Western New Mexico – September 2022 – Catwalks National Recreation Trail

The small mining town of Graham, New Mexico was founded in 1893 to mine silver and gold ore. To obtain the water required a pipeline was built up the narrow canyon, with a wooden walkway built on top for workers to be able to traverse the path.

Known as the Catwalk, this was in place for the 10-15 years that the town and mine was in existence. In the 1930s the WPA effort known as the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) rebuilt the catwalk for recreational purposes.

In 2012 this catwalk was destroyed in a large flood, leading to the rebuilding of the current Catwalk. It is a great engineering feat as well as a nice, shady hike up the canyon hovering above the creek.

The creek below is a favorite spot for people to cool off from the hot New Mexico summer.

As you proceed up the canyon you begin to run out of catwalks and have a small creek crossing.

Eventually you go as far as the trail will allow, as the rest of the trail has been damaged by storms, so it was time to turn back.

The entire area is very beautiful, and the Catwalks is a required stop.

Silver City, New Mexico – September 2022 – A Brief Visit

Our route through New Mexico took us through the picturesque town of Silver City. The small downtown and nearby neighborhoods had a number of historic buildings.

Founded in the late 1800s it was known to be home to a number of characters and outlaws, including Billy The Kid and Butch Cassidy/Sundance Kid.

Faywood, New Mexico – September 2022 – City of Rocks State Park

Approximately 35 million years ago a volcano erupted in what is now western New Mexico. Thanks to the soft compound of the rocks, and millions of years of erosion, what is left is an amazing square mile of large sculpted rocks, some 40′ high.

Since 1953 this unique place has been the City of Rock State Park.

The size becomes apparent when compared to the cars, trucks and campers in the park.

One daring tent resident has taken up residence directly underneath a suspended boulder.

Nearby Table Mountain dominates the horizon to the east.

City of Rocks is a great place to spend a couple of hours wandering around between the rocks.

White Sands National Park – August 2021 – Amazing Setting

From 1934 until 2020 White Sands was designated a National Monument, but in December 2020 it was upgraded to a National Park.

While being one of the country’s great natural wonders it has for years been used for military activities (White Sands Bombing Range) as well as Hollywood backdrops. Hopefully with National Park status it will remain a natural treasure forever.

We arrived late afternoon after a day of thunderstorms in the area, resulting in a great sky for the backdrop, as well as a mudslide that added 50 additional miles to our trip to Las Cruces.

Signs of Change Across America – August 2021

After an entire lifetime of living in the east, life has dealt us a curveball, resulting in us relocating from Ohio to Arizona. We took the opportunity to take a bit extra time during the 2000 mile move to stop and see a few sights along the way. Some of the more extended stops will have their own posting.

Let’s start by leaving Columbus

Time to head west.

First state – Kentucky

Our first stretch break was south of Louisville at Bernheim Arboretum. In addition to the natural scenery there were many sculptures.

After a very long drive across much of Kentucky, we reached the Tennessee border in the far northwestern corner of the state.

It was on to Memphis for the night. We saw enough sights in our brief visit to Memphis to warrant it’s own posting.

The next day started with a drive across the Mississippi River into Arkansas

After extended stops in Little Rock and Hot Springs (postings follow this one), we found ourselves near the small town of Murfreesboro at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. This park is known for being an open diamond ‘mine’ where you pay $10 and are welcome to go dig around for diamonds.

The park has a sign detailing recent and records finds – each day someone find small diamonds, and every once in a while a big find is made.

We did not strike it rich so we continued west, passing Texarkana, which as the name suggests is on the Texas/Arkansas border.

Our last brief stop of the day was in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Their very nice courthouse square has a public restroom with one way mirrors, so you can ‘take care of business’ while watching the world go by ūüôā

A couple more hours lead to a great sunset while arriving in Dallas.

The next morning started out across West Texas, passing the town of Cisco (must be where they got the name of the company)

Our first extended stop of the day was in Abilene (posting to follow).

Texans are very proud of their home.

The drive across Texas continued, passing wind turbines then oil derricks.

After 575 mile we were through Texas (or so we though…), arriving in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Eastern New Mexico was still oil country but it quickly transitioned to the mountains. The peak of our trip was in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

After dropping more than 4000 feet we arrived in Alamogordo, home to White Sands National Park (individual posting later).

The plan was to drive the 70 miles to Las Cruces for the night but there was a landslide, resulting in a detour adding an addition 50 miles, resulting us ending up back in Texas (briefly) again.

Eventually we made it to Las Cruces, and the next morning started on the literal home stretch.

After 2000 miles we have reached our new home state! With this move we have a fantastic opportunity for new sights and experiences, so stay tuned….

Virtual Travel – New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico. As you will see by the length of this post, New Mexico was one of the last states I got to but has become one of my favorites.

2019 05 27 191 Carlsbad NM.jpg

 

2015 09 22 16 Tucumcari NM

 

 

State Capitol – In my opinion (!) the New Mexico State Capitol is the very finest in the country. Located in Santa Fe, which is amazing by itself, this is the only round capitol in the country.

It was designed to represent the Zia sun symbol when viewed from the air. This is the symbol on the New Mexico State Flag.

2015 09 21 81 Santa Fe NM

 

Unique State Symbols

Official Litter Control Mascot – Dusty the Roadrunner.

 

State Cookie – Biscochito

 

 

State Guitar – New Mexico Sunrise Guitar

 

 

 

 

New Mexico Cultures

1946        1973 Acoma         2007 Abo Ruins

 

 

Santa Fe – It seems as though New Mexico has a better respect for all of the cultures that exist in their state than most, and Santa Fe as the capital and cultural center embraces all of those.

Art and culture abound everywhere in the city. It has been recognized by UNESCO as a ‘Creative City’.

In addition Santa Fe was established before the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and is home to the oldest public building in the United States (photo on bottom row – with bell at the top).

 

2015 09 20 161 Santa Fe NM

 

 

Albuquerque – Easily the largest city in the state with a metro population of around 1 million, Albuquerque is cultural unique like Santa Fe, but with a much more urban feel to it.

 

Hotel Andaluz – We were lucky enough to spend our one night in Albuquerque at the Hotel Andaluz. This historic hotel was opened in 1939, with an extensive remodel occurring in 2008.

 

 

 

Artesia – This small town celebrates it’s oil industry history with a collection of sculptures around town.

2019 05 28 19 Artesia NM

 

Clovis – This small eastern New Mexico town is legendary for the recording studio there that was the place where Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others had their start. Our amazing good fortune had us show up, unannounced, to a tour with a cool guy named Dave who had been a backup singer in the studio.

There is a museum in town as well, but the studio is the true museum – with most of the original equipment still there. For this posting I have included a photo of nearly every piece of original equipment.

2019 05 28 231 Clovis NM Norman Petty Studio

 

 

 

Quirky New Mexico

1947 РDude Ranch         1950 -Taos Mountains

 

As you travel across the state you always come across something unusual and interesting.

2015 09 20 106 Northern New Mexico.jpg

 

2015 09 20 132 Santa Fe NM.jpg

 

2015 09 21 137 Albuquerque NM

 

The baseball team in Albuquerque is called the Isotopes, and have adopted the Simpsons as their mascot since Springfield’s team in the show had the same name.

 

 

2015 09 21 168 Albuquerque NM

 

 

2019 05 27 266 Carlsbad NM

 

The town of Portales has a retired fighter jet in the median strip.

2019 05 28 182 Portales NM

 

 

Roswell – I have had the good fortunate to travel in every state, and in 22 foreign countries but never have I seen a town play up their legend more than Roswell. And we loved it! Nobody is alien in Roswell.

 

And to top it off they have an ‘airplane boneyard’

 

Outdoors

1958 РCristo Rey Church     1974     1992/1994 Pecos National Historic Park

Government State New Mexico 1995.jpg

 

 

Rio Grande Gorge

2015 09 20 124 Rio Grande Gorge Bridge NM.jpg

 

2015 09 20 128 Santa Fe NM.jpg

 

 

View from Sandia Peak in Albuquerque

2015 09 21 109 Albuquerque NM

 

 

Lonely Eastern New Mexico Highway.

2019 05 28 177 Roswell NM

 

 

Carlsbad Caverns – America’s best cave.

2019 05 27 200 Carlsbad NM Carlsbad Caverns National Park

 

 

 

 

Roads

2003 РUS 84 near Abiquiu     2014/2015  Las Cruces

 

Government State New Mexico 1947 1.jpg

 

2019 05 28 343 Clovis NM

 

 

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

2015 09 20 114 Rio Grande Gorge Bridge NM.jpg

 

 

Cool freeway bridges in Santa Fe

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2015 09 20 139 Santa Fe NM.jpg

 

 

Sandia Peak Tram

 

 

Trains in the plains.

2019 05 28 340 Clovis NM

 

 

Route 66 in Tucumcari

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clovis, New Mexico – May 2019 – Amazing Music from a Small Town

Thanks to a man named Norman Petty the small eastern New Mexico town has a big piece of American music history. It is here that Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others first recorded their music.

When I was planning out the road trip I discovered this, and made plans to stop by the ‘studio’. When the navigation system said we arrived it was in front of a newer building that was the Chamber of Commerce, as well as a museum. Upon entry I asked about the studio, the person at the desk said that is across town – and rarely open. Disappointed, we checked out the museum.



The museum was in the basement. After watching a video about Norman and Vi Petty, we toured their exhibits. They have a number of nice displays.












After leaving I was able to google and find the actual studio address. It was located across town, just a couple of miles away.

When we arrived I noticed the gate to the compound was open. When I walked in I tried a door to a building and to my surprise it too was unlocked. There were four people standing in the lobby and when I asked if I could take some photos outside they said yes, but then said they were starting a studio tour – would we like to see it!



Our first stop and the room that the recording engineer worked the soundboard.




Our tour was lead by a man named Dave Bigham. Our good fortunate hit the jackpot here, as Dave was one of Buddy Holly’s backup singers back in the 1950s.

Dave was a fantastic guide – he was very knowledgeable, adding tons of background to each of the songs. When he started to sing his backup parts along with the song he was playing I got goose bumps!



While the mixing board was updated in the 1970s, most of the other equipment is from the 1950s when Buddy and others recorded here.







In the back of the building is an apartment where the musicians would crash when recording here. The story was told that they tended to record overnight, and sleep through the day.




The studio is where the magic occurred. Nearly all of the instruments, amps and other equipment is original from the 1950s.







We were very honored to have lucked into this tour, and to have Dave lead us through the facility. It was easily one of the highlights of the 3 week road trip.





The actual mic that Buddy Holly recorded all those classics. What an afternoon in Clovis, New Mexico.






Roswell, New Mexico – May 2019 – An Alien Town

When fate lands in your lap, or town, use it for all it’s worth. Roswell, New Mexico was handed something in 1947 that they have made a cottage industry off of ever since – an alien spacecraft crash.

Many of the businesses in town celebrate this notoriety in their advertising.










































Easily the biggest tourist spot in town is the UFO Museum. It has a great deal of information on UFOs, both those that prove and those that disprove.

They also have some interesting displays.