Patagonia, AZ to Taos, NM March 2 - 11, 2016


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North America » United States » New Mexico » Taos
March 11th 2016
Published: March 11th 2016
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THE BASICS

From Patagonia, our next stop was for two nights in Tombstone, which is a great place for fans of westerns. During the day, we drove to Douglas, AZ, and had coffee at the lovely Gadsden Hotel. And to Bisbee, which we liked years ago but is getting quite touristy now. We had a beer and burger at a restaurant in Tombstone, entertained by a "western" band.

Two nights in Willcox included a visit to Chiricahua National Monument, then we finally left Arizona and spent a night in Deming, NM. From there we headed north through NM, stopping overnight at a hot springs spa in Truth or Consequences and enjoying three different soakings. Our next two nights were on a reservation just south of Albuquerque, within sight of a casino which we didn't visit, but we did enjoy the large herd of buffalo in our "front yard" as well as the trains which stopped near us and blew horns all day, but mostly at night.

Next, to Taos for two nights. We hadn't been here before, and it is bigger than we expected. From here, we head to Alamosa, CO, where we plan to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot and visit Great Dunes Park. Then, on Sunday, on to Salida, camping in the RV by the Arkansas River and MEETING ELIZA.

THE FLUFF

As we set out from Patagonia Lake State Park, we discovered that a pin for the tow hitch for the car was missing. We were most grateful to a park ranger who helped John to secure another pin. As we drove through town, we stopped again at Gathering Grounds for coffee and another craisin/chocolate chip/pecan scone. Surely Patagonia is one of my favorite towns anywhere - small, quirky, creative.

Tombstone is probably a neat place to bring kids, as well as fun for older folks who enjoyed westerns (my parents limited me to watching one a day, when I was a little girl). We skipped the shootouts and other hoopla, but enjoyed it anyway. We did walk into town in the evenings, and it was pretty dead (pun intended). Our beer and burger were enjoyed at the Crystal Palace, and the other customers really were wearing ornate cowboy boots and ten gallon hats. And I think they were natives of the area. The band was comprised of eight gray-haired men, nearly all playing guitars, and quite good.

En route to Douglas, in the far southeastern corner of AZ, we passed through mostly dessert terrain, where suddenly there would be RV communities far from towns, for snowbirds of course. The Gadsden Hotel is a handsome old place, with a huge lobby and huge wooden beams. We walked over to Agua Prieta, Mexico, and strolled through town. It was not a very appealing spot, and we found it odd that the border officials on the Mexican side could not understand or answer our questions for directions. Oh, well.

Bisbee was one of our main "targets" for this road trip, but we were not able to get a reservation for our RV there, so we just stopped for a couple of hours en route back from Douglas to Tombstone. We split up for awhile to explore; I poked in shops and found a used book I wanted; John climbed the hills of the town and discovered a magical garden which had many tiers and seemed to be a community effort. Bisbee has become an extremely popular tourist stop, and that somewhat dulled our passion for it.

The ride through southeastern Arizona to Willcox was punctuated by several large signs warning of severe cross winds and the potential of zero visibility. We were lucky that the breeze was still, because that could have been terrible. We had phoned ahead for our RV spot in Willcox, and when we arrived, it seemed strangely familiar. I finally was curious enough to check back through my travel blogs (they can be useful, after all!) We were there in January 2011! I bought my kokopelli tote there! And we had spent a day driving south to Chiricahua National Monument! John had no memory of that visit! And when we drove that 37 miles this time, he thought it was one of the longest rides ever. The scenic route to the top of the mountain was closed for repairs, but we had a pleasant walk in the valley below. Some Swedish settlers had run a bed and breakfast/weekend retreat there, and we both had trouble imagining people traveling so far for a visit. This was Cochise and Geronimo territory.

I have been working on an elaborate counted cross-stitch piece, and sometimes I sit outside the RV enjoying the sun and breezes while I stitch. I now imagine myself as Gretel, leaving little snippets of embroidery thread across the Southwest. You can track me by following the trail of bird nests which have bright threads woven into them.

Next stop was Deming NM - New Mexico at last! - where we had to have TV access so I could watch the last episode of Downton Abbey. We really didn't do much of anything else there. It seems sometimes we want to explore and visit museums, and other times we do not.

And now it was time to head north toward Colorado. Route 25 goes north to Santa Fe before heading east, and we joined it in Hatch after driving past a large installation of windmills and then one of solar panels - both totally sensible energy sources in this terrain! Hatch advertises itself as the chile capital of the world and we strolled around town to appreciate that label. North now to "T or C." The town actually changed its name to Truth or Consequences based on a challenge from a 1950's TV show which some of us might vaguely remember. T or C has several hot springs, and we stayed at the Riverbend Hot Springs Resort. It is at a curve in the Rio Grande River. We visited hot pools twice on Monday and then Tuesday morning before we left. My legs were jelly, and did we ever sleep that night! The Resort shines multicolored laser lights on the trees and across the river at night and it really is pretty.

Heading north, we stopped in the town of Soccoro. I had hoped to stay there and drive out to see the Very Large Array, the set of telescopes which are studying black holes, etc. But it would have been 120 miles round trip, and we decided that our curiosity could just as easily be satisfied by photographs of the place. We enjoyed a morning break at a large, nice coffeehouse in Soccoro and then strolled around its attractive plaza. One display was of a piece of metal which had been part of a proposed container for the first atomic bomb test. The metal got plenty damaged even though it was just in the area.

The next two nights, we stayed on a reservation about ten miles south of Albuquerque. The campground is next to a manmade lake, popular for fishing. We could see the traffic passing on 25 just west of us, and in front of us was the Isleta train station. We could have taken this mostly-commuter train into ABQ for $1 or all the way to Santa Fe, a two hour ride, for about $8! The track also accommodates freight trains, which travel mostly at night, and of course must bellow their horns as they pass the station. We even saw an Amtrak passenger train go by! Memories: Susie and I traveled on that train to visit Deborah in Albuquerque, and later John and I passed by en route to Flagstaff. John the train lover had plenty of entertainment! And then there was the large herd of buffalo grazing in the field in front of us.

We didn't do much in Albuquerque, except drive along Route 66 en route to a couple of stores. Deborah, it was too early in the day to stop for a milk shake at the Route 66 Diner where you worked for a short time.

Since the weather is far more spring-like than wintry, we had decided to drive the RV all the way to Susie's in Salida CO. And since neither of us had been to Taos, we decided that would be a good place to explore en route. The drive here along the Rio Grande River - for some reason, I hadn't quite realized that it ran around here - was lovely. Then up a hill and at the top, Taos is spread out all over the valley below. The mountains are not very close and there is only sparse snow on them now, but it must be very pretty in the winter when they are snow-covered. We drove into town and were surprised to find that it is quite large and quite busy.

We stopped for coffee this morning at a very "creative" place. They give away day old bread pudding for free, and John and I loved that! Part of the coffee shop is a small area which they converted from a storage shed. The ceiling has egg cartons to protect the recycled insulation, and it is spray-painted in gold. The floor looks tiled but is made of sawn rocks. The shop sells artistic items which clients have consigned or bartered for credit at the coffee shop. It all seems to encapsulate the unique spirit of this place.

We drove out to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and walked across it, along with plenty of other visitors. Then we went to the Millicent Rogers Museum, which contains pottery, jewelry, textiles from the Southwest, and is a lovely rambling adobe building. Tonight we go for dinner at a restaurant next to the San Francisco de Assiz church, so we will get to see that so-often painted and photographed church in the evening.

Just a mention - as a break from the "interesting" (?) election news the other night, we watched Steve Harvey's Hot Shot Kids and laughed mightily. I think there's another episode coming up; it's worth the time.

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12th March 2016

Taos
Looking forward to going to Taos someday so enjoyed that and all your info in case we get back out there. PS Elizabeth here for two days with new fiance. Happy for her.

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