Bill & Sandra Wayne's Travel Pages
Our trip to New Mexico, June 2004
June 2004 was busy. The first week we attended the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia virtually each day it was held. The next week was spent mostly getting ready for the trip and preparing for our work with the Blind Boone Music & Arts festival in Warrensburg, June 12th. After a 15 hour day there, getting the Cottage ready on Sunday and prepared for the trip. Monday we had to get our B&B insurance in force as we changed from a company that wanted to more than double our already-high premium to a more reasonable local company. Finally, we left at 1 PM and headed west.
Day 1 we took no pictures. We had reservations at a Holiday Inn Express in Pratt KS (west of Wichita on US-64). The drive was nice - cross country to bypass KC to the south, then the KS turnpike thru the Flint Hills, through Wichita and to Pratt. Had supper at a Mexican restaurant called Playa Azul - pretty typical of what we get in MO. Drive distance about 320 miles.
On Tuesday, June 15, we drove on to Las Vegas NM, a bit over 420 miles. Only one good picture opportunity, the Worlds Largest Hand Dug Well in Greensburg, KS. We had lunch in a little cafe (Rebecca's - we'd recommend it) in Springer NM where we were first asked the NM state question - "red or green." Sandra is now a green chile person. Had our first posole there, too. Downtown Las Vegas was disappointing, with much of the historic district around the square boarded up. The motel, a Comfort Inn, wasn't too great, either - has some sort of crud in the bottom of the hot tub and the staff kind of tried to blow us off. Supper was at Rafael's Restaurant and was excellent.
Wednesday, June 16th we visited Pecos National Historical Park, home of a Pueblo ruin and encompassing the site of the Battle of Glorietta Pass. Good pictures of the pueblo, but no access to the battlefield. Then, drove down to Santa Fe, where we explored various museums around the square. Sandra was fascinated by the artisans at the Palace of the Governors - she just wished she could see them work - but she did talk to a Navajo artist named Ronald Chee. Museums included Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Palace of the Governors and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, where Sandra learned about the various forms of pottery. We also had a green chile tamale on the square, but grabbed a McDrano on the way out of town to Albuquerque.
Thursday, June 17th, was our "anasazi" day. We left Albuquerque and headed north toward Bloomfield. Stopped at a little museum in Aztec, where the tour guide was a stray cat. Continued on north to Durango, which is a very touristy town set in the mountains. Couldn't find a palce we wanted to eat, so headed on west toward Mesa Verde. Stopped at the little town of Mancos where we had an excellent hamburger and home-cut fries at Hamburger Haven. Then it was up the hill to Mesa Verde National Park. Took a whole lot of pictures there.
Friday, June 18th, was the first of our "Tony Hillerman Days," exploring areas mentioned in his books. We left Cortez early and headed out on a county road skirting the north side of Sleeping Ute Mountain. Somewhere near the Colorado-Utah border we saw some good pictures so stopped and shot them. Then we continued on to Hovenweep National Monument where the ancients built towers on top of cliffs. This area is open range, and we saw some wild horses running.
Saturday, June 19th, was a long day of over 400 miles. It started with breakfast at McDonald's as no place else was open. We headed east to Shiprock, where we stopped and talked to a Navajo selling sand paintings, who told us the legend of Ship Rock. Of course, during this stage we were listening to the tape of Hillerman's "The Fallen Man." The rock is quite impressive, standing alone and visible from a long way away. We first saw it from the highway driving north on Thursday and again from the mesa at Mesa Verde.
Monday June 21st, started our trip home with what turned out to be our longest driving day (about 450 miles). We said goodbye to Uncle Murray and headed north on US-70. As we passed White Sands, Sandra was sure we'd get some good pictures so we stopped for a while. Bypassed Alamogordo and deviated from our original plan by heading up US-54 and stopping at Three Rivers Petroglyphs state park, to see some hills full of boulders with glyphs on them - not cliff markings like all the others we'd seen.
Tuesday, June 22nd, was another 400+ mile day that took us to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. We could have spent a whole day there; as it was we skipped some exhibits and didn't spend the time I'd have liked at others. With this museum, the Gilcrease in Tulsa and Woolaroc, who'd have thought that Oklahoma was such a great place for western art.
Wednesday June 23rd was our last day and a bit over 325 miles. The big event here was a stop at Woolaroc, a rather eclectic museum stared by Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips 66 company. We were there last September but didn't get to stay long enough.
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