywhere in the dying light for a while when we were near the mountains, and then just cattle. Or maybe only the beeves showed up in the dying light. We watched the horizon become a simple dividing line between the blues and greys (along with a few orange-reds from the absent sun) of the sky with the greenish dry yellows of the grasslands. This, after all, is the Great Plains!

* Santa Fe is so fun to photograph that it’s not uncommon for photographers to take pictures of other photographers, simply because they’re part of the landscape.

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