Miles Today: 26
Miles to Date: 17,566
States to Date: 45
My hosts described Santa Fe as a tale of two cities. Yesterday, pedaling in from the north, I passed through the million-dollar rancho city. This morning I witnessed the other city. I pedaled to a local McDonald’s for a morning writing session before Santa Fe’s attractions opened only to find the bike rack full. Turns out many other middle aged men, all the rest Hispanic, most of them marginally homeless, descended on this place for their morning warmth. Some played guitar, some avoided purchasing anything, some commandeered the men’s room for long periods of wash and clothes change. Some men sat in groups chatting, laughing, while others sat alone staring blankly into fate. I was impressed with the Gringo manager who dealt with all of these demographically unfavorable customers with patience and respect. I find humanity in McDonald’s wherever I go.
After ten I explored the streets of this charming capital city of high altitude style and colorful art. The colors were particularly welcome on this grey, featureless day. The State Capitol is among the most bizarre in our nation. Not only no dome, not even a flag. The frontcourt features a sculpture of three girls and two boys at tug-of-war; very odd for a guy accustomed to New England’s obligatory Revolutionary War hero on a horse.
The Santa Fe Society of Artists Show, which occurs every weekend spring through fall, featured some lovely art. I particularly liked Madeleine Durham’s wavy images on handmade paper (www.madeleinedurham.com) and Matthew Rhodes very colorful acrylics (www.matthewrhodesfineart.com).
All of which was a pre-act for my visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, a perfect place that does justice to a great artist without exhausting the visitor. Though I know much of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, I was taken by her early West Texas landscapes. These horizontal layered images, painted in the early 1920’s seem to me to joyful precursors of the Abstract Expressionist color field painters of the 1950’s. The three horizontal bands hint at what Mark Rothko did, at a different scale and to different effect, thirty years late. There’s a dissertation in that for anyone interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in art history.
After so much culture, I indulged in a late lunch at Lotsaburger, a local fast food franchise that lives up to its hype. Full of high art and low food, I rode seventeen miles in the rain to stay with a host who lives in an Airstream. Fortunately for me, the rain stopped just in time to witness my own tri-partie horizontally banded landscape, albeit in the grey tones of the day.