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Traveling Them Thar Hills

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Petroglyphs National Monument Albq, NM

Our recent visit to Petroglyphs National Monument, in Albuquerque was our very first encounter with petroglyphs in person – we have seen them in books, or on television documentaries, but to see them up close and personal was wonderful.  It was very interesting to see these images etched on the rocks, made by Pueblo Indians up to 700 years ago. These pictures were their way to communicate before they had written language.  It’s also very interesting to read what present day Archeologists have to say about what they think these all mean. I could go on all day from the material we saw, and it I sure would be a kick to know what they REALLY were trying to convey in some of the pictures left behind. Many of them look like aliens that might have returned to Roswell in 1947;  something to ponder – modern mankind really can have no idea what these ancient peoples saw. 

There are 4 different areas in west Albuquerque – actually in the city limits – on one side of the street, one will find ancient petroglyphs, and on the other side of the street modern homes and shops. We picked two areas that allow dogs on the trail to explore; they happen to be the trails with the most Petroglyphs also.  We only allowed time to walk one area, it was an easy walk on a sandy trail at the Rinconada Canyon trail; roundtrip was 2.2 miles.  There are approximately 1200 Petroglyphs etched into rocks along this one trail alone.  Calle and I will do the other area called Piedras Marcadas Canyon while Michelle is in Salt Lake.  That canyon has some 5000 documented Petroglyphs. 

Below are just some of the ones that choose to reveal themselves to us!


Taking it much slower in ALBQ

We have just started a month-long stay in Albuquerque to regroup after 4 months without full hookups.  We were going to stay at the Elks Lodge, but because of the repairs I need to do to the RV I wanted full hookups; didn’t want the hassle of moving to drain tanks. Michelle will be leaving for Salt Lake City on Sunday the 15th to see our sweet little Granddaughter and she won’t be back until the first week of April.  Meanwhile, I will be busy with some RV upkeep: replacing the house batteries that don’t hold a charge worth a dang anymore, fixing plumbing leaks from some of the bone jarring roads we’ve been on, and I’m sure I will find other things needing my attention. Plus the blackberry needs a complete wash as well as the RV and car. The weather has been great so far, we have seen Old Town and the Petroglyph Monument  and tomorrow we are heading out for a day trip up to Santa Fe on Old Hwy 14, better know in these parts as the “Turquoise Trail”. We look forward to a scenic trip, approximately 60 miles of ghost towns, rejuvenated old towns, old churches, museums, and at the end, a farmers market and good old New Mexican cooking in Santa Fe.

When Michelle returns from Utah, we start our journey back up that way, staying about a month in Park City with little one again, (can’t  get enough of that baby time!) and then on to Bend for a two-week stop over and then to the Oregon Coast for our summer of volunteering; third year in a row and still, loving it!

As the Highway Men Say:

“the road goes on forever, and the party never ends!”


Salinas Pueblo Missions

We spent the afternoon traveling between the three Pueblo Ruin sites, called the Salinas Pueblo Missions, that are around Mountainair, New Mexico. The start of this journey, at the visitor center, was about 12 miles from where we were staying at Manzano Mtn State Park. 

The three sites are named Quarai, Gran Quivira, and Abo. These sites were home to many Pueblo Indians for centuries and we found them all fascinating and the rangers at each site were friendly and helpful.  

Quarai was a Tiwa-speaking pueblo at the foot of the Manzano Mtns, it was a thriving pueblo like Abo when first visited by Juan de Ornate in 1598. 

Gran Quivira is on a knoll protruding from Chupadera Mesa. It was the largest of the Salinas (Spanish for salt) Pueblos. It was also known as the Pueblo de Las Humanus or “town of the striped ones” due to the custom of painted and striped faces seen at this Pueblo. 

Abo was a thriving community when first visited by Spaniards in 1581. Abo was thought to have meant “water bowl,” another interpretation  was “poor place.”

As the Highway Men Say:

“the road goes on forever, and the party never ends!”


Manzano Mtn State Park

We enjoyed a few sunny days at Sumner Lake State Park, just outside of Fort Sumner New Mexico, before we left I called the Ranger at Manzano Mountain State Park just to see how much snow was still at the campsite and how the road conditions up to the camp ground were.  I was a bit worried due to the fact that the elevation is 7,600 feet;  he let me know there was just a bit of snow left under the trees where there was shade and that the road is fine. So I asked him if a 40 foot 34,000 lb rig would have any problem – his opinion was there should be no problem.   We were delighted and took off down the road.  As the Highway Men say: The road goes on forever and the party never ends! 

We got to the quaint little village of Mountainair and turned right, off the main highway for the road up to the campground in the pine trees. We didn’t unhook the Jeep, we just kept on going. The last 3/4 mile was a slippery, wet, red dirt road up an 8% grade. Huey was  laboring a tad, and the back wheels were spinning and sending red dirt and mud to the back. The Harley, and the once white jeep both have a red tint to them! What a job it’s going to be to clean the Old Blackberry up. We are the ONLY people up here at this very small park, does that say something about our sanity lol.  Would we come again: yes and no.  No at this time of year. Yes to see the Salinas Pueblo Ruins again, which will be another post. 

As the Highway Men Say:

“the road goes on forever, and the party never ends!

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Sumner Lake SP/Ft Sumner NM

Fort Sumner is know as the final resting place of Billy the Kid. He has a bunch of names that he went by. William H Bonney or William Antrim also born William Henry Mc Carty Jr 11/23/1859, died July 14, 1881. New Mexico and southern Arizona have so many things related to him. He’s a legend in New Mexico and his 21 years of life must have been very quick. He was shot by Pat Garrett. The way he met his end is the big question. Conventional wisdom takes after the book that was written by Pat Garrett. There is a museum in Fort Sumner as well as many other places in New Mexico.  He is buried in Fort Sumner next to two of his buddies who also participated in the Lincoln County wars. 

Sumner Lake State Park is a very quiet park and campground well off the beaten path. We were the only ones there with a wonderful view of the lake. A group of deer twice daily would come through our site. 

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Bottomless Lake State Park Roswell NM

After a windy and rather chilly trip from Carlsbad to Roswell, we arrived at Bottomless Lake State Park. We arrived to find only 3 other sites taken, so it was nice to have our pick of lake view camping spaces.  The clear, deep little lakes that are scattered throughout the park are pristine and just beautiful to see, the plentiful waterfowl thought so too.  

It was cloudy, windy and cold, with the high for the day, a whopping 31 degrees. Within an hour it was lightly snowing, what’s with this? Not doing too well with our motto to follow 68 degrees.  We couldn’t see much of the park, but we were hoping by morning it would clear off. Morning came and it was foggy, so we decided to head into Roswell and see what all the Alien fuss is about. I checked out the International UFO Museum & Research Center, while Michelle checked out nearby tourist shops (traps) selling everything alien.   

Back at Huey that evening, we happened to see the UFO museum on the local news, apparently about 15 minutes before I went through, a reporter was interviewing people because of recently discovered slides that supposedly are authentic slides taken at the site of the alien space craft crash landing on a ranchers field just outside of Roswell.   It should be interesting to see what this is all about.  The slides have been authenticated by Kodak Film to guarantee they have not been tampered with or altered in any way. They will be unveiled to the public for the first time in Mexico City May 5th, so that it is out of the hands of The US government.  The government is the main reason for so much popularity of the so called “Roswell incident” of July 4th, 1947.  Below are some pictures of what I thought was most interesting at the museum. The other pictures are of Bottomless Lake State Park after the sun came out and it warmed up!

And then there was a piece from the wreckage that’s been handed down through families. It hasn’t been proven real or not real. 

Bottomless Lake which was created by a limestone sink hole. It’s 90 feet deep, clear and actually a very beautiful blue. A divers paradise. It’s part of 5 small sinkholes along this ridge.

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Brantley Lake SP Carlsbad NM

the trip here was not real enjoyable. For over a week we have delayed moving and have dodged numerous Artic Blasts here in New Mexico. So it’s been either cold, wind, or snow. The prediction on the day we moved to Brantley was suppose to be clearing with a breeze. Well they blew it big time, it was blowing hard at the pass at Ruidoso and on the east side of the pass started snowing. Here’s a picture of the start, I didn’t taking anymore after this one as I was concentrating on moving 36,000 pounds and 60 foot of vehicle down the road. But we do know this comes with the territory of our lifestyle. 

Here’s a picture of the lake from our site. In the distance you can see the spillway on the dam.  Also a couple of pictures of signs I enjoyed. 

Then one cold and rainy day we drove the 50 miles to Carlsbad Caverns. What a tour it turned out being. We took the natural entrance in and down the 800 feet 2 mile walk in the caverns. Then because of the time we took enjoying the walk we took the elevator back up. What a trip it was. We took two flashlights with us. You need them because it’s very dim on the path through the caverns. Pictures are very hard to take with the low light. I found using the flashlight helped see things right next to you. Pretty amazing things in fact you wouldn’t see if you didn’t shine the rocks and objects formed through time. So here are the pictures I took in very low light and sorry for the poor quality. I wish I had my daughters camera!

That’s Michelle at the natural entrance. 


Oliver Lee State Park

Its south of Alamogordo, New Mexico at the foothills of the Sacramento Mtns at the opening of Dog Canyon. What a place for a hike and New Mexico history. 

Oliver M. Lee

Francois-Jean “Frenchy” Rochas

Albert Fountain

Dog Canyon

Sacramento Mtns

Lincoln National Forest

White Sands National Monument

New Mexico Museum of Space History