More New Mexico Adventures

Traveling further south we stopped for a few nights at City of Rocks State Park. It’s kinda strange because you are driving through grasslands and fields and then these rocks just pop up out of nowhere.

IMG_4576

IMG_4636

There are lots of cool rock formations to climb on and around.

 

You can camp right up among the rocks, but we chose the hook-up sites and had this great view of the rocks from our site.

IMG_4605

IMG_4624

IMG_4623
There were both cottontails and jackrabbits all over the campground.

One afternoon I took my bike on the trail that loops the campground.

IMG_4629

The trail was longer and hillier than it looked and I had forgotten we were still at a high elevation and it was nearly 90 degrees so I very nearly didn’t make it back. Boy that dry desert air really takes it out of you! Took me a couple of days to recoup.

We made a visit to Silver City which was supposed to have lots of cool artist shops, but most were closed on Tuesday. The few we did find had interesting stuff.

We had more great evening views.

IMG_4612

IMG_4626

Sadly we had to leave New Mexico and head toward Phoenix so I could fly to Boise for my nephew’s wedding. On the way we stopped in Benson AZ at an Escapees Park. We love the Escapees parks for their friendly folks, reasonable rates, and especially their clean, cheap laundry facilities! This one had great desert views and we enjoyed the sunny weather.

IMG_4650

IMG_4656
There were a couple of folks who had train displays. 

IMG_4732IMG_4735

On our way to Phoenix we needed a place to stop for lunch. Luckily we happened upon the Casa Grande National Monument. It was a great stop for lunch and a little exploration.

IMG_4666

IMG_4667

IMG_4668

IMG_4671

Outside Phoenix we stayed at Lost Dutchmen State Park. We had heard so many good things about this park that we were disappointed when our spot turned out to be in a crowded loop. Riding through the campground we found other nicer spots but none were open for the 9 days we were staying. Luckily during the week it was quieter and less crowded.

Still the views of the Superstition Mountains as they changed in the evening light were great. While Chuck enjoyed those and some 90 degree days, I flew to Boise for highs in the 50s and a great visit with family.

IMG_0580
The happy couple cutting the cake that my niece baked for them. 
IMG_4708
I got to hang out with our beautiful daughters.
IMG_4709
A family photo at the wedding.

So after Chuck’s week of projects around the trailer and my busy week with family, it’s time to make some decisions about where we head next. There are so many possibilities that sometimes it can be daunting. We’ve had such a busy month that I think we need a few days to relax before we decide.

Valley of Fires

After Taos, we headed to Valley of Fires Recreation Area in Carrizozo. Here we were greeted by stunning views, a walk through black lava fields, and lots of wind. This place is definitely worth a stop, even if you just walk the path through the lava field.

IMG_4398
From the hilltop observation point you can see our trailer with the lava fields to the left.
IMG_4376
Looking south from the start of the lava trail toward the observation hill.
IMG_4389
These ropey strands of lava rock have a special Hawaiian name that I can’t remember. 🙂

IMG_4391

 

IMG_4439

IMG_4386
Looking back up from the trail you can see out great spot on the ridge. 
IMG_4354
The clouds and sun made for dramatic views.
IMG_4435
We had views of the lava field right out our windows!
IMG_4457
The clouds made for a spectacular sunset!

IMG_4446

Since we had been moving around quite a bit we opted to stay in our awesome site instead of moving closer to the other places we wanted to explore. This meant about an hour’s drive to White Sands National Monument but it was a beautiful day so it wasn’t bad.

IMG_4401
This is one of those beautiful national park buildings. It was built by the WPA in the late 1930s from adobe bricks covered with stucco.

IMG_4406

IMG_4409
After a few miles you are driving right on the sand.

IMG_4414

IMG_4415
We enjoyed walking barefoot in the dunes. The sand is super soft and it was cool and damp even though it was around 80 degrees out.

Another day we drove 45 minutes to Three Rivers Petroglyph Recreation Site. They have over 21,000 petroglyphs that were chipped into the rock over 600 years ago. They are so cool that it took us forever to hike the 1.5 mile trail. By the time we came back down we were the only car left in the parking lot!

This was such a cool area that we will have to come back. After all we missed the Smokey the Bear Museum and gravesite. Yes, there was an actual Smokey the Bear and he was from New Mexico. Who knew?

 

A few days in Taos

No matter how hard I try it seems like I’m only getting further behind on the blog. So in a last ditch effort to catch up I posted two blogs last week and now I’m blowing through the last month with multiple posts today.

We arrived in New Mexico to cooler, cloudy weather in the mountains north of Taos. We stayed a couple of nights at Eagle’s Nest State Park, part of New Mexico’s Enchanted Loop. There was some pretty mountain scenery heading through the pass and nice views from our campsite, but we didn’t do much exploring. At over 8,000 feet in elevation it was cooler than we wanted so we headed to the lower elevation of Taos at 6,900 feet.

The Taos Valley RV Park was kinda quirky and in need of some attention, but it got us close to the sights.

IMG_4339
Your neighbor pulls in from the opposite direction so their door faces you and you share the center strip. Behind the little fence is their table. It’s a little odd.

We walked on the Rio Grande Bridge, the most beautiful steel bridge according to the sign, in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. I had never seen crisis hotline phones out on a bridge, but it makes sense. We even spotted a big horn sheep.

IMG_4277

IMG_4278

IMG_4279

IMG_4283

IMG_4287

IMG_4288

Afterwards we stopped at Taos Brewing Company for some food and beer. We found the coolest old truck in their parking lot. Someone is also putting in a collection of old trailers for overnight rentals. I would have loved to peek inside in all of them.

Another day we explored the Taos Pueblo. I expected the pueblo to have plaques explaining the history, but I guess you have to take a tour to get information, which we weren’t keen on doing. Still it was a photographer’s dream to just wander around.

IMG_4307

IMG_4308

IMG_4311

IMG_4317

IMG_4323

IMG_4325

IMG_4329

We walked around Taos’ central square but found it a bit touristy. We preferred the metal sculptures and Mexican imported goods at a shop on the outskirts of town. We also found a cool local t-shirt shop.

This has been our first stay in New Mexico and it’s left me excited to see more.