My alarm went off at exactly 6:30am on the morning of Tuesday, January 31st. I grimly sat up, rubbed my eyes and began getting dressed. My bags had already been packed that night before and all I had to do was pick up my girlfriend Kat. I had to be on campus by 9:15 that day, because I was departing for the state capital in Santa Fe by 9:30. The Grant County session of the two month long State Legislature meetings would be held the following day, and I would be there to document any developments regarding the university.
After a short, unremarkable drive from Deming to Silver City, I parted ways with Kat and headed for the student government chambers. I would be joining five of the six executive officers on their journey to Santa Fe, and was eternally grateful that they had offered me a ride. The members in attendance were ASWNMU President Claudia Osuna, Vice President Dylan Kester, Secretary Bre Aker, Attorney General Harry Wetton, and Governmental Affairs Director AsiaMarie Garcia. Harry had also rented a nice Dodge mini-van to transport us on our journey to the capital. Despite the 9:30 departure time, we actually left the campus closer to 10:00 due to a few last minute issues, but soon we were on the road.
Our first stop was Deming, NM. While Harry had considered driving through the Black Range, Claudia had insisted on taking the safer route through Deming. I bemusedly noted that I probably could have spared myself the trip to Silver City that morning before remembering that I did have to pick up my camera from the Mustang office anyway.
After fueling up, we were back on our way. Since we were making good time, Claudia made the suggestion to pay a visit to the WNMU Extended Campus in Truth or Consequences, seeing as none of us had actually been there, myself included. Being a former student of the Deming branch, I’d always wondered what the other extended campuses were like. During our brief visit, we found that the campus was quite small, numbering only three classrooms, a computer lab and a front lobby. There were only two staff members on duty, and no classes were currently in session. After speaking to the staff members, Claudia promised to return to the T or C branch on our way back from Santa Fe.
A few hours later, we finally stopped in Albuquerque for lunch at Chik-Fil-A, since Dylan, Harry and Claudia had never eaten there. After a positive review on the dining experience from the government members, we finally entered the final stretch of our journey, arriving at the Santa Fe plaza around 4:30pm. I’d visited the plaza once before, on an art field trip during my senior year of high school, but for the majority of the government members, it was a new experience.
The roads in the plaza aren’t paved, but rather they are lined with bricks. While some of my companions had expected the plaza to be filled with tall buildings, buildings in the plaza are actually short, and made from adobe. The majority of the Santa Fe plaza is made up of art galleries and small jewelry and clothing businesses, with a few restaurants and bars in the area. At the center is a park with a monument dedicated to fallen soldiers, surrounded by trees wrapped in Christmas lights. It was a beautiful place. Claudia even described the feeling of being there as being in a movie as opposed to a real place.
After taking a few pictures while the government members explored the area a little, we all returned to the hotel to receive the agenda for the following day. The meeting was brief, lasting barely half an hour. Afterward, I introduced myself to a few of the people who would be working at the roundhouse the following day, while student government departed on a mission to find a proper sport’s jacket for Vice President Kester.
While they were gone, I embarked on my own difficult task- finding a place to eat. The plaza was packed, with most of the restaurants filled to the limit with both travelers and locals. I finally settled on a pizzaria, located on the “rooftop,” or third floor of a strip mall. Afterward, I decided to check out some of the local music at the bar in our hotel. They were a country band who’d apparently been playing at the hotel for a quarter of a century. I also used the opportunity to see if I could find anything particularly interesting to write about, seeing as bars are usually among the best places to look. After speaking with a retiree about qual-hunting on the tres hermanas mountains and a local bronze artist about the pros and cons of being a cartoonist, I decided to call it quits. Maybe I should just write a journal about the day, I’d decided.
When I reunited with Student Government, they were watching a college version of American Ninja Warrior. I found myself wondering how much it would cost to set up a WNMU-version of the obstacle courses for Great Race, and decided that I wouldn’t mind paying the student fees for that. Asia instructed everyone to meet back up at 7am the next morning before we all turned in for the night.
To Be Continued….