Walsenburg, CO, to Deming, NM (with a Stop in Santa Fe)

Another very, very, very long day, but it was the last big one. It’ll be a short haul tomorrow, then three days of sort of rest, then 2.5 reasonable days to my Mexican casita.

I had an okay night of sleep and was on the road by about 6:45 because I had plans to meet John for brunch in Santa Fe, 3.25 hours away. It being the crack of dawn on a Sunday, the espresso bar I’d been hoping to get my coffee at was shut tight, but there was a fresh pot of decent coffee on a the 7-Eleven, where I had to get fuel anyway.

It was still quite dark out when a car passed me honking madly. It wasn’t until the passenger rolled down his window and yelled, “GO RIDERS!” that I realised they were fellow Saskatchewanites!

I paused at a rest area and caught a Colorado sunrise.



Next rest area, probably in New Mexico at this point, had markedly different vegetation than what I’d been seeing up to that point:


I’d asked John to choose a place not too far from the interstate and he suggested Cafe Fina, which was right at the on and off ramp to I-25. Very convenient! You order at a counter, get a number to place your on your table, and then your meal is brought to you. John had Tex-Mex brunchy food and I had lunch food. We both had a very delicious coffee. We ate outside and the weather was perfect for it!

Vicki has requested photos of food, so here is the yummy chicken, bacon, caramelized onion, and cheese sandwich (hold the mayo) I had with a really good salad:


John and I had a quick catchup, then it was time for  me to head off again. I was due for fuel, so I asked him where I should go and he said that if I wasn’t desperate, I should wait to get fuel at a pueblo a short distance down the road. He was right. I paid less than $2 a gallon!!! AND they gave me a free coffee. 😀


My next stop was Socorro, where I paused to do some hotel research and scored another deal on Priceline. From there, it was a very long 2.5 hours to Deming, where I am hoping to get a good night’s sleep. I’m in no rush tomorrow and probably won’t get going till mid to late morning. There’s a Walmart almost right next door, so I might do my shopping there instead of stopping in Benson. Perhaps I should check the sales tax rates before I decide!

I’ve been seeing Mexico tourism-related signs for a bit now. I can’t believe I’m already essentially at the border!

Off to find a cold beer. It is HOT out!

Truth or Consequences to Albuquerque (with a Fort Craig side trip)

I got a late start from T or C on Tuesday. Checkout was noon and I was right on the nose when I left. I had a bit of work to do in the morning and it took longer than expected, plus I had to deal with a few issues related to the change of webhost. I was really surprised that I got out as late as I did and was glad that I only had a couple of hours to drive to get to Albuquerque (ABQ) and wasn’t expected till 5:00ish, so I could do a side trip.

My first stop even before I left town was Walmart because was in dire need of tee-shirts, another planned expense. I got to Isla with a four or five ugly tee-shirts that looked even worse after six months because of all the sun fading and I just threw them out. The only thing I had to wear with skirts, jeans, or capris were long-sleeved light-weight tops. Walmart has a couple of brands that are decent quality and very reasonably priced. I came out with five tee-shirts in beautiful colours for about 30CAD, so that will do me for the summer.

And then, I hit the road. It was very windy going and my gas mileage was the pits. I should have made it to at least ABQ on what I had in the tank, even with my planned detour, but I had to make the decision early on that I would have to refuel in Socorro, halfway to ABQ.

It rained off and on as I drove.

The scenery reminded me a lot of southern Alberta.

The scenery reminded me a lot of southern Alberta.

My planned stop for the day was Fort Craig, an important frontier fort that saw Civil War action. It’s quite a drive to get there, about 25 miles/40KM or so from the Interstate round trip, but it was worth it for me to go. I had done my research and knew not to expect much, so I was very impressed by what was there.

Quite a drive to get out here, but it was worth it!

Quite a drive to get out here, but it was worth it!

There are camphosts on site. I wish we had camphosting like this in Canada. I’d likely still be full-timing if we did. The hosts get all hookups plus a stipend in exchange for working five days a week.

Wish we had sweet gigs like this in Canada.

Wish we had sweet gigs like this in Canada.

The visitors’ centre is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but there was a lot of information available in the parking lot, including a brochure, and the trail was open. So it was not a wasted stop.

HUGE parking lot, with flat topped mountain.

HUGE parking lot, with flat topped mountain.

Seriously, that mountain looks like it got a military haircut!

Seriously, that mountain looks like it got a military haircut!

The site is basically a bunch of earthworks with some stonework. There is a very, very long trail with informational placards. It was a very nice walk.









At one point very early in my walk, I ran into a lady who is a New Mexico history buff. She talked my ear off for about a half hour telling me all about the history of Fort Craig, the environs, and giving me information on places I need to visit! Wow! What a great encounter! Her husband is from Glasgow, MT, and knows exactly where Assiniboia is. Small world! Just running into her made the trip worthwhile. I won’t be able to hit a lot of what she mentioned on this trip, but it will fit in well into the fall plans, depending on how late I leave.

After she went on her way, I still had tons of Fort Craig to visit, but only about a half hour left if I wanted to make it to ABQ for 5:00ish! So it was a bit of a quick tour, reading only the placards that really interested me.







The lady spoke at length about how the Buffalo soldiers, African-Americans, were posted to Fort Craig. The Natives called them that because their hair is similar to buffalo fur.



Fort Craig is a worthwhile and interesting detour for folks going between T or C and ABQ. I learned a lot about the Mexican-American War, settlement in this part of the US, and New Mexico’s role in the US Civil War. Its location today feels just as isolated as it must have felt in the late 1800s!

It was then time to get miles under me. I stopped in Socorro for fuel, just under $2.60 a gallon, the most expensive I’ve seen yet on this trip, but nothing to get excited about.

It rained hard on and off as I came into ABQ.

The mountains were gorgeous coming into ABQ.

The mountains were gorgeous coming into ABQ.

My hosts, blog reader Kelly and her husband Kevin, live just off the Interstate, so their house was easy to get to, even with the traffic coming into ABQ. There was a lot of it, but it was so much more ‘civilized’ than what I got used to in Mexico! People actually signal and let you into their lane! 🙂

I was warmly greeted and invited to throw on a load of laundry (very much appreciated!). We had a beer, caught up, and debated what to do for dinner. The original plan was to grill on the BBQ, but the weather was looking iffy for that. The decision was made for me that I was getting taken out for sushi instead! Wow! Kelly is a new blog reader, but already knows the way to my heart! 😀

We went to a place called Shogun in the Nob Hill neighbourhood. Dinner was awesome. Kevin and I shared between us a crunchy roll (shrimp tempura with avocado), crab and octopus nigiri, an eel roll, and a huge order of sashimi (raw fish without rice). Everything was so fresh and tasty! Thank you so much! 🙂

We took the long way back to the car.

Nob Hill is my kind of neighbourhood; very walkable with lots of shops and restaurants.

Nob Hill is my kind of neighbourhood; very walkable with lots of shops and restaurants.


Check out the old sign from when this mall was the only thing in the area for miles around!

Check out the old sign from when this mall was the only thing in the area for miles around!

So pretty!

So pretty!

I want! :D

I want! 😀

We got home and settled in for the evening. I folded by laundry, was shown how to use the coffeemaker, and was left to my own devices until the morning, rather like being home. I’m posting in bed the next morning while having my coffee. Kelly is going to take me around ABQ this morning before I head for Santa Fe. It’s been a wonderful stay. Thanks!