Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014-29 Santa Rosa to Ft Sumner New Mexico


Santa Rosa
three wooden Indians and one traveler

Campground:  Santa Rosa Dam St Pk.  $14 elect/water.  2 digital and 2 analog Tv stations, weak but doable 3g Verizon signal.

Santa Rosa campground

Campground:  Sumner Lake St Pk.  $14 elect/water.  Excellent Verizon signal and 6 over the air tv stations.

I finally decided which direction I’d travel in.  South.   I wanted to travel the NW corner of New Mexico, but the weather indicated it would be in the freezing range at night and warm up to around 70 during the day.  So I’ve headed south to Santa Rosa.  Many of the places I’m revisiting throughout New Mexico so my reports will be relatively short since I’ve reported on these locations in past blog reports.  Which you can revisit if you’re interested by entering the “state” like “New Mexico in the search box on the top left side of the Blog.

Cochiti Lake

Unfortunately, I didn’t do much touring in the Santa Fe area and there is so much to see and do there.  But with that flu shot and allergies keeping me a bit under the weather, it took most of the time I was there getting over it all.  At least I had a nice visit with a few local friends in the area.

Distance Traveled:  143 miles

Santa Rosa is on the Route 66 trail, one of the first fully paved roads across the U.S.A and it has a lot of nostalgic meaning to many people who travel along it’s route.  It represents an era in time when the automobile became a means of exploring the country for the common man.  An affordable way to see the country and Americans took to it like ducks in the water.  Many Rv-ers plan trips that take them along Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica California.

Santa Rosa appears to have been frozen in time as it sits along that old “Mother Road”.  Motor-motels, over the top restaurants and tourist trap attractions were all part of the excitement of travel.  Of course Santa Rosa is famous for their Blue Hole.  A natural artisan spring that’s 80 feet deep and stays a constant 60 degrees.  Today the town is a dusty decaying town on the wide open dry prairie.  Many of the historical neon signs are in decay, often the only reminder that an establishment once stood there.  A few of the historical diners and motels remain giving us a chance to take a step back in time and feel what it must have been like for those first “auto” travelers.

old Route 66 signs, of a bygone era

The Blue Hole

The days drift one into the other.  Life is on a slower pace while here in Santa Rosa.  A town of only 2,300.  The biggest stores are the Dollar General and Family Dollar.  Half of the remaining Route 66 motels have closed.  A few modern motels have been built.  The downtown area has no shops for the tourist or locals for that matter.  I did see one Ace hardware store and used the overpriced small grocery store.  Better to go to Dollar General or Family Dollar for your basic food supplies, using the local grocery store only for a few fresh vegetable items.  The Rv-er will be happy to see a very wide 5 lane route 66 through town with lots of places to pull over if needed.  A couple of Rv parks are right on the main strip.


Distance Traveled:  60 miles

I wish I could take you along to see some of the scenery I drive through.  Like today, even though it was a short drive along U.S. 84, the open, expansive scenery across grass lands dotted with Juniper trees that stretches as far as the eye can see.  The road would on occasion rise up and proved that view that never seems to end giving the impression that I’m driving on top of the world.  And even though it’s a cloudy day, the sun is shining through the thinner layers of clouds creating lighting effects on the landscape worthy of a painting.

Sumner Lake is full once again after a couple of years of drought.  My campsite is a basic square box of gravel with electric and water hookups way in the back.  Fortunately I had enough extra power cords and hoses to be able to connect.

Santa Rosa Dam stairway to viewing platform

a small caravan of campers traveling together

The next day I drove into Fort Sumner a small community with a Billy the Kid Museum.  I watched the video on his life and final death by shooting.  He narrowly escaped being hung and instantly became a legend after his shootout from jail.  All happening during his teens and very early 20’s.  The film provided quite an eye opener on the life of the early western settlers. 

a recently discovered picture of Bill the Kid

when soda cost a dime

Tomorrow I head out to Roswell New Mexico, the 5th largest town in New Mexico.  

More photos on PICASA

1 comment:

Paul Wilson said...

enjoyed you blog very much we stayed at cochita lake for a couple of nights after camping at lake Heron just south of Chama NM. How was the road from Cochita lake to Santa Rosa we took 25 south to 40 east.