Santo Domingo Pueblo, Turquoise Trail, Madrid, Cerrillos

You never know out here when Native Americans will need this or that national monument for their sacred ceremonies. We set out for Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (no relation to Lisa’s dog) only to see a huge sign midway there, that it is closed until September 12th. Couldn’t be closed for repairs, could it?
At that point of our journey we happened to approach Santo Domingo Pueblo, and I was thrilled to learn that the tribe of this pueblo lets my people in!!!
Hooray! I was going to be admitted!
When we approached the pueblo, the pavement gave way to gravel and then turned into a dust road. At the entrance there was a huge sign stating:

No photographs.
No sketching.
No alcohol.
No this.
No that.
Offenders will be prosecuted.
Lock up your vehicle. The tribe is not responsible for any objects stolen from your car.
Enjoy your visit.

We drove in gingerly. This was a strange and eerie place. It looked like Lisa’s photographs from Ghana. Everything was desiccated, arid, very dusty, no grass, shrubbery, or trees. The buildings rose up from the dust to the height of one single story, and were made of concrete with no color nor ornaments of any kind.
We passed another sign “Keep Santo Domingo Beautiful.”
The streets were devoid of people.
It was just way too eerie. There was nothing, absolutely nothing to see and/or do there. Even nature seemed to have abandoned this desolate place.
Determined to see something worthy of seeing, we left the pueblo and headed to Turquoise Trail, allegedly, a scenic route connecting Santa Fe with Albuquerque. Well, I wouldn’t make this trail a top priority for visitors. I have seen roads much more scenic than this one. It was ok-looking at times, but no more spectacular than highway 25. Madrid, one of the former coal mining towns, was hailed as a new artsy paradise. Not so. Definitely, has not arrived yet. It was still mostly a ghost town with dilapidated and rotting wooden houses making our dacha look like a luxury mansion. Can’t imagine anybody but squatters wanting to crush here! The population of 200-300 people included rugged tattooed types with dirty matted hair and artsy hippies. Several artisan shops sprang along a short stretch of the road, but the merchandise inside was rather crude. Overall, it had the look and the feel of a god-forsaken town.
I must say that the contrast between the city of Santa Fe and the rest of New Mexico is striking! Santa Fe is an oasis in the sea of poverty with an ultra modern opera house to boot.
Down the road from Madrid lies another ghost town, Golden. And a ghost town it is indeed. We drove through without noticing its existence (but Kenny did see two ghosts).
The third former ghost town, the village of Cerrillos boasting all of three streets (First Street, Second Street, and Third Street) was home to a cool adobe church and a gorgeous hacienda, a residence of an artist making wall hangings out of sand paper. They were quite amazing! This was the only village with future potential,in my humble opinion.
Tomorrow, we’ll leave Santa Fe and head toward Taos.


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