I realize not everybody lives in a place where you can hike to the horizons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go exploring! My traveling lifestyle really started in a city, the summer before my senior year of college, when I adopted Bowie, a hyperactive death row dog from a Pennsylvania shelter.
Bowie wasn’t a bad dog. Like many young, smart, active-breed dogs, he was in desperate need of lots of exercise. So we started going for a walk every morning, afternoon and evening. In a matter of weeks we had canvassed every sidewalk in my city and I had discovered places and people and shops and spots I never knew existed.
Those walks with Bowie taught me the single most important piece of travel advice I know: All you need to travel is time and a good pair of shoes.
Yesterday, I dropped my Subaru off at a garage in Santa Fe for a tune-up and to get its shimmy diagnosed (you’ll never believe what they found!) and spent the day walking around town.
The garage was just off Cerrillos Road, a main thoroughfare through Santa Fe. I have driven down Cerrillos a zillion times, but yesterday, on foot, I discovered a dozen amazing place I’d never even noticed before.
I spent part of the morning working in a great little cafe cleverly called “Counter Culture”, and then visited Opcit, the independent used bookstore next door, where I bought a book on Ghost Towns in the Southwest (sounds like a future road trip to me!).
Walking past the Santa Fe Hospice Thrift Store, I spotted a vintage copy of Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey in the window and bought it to give to a friend (I already have a copy) for 25 cents.
Heading north up Cerrillos, I stopped in a bike shop called the Broken Spoke to talk to them about maybe selling my mountain bike on consignment this spring, before I hit the road for the summer.
Then, I stumbled upon a real treasure: the Santa Fe Photo Co-Op. The owner of this shop, Lynn, has been collecting used camera and video equipment for the past 19 years and the place is full to the brim. This is a candy shop for anybody who loves cameras! I talked to Lynn for a bit and spotted a tiny Hit camera in a leather case. Lynn told me these miniature film cameras were sold in the 1950′s in gumball machines and at county fairs for $1. He offered it to me for $10 and I took it.
Hours later, the garage called: there was so much mud stuck up in the undercarriage that it was affecting the alignment and causing the car to shimmy. A $20 undercarriage wash and “The Raven” is good as new! Arizona here we come!