May 20th ~ Taos, NM
I woke up at 3:30 this morning with a loud bang, the RV shaking violently and a rather un-lady like “Oh Shit”. The wind was howling. I got up and went to the bathroom, and Tim followed shortly thereafter. I commented that the wind was blowing like crazy. His response, “Sure is” and he promptly went right back to sleep.
My adrenaline was pumping and I was awake for way too long as the wind continued to rock Ellie Mae about.
The weather channels had been posting severe wind warnings. When you are driving an RV, heavy winds are NOT your friend.
But, I eventually drifted back to dreamland, and by 8:00 things had somewhat simmered down and we readied ourselves for the day.
Todays stop was only a short ten minutes away.
Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.
This is one of the oldest inhabited communities in the United States. Native American families have lived here continuously for over 1,000 years. A reservation of 95,000 acres is attached to the pueblo, and about 4,500 people live in this area. Approximately fifty live within the walls of the pueblo.
There is no running water or electricity inside the pueblo. There are gas lights inside the church. Water is obtained from Red Willow Creek which runs through the village for drinking, cooking and bathing. Outhouses are used for bathrooms.
Free tours are conducted starting at 9:00 and run every 20 minutes. Our guide was born here and is currently attending university, she mentioned that any gratuities were appreciated and helped pay for her education.
San Geronimo Church
This Catholic church was built in 1850. It is the second church built after the Mexican American war. No pictures were allowed inside.
Catholicism came into the community by force in 1540 from Spanish Conquistadors.
Built in 1619 by forced Native labor, the church was destroyed twice; first in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt and again in 1847 in the Taos Revolt.
The pueblo is divided into North and South homes, depending upon which side of the creek you are on.
The North House is the largest and reaches five stories. It is apartment like and each home is owned by a family. It is passed down from one generation to the next.
Made of adobe brick which is made from a mixture of earth, straw and water and then baked in the sun. The bricks are stacked and then layered with a mortar of adobe mixture. Upon completion, the entire outside is coated with more adobe. This exterior coat must be repeatedly built upon to protect against weather and deterioration.
Although doors are now prevalent, originally admission was only accessible through an opening in the ceiling. A ladder would be used to climb on top of the building, and another used to climb down inside. If needed, the last person to climb up could then raise the outside ladder to prevent an attacker from entering
After our tour we wandered around the village for a short time, walking into a couple of shops to speak with the locals, and of course we took a few more pictures here and there.
An exterior oven called a Horno is often used for baking bread, cookies, or pie. Tim and I purchased a sample of peach, cherry and blueberry pie. It was more like a small tort, but we were curious to know how it tasted. We also bought a couple cookies and a loaf of bread. Tarts were OK, probably made with canned pie filling, cookies dry but had a nice light vanilla flavor. We have not tried the bread yet.
The wind was starting to kick up again, so we decided to see if could make it further down the road before it got too bad.
Traveling over the mountains, we both remarked that we could just as easily have been in Southern Oregon where I grew up. The trees and terrain reminded us of Howard Prairie. Tim wanted to go mushroom hunting.
We did not get as far as we would have liked, but are settled in for the night at a KOA in Tucumcari, NM. We will be rejoining parts of the old Route 66 here.
Tim is glued to the TV watching the weather channel. It seems that Texas and Oklahoma are getting slammed with heavy wind, lightning, hail and tornados. YIKES!
We will just have to see how it looks in the morning. We will simply stay put for a day or so if needed.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we made the decision to check out Taos Pueblo. I was kind of getting burned out on ruins and pueblos and came close to scratching this off the list. BUT, seeing that it was a UNESCO site, I stubbornly kept it on the itinerary. I’m so glad we did.