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HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

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HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

Planning a trip out of the frigid North East to New Mexico this Feb.

Thinking of going roughly the third week of Feb.

I have never been to NM before... and being from CT, a very small state that you can drive one end to the other in a few hours, the size of NM may be throwing me off and Im not sure my proposed itinerary is even possible in a 9 day trip... Before I book I'd like to get some feedback from you guys! Thanks in advance!!

** Basic Itinerary:

- Arrive ABQ, spend one night (poss two)

- Drive to Santa Fe, check out the Kasha-Ketuwe Tent Rocks on the way. Spend two nights - check out Ghost Ranch.

- Drive down rt285 through Roswell to Carlsbad. Stay one night (in Roswell or Carlsbad??) then check out the Caverns next day (based on time they are open and when we would arrive)

- After the caverns, same day (is that nuts??) drive rt82 to rt70 through the white sand desert, through Las Cruces, to Truth Or Consequences (is this possible in the same day?). Arrive early enough to stay and ENJOY one night at Riverbend (?) hot springs. (May need to stay a night at Las Cruces prior to T or C??)

- Drive back up to ABQ area, spend two nights at Los Poblanos Inn. Check out Petroglyph Natl Monument, and more of ABQ, but also allowing time to enjoy the farm.

- Head to airport...

- Am I trying to pack too much into a 9 day excursion? By my calculations I may need to add an extra day...

- Is my driving time and points of interest do-able?

- Any suggestions for things to see, places to eat/stay? In addition to or in place of anything mentioned above.

Thanks so much!! I really look forward to hearing back from everyone.

- t

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1. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

I should add, while in Santa Fe - thinking of checking out the Bandelier National Monument, and also the San Ildefenso Pueblo (I am a potter too! Very excited about that stop)

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2. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

...shoot... just noticed the Ghost Ranch tours are closed until March...

Still worth a trip??

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3. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

While it will probably be a bit warmer in NM than in the Northeast, be aware that it is currently quite cold here. In February it could be still quite cold in Santa Fe and north and only a bit warmer in Albuquerque. Carlsbad, White Sands, Truth or Consequences will be a bit warmer than Albuquerque. In Carlsbad in February the average highs are in the low 60s and the average lows are in the 30s.

Ghost Ranch area is beautiful, but depending on what the weather does, you could find snow on the roads, although we are in a long term drought here in NM so snow is scarce. You might also find snow at Bandelier, but it is well worth the trip if the roads are OK. I would recommend Bandelier over Ghost Ranch, but if you have time the drive to Ghost Ranch is very nice and you can still see the area.

I have not been to San Idelfonso in a long time, so I don't recall if they have a visitor center. Last time I was there I was with someone who was personal friends with one of the potters and we just visited her. I am sure others can answer about what visitor facilities are available at the pueblo. But, I recommend you read the information at indianpueblo.org/19pueblos/sanildefonso.html and the general information about the etiquette in visiting any of the pueblos. In Albuquerque, you can visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and get more information. They also have a nice gift shop where you can find pottery from many pueblos.

You will have a hard time visiting Carlsbad Caverns and then driving all the way to Truth or Consequences and getting there early while visiting White Sands along the way. You might want to break that into two days visit White Sands National Monument and and spend the night in Alamagordo.

You might want to spend only one night in Albuquerque when you arrive, as you have two nights at the end of your trip. Depending on when you arrive, you could go directly to Santa Fe. Los Poblanos is just a short distance north of Old Town Albuquerque and you will find lots of galleries, shops, some museums, and several good restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants, a bit south of Los Poblanos on Rio Grande Rd. is Las Mananitas. Also a short distance south of Los Poblanos is the Flying Star which has a good breakfast and great pastries.

There is not much in Carlsbad, and I have not found much there in the way of good restaurants. Maybe somebody else knows of some. You might consider spending the night in Artesia, which is between Roswell and Carlsbad. They have a brew pub there that is decent and they have some nice motels and B&Bs. We stayed at the Heritage Inn a couple years ago and liked it a lot.

On your way north back to Albuquerque, you could stop for lunch in the little town of San Antonio for a green chile cheesburger at the Buckhorn. Some folks tout the burgers at the Owl Cafe, but the Buckhorn, if open, is much better.

There are so many good places to eat in Santa Fe, it is hard to choose. In the downtown, the Shed is very good if you want authentic New Mexican food. Tia Sophia's and Tecolote are good places for breakfast. A lot of people like Tomasita's, which is good but, personally I think there are better places, which will be lest hectic, crowded, and noisy, and will have better food.

I could go on and on, but post if you have specific questions.

John

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4. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

Thanks John!

Your input is very helpful!

The temp here was a high of 34 degrees today, low of 15 - so Ill take the 'cold' of NM over this any day! :)

I am going to rework my itinerary based on your suggestions. I wasnt sure if the extra day or two in Abq was needed in the beginning.. and the lower part of the state looks quite large and spread out, so I really wasnt sure what I was doing here :)

Thanks again!

Would love to hear about other sites to stop and see - parks, areas of interest, anything really! Im very interested in the Native American culture and pottery specifically, but Id love to see as much of your landscape and nature as possible in one trip... I know thats saying a lot!

Are there any open sweat lodges, Shamans, or Native American happenings that are open to the public/outsiders?

If there are must-sees, or the like, Tripadvisor peeps please let me know! Im open to changing any part of the trip.

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5. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

Just to give a comparison. Today in Albuquerque, our high will only be in the low 30's with a wind chill factor of about 20 degrees. Our nights here and in Santa Fe have been in the single digits. What is different about our cold here in NM is that the northern half of the state is from a mile above sea level to 13,000 ft. at Wheeler Peak, just outside Taos. The air is much thinner than where you live, so you might notice the cold more. Just bundle up; you can always shed clothes as it warms.

You are right that this is a huge state, and distances between cities is long. My suggestion would be to do a reverse of your trip. Do Albuquerque, then south to T or C if you want, or go on to Las Cruces. Other than the hot springs in T or C, there isn't much else to see and do. Las Cruces has more lodging and restaurants, and the adjoining community of Mesilla is interesting and has some fine eating establishments.

After overnighting in Las Cruces, drive over the Organ Mtns. to White Sands Nat'l Monument, then on to Alamogordo. You could overnight here, or go on over the Sacramento Mtns. to Artesia, by way of Cloudcroft. This is a beautiful drive, but you should check road conditions, as you do have a lot of mountain to cross.

Overnight in Artesia if you drive straight through from Las Cruces. Artesia lodging is far better than Carlsbads, and some good eating places there also. You are only about 30 miles from Carlsbad, so an early start would get you to the caverns (another 30 miles), to spend the day.

You could return to Artesia or go further up the road to Roswell for the night. From there it is about a 4 hour drive on US285 to Santa Fe.

grizz9's suggestions for eating are good, and I'm sure Casa and others will give you more info on Santa Fe. As far as Albuquerque is concerned, we have tons of things to do and see, and great restaurants. Go to itsatrip.org for info on Albuquerque, and visit Santa Fe's web site, as well as NM Dept of Tourism for lots of great information on the cities and state.

Ohio
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6. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

one stop I'd add would be the Bosque del Apache. Thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese winter there.

Temps are NOT warm tho like you might think. We were there in mid Nov and temps were in the teens pre-dawn while waiting for the birds to take flight.

Caverns can be done in half a day (natural entrance and big room covered by parks pass) then head to White Sands for an overnight, yes. Sunset is beautiful there.

It's a gorgeous state regardless of temps and WAY more sunshine than here in Ohio. That helps :)

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7. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

Thank you for your comments!!

I will look into Bosque Del Apache. Not sure where it is, but if we can swing it, we're up for anything!

Sandiaman, why do you suggest a reverse of my intended trip??

My idea was to keep the relaxing to the end, and do all the driving around and adventure the first half, which is why I figured ending with a hot spring and spending time at Los Poblanos was a good idea.

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8. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

the Bosque is south of Socorro and closest little town is San Antonio where the Buckhorn is. There's also a tiny, family run restaurant in San Antonio called the San Antonio Crane. Maybe 5 tables? Great breakfast burritos! :)

9. Re: HELP!- February 2013 New Mexico driving vaca

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