Visiting New Mexico on Your Next Road Trip

Visiting New Mexico on Your Next Road Trip

The state of New Mexico has plenty to brag about in the natural attractions department. From its Rocky Mountain peaks and Chihuahuan Desert cacti, to awesome canyons, Rio Grande splendor and Great Plains, New Mexico absolutely earns the title “Land of Enchantment.”

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Capulin Volcano National Monument is in this state’s northeast corner, on the High Plains west of Des Moines. The monument’s showpiece is a 1,200-foot-tall, inactive volcanic cone accessible only by a narrow, two-mile roadway that curves all the way up to the cone’s rim. The panorama from the summit of the volcano’s cinder cone offers amazing views of four frontier states – New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

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Capulin’s volcano, which is believed to have erupted about 60,000 years ago, blanketed nearly 16 square miles with its powerful surge of hot lava. Today, the sleeping volcano’s wooded slopes provide a home range for black bears, wild turkeys and mule deer, as well as a delightful display of New Mexican wildflowers. For guests who’d like to check out the volcano and environs on foot, there’s a short nature trail near Capulin’s Volcano Visitor Center, plus three hiking trails that follow the rim, base and vent of the crater.

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Central New Mexico is the site of the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic, and Historic Byway. Beginning at San Ysidro, this alternate auto route connects Albuquerque with Santa Fe and swings through the heart of the Jemez Mountains. What this remarkable trail showcases for travelers is the tranquil Santa Fe National Forest and loads of lovely sights past the authentic Pueblo of Jemez. Tourists on the byway trace the runs of the Jemez and Guadalupe Rivers, see the geologic wonders of “Red Rock” country, and encounter soaring mesas and steep canyons. The Jemez Mountain Trail presents nature walks, bike paths, hot springs and fishing streams as well as the enduring influences of New Mexico’s Native cultures.

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Elephant Butte Lake State Park offers a 40-mile-long waterway in southwest New Mexico, just north of the town of Truth or Consequences. The “Land of Enchantment’s” biggest and most visited lake was created by a dam on the Rio Grande and was named for an elephant-shaped, dormant volcanic core that currently forms an island in the lake’s interior. Coincidentally, fossil evidence of primitive elephant ancestors called stegomastodons have since been unearthed on park grounds.

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Area rock formations also reveal that a number of dinosaur species, including the fearsome tyrannosaurus rex, once roamed and hunted this territory. Fortunately for modern-day guests, Elephant Butte is an all-season destination, boasting a year-round, mild climate and an ideal atmosphere for anglers, boaters, sailors and water skiers. And on land, there’s another appealing set of options. Picnic areas, nature exhibits and hiking trails are available to Elephant Butte’s visitors.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park preserves one of our planet’s foremost cave systems.

In the south central “Land of Enchantment” near Alamogordo at the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, White Sands National Monument is the biggest gypsum sand dune field in the world. The Tularosa Basin is a high desert valley surrounded by the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains. It’s a valley filled with 275 square miles of bright, white sand blown in by the desert’s prevailing southwest winds. There are a number of ways to explore the dazzling, white waves of gypsum grains at this monument. The Interdune Boardwalk is a fully accessible trail that transports guests to the top of one of the park’s sandy peaks.

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A self-guided auto tour with markers at periodic points of interest takes tourists between the dunes for an insider’s perspective. Visitors, of course, have plenty of options for sightseeing, including travel the old-fashioned way and tramp up the white hills on foot. They’ll see sand-loving plants such as tumbleweed, prickly pear and rosemary mint. You might even encounter unique desert-dwellers like Apache pocket mice, darkling beetles, or bleached earless lizards. For those who prefer ranger-led activities, there are moonlight bike rides and tours of White Sands’ Lake Lucero.

In the southeast near the common New Mexican/Texan border in the Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns National Park preserves one of our planet’s foremost cave systems. Visitors at America’s oldest national park are introduced to a subterranean paradise of intricate, limestone formations that dazzle the eye and spark the imagination. Cavern tours at this World Heritage Site range in difficulty from easy, self-guided go rounds that are wheelchair-friendly to narrated, eight-story climbs, ladder descents, and challenging journeys through a three-dimensional maze cave that require advanced spelunking skills. Evening programs at the bat flight amphitheater are not to be missed.

Woodall’s Campground Directory is the largest and most detailed North American Campground Directory available, with nearly 15,000 campgrounds included. Woodall’s rates and inspects privately owned campgrounds with its trusted 5W-5W rating system. Find out more about New Mexico Campgrounds. Woodall’s… We’re everywhere RVers go.

In and Around Santa Fe, New Mexico

In and Around Santa Fe, New Mexico

Visiting in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico opens up the eyes of each individual. Over four hundred years of culture and history, a walk on the streets of Santa Fe is a walk through time. Early settlers from the East found their way via the Santa Fe Trail. Today you can arrive via plane, train and auto. Be aware that the streets around the main plaza are very narrow. Out lying ones have the mechanical coin meters at $ 1.00 per hour. A commuter train runs frequently during the day from Belen through Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The bus transit system offers free rides to train ticket holders. The rate for seniors is only $ 0.50 or $ 1.00 all day. Remember this, flatlanders, when you walk around sightseeing. You are over 7,00 feet. Seeing Santa Fe takes your breath away in more ways than one.

Ask residents for “The Round House” and they will give you directions to the Capital building, a four-story circular building with a plaza in the form of the Zia Sun symbol, which also appears on the state flag. The three top floors are open for a self-guided tour. Check out the Visitor information desk on the main level and you might get lucky to meet Sarah Duran, a local resident with a font of knowledge. What she does not know, she will find out.

The Capital complex was dedicated in 1966. What is striking about the building is the use of space and the numerous art works hanging from all of the walls. The artists depict the many aspects of New Mexico: natural beauty, the beauty of the indigenous people, the Spanish colonialism, and modern New Mexico with all of its diversity.

The fourth floor houses the Offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The Governor’s Gallery, started in 19+73, focuses on local art and artists as an outreach branch of the Museum of Fine Arts.

The third floor has many offices of the 42 Senators elected every four years and 70 Representatives elected every two years. They have to be citizens and residents of their district. Besides that they do not receive a salary, only a per diem and a mileage allowance. They meet for 60 days in odd-numbered years and 30 days in even-numbered years. Albuquerque and its environs comprise almost one-quarter of the legislators, because the districts are measured by population. Eat your hearts out other states with inflated salaries for their legislators.

The second floor, the main floor, houses the galleries for the Senate and Representative chambers. Both are up-to-date with modern technical innovations. Both have the Great seal of New Mexico behind the front desk. The rotunda floor also depicts the seal. Little has changed since 1851. The American bald eagle shields the smaller Mexican eagle. The bald eagle grasps three arrows in its talons. The harpy eagle has a snake in its mouth and a cactus in his talons. This goes back to an ancient Aztec story, in which the gods told the Aztecs to settle where they saw such an eagle portrayed. Under them the state motto reads “Crescit Eundo” (It Grows as it Goes).

Sarah recommended a restaurant down the street called The Upper Crust Pizza Parlor, which was voted best in Santa Fe. For under $ 5.00 Monday to Friday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM you can get a large slice of pizza with one topping of your choice, a small salad, and a beverage. The pizza was delicious. I had spicy Thai dressing on my salad. It lived up to its name. The sodas we had were great. My wife chose a Way2Cool Root Beer, made in Carrizozo, NM. Outstanding!! I chose a Blue Sky Lemon Lime Soda, made with natural ingredients. Outstanding too!!

The restaurant is directly across from San Miguel Mission Church, which dates back to Spanish Colonial times and rebuilt after the 1680s Pueblo Revolt. The church is still active for the people who live in the Barrio de Analco.

Next to the restaurant stands a building which claims to be “the oldest house in the USA”. The house dates back to the Analco People in the 1200s, then Spanish Colonization in 1607. Today the property houses a gallery, which happened to be closed at that time.

Continue walking down the old Santa Fe Trail. It ends at La Fonda, a luxury hotel. It was part of the Harvey House Empire during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The hotel has been there since the early 1800s as reflected the hotel’s stated roots: “The Inn at the End of the Santa Fe Trail”. La Fonda, which means inn, faces the Plaza. Some of the famous residents of the hotel were Captain William Becknell, who arrived in 1821 after a successful trading expedition from Missouri to Santa Fe opening the Santa Fe Trail and Ernie Pyle, the World War II journalist.

Directly across the street from the La Fonda Hotel on the Santa Fe Trail stands Loretto Chapel. This Gothic chapel features “the miraculous staircase”. Legend states that St. Joseph came to the chapel and built it in one night. This stand-alone spiral wooden staircase has no supporting beams. The woodcarvings are intricate in design. Whoever built it was a master carpenter and wood carver. A visit to Loretto Chapel is worth a trip to Santa Fe by itself.

Surrounding the plaza are many specialty shops and a highly recommended restaurant, the Plaza Café, which has been in business for generations, serving local food at moderate prices. Thanks again to Sarah. Along the North side of the plaza is the Hall of Governors, closed on Mondays. Under the portico are numerous Natives selling their turquoise jewelry. They sit, waiting patiently for someone to show interest in their wares. Around the plaza are numerous food venders with local delicacies for sale.

Catty corner to the plaza is the Museum of Fine Arts with permanent and temporary exhibits. Between Palace and San Francisco Streets is Burro Alley. A bronze statue of a burdened burro guards the entrance to the alley. Next to it is Lensic Theater, in which concerts are held. On the wall of one of the buildings going back towards the Plaza along San Francisco Street stating that Billy the Kid was incarcerated there for a time awaiting trial and sentencing in Mesilla. At the East end of San Francisco Street is St. Francis Cathedral, which is surrounded by scaffolding for renovation.

Other interesting attractions in Santa Fe are the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, which features many of her works. Canyon Road has many galleries, exhibiting local artists. Going South along Cerrillos Street stands New Mexico School for the Deaf. They have a theater, in which plays are performed. North West of the city is the world famous Santa Fe Opera. Their season is in July and August at this beautiful venue set in the mountains.

Continue North on Rte 285 to Chimayo. Pilgrims have been making this trek since 1810 to The Santuario de Chimayo looking for physical and spiritual healing. Lourdes healing properties is from its water. Chimayo’s healing is from dirt found at the crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas. Pilgrims are instructed to rub the dirt on the parts of the body to be healed. The Church replaces to dirt, approximately twenty tons a year. The grounds are beautiful and a tributary of the Rio Grande River runs behind the property. The priest that the sanctuary is a member of the Sons of the Holy Family order. He is very friendly and personable.

The next destination is Bandelier National Monument high in the Jemez Mountains. The monument preserves to extensive ruins of the Pueblo People, who came into the region over 10,000 years ago. Adolph Bandelier traveled the area in 1880s and was shown the pueblo in the Frijoles Canyon by the natives. He wrote a novel, The Delight Makers, depicting Pueblo life before the Spanish incursion into the area. The park is named for him.

Archeological surveys record at least 3,00 sites in the Monument. An easy trail about one mile in length takes you to the Long House carved out of the volcanic rock on the cliff face. The Long House is an 800-foot stretch. Ladders lead inside the dwellings. On the cliff face are pictographs and petroglyphs, depicting faces and geometric designs. Many other ruins are below on the canyon floor.

The people were hunter-gatherers and farmers, planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers. In the mid 1500s the people moved to different areas. The Pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe, Santo Domingo, San Ildefonse, Santa Clara, and Zuni contribute to the preservation and interpretation of these historic sites.

All along Rte 4 you see signs that read LANL, keep out. The reason for this is Los Alamos is only a few miles away. Los Alamos was the home for The Manhattan Project during World War II. Today the major employer is the Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Laboratory is finding continuing uses for nuclear energy focusing on national security.

The town itself has all the amenities of a modern city with a wealthy employer. Visit the Bradbury Science Museum. It is not named for Ray, the famous science fiction author, but for Norris, the man who continued the work of the LANL after World War II.

The museum is a hands on experience about the discovery, use, misuse, and disposal of nuclear waste. Especially interesting are the movies. One tells the story of the town of Los Alamos called The Town that Never Was. The Manhattan Project was conceived in Manhattan, New York and enlisted scientists from many universities and private laboratories. Communication was marginal, if at all. The Government wanted a secret place far from either coast. Los Alamos was chosen. A private school for boys stood on the land. The government took it over and built the town. It looked more like a frontier town with muddy streets, prefab housing, and isolation. The mailing address was PO Box 1663, Santa Fe, NM. This appeared on the driver licenses and birth certificates. Top secret was the norm. After the first explosion at Trinity in White Sands, NM and after the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the town of Los Alamos was unveiled.

Two other places of interest in town are The Fuller Lodge, which served as the dining hall during the Manhattan Project, and the Los Alamos Historical Museum, which interprets life in this region.

Leaving Los Alamos, we continued on Rte 4 through the Jimez Mountains. The crest is over 9,000 feet. This opens to the Valles Caldera, a twelve-mile diameter caldera left from the volcanic eruptions over one million years ago. The caldera is grassland surrounded by forests and mountains. Continue on through Jemez Pueblo and Rte 550 East. This takes you to Bernalillo and I-25. Going north will take you back to Santa Fe and South to Albuquerque.

John and Maggie Pelley are Geriatric Gypsies. During our travels we have found many different and exciting places. Each town has a story to tell. Both of us enjoy good listening music as we go. John has a CD he has recorded. For pictures, links, and more information visit http://www.jmpelley.org

Travel by RV and Visit Mexico in a New Way

Travel by RV and Visit Mexico in a New Way

If you and your family are planning a vacation and would like to include beauty and a new culture while keeping costs reasonable, you may want to consider traveling to Mexico by RV. There is no question that the beaches, cities, and people of Mexico offer a uniquely relaxing vacation experience, making it an incredibly popular destination.

The benefits that come with crossing the border in your RV are now better than ever. You are sure to save money especially while traveling along the western coast cities where hotels and resorts are often high priced. You will also save on dining expenses since you have the ability to cook from the comfort of your RV. With the dropping costs of diesel fuel, your gas prices will be lower than you’d expect. You are sure to enjoy the stability of a permanent bed, bathroom, and kitchen, avoiding the need to “live out of your suitcase.” With an RV, you aren’t restrained by a hotel reservation; you can choose spontaneous trips, staying or leaving an area as you want. By staying out of the crowded tourist areas when parking, you will be sure to meet some wonderful local people and experience a side of Mexico you may never see otherwise.

There are a few potential complications that can easily be avoided if you plan ahead and go prepared. Unlike the US, there will not be multiple RV parks in every city, particularly as you venture away from the Pacific Coastal area. You will want to research and download or buy camping maps, RV travel guides, and toll road maps. There are plenty of parks to stay overnight when you know where to find them. When taking your RV to Mexico, you will need to purchase Mexican RV insurance, so shop around and find the best rates before you leave. With a little bit of planning, you’ll find your vacation enjoyable, economical, convenient, and flexible.

The list of beaches, cities, and rural areas you can visit is extensive, but there a few top destinations you might want to look into. If you long for gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, and a full and exciting nightlife, Acapulco is a place for you. To find the highest quality in water sports, fishing, golf, and more, make a stop at Los Cabos. For a glimpse of rich history, culture, and entertainment head to Mexico City. The opportunities are vast when you are vacationing to Mexico in your RV.

James Dawson has over 30 years of international insurance experience. He is currently a partner with BestMex, a broker of Mexican auto insurance. Southbound RV travelers need auto insurance for Mexico before crossing the border. BestMex offers some of the best Mexican automobile insurance quotes available.

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New Mexico RV Parks & Campgrounds

New Mexico RV Parks & Campgrounds

New Mexico is one of the busiest regions in US. I am quite sure that you will definitely have a very good time out here. RV camping is one of the most favorite pastime in this region. There are many RV camps too.

Some of the RV campgrounds in this region are as follows:

1. Sky city RV parks
This is one of the best RV parks in this region. It is situated in North West New Mexico. Some of the facilities which are being provided out here are 100% hook ups, electricity, water, free wireless internet and satellite TV. The waste dump station is definitely provided. It is also equipped with hot tub, swimming pool and fitness room.

2. Desert Rose Resort
This is definitely one of the most important resorts which you would have ever seen. If you have any query then you can come here. It is quite sure that you will be overwhelmed after seeing this beautiful resort. It is certainly one of the best RV parks which you would have ever come across. All the rest rooms are equipped with AC. There are number of campsites as well. All the campsites are equipped with the latest facilities. The swimming pool is an also provided. This resort is open throughout the year and has also won many awards.

3. USA national park
This is yet another park in New Mexico. It is situated in Gallup. Let me tell you one more thing that all the amenities are provided in this national park. I assure you that you will definitely have a very good time out here. Some of the amenities are number of campsites, all the hook ups, air tights as well as air-conditioned tents, large playground, swimming pool, propane tank, dog walk etc. These are some of the facilities which are being provided in this campground.

4. La Loma, Santa Rosa
This is definitely one of the RV parks. All the facilities are provided out here. There is a lake as well and you can enjoy fishing. It is quite sure that you will have a good time. The fish which you will catch can be used as the evening meal. You can make various camping recipes from the fish. You can also enjoy swimming either in lake or in the swimming pool. The hot tubs are also provided. There is a perfect parking place for your RV.

5. Cactus Park
This is definitely one of the best RV parks. All the facilities are provided as well. Some of the amenities are full hookups, AC, swimming pool etc. the cost is also quite affordable and cheap.

These are some of the RV parks in New Mexico. You will surely find them to be quite great.

Read more about Camping & RV Parks. Going to New Mexico ? Know all New Mexico RV Parks

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Santa Fe, New Mexico – A Southwestern Jewel

Santa Fe, New Mexico – A Southwestern Jewel

Santa Fe is one of the countries most beautiful cities. With the large amount of art work, and the unique culture of this southwestern paradise, it is hard to see why anyone would not want to move here! Here are a few of the reasons people are flocking down to the amazing experience of living in Santa Fe.

One of the best things about this historic city is that it is a southwestern jewel that experiences all four seasons. Rain and snow do come to town, unlike many other southwestern cities where it is rare to get any of this type of weather. You can expect up to two feet of snow during the winter. At higher elevations, locals go up and ski. Another great thing about Santa Fe is that you can hike and bike all year long. Sure, there may be some snow for certain times of the year. However, after the snow goes away, the weather is warm enough to go for a long bike ride around your neighborhood.

Another great thing about the city is that you can travel by so many different methods. Whether you want to take a car, bike, walk, bus, or train, Santa Fe has the means for you to do so! The recent addition of a commuter rail system has made it even more attractive to people who do not want to have to drive into work everyday. Fares are very affordable and make it easy for people who are not involved in work to enjoy the trains too.

The culture of the Santa Fe area is simply unique. It is one of the largest collections of art galleries and artists in the United States. Over 300 galleries show off many different artists who paint many different subjects. You can find paintings that match your home perfectly for the fraction of what they would cost in another city. After you purchase your painting, many artists also offer framing and will even explain to you what they like best about their artwork. Being able to connect with vendors like this is something that you would rarely see elsewhere in the United States.

Home prices are currently quite low in the Santa Fe area. One of the main populations that is living in this area is the elderly. They like the area for its warm climate, and the fact that it does not get nearly as much snow as some of the northern states. Plenty of homes are up for sale due to the down economy, and the home prices will most likely not get any lower than they currently are. If you are even considering moving to Santa Fe, you need to check out the homes that are on the market and their prices right now. Whether you enjoy Santa Fe for its beautiful scenery, or the ability to be outdoors nearly all of the year, it is a great city for just about anyone to move to.

Looking for Santa Fe movers? Contact Johnson Storage & Moving, a trusted company since 1899.

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