The Santa Fe farmer’s market has a community picnic table, and one empty spot remains! Settling into my place on the bench seat, I glance around and nod at the earthy-yet-glamorous patrons holding court. Definitely an A-league gathering.
Wanting to contribute to the conversation, at some point I mention sleeping in my car the night before, while parked next door. At this point the elegant, older couple next to me stiffened visibly, the wife reflexively placed a hand on her purse, muttered something about leaving Fifi in the car, and rose to leave.
Oops. Maybe I should be more circumspect – no need to frighten the masses. Then again it was kind of fun. Maybe next time I’ll also lean over, jab my fork at the person’s plate and ask: “you gonna finish that?” .. and it did gain me more elbow room to better enjoy my organic, locally-sourced apple strudel with hand-picked currants.
The Santa Fe farmer’s market is impressive. It was fun getting there early while the presentations were fresh and stalls chock-full. This scene hadn’t been on my radar screen until a trip to REI the day before for new tent poles. Both establishments are in the railyard, a cozy neighborhood – once grimy but now trendy – with bustling restaurants, fancy stores, breweries, open-air music, expensive parking, and trains.
After completing my business inside REI, I hung out for a while on a plaza in front, sitting in the shade of an outdoor bar, using store wifi, people watching, and figuring out where to go next. Had been off-grid and off-line for 48 hrs and needed my web fix.
As darkness settled in, the question of where to camp took center stage. The helpful REI people suggested places in the mountains just north of town, but I didn’t want to scramble around finding a spot after dark, plus was still gun-shy from my travails the last 24 hours. My thinking was that, when camping in the wild, it’s wise to arrive well before dark so the car engine can cool down – that the warm motor/cool night is a lure. So, opted to sleep in the car where it sat – by the curb. This offered the bonus of soaking up the local scene tonight, and a cup of coffee tomorrow morning at the farmers market.
But I was also anxious about my first urban camp – the legality, plus my bicycle on the rack in back. It’s locked up, but tempting… But all those worries amounted to nothing, for everything worked out great. The area around the car was quiet as the stores along there were closed at night, and the restaurant scene did not begin until a couple hundred yards down the way. Ate a nice meal, strolled back to the car and fell asleep about 11pm to the murmur of distant people. The night passed undisturbed by police or anyone else.
But a shock awaited in the morning – my car was the only one parked along a curb that was full of cars the night before. In fact, there were a couple of parking lots nearby that were full too, but now were empty. I noticed a sign nearby that read: No Overnight Parking.
Oh well .. It’s 7am now, it’s legal, and time for coffee – time for the Farmer’s Market.
A 25-yr old, all original, one-owner, Syncro for sale. Syncros are the 4WD version of Volkswagen campers. They’re not the most dependable vehicle, but they’re light and well balanced and on a good day will go just about anywhere. And they are highly sought after. One like this in good shape can sell for upwards of $60K, more than it cost new.
Before I ran everyone off at the community table, we also talked about rodents eating car wires. It’s a common issue in those parts, and everyone had a story to tell. One female said her boyfriend goes out to her car every night and puts Sriracha Sauce on the vulnerable wires (he’s a keeper!). A guy mentioned a local feed store that sold stuff to combat the problem, so I visited it on my way out of town. The boxes each contain four sachets that smell good to me but that critters supposedly don’t like, and the squirt bottle contains a weak pepper sauce concoction. I keep the sachets in a zip lock bag and insert them in strategic places under the hood when camped in the hinterland. The pepper sauce I spray on wires that look tasty, sometimes on the ground under the motor, and sometimes on my scrambled eggs. When it runs out, I’ll replace the juice with (cheaper) Sriracha Sauce.
On to Taos!