Bill & Sandra Wayne's Travel Pages

Our trip to New Mexico, June 2004

    You can see a map of our trip showing routes & stops

    June 2004 was busy. The first week we attended the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia virtually each day it was held. The next week was spent mostly getting ready for the trip and preparing for our work with the Blind Boone Music & Arts festival in Warrensburg, June 12th. After a 15 hour day there, getting the Cottage ready on Sunday and prepared for the trip. Monday we had to get our B&B insurance in force as we changed from a company that wanted to more than double our already-high premium to a more reasonable local company. Finally, we left at 1 PM and headed west.

    Day 1 we took no pictures. We had reservations at a Holiday Inn Express in Pratt KS (west of Wichita on US-64). The drive was nice - cross country to bypass KC to the south, then the KS turnpike thru the Flint Hills, through Wichita and to Pratt. Had supper at a Mexican restaurant called Playa Azul - pretty typical of what we get in MO. Drive distance about 320 miles.

    On Tuesday, June 15, we drove on to Las Vegas NM, a bit over 420 miles. Only one good picture opportunity, the Worlds Largest Hand Dug Well in Greensburg, KS. We had lunch in a little cafe (Rebecca's - we'd recommend it) in Springer NM where we were first asked the NM state question - "red or green." Sandra is now a green chile person. Had our first posole there, too. Downtown Las Vegas was disappointing, with much of the historic district around the square boarded up. The motel, a Comfort Inn, wasn't too great, either - has some sort of crud in the bottom of the hot tub and the staff kind of tried to blow us off. Supper was at Rafael's Restaurant and was excellent.

    Wednesday, June 16th we visited Pecos National Historical Park, home of a Pueblo ruin and encompassing the site of the Battle of Glorietta Pass. Good pictures of the pueblo, but no access to the battlefield. Then, drove down to Santa Fe, where we explored various museums around the square. Sandra was fascinated by the artisans at the Palace of the Governors - she just wished she could see them work - but she did talk to a Navajo artist named Ronald Chee. Museums included Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Palace of the Governors and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, where Sandra learned about the various forms of pottery. We also had a green chile tamale on the square, but grabbed a McDrano on the way out of town to Albuquerque.
    In Albuquerque, our room at the Holiday Inn Express (N. Balloon Park) was ready early, so we dropped off our stuff and headed for more museums. We stopped at the NM Museum of Natural History & Science and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Drove through Old Town, but weren't impressed - lots of shops now but not that different from other SW old-towns. For dinner, we met writer Madge Harrah, who wrote a children's book about Blind Boone and was at the Warrensburg and Columbia festivals, and ate more excellent southwestern food.
    Total travel was only about 140 miles.

    Thursday, June 17th, was our "anasazi" day. We left Albuquerque and headed north toward Bloomfield. Stopped at a little museum in Aztec, where the tour guide was a stray cat. Continued on north to Durango, which is a very touristy town set in the mountains. Couldn't find a palce we wanted to eat, so headed on west toward Mesa Verde. Stopped at the little town of Mancos where we had an excellent hamburger and home-cut fries at Hamburger Haven. Then it was up the hill to Mesa Verde National Park. Took a whole lot of pictures there.
    Left Mesa Verde in late afternoon and headed for Cortez. Excellent Holiday Inn Express there, but quite expensive (over $100). Had supper at an expensive Mexican place called Francisco's and went to a cultural center to see art and Indian dancers. Dances were not special to the area tribes, however.
    Total miles about 300.

    Friday, June 18th, was the first of our "Tony Hillerman Days," exploring areas mentioned in his books. We left Cortez early and headed out on a county road skirting the north side of Sleeping Ute Mountain. Somewhere near the Colorado-Utah border we saw some good pictures so stopped and shot them. Then we continued on to Hovenweep National Monument where the ancients built towers on top of cliffs. This area is open range, and we saw some wild horses running.
    After Hovenweep we headed toward Monument Valley, but stopped a few places en route. First of these was Hatch Trading Post, where we got a big ice tea. Then we continued to Bluff and stopped at another trading post and at a petroglyph area. I couldn't get any pictures of these because they needed more of a telephoto. Then, we stopped at an area called "Valley of the Gods" with a lot of formations.
    Then, it was on to Monument Valley. First, we grabbed a quick lunch at Goulding's Trading post (really a whole complex), and stopped at a lot of Navajo crafts booths along the entry road. The roads in Monument Valley were dirt, and I don't think I ever got up to the 15 mph speed limit. Took a whole lot of pictures.
    After leaving the valley, we headed south to Kayenta, where we stayed at a full-scale Holiday Inn and learned why we like HI Express. Kayenta is mostly Navajo, which we noted when we stopped at a local laundromat. Laundry was expensive, but water is a problem out there in the desert. Supper was a Navajo Taco (kind of like a taco salad on fry bread rather than a shell) at a place called the Blue Coffeepot, which was octagonal with the main entrance on the east side like a large Hogan. total mileage for the day was about 250.

    Saturday, June 19th, was a long day of over 400 miles. It started with breakfast at McDonald's as no place else was open. We headed east to Shiprock, where we stopped and talked to a Navajo selling sand paintings, who told us the legend of Ship Rock. Of course, during this stage we were listening to the tape of Hillerman's "The Fallen Man." The rock is quite impressive, standing alone and visible from a long way away. We first saw it from the highway driving north on Thursday and again from the mesa at Mesa Verde.
    We then headed south to Gallup, where we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant after cruising through the main streets. Turned on the radio and heard what sounded like a "swap & shop" in Navajo. Then headed on south to Zuni. The old town is on a little rise surrounded by modern houses and lots of "trading posts" catering to tourists. Stopped in one of them and were high-pressured by he salespeople, but their wares were out of our price range.
    Headed east to El Morro Nat'l Monument where we say petroglyphs from native Americans, Spanish conquistadors and early Anglo settlers and travelers. Then it was on to El Malpais where we saw lava flows and open lava tubes. This is similar to what is being created in Hawaii now by active volcanos.
    Ended the day at Socorro, where we spent the night at a nice HI Express. The clerk recommended a restaurant called El Sambre - service was miserable, food was mediocre and very overpriced - don't eat there! Sunday, June 20th, was more of a family day for Sandra. We drove down to Las Cruces, where we visited her Uncle Murray and his son and had lunch and supper at a couple of fancy Mexican restaurants; we'd have preferred the "mom and pop" kind. Ed Pringle, the son of a Warrensburger, married into a prominent ranching family and we got to see the ranch headquarters at the foot of the Organ Mountains. Spent the night at a nice HI Express using a free rewards night. Only drove about 200 miles.

    Monday June 21st, started our trip home with what turned out to be our longest driving day (about 450 miles). We said goodbye to Uncle Murray and headed north on US-70. As we passed White Sands, Sandra was sure we'd get some good pictures so we stopped for a while. Bypassed Alamogordo and deviated from our original plan by heading up US-54 and stopping at Three Rivers Petroglyphs state park, to see some hills full of boulders with glyphs on them - not cliff markings like all the others we'd seen.
    We turned east at Carizozo and stopped at Capitan for a Chile Verde stew lunch. Lots of fire service people around, since there was a big fire not too far north of town. Then we stopped again at Lincoln (Billy the Kid country) for a little bit, and it was on to Roswell. We visited the International UFO museum, bought some souvenirs, and headed toward Amarillo.
    As we drove, we watched a line of supercell storms developing well to our north. The closer we got to Amarillo the more ominous the storms looked. Tuned into a local station that was reporting funnel clouds and wall clouds to our north and west, heading southeast, so we abandoned our plans to stop at Palo Duro Canyon and raced the storm into town. As we drove from Canyon into Amarillo, we saw a wall cloud to our left and heard reports of hail, but we were going away from that part of the storm and continued. Just as we got to the motel, the rain part of the storm hit - heavy rain, light hail, strong winds; other areas of town got softball size hail!
    Motel (Comfort Inn Airport) had some cleanliness problems. Supper was at another Mexican place called El Tapatio next to the motel - we'd planned to go to the Big Texan, but not in that rain!

    Tuesday, June 22nd, was another 400+ mile day that took us to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. We could have spent a whole day there; as it was we skipped some exhibits and didn't spend the time I'd have liked at others. With this museum, the Gilcrease in Tulsa and Woolaroc, who'd have thought that Oklahoma was such a great place for western art.
    Went on to Tulsa, where we stopped at the Cherokee Casino for a bit then ate at an old-fashioned buffet. The HI Express in Owasso was excellent.

    Wednesday June 23rd was our last day and a bit over 325 miles. The big event here was a stop at Woolaroc, a rather eclectic museum stared by Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips 66 company. We were there last September but didn't get to stay long enough.
    Left Woolaroc and stopped in Bartlesville for lunch at a BBQ place, then drove across southern Kansas to Nevada to head home. Stopped for supper in Clinton at El Camino Real.

    Total mileage for the trip was over 3200. See the map below:

    View 2004 Trip Southwest in a larger map

Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10

Travel Home - Day Trips Home Page

© 2004-11, Cedarcroft Enterprises
431 SE County Road Y, Warrensburg,MO 64093
Page updated 4/26/2011