Homeward Bound through the Southwest

Homeward Bound through the Southwest

After all the fun in Kansas it was time for Val and I to take Big Blue off for a new adventure into unknown territories of the Southwest.New Mexico and the Pendaries Village in the Santa Fe National forest is our destination.

The drive was flat but beautiful in its own way.  As we started heading up and up and up and we knew we were getting closer.  When we got there we were surprised to find ourselves at 7,800 feet on a ball golf course playing disc golf surrounded by mountains.  It was absolutely breathtaking! Playing on tour in the same places every year it is tough to get excited to play anymore, but we were genuinely excited for the weekend.

We got there on Thursday and went out to play our first practice round, but got hit by a freak hailstorm and decided to cut the round short. Its really incredible how the weather can change so quickly that high up.  Thankfully, we were on golf carts and were able to rip through the last few holes before heading in. We were not too worried as the weather for the weekend was forecasted to be amazing.

Pendaries is a mountain community that was founded over 100 years ago by a French sheep rancher, and has turned into tightknit community all based on summer golf season.  The entry of the community takes you through and open range cattle farm that was very cool as the cattle we so close with quite a few cavs around having fun.  The community has taken disc golf very well and we had many of the year round residents watching the rounds all weekend.  Marcos Castillo and Justin Weldon and crew did a great job of running an unforgettable event and really thank them for that.

Friday was a lazy day, as we spent most of the time around our sweet campsite enjoying the fresh mountain air.  We finally made it out the course later that day where Val and I played doubles together for the first time.  We had so much fun and worked well as a team to score a solid 55. Knowing we left some strokes out there we didn’t know if that would cost us. Surprisingly, we ended up taking the doubles by 6 strokes.

Come tournament time, we saw a lot of new faces of the New Mexico locals.  It was great to meet so many new people and enjoy a perfect weekend on the beautiful course.  After a few tournaments of being off my game, I started to feel a little more comfortable and confident in my play. I couldn’t beat our doubles round but I came close by shooting 56 my first and last round of the tourney. In all it was such an amazing event with catered lunch, golf carts, friendly faces, and a beautiful course to top it off.  Thanks to the Pendaries tournament staff for inviting us and hosting such a memorable tournament!

Val and I had some new friends and new experiences under our belt, but it was time to head on down the road.  Not too far though, as we were sent to a small town called Ojo Caliente for a night at a natural hot spring resort.  We got there at about 7:30 pm, with a few hours to spare until the pools were closed, so we grabbed our suits and headed in.  There were six different springs to choose from but our favorite was the Iron pool.  We spent the next few our hours relaxing in the beautiful setting and enjoying the New Mexico starlit skies.

After the night of soaking at the hot springs, we were relaxed and ready for New Mexico brewery tour in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  But before I continue the story, and want to mention that drinking responsibly is very important and something that Val and I always take very seriously. So, please drink responsibly and drink good beer!

First we made our way into the historical and cultural Santa Fe for a delicious New Mexican lunch in the downtown square. After some spice, we strolled through the small streets filled with galleries and local artists selling traditional artwork. Next was our first brew stop at 2nd Street Brewing, which was a nice restaurant with ok beers but great Internet.  Val and I spent our time wisely getting work done and enjoying a few beers in the process.  Once all the work was done we packed up and headed to the second brew stop, Santa Fe Brewing.

Santa Fe Brewing was little out of town, but once we got there, the locals were out in full force.  We settled up to the bar and started trying the beer.  Chicken Killer Barley wine was the big draw on the beer board so we gave it a try, was good but not as good as the Black IPA which had great flavor. We spent some time with locals and talked about some of the great things Santa Fe had to offer. Once happy hour was over, we got a souvenir growler filled and headed on our way. 

The next stop was Maria’s Restaurant, and suggestion by New Mexico’s favorite woman, Shelia Kirkham. This place had a great menu of New Mexican food and a margarita list that went on forever.  We got our table and started looking over the drink menu.  With more than 200 Margos and 130 Tequilas on the list, needless to say, we were looking for a while.  Val decided to make it easy and go for a recommended Margo and I went for 3 Tequila taster flight. I picked 3 of the tequilas that I was familiar with and knew that I liked, next time I’ll be a little more adventurous. We were so happy when our food came out. It was amazing, and of course covered in red chilies.  After dinner it was getting late and we needed to get up into the Santa Fe National Forest to stake out our campsite.  So we headed up into the forest, winding back and forth up the mountain.  It was dark but you could just make out mounds of snow on the side of the road.  Finally we made it to the Big Tesuque campground, at 9,700 feet.  It was a clear night and not too cold even with the snow so it made some great sleeping weather.

The next morning was amazing we woke up to hillside of snow 20 feet from Big Blue, to a snowmelt creeks running by and a beautiful Aspen tree forest.  It moments like this where Val and I really feel lucky.  Got everything situated in for the day and headed even further up the mountain for the view.  The view was amazing and I felt like I wanted to stay up on that mountain for days but it was time to head down the mountain and on to Albuquerque.

As we drove down to Burque, as the local would call it, Val laid out our itinerary for day 2 of the brewery tour.  Since it was almost lunchtime when we got there our first stop was at a wood fired pizza joint/brewery, Il Vicino.  They had a small selection of beer and a house made root beer, so we grabbed the lunch special, an IPA, and some of that root beer. It was all amazing, and a great start to the day! Il Vicino was located in the neighborhood called Nob Hill, which was full of shop, bar, restaurants, and 2 more breweries within 1000 ft, Kelly’s and Tractor Brewing.

Being in the area, we had to visit Kelly’s Brew Pub and Tractor Brewing and enjoy the beautiful day and great people watching on a busy street.  As the rush hour hit in, it was time to head downtown for Marble Brewing and to meet up with Burque local and Pendaries Spring Classic TD, Marcos Castillo.  Marble had the best beer selection of our tour and a great patio to enjoy it on. We spent the next few hours just chatting it up about everything New Mexico. Our favorite beer of all was the Marble Red. It was nice and hoppy and definitely tops our list of the best Reds ever!

For dinner, we headed to Sadie’s Restaurant, which again was a taste of the New Mexican flavor that I was beginning to become addicted to.  After dinner, Marcos had one more stop for us at La Cumbre Brewing.  La Cumbre was the winner in the American Style IPA division of the Great American Brew Fest in 2011.  The IPA was great and a perfect finish to great time in New Mexico.  Marcos and his girlfriend Myrriah were kind enough to put us at there home for the night and in the morning make us great breakfast to send us on our way West.

Whenever we take the 40 back home to Santa Cruz, we love to stop in Flagstaff, AZ. It is such a cool town to hang in with great energy and good food. We ate at our favorite Thai place in Flag and got a good night sleep in the cool night of the Arizona mountains. We popped out of bed early to start on our 12 hours back home. Val started the day at the driver’s seat and brought us down from the high elevation and into the dessert to the AZ/CA border.  After about 300 miles, I jumped back into the driver’s seat and got us back to Santa Cruz by 10 that night.

The spring tour had its up and downs but it was fun nonetheless.  It’s always a coin toss how the year will start disc golf wise but one thing is certain that we are going to find new things to see and do.  This year was no exception with visiting new town, eating new foods, and conquering new challenges.  We look forward to recharging our batteries in Santa Cruz and getting ready for the long summer tour where the big tournaments wait in the wings.