If my first ever visit to New England this summer had sparked an immediate sense of comfortable affinity to a place, three days in New Mexico this fall could not have left me feeling any more of a stranger - seeing and tasting and feeling a completely foreign environment.
In a good way. Plunged into a landscape so completely alien to a Brit-born Northern Californian, I couldn't help but gawp and gasp at every twist and turn in the untamed expanse of back country roads from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Taos and back.
We'd traveled to the South West, two Laura's, Lori and myself to celebrate Laura's (third from left) milestone birthday by meandering through the lesser traveled paths of a part of the country that all four had long since had a hankering for.
Georgia O' Keefe country. Now she was a fascinating woman. In fact, the O'Keefiana Exhibit was first on our list in Santa Fe to set the scene for this spectacular region that we'd be discovering on our action packed weekend jaunt.
A country and western type I am not, yet my prized pair of classic western Frye boots (still muddy from a rainy Sunday apple picking expedition a couple of weeks ago) should have accompanied this unprepared writer on her travels to cowgirl country. It was almost rude not to come prepared. "Do you think we'd wear ponchos if we lived here?" I asked Lori, perusing the street fashion on arrival in Santa Fe. "Oh, yes, definitely, we would," said Lori.
Center photo in this first travelogue collage depicts the four Bay Area broads adapting to the "When in New Mexico" motto. And yes, the beer glass in my hand means that one of us was spared the inevitable morning after tequila torture.
Where to go and what to see posts to follow once I've had a chance to unpack and shake the dust off inappropriate footwear. Next time I'm in New Mexico, it'll be western boots all the way.