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Driving from Plano TX to Santa Fe NM: any interesting recommendations?

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Apr 21st, 2008, 04:01 PM
  #1
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Driving from Plano TX to Santa Fe NM: any interesting recommendations?

This is part of a larger trip: round trip from Atlanta to Santa Fe. DH just let me know he wants to visit friends in Plano. Now I am scrambling to re-work my route. I can have up to two nights on the road between Plano and Santa Fe. Once we get to our casita in Santa Fe, we have a week to explore NM.

I am looking for route and stopover suggestions for the Plano to Santa Fe portion of the journey.

One idea is to pick up Historic Route 66 at Shamrock. That looks like it might be an adventure.

The AAA route would take us through Wichita Falls on 287 and then on to Amarillo. From there we'd continue on I40 to Albuquerque.

I'm feeling a little pressured cause we start the trip next week and this Plano stop is feeling like a monkey wrench. I know there's a great route out there somewhere and I just have to find it.

Any suggestions?
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Apr 22nd, 2008, 05:50 AM
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Uh-Oh. This was exactly what I feared. A whole lot of nuthin'.

Shamrock, Clinton, Childress, Amarillo, Guthrie, Lubbock...These are towns we could route through...does anyone have info on great hole-in-the-wall restaurants, funky museums or attractions, secret artist colonies, little-known scenic by-ways?

Or, should we just jump on the interstate and try to make the best time we can to New Mexico?

Thanks for anything you can give me; I promise a detailed trip report as pay-back!
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Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:15 AM
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Clinton has a good rte 66 museum, but not a lot else. There is an old retored gas station in McClean. Amarillo has the Cadillac Ranch, Quarterhorse centre and the glorious Palo Duro Canyon. Do take time to visit the Canyon if you can. That stretch of Rte 66 is not too boring actually, with remnants of the original road, old bridges, buildings and stuff.
Vega is a place to get through as fast as possible. (We made the mistake of staying a night there.) Adrian marks the midpoint of the rte and may be worth a stop. Tucumcari has a couple of old Rte 66 motels, but little else of interest. You might like to head off from there up to Las Vegas NM for a visit with the more interesting Las Vegas (imho!) before heading for Santa Fe, though of course the Turquoise trail from Albequerque has loads of interesting shops galleries etc etc along it.

If you have a look at www.byways.org you may find something more appealing.
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Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:49 AM
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Yes, I know of a funky museum! It's the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, on the grounds of the community college and just off of 287. It has an amazing collection of stuffed wildlife and some interesting history of local ranches, especially the Waggoner Ranch. http://www.redrivervalleymuseum.org/

BTW, somewhere around Henrietta, on the east side of the road, you may see a herd of camels. They were brought in to eat mesquite, which is an invasive species brought from Mexico during the days of the cattle drives. North of Wichita Falls, around Iowa Park, you will see a large area of oil wells. This was the original oil patch of North Texas, which made many people in the area very rich.
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Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:50 AM
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Since you're already making a detour south for DH...here's another option..just a random thought, to see some places off the beaten track:

Head west on _I-20 to exit at Big Spring, going north on 87. At Lamesa TX go west on 120 to Carlsbad. Many of these roads are empty and you can make good time. Stay in Carlsbad.

Day 2: visit carlsbad caverns if you never have. if you already have been there done that, then another 30 minutes south is Guadalupe Mountains National Park TX. There are many interesting hiking trails, side canyons, fossils, geological areas that were once a shallow coral reef. Hike to the highest point in TX if that interests you. There are minimal services in this park, bring food/water. Spend second night in Carlsbad.

Next morning, drive N on 285. There is Roswell, home of aliens ;-) ( imho, ..tacky)

A cool picnic spot is the Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. It is 9 miles from Roswell, NM. Picnic tables up on a bluff overlooking the bitter lakes. good place for birdwatching. It has one of the most diverse populations of dragonflies in the nation.
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges...ake/index.html

Rt 285 is pretty empty, you can make very good time north to 40.

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Apr 22nd, 2008, 12:11 PM
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If you're going to stick to the 66/I 40 route, definitely make a stop at Palo Duro Canyon as suggested. Quite interesting, especially early morning or sunset.
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Apr 23rd, 2008, 04:46 PM
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Thank you all. Hetismij, Las Vegas, NM is on our list for day trips out of Santa Fe, unless we make really good time and are able to stop there overnight en route. It looks like a very cool town and I found this interesting article in the Times. http://tiny.cc/BKlcV
Thanks also for the Palo Duro tip. (Also dfr4848!)

Happy Tourist, I don't even see Henrietta on my map but I promise I will watch for camels--what a trip--I will take pictures. lol

Like_2, we will visit Carlsbad about 10 days later, at the tail end of our NM exploration. Then we take a more southerly route across TX heading home. Bitter Lakes looks good, I'm a bird watcher altho not very accomplished.

Thanks all for the input. I will be posting from the road so Watch this Space!
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Apr 24th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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We'll be back in Las Vegas next month. I am so looking forward to it!
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Apr 24th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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hetismij,

What do you like to do there? Any recommendations?
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Apr 25th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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I just like the quiet old town atmosphere. We stayed there before and really liked it. When we went last time everyone was so friendly and happy to stop and chat. It was wonderful. It made a pleasant change from Santa Fe, which we also loved and will be visiting again, because it was so quiet and friendly.
We are staying at the Plaza hotel again. It is (surprise surprise) on the shady historic Plaza.
At one time Las Vegas was home to Doc Holliday, and various characters (whyatt Earp, Billy the Kid etc) from the Wild West stayed or lived there. It had a reputation to rival Dodge City.
There is a museum in the town which is worth a visit, as is La Castaneda hotel.
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