TX, AZ, NM, Road trip Critique

Old Sep 5th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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TX, AZ, NM, Road trip Critique

Are we leaving anything out of this trip that should be included or including something that should be eliminated. We did Hill country and the Texas coast last year & was impressed with Texas so wanted to see some of the rest of Texas on this trip.

Flying into Tucson , AZ Sep 11. Will visit Saguarao Nat'l Pk, Old Tucson Studios, Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum, San Xavier del Bac Mission, Tubac, & Tumacacori Natl Monument.

Depart Tucson Sep14 arrive Lordsburg, NM for overnight visiting Tombstone and Bisbee, AZ enroute.

Arrive Las Cruces, NM Sep 15 visiting the Market and Crafts Market, then Old Mesilla for Mexican Independence Day on the 16th.

Arive El Paso, TX on the 17th via White Sands Nat'l Monument. Visit Concordia Cemetery , the mission road, Dome Bar in the Camino Real Hotel, & Rosa's Cantina.

Arrive Fort Stockton, TX Sep 18. Visiting Ft Davis, and Alpine, TX enroute. Visit the sites in Fort Stockton & do a day trip to Judge Roy Bean Center in Langtry, TX.

Depart Fort Stockton, TX Sep 20th going to Big Spring, TX via Pecos visiting the American Airpower Museum in Midland, TX.

Arrive Lubbock, TX via Abilene and Guthrie paying a short visit to Frontier Texas in Abilene, on Sep 21. While in Lubbock visit the Buddy Holly statue, Walk of Fame, & the Buddy Holly Center, etc., departing Sep 23.

Arrive Tucumcari, NM Sep 23 visiting enroute Amarillo, TX.

Arrive Albuquerque, NM Sep 24th. While in Albuquerque visit Old Town, drive to the top of Sandia Peak, & re-visit Kirkland AFB.

Depart Albuquerque, NM driving to Taos Pueblo via Hwy 14 to visit the ghost towns of Golden, Madrid, etc, then Hwy 68 to see San Francisco de Asis Church. Tour Taos Pueblo returning to Santa Fe for lodging via the Rio Grande Bridge. Visit the sites in Santa Fe on the 28th before departing for Holbrook, AZ on the 29th.

Overnight in Holbrook on the 29th in the Wigwam Hotel visiting enroute Petrified Forest Nat'l Pk.

Depart Holbrook, AZ Sep 30 arriving in Tucson via Winslow, AZ (Standing On the Corner Park), Sedona, & Jerome.

Depart Tucson, AZ Oct 1 on aircraft returning home.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 04:07 AM
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Sounds like fun! Sounds like you have done some good research.

My only thoughts as I read this were;

*On the Texas leg, did you consider a night to visit the Marfa Lights viewing area or the McDonald Observatory Fort Davis? I might consider spending a night in Fort Davis at Indian Lodge instead of the night in Big Spring. You could probably do Fort Stockton to Lubbock fairly easily in a day.

*More time in Santa Fe would be nice. There's a lot to see and do.



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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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The MacDonald Observatory is a good place to visit near Fort Davis. We stayed the nite in the dorm with the astronomers and took in a viewing thru one of the larger telescopes. Check out their site for info on accomodations and tours.

Also, while in Tucson area you might consider going by the Titan Missle site. It is the only one open to public and is very interesting.

-Granny Joan
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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I couldn't tell from your itinerary how long you planned to spend in Albuquerque, but whatever it is, I'd shorten it and spend more time in Santa Fe instead. I've been in Santa Fe a few times, and in Albuquerque only once (well, once since I was a kid). There's nothing in ABQ to draw me back.
 
Old Sep 6th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Wow, lots of wide open spaces on this itinerary. Expect miles and miles of flatness and nothingness through parts of West Texas and the Panhandle. Amarillo to Albuquerque--are we there yet?? Try to fit in McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis. If you like Mexican food, great chance to sample differences in TexMex and SantaFe styles, very different but both very good. Have a safe trip.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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For a break between Amarillo and Albuquerqlue, stop in Santa Rosa, NM and grab a snack or cold drink at Joseph's. It's got kind of an old Route 66 vibe.
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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Good suggestions & they are much appreciated. We know there will be a lot of wide open spaces. It won't be anything like the sights on our earlier trip which was Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Larado, San Antonio, Austin, & many places in between. Loved Texas & the people that we met who lived there.

Therefore we decided the journey would not be complete until we visited the western part of Texas. Those wide open spaces, I know, do have sights to visit that are worthwhile, friendly folks to meet, & we love the road.

I will check out the MacDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. We did consider the Marfa Lights but understand they don't always show so was eliminated due to time. The Titan Site in Tucson will also be considered. I think we can work into the itinerary fairly easy the observatory and the missile site. Also we did discuss the 3 days we will be in Albuquerque. If after a couple of days in Albuquerque we have seen everything we want to see, we will head for Santa Fe for an additional day at that location.

We are Rt 66 fans, that's why the Wigwam Hotel & the stuff between Amarillo & Winslow, so Joseph's in Santa Rosa will be a stop. No Margarita's for the road. Do they have Shiner's Bock - a Texas beer I kinda liked?

Thanks for the suggestions!

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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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You won't be able to go on base at Kirtland, sorry. What else are you planning to do in Albuquerque, besides Old Town and driving up to Sandia Crest?

Lee Ann
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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I don't remember there being much to see in Fort Stockton. Granted, I've only driven through it and not stayed overnight, but it didn't see like there was much there of interest. Same goes for Alpine.

Fort Davis has some good stuff - the Nat'l Historic Site was good for a couple hours. Monahans Sandhills State Park is on the way from Ft. Stockton to Big Spring - that drive shouldn't take all day even with a couple stops, so you could skip Big Spring and go straight to Abilene. It's only 1.5 hours down the road.

I don't know which of the TX things you've listed are must-do and which are just things you're seeing because you're there.

I'd try to work in a trip thru more of the Big Bend area just because I like it so much, but that would involve some re-working of your itinerary. The drive along the Rio Grande from Presidio to Lajitas is supposed to be gorgeous - conceivably, you could drive from El Paso to Fort Davis and overnight there on the 18th. Drive south to Presidio then over to Lajitas, go through Big Bend National Park to Marathon and stay there on the 19th, and then go to Langtry and drive to Abilene on the 20th.
 
Old Sep 6th, 2007, 09:32 PM
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Lee Ann & TheWeasel. I will take a look at Big Bend. It seemed too far out of the way for the time we had. I don't know if we can include it but I like to survey all options. We don't have a lot of must sees, just like to see anything of interest in an area, mostly scenic or historical.

At Midland I do want to see the air museum, however Big Spring was just an overnight for planning purposes since I didn't know how long the visit would take at the air museum & Pecos. I like to allow plenty of leeway in planning.

In Albuquerque we are figuring almost a whole day in Old Town & maybe a half day for Sandia Peak. Unless something else is going on in Albuquerque we will add a day in Santa Fe.
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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You would probably enjoy taking the Turquoise Trail (Hwy 14?) between Albuquerque and Santa Fe instead of the freeway. Neat old mining towns, especiallly Madrid. (Pronounced MADrid.)

In Amarillo, don't miss a quick stop at the Cadillac Ranch.
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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Glad you're coming back to Texas, roy2moira! The friendly people are statewide so you'll enjoy West Texas, I'm sure. We also love road trips and have driven countless miles of wide open spaces through many parts of the country. Big Ben is still on our list to visit but it's a long way down there. I'm sure it will be worthwhile if you include it.

As for Albuquerque, you can visit Old Town (have lunch there) and then drive up to Sandia Peak in the afternoon. Do take the suggestion for the Turquoise Trail route to Santa Fe (more wide open spaces : ) and enjoy the drive.

Let us know how it all goes; will look for your report. Welcome back to Texas!
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Thanks to all of you. I will post a report upon my return home. Today & tomorrow I will be reviewing & fine tuning the trip. It gets the motor running & freshens the trip details.
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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You could spend the whole day in Old Town if you include the Albuquerque Museum; otherwise, it's mostly shops.

On your way up to Sandia Crest, you might enjoy a stop at Tinkertown Museum - it's pretty neat.

Lee Ann
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Old Sep 7th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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Too much time in Lubbock. 1 day is PLENTY.

Langtry is a LONG way from Fort Stockton, and will be a tiring day trip. You should consider dropping it and sticking to your route. (I've been there, and we saw the entire site in 30 minutes...not worth the drive!)
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Returned to Alaska from a very enjoyable road trip throught West Texas, New Mexico, & Arizona. There was a lot of wide open spaces. When I returned the rental vehicle, the 4,500 miles I put on their vehicle caused some surprise. On a separate post I will detail the terrible service & disinterest of the Alamo Car Rental folks.

Arriving as scheduled in Tucson, AZ on Sep 11 we visited all the planned sites plus several places downtown. Had supper twice at the Auld Dubliner in the university area - love those Irish pubs. The other evening supper was at El Charro on Broadway, near the hotel. No complaints on the meals, simple but good.

Departed Tucson as planned on Sep 14. Visited as planned Tombstone and Bisbee, AZ. Checked out all the historical sites in Tombstone - didn't do stuff like the buggy rides & O.K Corral. We found it interesting visiting the Bird Cage Theatre, etc. Lots of history in Tombstone amongst all the tourist stuff. Bisbee was unique - had an iced tea at the Queens Inn. I think that was the name but I have to wait until I receive my developed film. A beautiful hotel - they don't make them like that anymore. We had planned on getting only to Lordsburg or
Deming, NM for an overnight but made Las Cruces.

The next day, Sep 15, didn't do the Market & Crafts Market as planned but decided to do a day trip to El Paso. Visited the Chamizal National Monument, the missions on Mission Road {Zaragosa Rd to Scorro Rd), Rosa's Castina which was closed for business (the cantina noted in Marty Robbin's hit song, "El Paso"), & checked out the downtown area. Had iced tea at the El Camino Real Hotel & took a look at the Tiffany domed ceiling in the bar. We liked El Paso. Returned to Las Cruces in the late afternoon & enjoyed some of the Mexican Independence Day Fiesta. It was great. No drugs, brooze, or pets were allowed into the plaza area. Of, course the area restaurants did serve drinks but the crowd was orderly and everyone was having a good time.

On Sep 16th In the early morning drove to White Sands National Park for a visit. Saw a liftoff at the park of several hot air balloons. Drove up to Cloudcroft before returning to Las Cruces. Returned via Veteran's Park in Las Cruces and the Bataan March Memorial which was very touching. Saw more of the Mexican Independence Day Fiesta in the evening. Had supper at Pepper's, the casual side of the Double Eagle Restaurant. A great meal & drinks. Wished we would have tried this place the first night & we wouldn't have gone anywhere else.

Departed Las Cruces, Sep 17th. Arrived in the evening to Fort Stockton, TX to flooded streets via Kent and Fort Davis. We did visit Fort Davis National Historic Site which was interesting, however the visit wasn't as long as we would have liked & we didn't spend anytime in the village of Fort Davis which appeared very interesting. All this was due to a terrible thunderstorm in the area - rain come down by the bucket. It was the only adverse weather for the trip.

We spend two nights in Fort Stockton on the 17th & 18th. We drove to Langtry, TX to visit the Judge Roy Bean Center & the Pecos River Overlook on the 18th even through the drive was some distance.

Sep 19th. Since we were now a day ahead of our planned itinerary we decided to drive to Carlsbad, NM to visit the Carlsbad Caverns via Pecos, TX. It has been several years since we last visited the caverns and it was still very enjoyable. They are constructing a new Visitor Center at the park so everything is in portable trailers. It will be nice when it's constructed. Also places we saw before at no charge are now via an escorted tour for a fee. In the evening there must have been close to a million bats come out of the cave.

Sep 20th. Insteand of departing Fort Stockton we departed Carlsbad heading for Lubbock via Midland and Abilene. Original plan called for an overnight at Big Spring, instead we made SWEETWATER, TX & decided to stop for the evening. Enroute we did visit the American Airpower Heritage Museum at Midland International Airport which was a must for me. Loved the nose art on the planes. Pretty neat & lots of history. Was well worth the visit.

Had a fun evening in Sweetwater. After checking in at the hotel we wanted to get some supper. Asked the hotel clerk where the best place in town was. She said Buck's Barbeque. We went over to Buck's & since I really wanted a beer or margarita after a day on the road, I asked if they served such and they said no but I would bring my own. We left, found a liquor store, & brought a bottle of already mixed margaritas. Returned to Bucks and the most friendly hosts & locals. The downhome food was absolutely great - one of our best evenings on the trip.

Sep 21 departed Sweetwater. Visited briedly in Abilene. One note, the Frontier Texas attraction that Abilene advertises is not very good. Probably would have more impact on youngsters than adults.
To me It was nothing like it was advertised.

Arrived in Lubbock. Nice city but we decided after arrival to spend only on night instead of two. Checked out of the hotel on the 22nd, visited the Buddy Holly Center before departing town. Well worth the visit. A nice center for a great artist that died way too young.

Sep 22. Well here we are, gained another day on the itinerary. On this day travelled to Tucumcari, NM via Amarillo, TX. Lots of Route 66 things to see and lots of photo ops.

Sep 23rd. Departed Tucumcari and arrived Albuquerque. Visited Kirtland AFB, Sandia Base where we lived at one time is gone. Visited Old Town and had supper at Little Anitas. There were a lot of good reviews for this restaurant but it was just O.K.

Sep 24th. We visited Sandia Crest, downtown Albuquerque, & Old Town again. Supper at The Church in Old Town. I thought it was pretty good, my wife said so-so, althrough the decor was striking.

Sep 25. Did a day trip to Santa Fe via Hwy 14 and Madrid. Visted the Plaza in Santa Fe and everything around that area. A very upscale community, at least downtown. Enjoyed the day, particulary my wife who loves turquoise. Returned to Albuquerque.

Sep 26th travelled to Taos Pueblo, looked around drove to the town of Taos, looked around, then headed for Santa Fe and checked into a hotel. The Taos Pueblo was not something I would want to visit again. The town of Taos had many interesting sights but once is probably enough for me. Love Santa Fe through. Had a great supper at Tomasitras Santa Fe Station. Oh! for just a hamburger.

Sep 27th did Santa Fe all over again. Love this place.

Sep 28th departed Santa Fe & arrived Holbrook, AZ thinking we were going to stay in the Wigwam Hotel on Route 66. Didn't happen and the people running the place were not like those friendly Texas folks & due to that we weren't that disappointed.

Sep 29th. Since we gained an extra day on the itinerary by staying only one night in Lubbock we added the Grand Canyon National Park onto the list.
Enroute to the park we stopped in Winslow for the photo op of the Standing on the Corner Park. The day in the park was beautiful except for some wind. It has also changed a lot since we last visited. Places we could travel in our vehicles were now restricted to shuttle busses. On our last visit the place was overloaded with vendors, etc. Rangers have better control now hence better protection of the park. Ended up in Sedona for the evening. They had some kind of festival going on and we were lucky to get a hotel room.

Sep30th headed for Tucson to catch our flight on Oct 1. Checked into the hotel, returned the vehicle to Alamo, & walked back to the hotel (1/4 mile).
Another end to a great trip.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Thanks for reporting back! Sounds like you had a great road trip. I was surprised to see that one of your favorite meals was in Sweetwater of all places--you just never know. Glad you enjoyed Santa Fe. Isn't it great?
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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WOW. I'm impressed that you enjoyed west Texas so much. My ex is from Pecos and my dear sweet ex MIL still lives there. There is a lot of nothing in between places. I sure do understand how you put 4500 miles on the car. I'm interested in the Alamo story....
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for your nice write up about your trip to Texas. I lived in Abliene for about a year, but never got a real chance to see much of West Texas. (Too much time on the road to Austin to visit my future spouse!)
I, too, am interested in your Alamo story. We rented from them about 20 years ago and had a terrible experience, so we've never rented from them again. We may pay more for Hertz or Avis, but they have always treated us right.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for posting your trip report!

If you come back to New Mexico, don't worry; you can get a hamburger almost anywhere, with or without green chile.

Lee Ann
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