Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New Mexico

State 28:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

New Mexico

New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. The capital is Santa Fe.

We have traveled through New Mexico several times in our travels. The first time was in 1985 in a mini van on our way to the Grand Canyon to tent camp with our two kids. Each time we were in the state we made sure to eat some of the delicious New Mexico food.  From blue corn tacos to green chile stew it’s all delicious. One year we visited my brother and his wife near Albuquerque and they took us to some of their favorite restaurants. Nothing better than eating where the locals eat!

In New Mexico many restaurants give you a choice of red salsa or green salsa. If you want both, when the server asks you what salsa you would like, the answer is “Christmas”. And where else would you have green chile stew and nachos for breakfast?

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Green Chile stew and nachos for breakfast at the Frontier Restaurant in Alburque

When we left home on our first RV trip in 2006, one of our must see stops was Roswell, New Mexico to visit the UFO Museum.

New Mexico is one of the states that meets at the Four Corners.

Four Corners – States of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada

Our campsite at Santa Fe Skies was a perfect home base to explore Santa Fe and the surrounding area. We enjoyed wandering around Santa Fe, shopping at the Palace of the Governors and visiting the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.

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St. Francis Cathedral Santa Fe
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Camel Rock near Santa Fe
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Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe

When we asked one of the staff at the RV park the best way to get to Taos, he told us we could take the high road or the low road. Of course given two options we decided to travel to Taos on the scenic high road through high desert, mountains and small towns and return to Santa Fe on the low road through the valleys beside the Rio Grande River.

The scenery changed along the high road as we drove from Sante Fe to Taos.

We visited the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside of Taos before exploring Kit Carson’s home and enjoying tacos from a vendor at a Fiesta in Taos.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
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Kit Carson’s home in Taos

As we drove back to Santa Fe on the low road there were great views of the Rio Grande.

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Rio Grande River on the Low Road between Taos and Santa Fe

Santa Rosa is one of the places to see some of the neon signs along historic Route 66. The Blue Hole was also worth a visit.

There is so much to see in and around Albuquerque. Although we had visited before, my brother and his wife were great tour guides and knew the best places to go. After attending a Navajo Rug sale with them we all took a hike through Petroglyphs National Monument.

On our most recent trip to New Mexico we wandered around Old Town Albuquerque and visited the Coronado State Monument.

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Historic church in Albuquerque
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Coronado State Monument

The highlight of our stay in Albuquerque was the drive on the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway. The views along the way and at the peak were amazing.

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View from Sandia Crest
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View from Sandia Crest
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View of Albuquerque from the Sandia Peak

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – New Hampshire

State 27:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is one of the original 13 colonies and became the 9th state on June 21, 1788. The capital is Concord.

Before we began our RV adventures, during an early spring trip to New England we traveled along some scenic back roads in New Hampshire. Instead of spending the nights in RV Parks, we spent our nights in inns along the way. We came across three historic covered bridges as we wandered through the beautiful countryside.

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Covered Bridge in Bath, New Hampshire
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Covered Bridge in Bath, New Hampshire
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Swiftwater Covered Bridge
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Covered Bridge in Jackson, New Hampshire

We picked up some New Hampshire cheese at Harman’s Cheese and Country Store in Sugar Hill and fudge and other goodies at the Brick Store in Bath.

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The Brick Store in Bath, NH

There was spectacular scenery as we drove along the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains. A hike on snow and ice beside a partially frozen creek  was worth it for a close up view of Sabbaday Falls.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada

More of the beautiful Texas Hill Country around Inks Lake

Bluebonnets lined the roads around Inks Lake
Bluebonnets lined the roads around Inks Lake

Inks Lake State Park in Burnet (pronounced BURN-it DERN it) was our home for the 4 nights before Easter weekend. Thanks to my friend Tim in Arlington for recommending this park.

We arrived early in the day and were able to get a beautiful waterfront site. The bad news is we would have to leave on Good Friday because the park was full for Easter weekend. I knew we would love the area when we saw bluebonnets lining the roads to the park.

Our waterfront campsite was a great place to watch ducks, geese and all the water activities. We saw people paddling canoes and kayaks, floating on tubes,  and fishing from motor boats. The sunsets were gorgeous.

I love talking to locals to find out the best places to see. We stopped at Longhorn Caverns State Park one morning to ask about the tours. The ranger had seen me taking pictures of bluebonnets beside the road and he told us about a great scenic drive south of Llano. We were headed to Llano for lunch so we were off on a bluebonnet hunt after we stuffed ourselves with brisket and ribs.

Cooper's Barbeque in Llano, Texas
Cooper’s Barbeque in Llano, Texas

One afternoon we toured nearby Longhorn Caverns. During prohibition the cavern was privately owned and the cavern was run as a honky tonk and restaurant. In one of the large rooms was a bandstand with tables set up all around. When prohibition was repealed the owner gave the land to the state of Texas.

One morning we took a hike on the Valley Spring trail in the state park. The trail started out beside the lake and wound through the woods with wildflowers growing beneath the trees.

Inks Lake State Park has moved up near the top of my list of favorite state parks. Our site was a back in paved pad with water and electric hookups, a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern hook. We had a huge area beneath shade trees to set up our chairs and watch the world go by. There are two fishing piers, a marina and boat launch, canoe and kayak rentals, playground, camp store,  and several hiking trails. Click to read my campground review of Inks Lake State Park.

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road in Arkansas

Driving on the Great River Road
Driving on the Great River Road

Our home base to explore two scenic byways through the Mississippi Delta was Mississippi River State Park in Marianna, Arkansas. The large visitor’s center is less than 2 years old and has an excellent interpretive center about the Mississippi Delta area. The staff and rangers were friendly and helped make our stay here memorable.

The park is located in the Mississippi Delta on the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road within the St. Francis National Forest. We stayed in the Beech Point Campground on a peninsula in Bear Creek Lake. It is one of the best state park campgrounds we have ever seen. There are only 17 sites in the campground with 14 full hookup waterfront sites and 3 tent sites.  Ours was a large pull through with a big patio area for the picnic table and fire ring. For my review of this campground click here.

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To ask about exploring the area we talked to Park Ranger John as he was patrolling the campground. After getting directions, we had a plan for the next day.

Crowley’s Ridge rises 200 feet above the Mississippi River Delta flood plain and stretches more than 200 miles from just below Cape Giradeau, Missouri to Helana, Arkansas. The Crowley’s Ridge Parkway in Arkansas traverses the entire ridge. The section of the parkway we drove is called the “high road” by the locals.

The Great River Road and Crowley's Ridge Parkway run together for a few miles
The Great River Road and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway run together for a few miles

We started our drive to Helena-West Helena on the “high road”. On top of Crowley’s Ridge, the gravel road wound through the St. Francis National Forest. Only a few of the tall oaks, sycamore and buckeye trees had started showing any fall colors. The only other vehicles we saw belonged to hunters. I hope they had better luck with deer than we did. We only saw one all day. Except for a couple of National Forest campgrounds there was no other sign if civilization.

After about 20 miles we were back on a paved road and soon were on Cherry Street in Helena-West Helena to visit the Delta Cultural Center. Oh No! Closed on Monday! We felt like the Grizwalds when they got to Wally World to find it closed for repairs!

We took the “low road” back to the campground. This gravel section of The Great River Road is just a small part of the 10-state route from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico along both sides of the Mississippi River. In Arkansas the road rarely goes right beside the river.

As we drove along the “low road” we passed through Cypress swamps and took a side trip to the mouth of the St. Francis River where it joins the Mississippi River. With Willow Trees growing along the banks of the river, the mighty Mississippi is about a mile wide in this location.

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We enjoyed two delicious meals from local restaurants that day. The meals were so memorable I will post about them in a later post. Stay tuned!