Red dirt ride

Posting from Albuquerque, NM. I love this state.

La Junta, Colorado is where the sun came up. The rangeland soon gave way to hillier terrain, and now we’re in the Raton Pass. Like most people, I suppose, I’m completely taken by this landscape. I would like to love it, but I don’t think that’s possible without more intimate knowledge. I recognize a few plant species—nasturtium and sunflowers—but I’d like to know what people around here call the peaks in the distance, what the right words are to describe the patterns of erosion, what the breeds of cattle are. I do love the shape of their rumps, almost perfect right angles but with a bump on top.

From La Junta to Albuquerque, the National Park Service staffs the observation car with a couple of guides who describe the history and landscape of the area the train travels through. It’s simplified and romanticized, as I’d expect from federally-funded public history, but I appreciate the moments when the narrator wanders from the script to insert some native knowledge about the plants and landmarks.

We pulled into Albuquerque almost a half hour early, which means there was enough time to wander around and get some decent food. The train station here is right downtown, too, which is marvelous, although a lot of places are closed since it’s Sunday. Heading through Gallup next. Love that red rock!

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