Posts Tagged With: New Mexico

The Trail West

We had just two nights outside of Las Cruces at this New Mexico State Park.

We literally blew through Las Cruces, New Mexico on our way to Leasburg Dam State Park. The wind had been gathering strength as we traveled west and we were looking forward to getting off the road.

The distant mountains put on a colorful show as sunset.

Our campsite was pretty impressive for $14.00/ night. We had a concrete parking pad, electric and water hookups and a covered concrete patio with picnic table. In addition, the park had bathrooms with showers just a short walk away. The view wasn’t so bad either.

Although it was tempting to climb back in the truck and find a nearby mountain trail, we just had one day so decided to wander without driving. We managed a 3-mile walk throughout the park, eventually arriving at the Rio Grande River that flows alongside the park boundaries.

The small-scale Leasburg Dam.

The Leasburg Diversion Dam was completed in 1907 and measures 10 feet high and 600 feet long. It holds a place in history as the first dam completed by the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rio Grande Project, built to channel irrigation water to the dry lands of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

But that was not the only historic site within walking distance. We took an afternoon stroll to visit nearby Fort Selden.

The fort was a short walk from our campground.

The U.S. Army established the fort in 1865 in an effort promote peace and protect westward bound settlers. Several of the troops serving the fort were the African American regiments known as the Buffalo Soldiers, whose main duty was to protect those settlers and build infrastructure. Officers soon brought their wives and children as the community grew. At age four, Douglas McArthur, who would later become a five-star general and American war hero, lived at Fort Selden during his father’s brief time as post commander.

The fort was decommissioned in 1891 and left abandoned, its adobe buildings surrendering to the wind and rain and snow. In 1970, Fort Selden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1974 it was named a New Mexico State Monument.

The small museum tells the stories of life at Fort Selden with photos, storyboards and collectibles.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maine or Bust 2022: Hello Texas

As we headed east, New Mexico disappeared in our rearview mirror.

It was never our intention to follow Route 66, but as we’ve traveled east we’ve woven our way on and off the historic route, enjoying little bits and pieces of Americana.

As we left New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment, we crossed into Texas…the land of tornadoes.

Reg poo-poos my fear of entering tornado country. However, I feel justified since we awoke to a “take cover now” warning five years ago while in the Texas Hill Country. The rain came pouring down while the nonstop thunder and lightening surrounded us…and we had nowhere to go. There was a bit of damage in the RV park we were camped in, but thankfully we escaped without any physical damage. For me, maybe just a little emotional scarring.

Needless to say, I’m happy to see that tonight we have a place to go should the weather turn foul. That little white sign on the end of the building above will act as our safe room. I’ve memorized the code and the shoes are by the door.

Categories: Maine or Bust 2022 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Backroads Across America: Carlsbad Caverns


Our hike today led us in an opposite direction – 750 feet down a steep and winding path – into the depths of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We chose the self-guided walk, beginning at what is known as The Natural Entrance, a gaping black hole where the 1.25 mile trail awaited.

An hour later, we reached an underground rest/snack area located in The Big Room, a chamber 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide and 255 feet high.  Here exhausted explorers can call it a day and catch the elevator back up.  For more curious folks like us, the path continued on for another 1.25 miles, allowing us to take in such sights as The Lions Tail, Hall of Giants and the incredible Bottomless Pit.

It’s was impossible to capture just how vast the caverns are, but I did manage to snap a couple photos that illustrate the intricate detail of the numerous formations that grow in this fascinating park.


Categories: Backroads Across America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We blow into Aztec

Aztec Ruins National Monument In northwestern New Mexico provides a trip back in time, but don't let the name fool you. When discovered by Anglo settlers, they mistakenly believed these ruins were built by the Aztecs of central Mexico. In fact, these ruins are what remain of the community built from the late 1000s to the late 1200s by ancestral Pueblo people – a community that rivaled the better-known Chaco Canyon to the south.

We were given a guide for a self guided tour of this fascinating site.


Some of the darker back rooms were believed to have been used as storage. This photo to the left shows the original ceiling, built by the ancestral Pueblo people. Because the ceiling remained so well intact, rings from the trees that created the ceiling allowed the remains to be dated.



Rooms were connected by a series of doorways. The Great Kiva was excavated in 1921 and rebuilt in 1934. The meaning of the strip of green sandstone remains a mystery. Reg explores the interior of the Great Kiva which served as a sanctuary and meeting place.


Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apache Nugget saves the day


The weather report called for high winds today and boy were they ever! We drove north from Santa Fe, cutting west on scenic Highway 96 towards Highway 550, which would take us into Colorado.

The gusts blew anything and everything that wasn't nailed down…including us. A veil of dust covered the landscape, creating a distant haze. Where would we have our picnic lunch?

At last a sign…the only welcome we'd come upon in miles and miles. We pulled in the parking lot and made ourselves at home, entertained by the comings and goings as we ate in our car. The Apache Nugget appears to serve as a welcome relief, not only for travelers but locals as well.


Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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