Spent almost the entire day on Turquoise Trail … Scenic Rt 14 Byway that took us through several off the beaten roads into some pretty small towns. Very interesting day .. alot of history .. and alot of quirky things to see and do. Brilliant idea to have the trail .. leads tourists to places they may not have noticed .. good for townsfolk .. bring tourist $$ into town. A few of towns we visited mentioned below ….. Entire trail is approx 60 miles .. we covered most of it.
Cerrillos.. gold, silver, lead, zinc and most of all turquoise was mined heavily in the 1880’s.. At it’s peak ,, town supported 21 saloons and 4 hotels (note .. Cerrillos is a very small town). At one point it was being considered for capital of New Mexico. Main street recently got paved .. side streets are still dirt roads .. Movie ‘Young Guns’ (Keifer Sutherland) was filmed in Cerrillos..
Madrid .. Woodstock on steroids … rich history of coal mining.. today it is a distinctive artists’s community. Because of the unique geology in the area .. hard and soft coal were mined with shafts going as deep as 2500 ft. Company town became famous for it’s 4th of July parades .. lighted Christmas displays (Walt Disney paid them a visit to check out Xmas decorations) .. had first lighted baseball stadium (minor league) in the West. In early 70’s artists and craftspeople converted old company stores and houses to shops and galleries. Movie ‘Wild Hogs (John Travalta) used ‘Diner’ in town as a backdrop.
Sandia Crest .. high point on the trail .. 10,678 ft. ski and nature area. Also home to Tinkertown Museum .. voted in top 10 of small museums.. A little backround info… Museum has a definite circus vibe …
‘It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.’
While there we met Oma and Esmarelda .. A self proclaimed Swami and his partner .. a goose .. They read our Tarrot Cards .. fortunately our ‘fortunes’ were good ! Oma is quite the character !
Had an early breakfast in T or C at a highly rated breakfast place per TripAdvisor .. ‘Passion Pie’ .. Quite abit of a hippy vibe going on within this cafe and entire town .. We both had waffles … TG went for the fruit and whipped cream version .. got a little more than she was expecting … yes .. there is a waffle underneath all that whipped cream .. no .. TG could not finish it ! To borrow a phrase from someone .. ‘it was a plate of regret’ !
200 miles today .. mostly arid.. scrub brush terrain …. hardly any traffic until we approached Albuquerque … Staying at Santa Fe Skies RV Park .. outside Santa Fe City limits .. Santa Fe has an altitude of 7000 ft .. 1500 feet higher than Denver .. so .. we are expecting much cooler temps during our 3 night stay. Santa Fe is supposed to be in the top 10 cities with the cleanest air on the planet !!! To conserve water .. Santa Fe businesses and homes cannot have green grass or water often… lack of water is a big issue in SouthWest …
After setting up . went into town to find a pharmacy to get some meds renewed .. lunch .. then back to campsite for showers .. Alot of sightseeing scheduled for next 2 days .. we’ve never been to Santa Fe .. all new to us .. One thing on our to do list is check out ‘The Turquoise Trail’ … Almost 60 mile Scenic Byway (road) from Santa Fe to Albuquerque.. alot of History and Arts & Craft stops along the way .. I’m sure we can spend most of the day on The Trail …
Last day in T or C … Task for the morning was laundry .. also a good day to take truck for a bath .. truck has been carrying around alot ofUtah/Arizona dirt for quite awhile.. Chores done .. did some afternoon hanging around hot springs ..
Truth or Consequences was actually called Hot Springs .. in the 50’s the game show ‘Truth or Consequences’ wanted to see if a town would change their name .. Hot Springs was chosen out of many entries .. You can still see name Hot Spring on several buildings while driving around town. Very small town .. not much going on except Hot Springs .. several Hot Spring locations around town .. but .. this was the only one we found that was actually off the Rio Grande.. very scenic and peaceful… Riverbend was a good stop for us .. very quiet .. no crowds .. no rushing around to see and do things .. just sit and relax .. very .. Zen-ish !
Folks floating down Rio Grande River
Sauna .. temps 140 inside .. can’t handle that much heat !
Last nite in Truth or Consequences .. tomorrow we head to Sante Fe NM ! We will miss the little town of T or C .. well .. maybe not the town .. but .. Riverbend Hot Springs !
After driving 320 miles .. we arrived in Truth or Consequences New Mexico .. clock moved us an hour ahead .. so we didn’t check in until 5pm … We are staying in a small ‘campground’ across the street from the Riverbend Hot Springs … only 6 sites .. .. claim to fame is it’s ‘therapeutic’ waters … (we’ll see about that..) Campsite (owned by Riverbend) is actually a gravel parking (does have full hookups) lot they’ve turned into several campsites. We actually got one of the ‘better’ sites .. sites behind us face some industrial buildings (??) with some artistic graffiti on walls…
River behind spa pool is Rio Grande
Stone lined Pools are actually pretty nice .. clean …. several public and few ‘private’ pools .. Our camping fees allow us unlimited use of public pools .. in that we are right across the street .. we’ll take advantage of our location.
Our campsite …
‘Campsites’ behind us ..
9:30 .. took a night soak in Springs .. quite a few people hitting the Springs .. much better when sun goes down and air temps drop .. With colored lights and soft music .. it’s very Zen-ish ! No loud conversations or music .. only whispering !
Last day in Tucson area .. thought we go somewhere we haven’t been .. ‘Old Tucson’ .. Lots of history .. Checked out Presido San Augustin del Tucson .. A corner of an old fort restored .. it was used by Mexicans and Spanish soldiers as a fort to fight of Apaches.. restored section is in the middle of downtown Old Tucson .. along with many other historic buildings. Started following ‘The Turquoise Trail’ .. painted line in areas for tourists to follow denoting historic events .. we followed it for awhile .. but it was too hot to finish the trail.
Downtown visitor center .. was closed .. looked like a ghost town .. we were the only folks walking around ..
Empty streets ..
Went back to campsite for awhile .. then back to Saguaro National Park for sunset .. very scenic to watch sun fall on all the cactus…
As we were leaving campground this morning .. we noticed a coyote walking along main road out of campground .. didn’t seem to mind us taking his photos .. he looked hot and tired .. like the rest of us !
or .. at least a few sprinkles .. thunder and lightning … !! Been following local weather forcast.. entire day’s forcast has been ‘Blowing Dust Advisory’ and ‘Thunderstorm’ alerts … as of now … 6:30 pm .. just a few sprinkles of rain .. radar shows we should be getting alot more ?? Temps have cooled down to the mid 80’s .. but .. it was hot (95) again this afternoon.
Decided to check out another ‘Living Desert Courtyard’ .. ($18 for the 2 of us) ..Place is called Tohono Chul (Desert Corner) .. Many different gardens on display .. wildlife .. outdoor living .. container .. etc .. Gardening in Tuscon is alot different .. the Sonoran Desert temperature extremes, intense sun, minimal rain and poor soil lead to landscaping challenges. Some of exhibits show how to use water-conservation plants and methods. Also had a reptile exhibit with snakes .. turtles and a gila lizzard. Got a closeup look at Western Diamondback Rattler .. that we saw at previous campground.
Gila lizard fun fact .. they live most of their life underground .. and are venomous.. biggest lizard and the slowest..
Terri making friends with snake(s)
Next we headed to an upscale indoor/outdoor mall .. mostly designer stores. Our favorite was a gelato franchise called ‘Frost’ .. only about 10 locations in USA .. several overseas … Equipment and ingredients all imported from Italy … We both had cup of raspberry/lemon gelato … excellent .. especially on a hot day ! Unfortunately almost all locations are in West/SouthWest … !!!!
First things first … temps in mid 70’s last night ! Triple digits today (again) ..
Someone asked if we could enlarge our photos in blog .. no can do .. file size would be too big .. but .. if you double click photo it should enlarge …
OK .. now for today’s ‘adventures’ … Off to Saguaro National Park and Living Desert Museum .. Both activities are outside so we had to get an early start… Started at National Park Visitor Center .. lots of cactus everywhere … hard to imagine .. but .. cactus cover entire hillsides .. Drove around Baja Loop .. dirt .. washboard trail through cactus … fantastic. Cactus … all sizes and shapes .. alot of them flowering …
Cactus covering a hillside
After Saguaro National Park we headed to ‘The Living Desert’ ($39 for the 2 of us) … Last time we visited it was in May … and cactus were more ‘in bloom’.. due to hot temps in June (camp host informed me June is hottest month of the year .. we agree) .. alot of cactus were looking a little ‘weary’ from heat. But .. there were alot of other things to do .. a few animal exhibits .. (mountain lion .. wolf .. black bear) .. aquarium .. hummingbird garden … and a butterfly garden. Alot of walking in the sun .. so were were pretty well fried by the afternoon.
Saw 4 hummingbird nests ….
You guessed it .. back in In & Out for late afternoon lunch/dinner (yes .. our healthy eating is out the window .. at least for now) .. Took our pre shower evening walk.. caught a coyote walking through an open field .. only able to take one shot .. he was on the move ! (upper right corner)
It’s 8:30 pm .. temp is currently 93 degrees …. weird !