Mountainair is just what the name applys. It is a very pretty area with plenty to see.
Mountainair is the host to the National Parks Services Historic Salt Missions Trail. Visit historic Abo , Quarai and Gran Quivira Monuments. Walk in the footsteps of indigenous Pueblo Peoples, Conquistadors and their Missionaries, as you view the ruins of the original Pueblos and the first Churches built over 350 years ago at the dawn of New Mexico's beginnings as a New World Settlement.
Chimayo is a small town in Northern New Mexico. The first settlers came here after the Pueblo Revolt (1680-1692) for the fertile farmland. About a hundred years later, (~1810) a local friar was performing penance, and saw a light coming from the hillside. At the sight of the light, he dug a short way down and found a crucifix. Later named, Our Lord of Esquipulas, this crucifix was taken by a priest to another area. Three times the crucifix turned up missing. Three times the crucifix was found back in it's hole in Chimayo. By now, it was determined that El Senor Esquipulas didn't want to leave Chimayo, and a small chapel was built around his favorite spot. He was placed on the altar
Miracle healings began to occur in Chimayo, and pilgrims began to arrive in droves. Over time, the crucifix and it's healing power became overshadowed by the dirt in El Posito, the sacred sand pit.
Known as the Lourdes of North America pilgrims come from all over - especially at Easter. The Easter pilgrims arrive by foot ... walking from Taos (40 miles), Santa Fe (24 miles) and other part of of the region. The walk itself is seen as a devotion to El Senor Esquipulas .. in anticipation, or in gratitude for previous miracles.
Of course, the local native tribes and pueblos have stories of healing from this area that predate the European settlers. The water from stream and the sacred soil are still important to aboriginal healing in the region.
Chimayo estimates 300,000 visitors a year ..... 30,000 of them for Easter alone. It's a bit of a zoo then, but a worthy journey. It shouldn't surprise anyone who's visited New Mexico that where France has Lourdes and water .... New Mexico has Chimayo and dirt :) We are known for our dust afterall!
Head north on I-25 towards SantaFe, take 599 (Veteran's Memorial Parkway) towards Espanola. Once in Espanola, take 76 about 5 miles to Chimayo and follow the signs to the Santuario
Then name of the town derives from a television contest in the 80's that offered its name to any city in the US and lucky us, what is now T or C won...yeppeee.
The redeeming factor are its hot springs.
Located about 2.5 hours south of ABQ on I-25, T or C has several places that offer natural hot spring baths. There are a ton of hotels and restaurants to go with the small bath house 'resorts' but once you're able to relax in one for an hour or so its all worth it, especially because they cost close to nothing.
Clines Coners, Encino, Willard, Estancia
If you want to make a day trip out of Albuquerque go East on I40 and make a loop threw the above towns.
After going east on I40 take the Clines Corners exit and stop at the Travel Center for some southwest shopping.
Then travel south on the road to Vaughn and Encino. Encino is a town with less than 100 people. Over the years it has become less populated, mostly becouse families no longer live on the Ranches in the area. But still Encino has one gas station and old buildings that are fun to look at. Take a walk it is very peacefull there.
Then travel West on 60 and you will pass threw lots of open land, look for wild life, you never know what you might see during your travel. Rattlesnakes, Antolope, Jack Rabbits and of course lizards and honrie toads just to name a few. The ranchers raise sheep and cattle on the land.
You will see the Salt Lakes before you enter into Willard on Hwy 60. There is a rest stop at the lakes and you can take a short hike there.
Also you can read about the Lakes.
Next town is Willard, it is much like Encino with few people living there. They have a Resturant there that services very good Mexican Food. Take the time to sit outside and feel the quit of a small town. The skies are always so nice in this part of New Mexico.
As you travel past Willared you hit a fork in the road and get to choose your way home either go threw Estancia or Mountain Air. Either way you will see some different and pretty sites.
Mountain Air is just what the name applys. It is a very pretty area with plenty to see.
From Albuquerque you can make this trip in about 4 to 6 hours depending on what you stop to see during your drive.
Always take water with you when in this part of New Mexico.
This was an unexpected and wonderful day tour! When we were unable to fly our balloon this morning due to wind .... my car buddy and I decided to explore the area near our current launch site. We wandered dirt roads, marveled at quail, jack rabbits the size of my labrador at home, cotton tails, coyote and more .... we found Pinon at a lower elevation than we'd ever seen before ...... as we drove we were amazed at the life in the desert. The rare homestead was passed ...... at the end of the road was the real treat: a view unlike any I'd seen before ........
To find our route, take Southern or Northern out of Rio Rancho westbound. Turn right/north on Rainbow Blvd. Take it miles and miles down the dirt track. Once you get to the trees, slow a bit. Once it gets sandy, get ready for the view :)
To return, you can come straight back down Rainbow, or do as we did and take other dirt roads. The road that finally met up w/ pavement again has an unknown name to me.
As you are returning southbound, and after you pass the relic that used to be a car at the side of the road, look for a dirt road on your left w/ a stop sign. Take that along the power lines until you get to pavement. You're then on Unser. If you go north until it ends, you'll be at Northwest Corridor. Take a right turn, and when that ends, you'll be on 44/550 between San Ysidro and Bernalillo.
Enjoy this adventure :)
This glorious four story ranch style hotel was built in 1937 to accommodate the 100s of movie stars who came to the Gallup area to make the many westerns that Hollywood produce at that time. Along the way it became a trendy getaway and hangout for the Tinsel Town elite. Almost every movie star you can think of from the 30s, 40s and 50s has stayed at the El Rancho. Their autographed photos line the second story mezzanine. You can spend hours reading their "Best Wishes" to the El Rancho and viewing stills from the movies they made in the area.
Each of the rooms has a plaque over the door with the name of a star that stayed there. James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Susan Hayword, the Marx Brothers, William Holden, Tyrone Power, Mae West, Spencer Tracy, Kate Hepburn and Lucille Ball are just a few of the people who have rooms at the El Rancho.
The inexpensive rooms themselves are smallish but very stylish with wagon wheel headboards and heavy western style furniture. Ask for a room with a balcony.
The lobby of the El Rancho is a huge two story room decorated in a kitsch hunting lodge/ranch house style. The walls are covered with Indian rugs and western style art. A split log grand staircase with a beautiful rock fireplace inset at it's base, complete the lobby.
There is also a restaurant in the hotel that serves good Southwestern cuisine. A fun, kitschy gift shop and small lounge/nightclub with deep red stage draps that reminds us of being in a David Lynch movie.
It is a glimpse into movie star glamour of the past that is not to be missed.
While you are on your way to Gallup check out the Ice Cave, Acoma Sky City and glorious Window Rock is only 25 miles from Gallup.
Travel west on route 66 to Gallup, NM.
1000 E. Hwy 66, Gallup, NM, USA 87301
My best friend and I left ABQ about noon, and were driving to El Paso to meet her family.
We drove south on I-25 for a while :) We took an hour's detour (okay, closer to 2 hours) and wandered over to White Sands for a quick visit. We then returned to our I-25 southbound route, and made it to El Paso, ate dinner in Juarez and soaked in the hotel hot tub back on the US side of the border.
In the morning we got up and wandered our way back into New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns (US 182 north). We drove back to ABQ after our tour of the caves (US 285 to I-40), and despite a few stops for gas, food, and wandering/leg stretching, - and even a trip into my favorite gift shop - we made it back home about 2300..
Though short, we saw all we wanted to see, but it would have been nicer to have just a little more time to enjoy each location.
The current itinerary for this tour is to take I40 west. ~45 minutes from albuquerque is Acoma Sky city - bypass the casino there and go to the old pueblo.
After that, continue down I40 to Milan. From there head south on Hwy 53. On this route you can visit El Mapais Nat'l Park, Ice cave/Bandera volcano, El Morro old school gallery, El Morro Nat'l Monument, Candy Kitchen Wolf Rescue, Ramah Lake, Ramah Museum, Los Gigantes, and then Zuni Pueblo.
After leaving the pueblo, take 602 north into Gallup to spend the night. The next day you can wander back the way you came to better explore the sights, or wander back towards ABQ on the next leg of the weekend tour ...
This Hill you can hike and get a nice view of the area. Take HWY 47 and look for the the signs taking you to Tome Hill.
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