Aug 14 to 22, 2012 Report:
First OverNight at Valley of Fires BLM Campground by Carrizozo (130 miles from home). Gnats were still a nuisance when setting up as they were in the past. We did get a little rain with thunder & lighting
. ($9 a night with Senior Pass - water & electric & very nice shower house)
We had planned on camping above Santa Fe at the Forest Service Black Canyon campground ($5 a night with Senior Pass), but it seems to be Reservation site now. Could not find a site without reserved signs on them. Therefore, we went to Hyde Memorial State Park next door (a mile on up the mountain) for $14 a night with electric (still have 3 or 4 first come, first served electric sites). The site we used last month was opened. Water was now working, one faucet for 8 or 9 sites, vault toilet.
We stayed a total of 4 nights, drove down to Santa Fe each day to see a few sights. We went to the Wheelwright Museum, but wasn't able to get to it on Thursday due to an Auction. But we did tour Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, located on Museum Hill, Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail.
After which we got a good rain happening in the distance.
The next day, Friday, we went to the plaza, but found it wasn't like it usually is. Due to the Santa Fe Indian Market, "a 91-year-old Native art market", we didn't find the normal street food venders on the Plaza. But we did find them setting up for the "largest and most prestigious Native arts market in the world and the largest cultural event in the southwest. The yearly event is held during the third weekend of August. Over 1,100 Native artists from the U.S. and Canada sell their artwork. The Indian Market attracts 100,000 visitors to Santa Fe from all over the world. Buyers, collectors and gallery owners come to Indian Market to take advantage of the opportunity to buy directly from the artists. For many visitors, this is a rare opportunity to meet the artists and learn about contemporary Indian arts and cultures. Quality and authenticity are the hallmarks of the Santa Fe Indian Market. The artists are Native/Indigenous people from over 100 U.S. Federally recognized tribes and First Nations' Tribes (Canada). It's important to remember that the Indian Market is above all a family event. To the causal observer, it may not be evident that there may be generations of artists sitting together under the same booth. Some artists have been participating in Indian Market 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60+ years. The Indian Market is a direct reflection of the lives of Native people and the communities they represent; their artwork is the universal language, which speaks and becomes a part of our lives."
What we found was long lines of white shelters being erected for the Indian Market participants for the next day, Saturday & Sunday. Friday, I didn't take the camera, Saturday, I did, but didn't take a photo of the event. Don't ask me why. ?
Sat, We found a few local pueblo food venders were selling food. After a long wait, we did get a plate of green chile stew on Indian Fry Bread for lunch. And got a couple of Roasted Corn. Missed the regular venders.
The Art & Crafts displaced was very impressive. The prices were impressive, reminded me that I am not in the income level to buy such things. Ha! We did buy a few things from the venders & artisans in the Loretto Chapel Courtyard. A few beaded bracelets for our 3 granddaughters (one for my wife & two earrings) from a nice lady from Santo Domingo Pueblo & a few Zuni animal fetishes for the grandson & the girls as well.
We did make it to the Wheelwright. Seemed to have less things on exhibit, but enjoyable.
Went to Wally World twice & discovered there are now two Walmarts there. A new one just off I-25 & Cerrillos Rd. which seems to allow overnighting. The old one was still open on Cerrillos Rd. as well.
Had lunch at Tortilla Flats, because it was suggested to us by a local. It had good food & service. We lucked out in finding Jinja Bar & Bistro for dinner. Decided we can have Mexican anytime, but not as easy for Asian. It was an excellent place, excellent food. We didn't dine in, but did carry out. We had a nice rainy drive that evening.
Sunday, we decided to move to the Campground at Bandelier Nat'l Mon't about an hour or so from Santa Fe. As we got close to White Rock, we found, "Currently all access to the most visited part of the park, Frijoles Canyon, is via a mandatory shuttle bus from the nearby community of White Rock." We stopped at the shuttle stop in White Rock, asked if the campground was still open. It was & the one can catch the shuttle at the turn off to the campground. It is free. It is provide free by the County of Los Alamos & they have several bus routes in Los Alamos & White Rock, all free. A very nice service with excellent buses.
Juniper Cam' Gr'nd at Bandelier (3 loops, 56 sites I believe). $6 a night with Senior Pass. Stayed two nights. No electric, first come, first served, water near by in campground & at the dump station. Nice campground. Flush toilets, no showers. One may run generator
from 8 am to 8 pm if needed.
One can drive down to the Frijoles Canyon Visitor Center after 5:30 pm.
Lot of ruins along the Tuff Cliffs where Ancestral Pueblo People built Pueblos.
We drove over to Valles Caldera/ Valle Grande after driving to Los Alamos to find a SuperMarket (Smith's), but didn't take photos in Los Alamos.
Monday - Valle Caldera/Valle Grande - Home of the 2nd Largest Elk Herds in New Mexico. May have seen a few off in the distance. ?
The Rio Grande River as seem from Over Look Park at White Rocks:
White Rock was a very nice clean small town. More or less a Bedroom Community to Los Alamos. Los Alamos was also a very nice, clean town. White Rock has a Smith's Market as well.
Camel Rock between Santa Fe & turn off to Los Alamos:
I believe it had more of a hump when we first saw it back in the '70s, but from folks climbing on it the rocks fell....can't get to it now. We bough gas at the Camel Rock Casino gas station going & coming, across from it. $3.37 gallon ($3.35 at a couple stations in Santa Fe, but hard to get into towing.
Tuesday - Lunch Stop on US 285 between I-25 & I-40 about 5 miles to I-40 & Cline's Corners.
Only one of two places on the drive to stop. The other one is just south of the Lamy turn off.
Another OverNight at Valley of Fire & a nice night of rain off & on. Rain on the way home in the morning, but it stopped before we got to Alamogordo.
We put on about 900 miles traveling & sight seeing, averaged 15.7 mpg.