Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trip to New Mexico - June 2012

Bob and I love to travel by car and see the sites of the United States.  We decided to spend a week in New Mexico for our vacation this year.  We left on Saturday, June 23rd and drove as far as Carlsbad, NM that first day.  Our first stop was for lunch in Thurber, TX at the Smokestack Restaurant.  This town has a population of FIVE!  Thurber sat out in the middle of nowhere in West TX.  After we arrived in Carlsbad and checking into our hotel, we drove to the caverns to watch the bats come out of the cave.  Sorry, no photos of that.  They didn't allow them.  Each evening in summer, Brazilian (aka Mexican) free-tail bats exit Carlsbad Cavern in search of a smorgasbord of insects for dinner.  The next day, we went back to the caverns to take a self-guided tour.  It was supposedly 56 degrees in the cave, but it felt good to me after being outside in the 100+ degree HEAT!  People say it is a DRY HEAT, but to me, DRY heat, WET heat, it is all the same to me -- HOT!!!

We left Carlsbad on the afternoon of Sunday the 24th and drove to Roswell, NM to spend the night.  We took a tour of the UFO Museum.  I was hoping to see at last one REAL spaceship and/or alien!  After dinner we took a drive to find a spot to see the night time stars.  We found a good spot to return to later in the evening and I even saw a rainbow shining through a hole in the clouds! That night about 9 p.m., we drove out to the desert and away from town to the spot we found earlier so we could see the stars.  We sure could see a lot of the stars away from the lights.

On Monday the 25th, we drove to Albuquerque. We drove straight to Sandia Peak, as the tram ride up the mountain was my first priority.  Bob and I both LOVE being high up in the air!  Once we got to the top of Sandia Peak, we walked around on a couple of the trails.  It was only 66 degrees at the top of the peak and over 100 degrees on the ground.  I was very hot and sweating even at the top of the peak.  I got dizzy and nauseous.  Bob said I had altitude sickness.  We didn't stay up there very long.  It was beautiful scenery though.  It made me miss my skiing days back in the 70's and 80's.

After we checked into our hotel and rested up a bit, we walked around the Albuquerque Old Town area.  Lots of fun, unique shops to poke around in.  We couldn't stay out very long though, as the heat was too much for me and zaps my energy.

On Tuesday, the 26th after checking out of the hotel, we took the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe.  This was a beautiful, scenic trail through the mountains with lots of interesting towns to explore.  We stopped in the town of Madrid for lunch and to go through a few of the little shops.  I would have liked to have stayed longer, but it was just TOO HOT!

We arrived in Santa Fe and after checking into our hotel and cooling off a bit, we walked around the plaza.  We went to the Loretto Chapel where the "Miraculous Staircase" to the chapel's choir loft has two 360-degree turns and no visible means of support.  An anonymous carpenter is said to have fashioned the spiral steps in 1878 using only wooden pegs.  Bob wanted to see the museum at the Governor's Palace so we went through part of that in a short time.  There were many vendors that lined the plaza area with their homemade jewelry, etc.  I bought a unique pendant made with coral, turquoise, mother-of-pearl and serpentine.

On Wednesday the 27th, we stayed in Santa Fe.  We had a couples massage at Ten Thousand Waves, then we walked around the plaza looking for bead stores and rested in our COOL hotel room.

On Thursday, the 28th, we took the High Road to Taos.  This is a very scenic drive up the mountain, driving through the little towns of Nambe, Chimayo, Santa Cruz, Cordova, Truchas, Las Trampas and Picuris before we reached Taos.  In Taos, we stayed at a bed and breakfast called Casa Benavides.  The B&B was wonderful and I LOVED Taos!  I could have stayed here for at least a week!  And it was much cooler too.  Our B&B was a block away from the plaza where there were many unique restaurants and shops.  We ate lunch, walked around the plaza, went to the Kit Carson home and museum, and to see and photograph the San Francisco de Asis church.  This is the famous church seen in many of the Ansel Adams photographs and the Georgia O'Keefe paintings.  Then, we drove to the Rio Grande Gorge and bridge.  It was very windy at the gorge!  We ate dinner OUTSIDE on the patio of the Renata Cafe since it was COOL.  We heard music coming from the plaza so we walked there to listen to a local guitar player and singer named Max Gomez.  It was a wonderful evening!

On Friday the 29th, we toured the Taos Pueblo before we drove to Amarillo, TX where we stayed for the night.  The main pueblo here is thought to have been built between A.D. 1000 and 1450, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in America.

Bob and I don't enjoy riding in the car for a long length of time, so we decided to stay in Amarillo, which was halfway between Taos and Tulsa, which would be our next stop. 

On Saturday, the 30th, we drove to Tulsa, OK to visit Bob's brother Nick, his wife Sandra and my son's family.  We met Corbin, Christy, Caty, Carson & Christian, along with some of Christy's family members at Joe's Crab Shack for dinner.  This was the restaurant of choice from Carson since she was celebrating her 8th birthday.  Bob and I stayed the night with Nick & Sandra, went to church and lunch with them on Sunday before we drove back home to Dallas.

I love seeing the sites of the United States, but it sure is nice to return home to my own bed!

If you want to see our photos we took of our trip, here are the Shutterfly links:

These are our photos from Carlsbad, Albuquerque and Roswell.

These are our photos from Santa Fe and Taos.

These are our photos of Sandia Peak.

These are our photos of Carson's 8th birthday celebration at Joe's Crab Shack.

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