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My 2009 summer road trip, Day 4


Stopping at the Roadrunner Truck stop since it advertised free wifi... so I'm sealing their bandwidth for a few minutes.  ;)

I went up New Mexico 14 through Madrid. For you San Diegans, it's an old mining town a lot like Julian, but with more artsy shops and galleries.
Google took me out of Santa Fe on the original path of US 84 and US 285. I stopped and ate a picnic lunch at an original old highway rest area with a big hanging rock that was probably the reason the stop was chosen.

Summer 2009 road trip

Day 4, Monday 29 Jun

I had a nice rest in the great little Monterey Non-Smokers Motel, then headed out of town along the later path of Route 66. I then took NM 14 north which becomes the "Turquoise Trail" to Santa Fe.

I first stopped in Madrid, NM which is a former mining town. Now there are art galleries and shops selling pottery, jewelry, and Indian items. I met a potter who owns a shop and sells other local artists' work as well. I told her I was going up to Wisconsin for the reunion, and when she asked where, I told her Mt Horeb. It turns out she was raised on a farm near Mt Horeb. Small world.

I bypassed Santa Fe, saving for the return trip, and headed north on the original route of US 84. It that old rest area I mentioned there was a red Xterra that matched my own. A lady was resting there and talking on her cell phone.

I headed northeast to Taos. The drive along the Rio Grande gorge is fantastic. Taos is very nice... touristy, but there is really no Indian character to the town. I took some shots of Kit Carson's house. I live in Escondido where General Kearny, Kit Carson, and Lt Beale got their butts kicked by the local Californios at the Battle of San Pasqual.

The drive down out of the Rockies on US 64 was as spectacular as the drive into Taos. It is more forested and there are massive plutonic sills towering over the road. Eagles Nest is a picturesque small lake town that reminded me a bit of some places I saw in the Alps. On the way east I saw deer near the road. In Cimarron I looked around, but by then most things were closed. Cimmaron in the closest town to the Philmont national boy scout ranch.

I drove to Springer which I will also come back to on my return trip, since it's on the National Old Trail Road. Springer is close to the Canadian River crossing of the Santa Fe Trail's Cimarron Cutoff. I went east from there on US 56, part of the auto route for the trail. It turns out I'm following the Cimmaron Cutoff pretty closely now, while the NOTR follows the Mountain Route. I'll hopefully see those towns on my return.
Map of the Santa Fe Trail

I'm staying in a pretty nice motel in Clayton, NM. It's cheap, but had top ranking on TripAdvisor (thanks to my friend Bill for helping me out with that information while on the road). It's the Holiday Motel (not Holiday Inn).

I didn't get far in mileage today since it was nearly all mountain driving. But after Cimmaron, NM I entered the Great Plains. The roads are flat and straight. US 56 was miles of grass ranchland as far as the eye could see. There was literally nothing between Springer and Clayton but grass.


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