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Jul 28th, 2014, 10:15 AM
  #1
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Road Trip SW

We are planning to do a road trip starting from Albuquerqe. Below is the tenative schedule. The big question is are we packing in too much? How do we fit in Mesa Verde. Would want to do a guided tour. Should we skip Taos? Confused. Any suggestions would greatly help.

Monday Aug 18 - Albequerque - day and night Santa Fe
Tuesday Aug 19 - Santa Fe, enroute to Taos and night Taos
Wednesday Aug 20 - day, night Taos
Thursday Aug 21 - Taos to Moab - stop in Mesa Verde or Needles - night Moab
Friday Aug 22 - day - night Arches/ Moab
Sat Aug 23 - Moab to Albequerque - stop in Mesa Verde or Needles - possibly Route 191/Arizona/Navajo/Monument Valley area on way back
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Jul 28th, 2014, 12:13 PM
  #2
 
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It's not too much, IMO, but it will be really hot, so be prepared with lots of water, hats, sunscreen, etc.

What do you want to do in each place? You'll be pretty rushed in Mesa Verde, but if you get an early start from Taos, you could probably spend a couple of hours in the park. Keep in mind that it's at least 30 minutes, if I remember correctly, from the park entrance to the places where you can visit the cliff dwellings.

Your last day will be a fairly long drive even without stopping at Monument Valley (which is worth a stop if you think you have time).

Lee Ann
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Jul 28th, 2014, 12:14 PM
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I forgot to mention that it's about a three-hour drive from Mesa Verde to Moab.

Lee Ann
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Jul 28th, 2014, 01:01 PM
  #4
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Thanks very much. I have 2 nights in Taos. You think it would be better if I cut it to 1 night and spend more time in Mesa Verde.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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I would only spend one night in Taos and possibly stay either inside Mesa Verde or in nearby Cortez so that you could spend more time in Mesa Verde. It's really hard to see much of Mesa Verde in a couple of hours. This would also break up your drive to Moab.

Moab straight back to Albuquerque is about 370 miles. Adding The Needles section of Canyonlands is at least an hour drive in and then another hour back back to Hwy 191 and a total of 440 miles. If you go stop at Newspaper Rock for a couple of minutes. If you skip Needles and do Monument Valley instead it's just about the same mileage at 440. If you were to do both it would be 530 miles and you would have no time at all to see anything.


So much to see and do and so little time!

Utahtea
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Jul 28th, 2014, 03:44 PM
  #6
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Thank you. I might just do that.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 06:36 PM
  #7
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one other follow-up - is it worth it go from moab to Albuquerque via the Arizona route 181 even if you don't veer west (looks a bit out of the way) to go to monument valley? Is the route itself scenic/cultural/worthwhile - vs. the slightly shorter route CO to NM via 550? Thanks for all your advice. . .
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Jul 28th, 2014, 08:05 PM
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Don't go to Moab. Go to Chaco, go to Acoma, a day in Santa Fe, a day in Taos, take a good 2 days in Mesa Verde. There is so much to do just where you are!!. Go to Canyon deChelly. I would NOT use Albuquerque as an entrance point for sites so far north. We are in Salt Lake City and my husband is from ABQ. It is a loooooooong drive from southern Utah to ABQ, no matter how you slice it!
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Jul 28th, 2014, 08:06 PM
  #9
 
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if nothing else, stop at Blakes for a green chile cheese burger-- a must have!
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Jul 28th, 2014, 08:44 PM
  #10
 
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Do not ignore StantonHyde's advice.

In Albq, visit the 'old town' for a Mexican dinner - highly recommended.

There are massive display of petroglyphs near Albq.
http://www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm

Acoma, west of Albq is one (of two) oldest (Indian) continually inhabited village in U.S. Spanish were incredibly cruel to these Indians. The other competing village is Old Oraibi, Hopi Nation, Az. http://www.puebloofacoma.org/

Chaco was the most sophisticated Indian civilization in North America. Extensive ruins http://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm

In the town of Aztec is a huge Indian Anasazi Ruin. Of most importance is their fully restored giant kiva (religious 'church')

Sante Fe is the one the better 'art' towns in US
Do not miss Okeef's museum. And if you drive to Chaco, visit her austere home en route.
http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/

In Taos is a museum of the most famous western frontier guide
http://www.kitcarsonhomeandmuseum.com/

North of town is the only fully restored Pueblo Village
http://www.taospueblo.com/

Toss in Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly and Hubble Trading post, you will have a complete vacation without wasting time on driving long distances

Vaga

Vaga
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Jul 29th, 2014, 09:30 AM
  #11
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Thank you to you both. great tips.Will definitely try the Green chile burger
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:01 PM
  #12
 
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You have 6 days and you have at least 6 places you want to 'see'. Santa Fe, Taos, Mesa Verde, Arches, Needles district of Canyonlands and Monument Valley.

That is way too much given the distance you're covering and the amount of time to do justice to these places. Most people spend 3-4 days in Moab, at least a full day/night at Mesa Verde, an overnight at Monument Valley...and right there you have a full itinerary without Taos and Santa Fe.

I would completely agree with the suggestions to skip Moab and spend more time in New Mexico.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 12:24 PM
  #13
 
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I think the people who suggested you skip Moab on this trip are probably right. It's a great place to visit, but you can do a loop with Mesa Verde as your northernmost point and be fine. I would spend one night in Taos and use the extra night at Mesa Verde, as utahtea suggested.

>>In Albq, visit the 'old town' for a Mexican dinner - highly recommended.<<

You can get good Mexican food in Albuquerque, but what you want is *New* Mexican - no tomato-based sauces, just good red or green chile. You can ask for it on the side, and be sure to ask how spicy it is.

Try Mary y Tito's on 4th St. NW in Albuquerque, or The Shed, La Choza, or Tomasita's in Santa Fe for New Mexican. I like Old Town, but I wouldn't go there for a really good New Mexican meal.

While we're on food, Blake's Lotaburger does make a good green chile cheeseburger, but you can get them at a wide variety of restaurants on your route. Here's more information: http://www.newmexico.org/green-chile.../#article84292

Georgia O'Keeffe's home is near Abiquiu, not exactly on your route to Chaco Canyon if you choose to go there.

If you're really set on seeing Monument Valley, you can get there from Mesa Verde pretty easily. From Monument Valley, you can take 191 down to Window Rock and cut over to Gallup, then drive I-40 back to Albuquerque.

I'll have to disagree with StantonHyde about flying in and out of Albuquerque. Given that you want to visit Santa Fe, Taos, and Mesa Verde, it's the logical airport to use.

Lee Ann
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:34 PM
  #14
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Thanks so much. We have to fly in and out of Albuquerque since we have a friend there we need to see. Also we have a 7 year old boy who probably is going to get tired driving long distances so yes we are leaning towards skipping Moab. Oh and thanks for the food recommendations. Love spicy food and can't wait to try the NM food.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 01:36 PM
  #15
 
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Be sure to go the ABQ zoo; you and your son will love it!
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Jul 29th, 2014, 02:00 PM
  #16
 
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I would also forget Moab this trip since you have a 7 year old. Way to much time in a vehicle and not enough time at places.

Chaco is one of my favorite places but it requires driving down a dirt road so check road conditions and weather before heading out.

Another place not mention is Bandelier National Monument. http://www.nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/index.htm

Utahtea
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Jul 29th, 2014, 02:02 PM
  #17
 
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Bandelier is a great place to visit, but given your limited time and that you want to go to Mesa Verde, I would skip it for this trip.

Lee Ann
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Jul 29th, 2014, 03:26 PM
  #18
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Wow lot of choices to make. Do you recommend Bandelier over Mesa Verde or we could even skip both Bandelier and Mesa Verde for Moab.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 04:23 PM
  #19
 
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Mesa Verde over Bandelier for sure. And personally, over Moab too, but it's close call. MV has so much spiritual history; it is a very moving place. Moab has beautiful rock formations. Your call.
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Jul 29th, 2014, 04:49 PM
  #20
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Wow don't know how to thank everyone enough. I think we will skip Moab and do the circuit from Santa Fe to Taos to Mesa Verde.

The only reservation is that my wife is keen on the "red rock" she's seen in the parks near Moab - and my son loves to scamper over rock. For that of what you've mentioned, given this route, Canyon de Chelly looks promising. Or is there any other park with rock formations in this route? Chaco looks less interesting b/c we'll see ruins at Mesa Verde.

Thank you again! And for all these food recommendations too! We're staying in ABQ for a few days at the beginning and end of this six day road trip so we'll get to sites there you have suggested!
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