Well, we finally wrapped up all of our “home work” and were able to make plans for another special journey. This time we are planning to actually stay just below the US/Canadian border and cross from west to east taking our time and enjoying what we find. Since we are leaving in mid June our plan is to miss most of the hot Texas summer and enjoy staying in cooler places. We left the Dallas area with elevation of 450 ft and drove uphill the first day to Lubbock with elevation of 3256 ft. We stayed at the Lubbock RV Park across from the Lubbock airport. Not a new place and needs some love and maintenance but did have 50 amps and we knew we needed air conditioning. Amazing enough it was quiet and we got a good night’s sleep and were on the road early the next day.
Second day was another long driving day with the route taking us across to Clovis, Fort Sumner and up to Santa Rosa, NM. We ate lunch in a historic place called Route 66 Restaurant and had a good meal before heading northwest to Taos. Drove on Highway 518 from Las Vegas through the Mora Valley and over Truchas Pass with elevation of over 9500 ft. The truck just kept on going like it knew what to do wiht the load. We stopped for a short break and nap about 40 miles from Taos near an irrigation ditch and it was 71 degrees at 3:30 PM so we knew we headed the right direction. There are alpaca farms, sheep & cattle ranches and many adobe brick ruins scattered along this highway. On September 28, 1835 Governor Albino Pérez, the governor of the New Mexico Territory, gave land title in the Mexican Land Grant for over 800,000 acres (3,200 km²) to some 25 families. Much of this area was destroyed in 1848 by American troops after an uprising so not a lot of permanent buildings are here now. There were a few guest ranches along the little mountain streams but most of the buildings are very old adobe with wood or tin roofs. The population of the entire county was 4881 in 2010 so not a lot of people here even now. The Mora Valley Spinning Mill is a premium quality, semi-worsted spinning mill and is located in Mora where many locals bring their fiber to be processed. This is a big carding reel that fills a room..
As we neared Taos we passed the campus of SMU in Taos where many students come to study during the summer months. We then entered the city of Taos on the south end and worked our way north up the narrow 2 lane Paseo Norte through all the tourist traffic so we could access Hwy 64 on the north side of town. The elevation of Taos is 6967 ft so we had climbed another hill to get here. We had already planned to stay at Monte Bello RV so were glad to see it appear about 5PM. This RV park is small, only 22 sites, and owned by a nice, retired military couple. We checked in and took our place on the north side with a good view of Mt. Wheeler near Taos Ski Area. Notice there is no snow up there right now. That night the temperature dropped to 53 degrees which was good to not have to run the air condititoner. But about noon the breeze comes up and it warms to 85 or so. Love this weather! We are only 4-5 miles from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and we can see hot air balloons rising over there.
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, locally known as the “Gorge Bridge” and the “High Bridge,” is a cantilever truss bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge 10 miles northwest of Taos, NM. At 650 feet above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. The span is 1,280 feet : two 300-foot-long approach spans with a 600-foot-long main center span. The bridge was dedicated on September 10, 1965 and is a part of U.S. Rte 64, a major east-west road.
In 1966 the American Institute of Steel Construction awarded the bridge “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the “Long Span” category. The bridge has appeared in several films, including Natural Born Killers, Twins, She’s Having a Baby, Wild Hogs and Terminator Salvation. And it is a pretty bridge as you can see here. When we leave here Sunday morning we will travel over this bridge.