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Old 10-14-2021, 04:57 PM   #1
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Route Ideas-Stops Tuscon to and Through New Mexico

Hi-My wife and I will be traveling from Tuscon late October and heading East starting in New Mexico. I was looking for any advice or ideas on any great spots or stops that could be fun. We can spend a week or 10 days in NM. We might go up as far north as Santa Fe or further but eventually will be heading back towards TX and the coast.

We are mid 50's very active, bike, hike adventurous and really enjoy activities or attractions that are unique and special. We have a 27 Foot AS and would welcome any ideas. Oh and we love to eat good grub!

Thanks everyone.
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Old 10-14-2021, 06:16 PM   #2
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Visit Chaco https://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm for an absolutely amazing experience.

They have a small campground, which may not accommodate your RV, but itís also a rough road in and you might prefer to stay in a campground nearby and drive in.

Or take a small tent or car camp, so you have the experience of being in there at night.

Have a great trip.

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Old 10-14-2021, 07:10 PM   #3
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Check out Carlsbad caverns. Spectacular! The drive from El Paso to Carlsbad runs right by Guadalupe Mtns.

Also lots to see at White Sands. We recently stayed a week at Midtown Mountain in Ruidoso-great location and great hosts. Easy walk to eat out. Short drive to MTB at Cedar Creek. Easy access to Capitan and Lincoln County. White Oaks ghost town. Cloudcroft.

Thereís a ton to see around Santa Fe, Taos, Angel Fire and Red River. Especially if you like fly fishing and biking.

Weíve spent 6-8 weeks in these areas over the past couple of years (easy drive from TX).
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:12 PM   #4
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BTW, let me know if you need ideas for TX.
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:59 PM   #5
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Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake, an Army Corps of Engineers site, is located within the boundaries of the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation. Cochiti Lake is on the Rio Grande, about half way between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Cochiti Dam is one of the ten largest earthfill dams in the US. It is one of the four units for flood and sediment control on the Rio Grande, operating in conjunction with Galisteo, Jemez Canyon, and Abiquiu Dams.

My wife and I just spent two days there. Nice, quiet, and within striking distance of both ABQ and Santa Fe. Power and water at most sites, $20/ nite.

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/485
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Old 10-14-2021, 08:55 PM   #6
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If you're going up by Santa Fe you may as well see Las Vegas, go down to the town square, see the old drug store still going strong and the haunted Plaza hotel, have lunch at the newly renovated Casteneda hotel on Railroad Ave (an old Harvey House hotel). Across from the Casteneda there is a great antique shop full of Harvey memorabilia. We were there in July and AOL had the entire hotel booked through the year for the series they are filming but you can still eat there.
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:29 AM   #7
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Look up the Lincoln County war. Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett. Several historic spots to visit in the area
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:33 AM   #8
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I would second Chaco Canyon, which we visited this May. However, after driving the dirt road in at about 13 mph, we had a number of cabinet doors on the floor, the gas range was sticking half way out into the air, and numerous other problems caused by the rough road. One of the camp hosts had his AC detach, and another hostís brand new fifth wheel had overhead cabinets collapse and destroy his bed. After repairs by my husband, we drove out at about 6 mph and made it with no problems. So beware and go slow. It was worth it but probably once is enough.

Can also recommend Black Canyon Campground - a forest service campground 5 miles outside of Santa Fe. No cell service but a handy location for a Santa Fe visit.
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kdfulsome54 View Post
Look up the Lincoln County war. Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett. Several historic spots to visit in the area
The jail that once briefly held Billy the Kid is in the back of Tito's jewelry store in downtown Las Vegas.
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:39 AM   #10
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Here are a few we have enjoyed

Gila Cliff Dwellings NM https://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htm
https://www.blm.gov/visit/three-rivers-petroglyph-site
https://www.nps.gov/foun/index.htm Fort Union, there are other forts as well
Take a tour of Taos Pueblo
Take a hike in White Sands NP - https://www.nps.gov/whsa/planyourvis...ture-trail.htm was awesome
New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo

There is so much to do in NM, it really depends upon your specific interests.
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Old 10-15-2021, 10:43 AM   #11
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Dead Horse campground is a gem and tons to do around the vicinity. Get there thru Jerome and stay a week.
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Old 10-15-2021, 01:26 PM   #12
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To get to NM from Tucson, you have to go north at some point. I have been looping through the SW for the last 6 years, full time in my 27. A loose trip idea would be:

Tucson to the Grand Canyon for hiking. The Grand Canyon in fall/winter is stunning. Or, flagstaff for MTB as well as hiking and day trip access to the GC.

Grand Canyon/ flagstaff along I40 (be patient, it is a drag, just get an early start to battle the construction delays) to Santa Fe. Drop the trailer and spend a couple days in Santa Fe eating, shopping, MTB/hiking. Take a day trip up the High Road to taos through Chimayo, then down the River road. Lots of hiking as well as MTB.

Head south to elephant butte and a visit to truth or consequences which has great food, hot springs, and a great hike to waterfalls that are starting to ice up just outside of elephant butte.

Head south to Carlsbad, absolutely an epic day long exploring caverns. Pay for the deep tour, well worth the extra money. Decent food in the cafeteria after spending all day exploring the caverns.

Head south to Guadalupe national monument, dry camping in the parking lot. Exceptional hiking.

Since you are headed to the coast, drop all the way down to Marfa, big bend, marathon, presidio, ft Dixon, alpine, Davis observatory, etc, then head east to the coast.

I have done this loop many times (not starting from Tucson, but the Grand Canyon or Santa Fe), and will probably do it this November/December.

Safe travels!
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 1Lucille View Post
Dead Horse campground is a gem and tons to do around the vicinity. Get there thru Jerome and stay a week.
You do not want to tow your Airstream through Jerome. The road is narrow and winding and there are numerous signs warning you not to. Dead Horse State Park is a wonderful place to stay. I live less than an hour away and stay there frequently. I get there from I-17 and AZ-260.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:10 PM   #14
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Las Vegas NM

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Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
If you're going up by Santa Fe you may as well see Las Vegas, go down to the town square, see the old drug store still going strong and the haunted Plaza hotel, have lunch at the newly renovated Casteneda hotel on Railroad Ave (an old Harvey House hotel). Across from the Casteneda there is a great antique shop full of Harvey memorabilia. We were there in July and AOL had the entire hotel booked through the year for the series they are filming but you can still eat there.
While I have not visited LV yet, planning next year. I have also been told LV is the series film setting for the mythical town of Durant Wy, home base for Longmire.
We have visited Buffalo WY and highly recommend a visit if you ever head that way.
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:45 PM   #15
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Thumbs up

We live in South Florida and drove west this past spring. Some places were just starting to open (from Covid) but others were still closed. Hopefully all will be well when you start your trip. White Sands National Park is a must see. But get up and arrive early. We got there before the ranger officially opened the gate, but we could just drive through it to photograph a fantastic full moon-set and a spectacular sunrise.

We stayed at the Alamogordo KOA, and although not usually a fan of KOAs, this one was incredible. Need to do laundry? My wife was very impressed by the facilities. We spent about 3 nights there. Great service from the folks there.

If you are near Alamogordo, you should visit Cloudcroft, a "ski" village at 9.000 ft. Incredible craft brewery and pizza. Just a short drive from the KOA. There is also the National Solar Observatory up there.

Another must see is Three Rivers Petroglyph Site with a BLM campground. The glyphs (31,000) are easy to see and fun to hike around the rocks finding new ones. We did not camp there because we didn't know about it at the time, but it is really an amazing place.

On US 60 West towards Arizona (you could do this backwards of what we did), there are some cool things to see: the Very Large Array on the plains of St. Augustin. The world's largest radio telescope. Talk about dark skies! It was closed to visitors because of covid, but it might be open now. They used the telescopes as background for a Jodie Foster movie called Contact. A nice short stop for a break from driving. Nearby are two BLM campgrounds: Valley of Fires (some electric and water and nice showers and bathrooms). We stayed for a couple of nights at Datil Well (another BLM) and fell in love with this campground. Not many campers but beautiful large campsites with privacy. The campground host provides free firewood too.

If you are on Highway 60, you MUST stop at Pie Town, NM. It is on the Continental Divide. There used to be 4 pie restaurants, now there is only one. And wow, is it great. Closed on Tuesdays. So Wednesday morning we had blueberry pie and ice cream for breakfast. So good we came back for lunch (they will make you anything) because it was awesome. Truckers stop by for pie all the time. Everyone so welcoming and friendly. There is a small RV Park (6 spots, FH) in Pie Town itself. There is also a windmill museum...crazy.

As others said, Carlsbad Caverns, too. Again, we were traveling during Covid, and you had to have reservations to get in. We arrived early afternoon and were able to get tickets for immediate entry by walking to the ticket booth. We took the elevator 700 ft down and did the big room. The most incredible cave I have seen and we have been in a lot of them. We liked it so much, we went back the next morning and hiked down the natural entrance. WOW! You also end up in the Big Room and can take the elevator up to get out. The snack bar was not open in the bottom of the cave, but topside had a small cafe with very few options. Loved that cave, though.

Also stayed in Roswell for a couple of nights. Great UFO museum if you like that kind of stuff.

Finally, I second the motion for South Texas. We spent a week in Big Bend NP, stayed at Rio Grande Trailer Village for a week (FH, but only about 20 sites, reserve early if you want FH) If you are into Boondocking, this is the park to go to. Not all roads are paved, but there is a beautiful spot easy to get to...it is the first campsite off the paved road to Grapevine Hills. Gotta reserve it though. Perfect for any size AS.

We spent a week in the park, driving and hiking. Don't miss Big Bend STATE PARK as well. Be sure to drive Farm Road 170 along the Rio Grande from Lajitas to Presidio. Amazing scenery. We did not tow our AS, but you probably could.

Also loved Marfa (don't miss the Prada art installation outside town as well as the "Giant" movie from the 1950's great cutouts along the side of the road. Be sure to get out of your vehicle to hear the music! Alpine is a lovely town with a few great restaurants.

Hope this helps and have a wonderful, safe trip!
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Old 10-15-2021, 02:59 PM   #16
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Okay, a few corrections here. You do not have to go north from Tucson to get to NM, it's called Interstate 10.

Chaco canyon is cool, but as stated, it's 16 miles of bad washboard road that WILL shake things loose.

Taos pueblo is closed to visitors for Covid as are most of the pueblos in NM. Bandelier near Los Alamos is open and is another neat site.
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Old 10-15-2021, 03:04 PM   #17
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I'm not sure what a previous poster said about "going north out of Tucson to get to New Mexico".......?....... Take I-10 out of Tucson and you go SOUTH to southern NM.......straight across the bottom of the country to Deming, Las Cruces and El Paso. A detour up to Silver City is a nice stop; it's a great small town. I would recommend that once you're past El Paso you might want to drop south at Van Horn onto Texas Route 90, which takes you through Marfa (stay at the Marfa Yacht Club, almost exclusively Airstreams), Alpine, Marathon and points south (Big Bend NP)..... Then on to San Antonio. Enjoy!
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:38 PM   #18
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Passing through El Paso, day or night is just nuts these days. Consider taking from the 10 the 375 loop (Transmountain N.E.) around El Paso, joins back with 10 E just east of Southview. Just be careful when you join back in with the 10 the posted speed limit is 80 MPH for cars and trucks. Yep I have seen 5 wheels pulling at that speed and lose both right side tires. Nasty.
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:40 PM   #19
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If you're going up by Santa Fe you may as well see Las Vegas, go down to the town square, see the old drug store still going strong and the haunted Plaza hotel, have lunch at the newly renovated Casteneda hotel on Railroad Ave (an old Harvey House hotel). Across from the Casteneda there is a great antique shop full of Harvey memorabilia. We were there in July and AOL had the entire hotel booked through the year for the series they are filming but you can still eat there.
Not sure why I said AOL is filming in LV, meant to say Amazon.
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:44 PM   #20
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Heads up. News just posted. New Mexico Governor is extending State's indoor mask requirement. Be prepared.
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