Heading West

Trip Start Nov 15, 2011
Trip End Nov 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Blue Spruce RV Park

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Monday, March 26, 2012

Yesterday we drove to Lamy so that Cliff could see the Santa Fe Southern Railroad train that came from Santa Fe.  I thought that while we waited I would be able to do some research on our next few destinations.  Well, I got that wrong; not only was there no Internet there wasn't even a phone signal.  In fact, Lamy seemed to consist of only a dirt road, the station and museum, and a couple of houses. I can't believe it is an official Amtrak stop.  Cliff set up his video camera alongside the track, and we got in position for some photos.  The train knocked over the video camera - I said it was too close - but it seems OK.

Today we set off west again, but only as far as Grants.  As usual the scenery along the way was fantastic, and we saw loads of trains on the way; well I did, Cliff was driving!  We quickly set up then headed off to see El Malpais and Bandera Volcano and the Ice Cave. 

We hiked up to Bandera Volcano through the lava rocks.  The trees are amazing colours and shapes.  They find it hard to establish deep roots and so grow twisted and gnarled.  Also, the lava flow is rich in iron content and this tends to draw lightning strikes to the trees.  We saw lots of birds, but none that would stay still long enough to be photographed.  As we climbed Cliff kept saying he could hear something, but I said it was just the wind.  I didn't mention the mountain lions and bears that inhabit the area!  At the top we looked down into the volcano crater.  Bandera is one of 29 volcanoes in the area.

We then took the trail past the Trading Post to the Ice Cave.  Along the trail we saw a small ice box cave which a local family used as their refrigerator before electricity.  We also saw some Anasazi Indian Ruins where ancient peoples had built a wall in front of a surface tube for shelter.  The temperature in the Ice Cave never gets above freezing.  As rain water and snow melt seep into the cave the ice floor thickens; it is approximately 20 feet thick.

After all that activity we stopped in the Trading Post for a coffee, and met a couple from Telford, UK who are on vacation, driving Route 66.

Cliff is not keen on returning the way he came, and so we usually try to have a circular drive when we are out.  According to the map provided by the Visitor Center we could take State Road 50 back to Grants so off we went.  The road turned out to be graded and very twisty; Cliff of course thought it was great as we drove first through Cibola National Forest and then Zuni Canyon, dodging the cattle again.  It turned out that this route is an historic trail which traces the history of logging and railroading in the Cibola National Forest. We stopped off to have a look at part of it, but I made Cliff walk - graded roads are one thing, dirt roads are quite something else!  BAT got quite dirty enough, and it was only cleaned yesterday!

We drove into Grants to get fuel, and ended up right alongside the rail tracks.  Cliff made me get out and take photos of some wagons while he put fuel in the BAT, and suddenly an Amtrak train went rushing past.  The guy at the fuel station told Cliff a train of some description goes through Grants about every 15 minutes.  Unfortunately we are just too far away for him to see them from the campsite, he can only hear them.

The campsite is very basic, just a few sites, with a fence between us and the road at the back, but nothing between us and the road at the front!  But it was cheap, and it's only for one night, and the view of Mt Taylor, and the sunset, makes all the difference.
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Victoria on

Whar, no pictures of bears or mountain lions??

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