I left on September 17 and got home on November 6 for a total of 51 days. I traveled 5,823 miles, entered 11 different states, including 3 states I had never been to (Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico). I spent just under $600 for gas. The average price I paid was $2.47/gal. My van got 24.2 miles per gallon.
Thirteen of those days I was with two separate Road Scholar Tours and I spent 5 days with my friend Suzanne in and around Santa Fe. Otherwise, I was traveling by myself.
Below is a list of places I went during my trip:
- 5 National Parks (Hot Springs, Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, Big Bend and Petrified Forest)
- 6 National Monuments (El Morro, El Malpais, White Sands, Salinas Missions, Bandelier, Petroglyph)
- 2 National Historic Sites (Manhattan Project and Fort Davis)
- 2 National Battlefields (Pea Ridge and Wilson’s Creek)
- 2 National Memorials (Oklahoma City and Coronado)
- 2 state parks (Smokey Bear and the Alamo)
- Trails of Tears Memorial in Waynesville, Mo. at Roubidoux Springs
- 1 city park (The Gathering Place in Tulsa, OK)
- 10 art museums (McNay, Philbrook, National Cowboy and Western Heritage, Briscoe, O’Keeffe, International Folk Art, Crystal Bridges, Gilcrease, New Mexico Museum of Art, Indian Arts & Crafts)
- Museum of Native American History
- Pueblo Cultural Center (history, culture and art of the 19 New Mexican Pueblos)
- Balloon Museum
- Laumeier Outdoor Sculpture Park
- Uranium Mining Museum
- Laura Ingalls Wilder home
- 2 hot springs experiences (Hot Springs in Arkansas and Ojo Caliente in New Mexico)
- Ate lunch and shopped in Ojinaga, Mexico
- Spent an evening in Terlingua Ghost Town, Texas
In addition to driving I traveled in a balloon at the International Balloon Festival and a train between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado on the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad and rode many, many miles in passenger vans with my Road Scholar hiking group.
While I was driving I drove Route 66 when I could. I saw the Blue Whale; Cadillac Ranch; the 75 foot tall Golden Driller; had breakfast and bought root beer at Pops, had lunch at Tally’s Cafe in Tulsa and dinner at The Big Texan in Gallup, New Mexico all on Route 66; saw a round barn built in 1898; stayed in Cuba, Missouri, a town on Route 66 that is living in the 50’s and saw murals in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
I got to participate in two outdoor festivals: The International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and the Day of the Dead Parade in San Antonio.
I always get asked what I liked best about a trip. While there were so many things that I did and really enjoyed I think the best part was going to the “off the grid” home of an artist near Terlingua, Texas. I was totally fascinated. Since I travel to learn that certainly was an opportunity to see and learn about a lifestyle as different from mine as anywhere I’ve been.
Although it looks like I did a lot, and I did, but there was still so much I didn’t get to do. New Mexico is one of the prettiest and most interesting places I’ve been. Some day I will go back (and maybe stay in one of those off-the-grid AirBNB’s!)