Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Petrified Forest National Park

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  • Website link: Petrified Forest National Park
  • Cost: $20.00 per car (one week pass)
  • Hiking, biking (on paved roads), backpacking, horseback riding, backcountry camping with permit
  • Scenic drive
  • Historic Landmarks
  • Museums
  • Picnic areas
  • Restaurant in the park
  • Accommodations and restaurants in Holbrook, Arizona (30 miles west on I-40 or US Highway 180). Check out the Wigwam Motel for some Route 66 nostalgia. Here’s a link: Wigwam Motel. RV campgrounds also available in Holbrook.
  • When to go: anytime, but note that summer temperatures can be very high.

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The Teepees

Petrified Forest National Park is 208 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has a major airport. This is our starting point, so gas up the car, drop the top, and turn on some golden oldies. We’re going to get some kicks on Route 66!

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From Albuquerque, take I-40 west toward Gallup, New Mexico via Grants. Cross the Arizona state line and continue on I-40 to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Albuquerque and Petrified Forest: 3 hours.

*Recommended hotels in Albuquerque: Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express

Campgrounds and RV parks are also available in Albuquerque.

Bonus stop: El Malpais National Monument. Website link: El Malpais. Stop by the visitor center in Grants, New Mexico then head south on Highway 53 to the monument. Entrance is free. Drive time between Albuquerque and Grants: 1 hour. Drive time between Grants and El Malpais: 30 minutes.

Bonus stop: El Morro National Monument. Only 15 minutes from El Malpais on Highway 53. Entrance is free. Website link: El Morro.

*Recommended hotel in Grants: Holiday Inn Express

RV parks are also available in Grants.

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From El Morrow National Monument take Highway 53 west to Highway 602 north to Gallup, New Mexico. Drive time: 1 hour.

Continue west on I-40 to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Gallup and Petrified Forest: 1 hour.

⇒Side Trip: Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Located 86 miles north of Grants via Highway 509. Cost: $25.00 per vehicle for a one week pass. Camping available, but no RV hook-ups. Closest hotels and restaurants are approximately 1.5 hours north of the park. Here’s the website link: Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Backtrack to Grants to resume your journey to Petrified Forest National Park. Drive time between Chaco Culure and Grants: 2 hours.

Destination: Petrified Forest National Park

This is a big park! The park road is 28 miles long and includes many pull outs and stops. Come for the scenery and the learning experience. (We also like the nostalgia of Route 66.) There are photo ops around every turn, and as you will see, the sights in the park are spectacular. Be sure to stop at the visitor centers, the Painted Desert Inn Museum, and the Rainbow Forest Museum. The park also features archaeological sites, including Puerco Pueblo, Newspaper Rock, and Agate House. Theodore Roosevelt did us all a favor when he made Petrified Forest a national monument in 1906. It became a national park 56 years later in 1962.

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Petrified Tree Trunk
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Wood turned to stone
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These logs appear to have been cut and purposely placed here by an ancient lumberjack.

Below are some up-close views of the beauty of the petrified wood. Just look at those colors!

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Where else can you see this?
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Or this?
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Painted Desert Vista
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Another view of Painted Desert
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Oh, the colors!

Much of the park can be seen from the car, but we highly recommend getting out, taking a hike on or off the trails (see website), and absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells this amazing place has to offer.

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⇒Side trip: Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Entrance is free. Website link: Canyon de Chelly.

Take I-40 east to Chambers, Arizona. At Chambers, take Highway 191 north toward Ganado, Arizona.

Bonus stopHubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Website link: Hubbell Trading Post. Cost: $5.00 per person to tour the Hubbell Home. Kids 15 and under are admitted free.

Continue north to Chinle, Arizona and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Drive time between Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly: 1.5 hours.

This concludes our trip to Petrified Forest National Park. Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoyed the journey. We would love to hear from you, so leave us a comment and tell us about your road trips. In closing, we are leaving you with one last photo because it reminds us of a vintage postcard that might have been found in a Route 66 curio shop back in the day!

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Hoodoos

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

Featured

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go To Fort Union National Monument

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  • Website link: Fort Union
  • Cost: free
  • Hours vary seasonally
  • Short film in the visitor center about the history of the fort
  • Self-guided or ranger-led tours of the grounds
  • When to go: anytime

Fort Union National Monument is:

150 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and since Albuquerque has a major airport, we will start our adventure from there. Let’s go!

*Recommended hotels in Albuquerque: Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express.

Campgrounds and RV parks are also available in Albuquerque.

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Prairie near Fort Union. Imagine a wagon train ambling along the Santa Fe Trail here. Aside from the barbwire fences, this scene probably hasn’t changed much in the last 150 years.

Getting There

From Albuquerque take I-25 north toward Santa Fe. At Santa Fe continue on I-25/US 84 east toward Glorietta and Pecos, New Mexico.

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Bonus stop: Pecos National Historical Park. We love this park so much that we have recommended it on our site before. Take the self-guided tour to see the remains of a pueblo that was built around 800 AD. Plan to spend a couple of hours here. The visitor center is very interesting and definitely worth a visit. Here’s a link: Pecos National Historic Park.

Continue northeast on I-25/US 84 toward Las Vegas, New Mexico, then continue north to the town of Waltrous. Follow the signs from Waltrous to Fort Union. Drive time between Albuquerque and Fort Union: 2.25 hours.

Hotels, restaurants, and RV/tent camping available 30 minutes away in Las Vegas, New Mexico

Destination: Fort Union National Monument

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Fort Union’s Officer’s Row

Fort Union was an important outpost on the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was originally established in 1851 to be a supply depot and living quarters for soldiers serving to protect travelers and traders on the trail. With the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, better living conditions were needed, and the fort’s original wooden buildings were refurbished or rebuilt with adobe and brick. Larger supply warehouses were added at that time, and Fort Union began providing supplies to all the forts in the region.

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Mechanic’s Corral. This is where they worked on the vehicles of the day.
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Post Commander’s Quarters
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Detail of the Hospital Walls

Fort Union’s hospital was once the largest and finest medical facility between Kansas and California, serving soldiers and civilians alike. Even after the Civil War, the post continued to operate with soldiers in place to protect the Santa Fe Trail. The hospital continued to operate during this time, too. However, with the advent of the railroad, the Santa Fe Trail became less traveled, and the fort was abandoned in 1891. Some wheel ruts on the trail can still be seen at Fort Union.

Below are additional shots of the buildings.

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This concludes our Fort Union National Monument post. Thank you for joining us on our journey. We hope you will return every week as we post more great road trips. Please leave us note below and tell us about your journeys. We would love to hear from you. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Taos, New Mexico

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Taos Pueblo

Northern New Mexico is a breath of fresh air – literally. The air is clean, the skies are bright, and the mountains are majestic! While visiting Taos you will be able to learn about its historic past, see world class art, and enjoy great food, all in a casual, laid-back atmosphere! Taos is also a year-round hub for a multitude of outdoor sports, and opportunities for sightseeing abound.

  • The perfect destination for a long weekend.
  • A great get away for couples.
  • When to visit: anytime, but we like September and October. Snow sports enthusiasts will love Taos in the winter months.

Taos is approximately:

133 miles from Albuquerque, NM70 miles from Santa Fe New Mexico295 miles from Amarillo, Texas290 miles from Denver, Colorado

This road trip is going to start from the closest major airport, which is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’re so glad to have you along for the ride!

Getting There

*Recommended hotels in Albuquerque: Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express, several locations to choose from.

procsimpleOX63LBZ7*Recommended restaurant in Albuquerque: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen – 5011 Pan American Freeway NE.

Travel tip: We highly recommend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes place every October. Click this link for information.

From Albuquerque, take I-25 north to Santa Fe. Drive time between Albuquerque and Santa Fe: 1 hour.

Alternate recommended route: (Scenic Turquoise Trail) From Albuquerque, take I-40 east to Highway 14 north toward Madrid. Bonus stop: Madrid, New Mexico. Once a ghost town, Madrid is now a thriving artist community. Drive time between Albuquerque and Madrid: 1 hour. Continue on to Santa Fe via Highway 14. Drive time between Madrid and Santa Fe: 40 minutes.

Bonus Stop: Santa Fe. 

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Santa Fe)

Travel tip: If you can’t spend a few days in Santa Fe, at least stop for a few hours to explore the plaza. Plan a trip back when you can spend some time exploring everything this historic city has to offer.

*Recommended attractions in Santa Fe: Santa Fe Plaza, Palace of the Governors, Canyon Road Art Galleries, Loretto Chapel, San Miguel Chapel, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe Railyard. (We have heard that Meow Woof is a must-do in Santa Fe, but we haven’t been there yet.)

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Rail Runner train at Santa Fe Railyard

Suggested hotel in Santa Fe: Holiday Inn Express.

*Recommended hotel in Santa Fe: Inn on the Alameda. Within walking distance of the plaza and Canyon Road galleries. Free breakfast. Click this link for Inn on the Alameda

*Recommended restaurants in Santa Fe: The Shed – 113 E Palace Avenue, at the plaza, and The Pink Adobe – 406 Old Santa Fe Trail.

⇒Side trip: Pecos National Historical Park. From Santa Fe, take I-25 toward Glorietta, then Highway 50 east to Pecos, New Mexico and follow the signs to the park. View the ruins of a pueblo that was built around 800 AD. Allow at least two hours to see the site via a self-guided walking tour. The visitor center museum is extremely interesting. Drive time between Santa Fe and Pecos National Historical Park: 40 minutes. We highly recommend a visit to this park! Click here for information.

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Church building at Pecos National Historical Park

(High Road to Taos) From Santa Fe take Highway 84/285 north toward Pojoaque, then take Highway 503 east via Highway 98 to Chimayo. Bonus stop: historic Santuario de Chimayo. Learn about El Posito, a hole with supposed healing powers in its dirt. From Chimayo, take Highway 76 north to Cordova, then Truchas. Continue on Highway 76 toward Penasco. Bonus stop: historic Church of San Jose de la Gracia in Las Trampas for a quick photo op and a brief history lesson. Highway 76 takes you all the way to Penasco where it merges into Highway 518, which takes you to Ranchos de Taos. At Ranchos de Taos, turn east on to US 64 to Taos. Although these directions sound complicated, they’re not. This drive is scenic and definitely worth the time. Drive time between Santa Fe and Taos: 2.5 hours.

(Low Road to Taos) At Santa Fe, take US 84 West, then 285 North toward Espanola, then take Highway 68 to Taos. Drive time between Santa Fe and Taos: 1.5 hours.

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The Church of San Jose de la Gracia (Las Trampas)

Destination: Taos, New Mexico

Suggested hotel in Taos: The Historic Taos Inn.

*Recommended hotels in Taos: El Pueblo Lodge – Here’s a link, and Hampton Inn.

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*Recommended restaurants in Taos: The Gorge Bar & Grill – 103 East Plaza. Eat outside on the second floor patio overlooking the plaza, and Mondo Italiano Taos – 832 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur. Good Italian food.

We will let you make your own itinerary, but the following are some of our favorite things to do in Taos:

The Plaza. Walk the square, check out the unique shops and boutiques, pick up a box of chocolates at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and stop in at one of the plaza’s restaurants for drinks and a meal. Travel tip: there are some great shops and restaurants just off of the plaza, too.

Taos Pueblo. Take a guided walking tour of the pueblo. Learn the history of the site and of the people who have called this sacred ground home for over one thousand years. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Very well worth the price of the tour and a tip for the tour guide. Plan to spend two hours here.

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Taos Pueblo

Hot Air Balloon Ride. For the thrill of a lifetime, take an early morning hot air balloon flight. Dip into the Rio Grande Gorge, touch down on the river, then float high above the plateaus for spectacular views of the gorge and the mountains with glimpses of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. End your flight with a glass of champagne. We recommend Pueblo Balloon Company for this half day excursion! Here’s a link: Pueblo Balloon Company.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Take US Highway 64 West from Taos. Park on the west side, and walk across the bridge, which sits 650 feet above the river! Look for desert big horn sheep on the rocks along the gorge. Great photo ops here.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Fish. Or spend your day enjoying most any other outdoor sport your heart may desire. Rafting outfitters in Taos can arrange a float trip on the Rio Grande. Stop by Taos Fly Shop for some great fishing gear, a license, and tips on where the fish are biting. Check out the Taos Ski Valley for great hiking and mountain biking, and of course skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

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Fly fishing on the Rio Pueblo

Kick back. Grab a good book and find a cozy spot in the sun, or curl up in front of a fireplace with a warm drink and that box of chocolates you bought at the plaza. Take a leisurely stroll through the art museums and galleries then stop in at Parcht (on the plaza) for a glass of wine and a bite. Or get back on the road for a drive through the mountains and Carson National Forest. The possibilities for rest and relaxation in the Taos area are endless.

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We hope your trip to Taos is historic, relaxing, and everything else you want it to be! Leave us a reply and let us know how much you enjoyed your trip. We would love to hear from you.

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018