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If you had to list a US state you’d most like to travel through, what would hit the top of the list? Would you ever think about dedicating two weeks to exploring New Mexico? Bordered by popular tourist destinations like Colorado, Arizona and the Lone Star state, it might be easy to over look this large, dusty rectangle.
As soon as the planning phase began, we started to wonder how we would fit everything in. There is really so much to see!
In the series of posts on New Mexico to come, you can expect to read stories about the towns that we visited, a couple of really cool activities, our love of the local food (despite having to battle all those extra calories) and our overall impressions.
With a population of only two million and hundreds of miles of wide open space, road tripping here involves a lot of looking out at the road. Hours and hours of scenery. Some of it is rough: stark mountains and giant boulders, the massive swaths of desert and landscapes dotted with cacti, dried up riverbeds and the unforgiving sun brought to life the harsh realities of life in New Mexico, as did the small towns with crumbling houses, empty main street stores fronts and piles of wrecked cars on the side of the road – especially in the south of the state.
But having our rental car allowed us to take in some of those bleaker parts and then suddenly, without warning, pass right into areas of rolling green hills, through incredible national parks or cruising our way up cool little scenic drives like the Turquoise Trail and through tiny frontier towns like right out of a movie (sometimes, quite literally). We drove through areas where nuclear bombs had been built and where they were tested, saw where Georgia O’Keefe was inspired to create her art, crawled deep into huge caves and caverns and got lost wandering through blinding white sands.
Starting in Arizona, we crossed over into New Mexico and hit Silver City and the Gila National Forest before heading down south through Hatch to Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Park, then up through Roswell, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. We hung out with aliens, trekked with llamas, visited pueblos and learned about Native American Indian history, witnessed an epic mass exodus of tarantulas and crunched over locusts for hours one day.
At times the road felt like a third passenger in the car, as we stared at it into the distance for half a day or more. We stuffed ourselves with hatch green chiles slathered over beans and cheese at just about every stop along the way. We can’t wait to share these experiences with you! That’s why we are starting with this video below to give you feeling of what road tripping through New Mexico is all about!