Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Viva Las Vegas---the Original Las Vegas

Leaving Hummingbird Community after a brief but enlightening 48 hours, we drove through the rolling hills to the small city of Las Vegas (population ~15,000) which is situated in San Miguel County, approximately 65 miles due east of Santa Fe. Las Vegas was established in 1835 by a group of settlers issued a land grant by the Mexican government, whereas the other Las Vegas over in Nevada (where, some say, the sins of the American culture run rampant) was established in 1905. 

In the late 1800's, the New Mexican Las Vegas was host to many notorious Old West legends including Doc Holliday, Jesse James and Billy the Kid, but in recent years things have been much tamer. However, San Miguel County's literacy rate is ominously low at somewhere around 50%, and economic disparities are quite strikingly evident wherever one cares to look. 

Be that as it may, we are now happily ensconced approximately 12 miles outside of town on the 14-acre ranch of our dear friends Annie, Chris, Cassidy and Teslin Ruge. Chris was Keith's boss for a number of years back in Western Massachusetts, and even Mary was employed by him as a consultant for a brief transitional time (and what a time it was!). The Ruges themselves left Western Mass several years ago and traveled North America for 12 months in a truck towing a pop-up camper, eventually settling here in Las Vegas. Avid birders all, their blog is an excellent read resplendent with beautiful photographs of birds, flora, fauna and adventure. 

The ranch is a lovely spot down a very long gravel road, far removed from the main road which lays comfortably beyond the hills. Large and picturesque mountains can be viewed from most any vantage point on the land, and two horses, one dog, and countless birds populate the land which is like a self-contained wildlife sanctuary. With a hot tub, satellite internet, a woodstove, a deep well producing abundant and delicious water, and plenty of food and comfortable furniture, it's a heavenly country retreat for the three of us! 

Tomorrow, our kind and generous hosts leave for a long weekend of late winter skiing in Flagstaff, and we will feed and water the horses and dog and otherwise tend to the house in their absence. It is very much a win-win situation for all, and we are exceptionally grateful for this opportunity to have a house and 14 acres to ourselves, with nowhere to go and comparably little to do other than feed and water three dependent creatures (plus ourselves, of course!) and luxuriate in the lap of rural luxury.

On Monday, we will head to Santa Fe, have our broken furnace repaired, and avail ourselves of friends and acquaintances in and around that fair city.  

Meanwhile, we will try to post photos as we are able, and send you all our hearty and happy greetings from the original American Las Vegas! 

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