After leaving Caballo Lake SP, Riverside Campground, we headed north up I-25 for Santa Fe. . .because Jeff wanted to see the city's Christmas lights & decorations. But - it's December, so I had worries about the weather possibilities. Since I do most of our travel plans, it only seemed fair to accomodate Jeff's wishes tho, so off we went on another adventure.
We had planned to go to Hyde Memorial SP in the mountains NE of Santa Fe, but after checking the NM DOT site on the way up, it showed the road leading to the SP closed or at least snow/ice covered. Time to stir the jello - & decided to go to Santa Fe Skies RV Park, SW of town, right off I-25 - expensive but neccesary. Also, since the front right tire on the pickup was flat that morning, we spent all morning getting that fixed - well, just aired up, no cause for going flat, & didn't get on the road until noon. Guess it just needed winter air in it, but that delay got us to Santa Fe right at sunset.
Saturday was full of new experiences. We headed east on I-40 to Las Vegas (NM, not NV), then north to check 5 more NM State Parks that are along the other side of the mountains east of Santa Fe.
First was Storrie Lake, just north of Las Vegas. Besides the lake being low (no surprise), the campground was small, close sites, & not interesting at all. Next up the road was Morphy Lake SP. Oh my, this is my vision of a mountain lake campground!! The road (more one-lane blacktopped trail in places) was a very steep, twisty route out of a valley & up over a mountain to descend into the campground on the other side. The Park was technically closed, but I crawled thru the gate to walk down to the lake. Just gorgeous!! More campsites were beyond where I walked so I'm not sure about cell phone or satellite TV reception. Definitely gona return sometime tho. Finally, we checked out Coyotte Creek SP as it was open. Nestled in a wide valley, not heavily forested, had definite possibilities.
Unfortunately, these mountain roads had very low speed limits & took longer than I'd planned. So, instead of continuing north to see what we could see at Eagle Nest SP (closed for the winter) & Cimarron Canyon SP, we turned west on Hwy 64 toward Taos. We went thru the kewl mountain town of Angel Fire which is lake town in the summer & a ski town in the winter. Then we went up, over, & down the mountain east of Taos. Fantastic!
Several weeks before, I had contacted Deonne Kahler, a Scamp owner who lives in Taos & blogs ( here) about her travels. Since we didn't see all the state parks we'd planned, we suprised Deonne by getting into Taos earlier than expected. We met her at the historic Taos Inn in the old part of town, but had time to get something to eat before she arrived. I had a scrumpuous shrimp quesadilla, unlike anything some place like Taco Bell could ever fix. We had a great visit with Deonne & in fact stayed longer than planned.
It was nearly dark by the time we headed south down the canyon along the Rio Grande River to Santa Fe. We don't do much after-dark driving anymore, so that trip was more tense than it would've been during daylight hours.Thankfully, we traveled this route three years ago when going from Pagosa Springs to San Antonio. No problems on the highway, & even stopped along the way for a cheap gas fillup. Trying to navigate in the dark to Santa Fe's Plaza to view the Christmas Lights required several turn arounds to finally get there. Finally, Jeff got to see a large light display. New Mexico also includes lots of luminaries this time of year. These are paper sacks with sand & a small candle inside sitting all along (flat) roof tops & balconies. Very festive. But it was a l-o-n-g & exciting day & returning to the trailer & Kira felt really, really good.
We only spent two nights near Santa Fe, & headed south again to the only Coast to Coast campground in NM, Hidden Valley RV Resort, east of Albuquerque in the mountains near Tijaras, to hole up during Christmas until New Years Day.