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  • Writer's pictureGareth Owens

Route 66 - Days 11 & 12 - Santa Rosa to Santa Fe

Checking out the view on the Santa Fe Railroad

Google mileage: 110

Actual mileage:  132

Total trip miles: 1520

Today was a short ride of 132 miles to Santa Fe, where we planned two nights of R&R. We had heard a lot of great things about the place and were really looking forward to chilling out in a nice hotel and exploring this cultural city - as well as some cooler mountain air.

As per usual we set off early(ish) in the morning in order that we could be off the bikes at a decent time. With low mileage to do we just pottered along on the empty roads and enjoyed the scenery.

Nice name for a ranch - outside Santa Fe, NM

As we rode through the morning we felt cold for the first time on the trip. Santa Fe is 7,000 feet above sea level and much cooler than the surrounding desert that we have been riding through. The cool air was welcome, but we soon stopped to zip up all the vents on our jackets.

While riding down a perfectly straight stretch of road, we were chatting away on the intercom when Alisa suddenly swerved. A guy had walked out of the bushes and crossed the road right in front of her motorcycle without even looking. The road must be two miles long and this guy manages to almost get himself killed by the only traffic on the road! He's clearly oblivious and doesn't even look up as I ride by.

We pull into Santa Fe just as the day starts warming up. It's a sizeable place and we took a few wrong turns and get lost. Business as usual for us when it comes to city riding. We pull over to take a look at some maps we saved for this very event on our iPad last night. By pure fluke we had managed to weave our way through the city and stop only one block away from the hotel.

By 2 pm we were checked in, showered and I relaxed in our room at the Santa Fe Hacienda and Spa whilst Alisa checked out the Spa facilities. Relaxation is the name of the game for the next couple of days. 

That afternoon we have lunch at The Pantry, check out the Georgia O'keeffe Museum and explore the town. It's not at all what we expect. It's a tourist trap with lots of low and high-end tourist tat. We expected a fairly historic town, but all the buildings are new. It's a bit like going to visit an Old English village only to discover all the houses are Mock Tudor. We've clearly got a rose tinted image of Santa Fe and are slightly disappointed that it hasn't lived up to it.

While parking up the bikes back at the hotel I noticed a familiar red Honda Goldwing in the car park. It turns out Carl and Hazel, the British couple we met earlier in the week were staying at the same hotel! We left a message for them at reception and met them for drinks later that evening. It was great to meet them properly and swap stories of our experiences on the trip so far. So much of what we have experiences is the same and yet a lot differs too. 

After a couple of swift beers we say our goodbyes and head to Shibumi a local Japanese restaurant which serves Ramen, Izakaya, Yakitori and, more importantly, Sapporo beer. It's nice to have a change from diner food.

Stunning countryside around Santa Fe, NM

Our next day is spent riding around the neighbourhood, having breakfast at the Tesuque Market Kitchen, checking out the view from the Opera House, shopping for cowboy boots, and generally being tourists.

We finish the night with a lovely meal at La Case Sena. It's only slightly spoiled by the fact that they request ID from my wife who is clearly over 21 (I'm being careful as I write this) and we have to go back to the hotel to get it before returning for our meal. The tell us that they ID anyone the think might be under 35. It's kind of ludicrous when you only have to be 21 to drink.

We enjoyed the relaxation and the food in Santa Fe, but are eager to hit the road again. Perhaps it's the kind of place you need a local to show you a different, more authentic, or at least less touristy side.

Still, we will be well rested when we get back to Route 66 again.

A chilly morning ride to Santa Fe

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