Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Mexico

I mentioned yesterday that Ryno and I just returned from the longest road trip we've taken together since moving to Austin. The plan was to meet up in Ruidoso, NM with some friends for the July 4th weekend. It turned out our friends were unable to travel, so Ryno and I ventured out on our own. We had to make a new plan and find a few places to stay on the fly, however, it gave us the chance to try out some cities we wouldn't have made it to if we followed the original schedule. We spent half the trip in New Mexico and the other half in Western Texas.  I'm going to share New Mexico sites today and Texas tomorrow.

We arrived in Carlsbad, NM Thursday around noon and immediately started searching for lunch. We went to a cute Mexican restaurant called Mi Casita. The food was good and the staff was very friendly! After lunch we headed over to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We almost missed our King's Palace scheduled tour, because I kept pulling over to take photos of the beautiful landscape. Someone should really warn you how beautiful the park landscape is even before you get to the caves! Fortunately, our tour guide let us join the group, and we were quickly immersed in the cave scenery. The elevator takes you 750 feet below the surface in a matter of minutes. The King's Palace tour was excellent, and after we finished our guided tour we walked through the natural entrance to the Big Room. It was beautiful to see the cave as we descended back to 750 feet below the surface.

After the cave we went to stay in a bed and breakfast called The Crofting Inn in Cloudcroft, NM. The innkeepers were so friendly and helpful! We wandered around Cloudcroft the next morning before driving through the Lincoln National Forest and up to Ruidoso. 

 From Ruidoso we drove to White Sands National Monument outside of Las Cruces. We played in the white, gypsum sand dunes for a few hours. It was an unbelievable sight with pure white sand stretching for hundreds of miles and surrounded by mountain landscapes. We bought a plastic sled and took turns sledding down the sand dunes.

New Mexico was full of beautiful sites and wonderful mountain views. We had a great time exploring the small towns. One of my favorites was Mesilla, NM just outside of Las Cruces. We were only able to stop for a half hour on our way back to Texas, but I'd love to go back and explore more of the cute town. More on our trip tomorrow!

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