Travel Journal


Taos

Every year I try to find something special to do for my birthday and Valentine’s, so this year we traveled to Santa Fe to hear the Manhattan Transfer perform at the Lensic Theater. And what a treat. Not only are their harmonies so beautiful but they are wonderful performers. They bring an energy that is contagious and the audience was soon swaying and clapping to every tune. As long as we were in Santa Fe we decided to start our research for trails in northern NM (north of I 40), so we spent three days exploring Taos and its surrounding area. On the way home we revisited The Enchanted Circle, drove over Raton pass to complete the I 25 trail, and spent the night in one of our favorite places, the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. We will return sometime this year and drive HI 64 from border to border for our new trail. First we need to revisit Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park to complete the Pecos Trail and southern NM.   

Thanksgiving 2017

This year found us once again staying in New Mexico for Thanksgiving. Because the wound center was located in Las Cruces and we needed to be close in case of an emergency, we decided to stay at the KOA campsite in Las Cruces. We like the KOA campsites when a state park is not nearby because you can reserve your sites. We discovered that several Good Sam campsites, especially those located on the reservations in New Mexico, are first come, first serve. This makes traveling difficult if you are exploring an area and do not want to be rushed for time. The KOA campsite in Cruces has a beautiful view and is located a few minutes from shops and restaurants. We elected to buy a takeout meal and a bottle of Mimosa from the St. Clair’s Winery and Bistro for our Thanksgiving meal and were not disappointed. In fact, we had plenty of leftovers for the next day. The next day we drove out to the BLM Dripping Springs Natural Area and after viewing the various hiking trails in the visitor center decided to return at a future date to explore those trails. Camping is not available https://www.blm.gov/visit/dripping-springs-natural-area

Elephant Butte at Thanksgiving

For the past eight years, we have traveled to either San Diego, CA or Greensboro, NC to spend Thanksgiving with our children and grandchildren. This year our children decided to take trips and we elected not to join them since I was still recovering from a bout with Bell’s Palsy. So, off we went to Elephant Butte State Park with our new camper, the T@B. I cooked most of the meal before we left, picked up the turkey and the brisket from Grill 49 in Tularosa on Thanksgiving day, and arrived in plenty of time to celebrate the day at the state park. The weather was absolutely perfect until later in our stay and we resorted to eating out and take outs. We treated ourselves to a soak at the Blackstone Hotsprings, drove the Geronimo Trail (Tony is writing and as soon as I edit we will post on the website), visited the other two dam sites and state parks, watched several DVD’s, and read. And as always, we enjoyed watching the rabbits, birds, and quail coming out from their protective hideaways to eat the bird seed we now keep in the camper. This was our last trip of 2016 exploring the trails of New Mexico. We look forward to driving more trails in 2017 and sharing those with you.

Camper

When we first moved to Cloudcroft, 9000 feet above stress level, and had completed our first year at the cabin operation, we realized that during the down times for our business is when we needed to travel. As we turned into the parking lot of the grocery store in Alamogordo, we discovered that it was full of travel trailers, RV’s, and pop-ups. The dealership in Las Cruces was there for the weekend and we decided to investigate. We walked around, explored the possibilities, and decided to buy the smallest Coleman popup made to see if we liked camping on wheels! And we did. However, it did not take us long to realize that a popup was not what we needed…we needed a kitchen and a bathroom. So we sold the popup and bought a reconditioned Award. Perfect! Stored it at Elephant Butte and made a trip to the lake several times a year until we sold our cabin operation and decided it was time to sell the Award. We have always missed those escapes to the lake, so once again we started talking about what size camper we needed. Checking out what was available, we walked into the Holiday World showroom in Las Cruces and discovered the Little Guy T@B. Perfect size and we could tow it with the Honda CRV. Bought it. We then decided to explore the rest of New Mexico’s state parks that have RV hook-ups. Spent two nights at the BLM Valley of Fire Recreation Site, a night at Oliver Lee State Park, a night at the BLM’s Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, and a night at the Rock Hound State Park in Deming on our way to Scottsdale for a pool tournament. Sitting outside watching the New Mexico sunsets and having a glass of wine with our iPhones and iPads turned off is a nice way to spend an evening.

2015 Balloon Fiesta

When we submitted our business to be considered as a partner with the New Mexico Tourism Department at the 2015 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, we never anticipated that the event just might be “the” event of the year for us. Photos and videos can never capture the colors, shapes, and lift offs of the balloons like the naked eye. I can not even begin to describe the experience of seeing over 500 balloons lift off and fill the New Mexico skies early each morning. This year was especially fun because a record number of shaped balloons were present. I would highly recommend that you try to attend a Fiesta if at all possible. This was our first and will certainly not be our last Fiesta. 

Retirement

This month marks the first anniversary of retirement from the teaching profession for me. I spent last summer as musical director for our local musical theater’s production, the fall resting, sleeping, and reading, the winter celebrating holidays with family and traveling to Arizona with Tony and New York City with our daughter, Meredith, and this spring working in the garden and yard, directing another musical, traveling back to San Antonio for Fiesta with son and granddaughter, and to Greensboro for Corbin’s baptism. A busy year…oh, yes. And Tony and I have more travels planned, both for the website and with family. Going to the beach  with family is becoming a summer tradition. I have been reading as many New Mexico authors as possible and am sharing those on our new page. And sometime this summer, Rob, Kelly and I are recording a few songs that hopefully add flavor to our website. Summer in New Mexico…will share with you.

Clouds, Corbin and a Cemetary

Clouds: Our good friend and artist, Tom, claims that the clouds of New Mexico are the best. In fact, he has quite the collection of cloud photos and from those creates exquisite paintings. I 10 to Las Cruces is one of many drives in NM where those clouds float in front of you begging you to experience the land of enchantment.

Corbin: Our grandson’s favorite color is blue. I can understand that. Just look at the vibrant blue skies in NM, untouched by pollution. And be sure to enjoy our sunsets of pinks, blues, and sometimes oranges. I hesitate to use the color turquoise when referring to our skies as many of our authors do. I rather like the old Crayola color, sky blue. Can’t help but think the employee who pinned that name must have visited our land of sunshine and blue skies.

Cemetary: Cemetaries are a silent, visible record of history. We discovered a unique cemetery on our way to Shakespeare and were lucky enough to talk to a gentleman who briefed us on its history. The iron pipe crosses replaced old wooden crosses that had decayed beyond repair and in many cases beyond recognition. The folks of Lordsburg wanted to honor all residents of the cemetery, even the unknown - histories forgotten but honored.

Anticipation of Trip

I remember sitting under the two Ash trees in our front yard waiting very impatiently for our cousin to arrive so that we could climb into the back seat of our car and begin our trip to the lake. Our Granny lived only six miles from our house, so trips to her house for holiday dinners were like the other weekly trips we made during the year. But a trip to the lake, or a trip to my Aunt’s which would take at least three hours, or maybe even a trip to the beach which was an hour away - these were met with great anticipation and excitement. All of my life I have looked forward to traveling, taking trips. So it is with great anticipation and excitement that I look forward to our first official trail exploring trip on I 10. We will make our list, deliver the dog to the kennel, pack the car, and head out on an adventure of exploration.

A Beginning

As a child I liked to travel in the car, even short distances, and look out the window with the wind blowing on my face, sometimes very hot wind, and wonder what folks were doing in their houses and farmhouses. I could just imagine what stories could be told if we could stop and peek through the windows into their lives. Now, many years later, I will stare out the window of the front seat without the hot wind blowing in my face as Tony and I travel the trails of New Mexico, our adopted state. We will share the stories that we collect along the trails; stories of people, places, and our experiences.