We made our way from Las Cruces to Santa Fe in true “road trip” style. Our first stop as we headed north on Interstate 25 was a slight detour to Hatch, New Mexico, The Chili Capital of the World. We were a little early for burgers at the famous Sparky’s Burgers, but as we were looking around & taking photos, the owner Teako, came out to say hi. He even welcomed us in to use the restroom and offered us free soda.
When we think of road trips across America, there were many paths like the iconic Route 66 full of fun artifacts that no longer exist. Teako’s place was just another example of a lost era. The new Interstate system gave us speed and efficiency, but the tradeoff was an end to a beautiful culture. We lost that sense of meandering through small towns, meeting the locals, making stops at mom and pop restaurants and shops along the way.
Thanks to Teako for keeping this spirit alive, giving us a chance to experience the way road trips used to be. I wish we’d had more time to chat with him, but we had appointments for a soak in the Riverbend Hot Springs along the Rio Grande at Truth or Consequences.
The soak in the hot mineral springs was amazing. We left all our achy hiking muscles behind. And how fun is it to visit a town called Truth or Consequences? The town, originally named Hot Springs, changed the name for a contest hosted by Ralph Edwards and the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences in 1950.
Relaxed and happy we continued our journey to Santa Fe, our home for the next few days. Santa Fe Plaza was once a walled fort and as you wander the roads and alleyways surround the plaza, you encounter some old and beautiful architecture. It’s a place where you wish the walls could talk.
One morning we woke to snow – which we thought we had left behind in Michigan ?. Even the museums were closed. So what better option than a luxurious massage at the Thousand Waves Spa?
Bandelier National Monument
This was an amazing full day trip from Santa Fe. We left around 9 am for a beautiful 45 minute drive stopping in Los Alamos, recognized as the birthplace of the atomic bomb. We spent some time at the Bradbury museum learning about the Manhattan Project as well as ongoing research at Los Alamos.
Before continuing on the short drive to Bandelier, we had the most amazing breakfast at Fleur de Lys.
Bandalier National Monument is over 33,000 acres and protects thousands of archaeological sites scattered across a terrain of rugged canyons and hills. The best known are the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here around 1150 CE to 1550 CE. It was amazing to see how many homes had been in these cliffs.
There’s a lot to see just a short walk from the visitors center or you can continue a little further to see the Long House, the petroglyphs and climb the ladders to the alcove. It was a little scary at times, but the views were so worth it!
The moon began to rise over the cliffs as the sun was just starting to set making for a beautiful drive back to Santa Fe. We really do love this Land of Enchantment!