Warren & Emily Swan → Trips → 2011 N. New Mexico & S. Colorado
This was the first vacation since 1984 that was just us two.
The oldest kids are moved away, and the younger two have their own schedules and such.
We mainly wanted to ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad; but stretching it into a full
vacation, without just rehashing old stuff, would mean seeing Northern New Mexico.
Warren had Friday the 27th off of work, and we were going to leave for vacation that
But we decided to delay the start of the vacation and spend that day working in Joplin, MO with
our chainsaws, trying to help out after the great devastation of the tornado that had ripped
through it the previous Sunday.
Here’s what we visited and did on our vacation, with representative pictures:
- Osage Hills State Park, near Bartlesville, OK — for a picnic lunch stop
- Capulin Volcano, near Capulin, NM; and Sierra Grande across the valley from it
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad — from Antonito, CO to Osier, CO; which
crosses the NM and CO borders several times.
We had planned to also take the stretch from Chama, NM to Osier, CO; but we learned that
there was a damaged trestle and that buses were being used for a large part of that
So we decided we’d rather wait until some other vacation to do that.
- Chama, NM; where we talked with a friend, Ed Beard, who Warren had worked with at the
Illinois Railway Museum over 20 years earlier.
He works at the Chama shop for the C&TS.
- Salmon Ruins in Bloomfield, NM; almost 1,000 years old
- Aztec Ruins in Aztec, NM; which were mistakenly named after the Aztecs of South America,
and which are also nearly 1,000 years old.
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which we had already visited in
1990, but decided to ride in consolation for not being able to do
the lower half of the C&TS.
- Mesa Verde National Park; which we had already visited twice, in
1990 and in 1999, but “dropped
in” because it was so close.
This is a representative picture of the Long House from an overlook:
The ruins here represent different periods of time, but all from about 2,000 to 1,000 years
- Chaco Culture National Historic Park, south of Bloomfield, NM; which had several pueblo
Sixteen miles of the road to this park are extremely washboard.
So make sure you have everything tied down!
And good shock absorbers.
- Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument; an interesting hike amongst naturally
occurring tepee shaped mounds
- Dome Wilderness Road, for 4 Wheel Drive vehicles only.
Our Rav4 made it OK, but I would not advise driving this road at all.
It is steep and there are times that you cannot determine which side of the
“road” (ha!) will do less damage to your vehicle.
The driver does not have a chance to see any of the beauty around you, because it takes too
much concentration keeping on the road.
(It can give a person nightmares.)
- Bandelier National Monument; with more interesting ruins; and again, typically about
1,000 years old
- Warren’s uncle Daniel Searle (where Warren got his middle name) and his wife
Nancy, at Cedar Crest, NM.
- Fort Union National Monument — very interesting; along with the Santa Fe Trail
ruts running along and through the fort
- Cleveland Mill — an old roller mill that can still be run, and is on special
occasions (our being there wasn’t one of them)
- Cimarron Caņon — very scenic.
We had zipped through it on the way toward Antonito, CO; but stopped for a while at a
picnic table to enjoy the sounds of the creek and relax.
- And after a side trip to Enid, OK for a Golden Corral supper, we eventually got back
home after 2,892.9 miles.
visited 5 states (10%)
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