Trinidad, Colorado is just 23 miles north of Raton, New Mexico where I go it seems entirely too often. But it seems I do not pop over Raton Pass and the state line very often. I have before because there is a super Walmart. And there used to be a rather fantastic Chinese restaurant under the overpass by the train tracks. It could still be there. If you are from a rural area like Black Lake Trinidad seems a whirl wind of railroad tracks and on and off ramps. I have come a long way since my days of commuting 25 miles across downtown Kansas City.
I was delivering paintings for the Splash Exhibit at the Trinidad Area Arts Council (TAAC) on the suggestion of an artist who has shared wall space with me at the Old Pass Gallery in Raton. I had printed out a Google Map but never had time to consult it because I had just started breathing after going over Raton Pass when I was at exit 13A and B or Main Street. Trinidad has a lot of those cute midwest street names like Main and Elm and Maple. As well as the obligatory 1st, 2nd and I will assume a 3rd. There is a west Main and an East Main. And the freeway is not the dividing line between East and West but a one way street called Commercial.
To make a long story shorter I finally decided to go over to Second Street and park the car near the corner of Walnut, grab the camera and reconnoiter on foot. I was probably less than three blocks from where I needed to be but it took close to 40 minutes to walk that distance. Remember, I said I had the camera.
|Reflection of the Colorado Hotel|
Somewhere in the middle of this and many more photographs I took I found where I needed to go, retrieved my car, and then delivered my paintings to TAAC. As I vowed to come back to Trinidad I wondered why it is I have not gone there more often. And on the drive back over the pass I had an epiphany.
I went to college in Albuquerque at UNM and my parents lived in Denver, Colorado. It is 499 miles between these two cities on Interstate 25 and Raton Pass is the biggest pass you have to surmount in that distance. School vacations are never at optimal times for mountain weather. I have spent more time at the Raton or Trinidad bus station waiting for the pass to be cleared than I want to admit. It is a wider road these days with nicer guard rails but there are still tell tale signs that the 8925 foot pass closes down. All the on and off ramps seem to have gates that can be locked to keep you from entering. And there are huge pull over places for those trapped on the snow bound road.
Since those days of arranged rides and Greyhound buses I have driven over higher passes and waited in more hotel lobbies for roads to be cleared but just the thought of Raton Pass seems to make my tummy ache. Even on a beautiful spring day at 75 mph. I know how quickly the weather can change. But someday soon I am going back to explore more of downtown Trinidad. And a couple ghost towns that are between Raton and Trinidad.