Travel File: Jemez & ABQ, New Mexico

It’s my last post about New Mexico for the year.  (Don’t worry- I’ll make sure to have more Land of Enchantment adventures to share, come 2016).  I mentioned in my last posts here and here that we drove from Amarillo, through Santa Fe, through Los Alamos to Jemez, then down to Albuquerque and back to Amarillo.  The drive to Jemez was breathtaking, and the drive out of the Jemez mountains down to ABQ was also surprisingly pretty.

Jemez NM mountains

The hills rolled on and on; they were red earthen swaths of moirè, polka-dotted with sagebrush tufts.

Jemez Albuquerque NM

Cottonwoods drank from a meandering water source.   Roadside sunflowers faced traffic to wink their petal eyes. We parked and ate lunch under a breezy canopy of trees.  I screamed, “Stop the truck!” as we passed adobe churches I wanted to photograph.  Their doors were shabby from all the welcoming they’d done over the years. (More church photos from this excursion here).

San Ysidro Catholic Church Jemez doors

Something special about the southwest is the opportunity to travel through Pueblos and Native American reservations.  I love seeing farmland mixed into open pasture.  It’s simple and beautiful.

Jemez Valley New Mexico

Playa lakes scattered everywhere as a result of this year’s rain.  (We’ve even had so many accumulate in Amarillo this year that they’ve become a real problem in regards to flooding neighborhoods!)

Jemez Valley New Mexico drive

You can see by this map that there are a lot of pueblos and Native American reservations in this area:

jem-map

After rolling into Albuquerque, we looked up fish and chips and found Two Fools Tavern to be the most recommended for beer and grub.  It did not disappoint!  House brews, fantastic food and affordable prices made for a great evening in downtown ABQ!

Albuquerque

The next morning, we searched on-line for a place to take Sprockett for a walk before heading back down the road home.

Elena Gallegos Open space NM 3

On the outskirts of the city is the Elena Gallagos open space with trails at the base of the Sandia mountains. Because this mountain range turns pink at sunset, they were given the name “sandia”, which is Spanish for “watermelon.”  The open space landscape includes piñons, juniper, chamisa, Apache plume, scrub oak, cane cholla cactus, blue grama grass, bear grass, and soapweed yucca.  It’s the perfect place for a proper introduction to New Mexican foliage.Elena Gallegos Open space NM

The trails were dusty, well-used and bike-friendly.  The restrooms were clean enough, and dog bags were available at every trail head.  It was the perfect way to start the day before it grew too warm.

Elena Gallegos Open space NM 2

Elena Gallegos Open space NM 4

More info, tips and links:

Info regarding the Jemez Pueblo

We passed the sign for Ponderosa Winery as we were heading to Albuquerque, so we didn’t stop.  But NEXT TIME we are in the area, we will for sure check it out!

Elena Gallagos Open space is open 7 days a week, usually closing at sunset.  There is a $1 fee for weekdays, and it’s $2 for weekends (totally worth it).  Visit their website for further info and directions.

Two Fools Tavern Website

We stayed at the Howard Johnson MIDTOWN, which was actually pretty nice.  (Well, for the price anyway!)  We loved that it was within walking distance of Two Fools Tavern, had a free shuttle that took us within 3 miles of the hotel, pet-friendly and had the best free breakfast bar I’ve ever had at a hotel.  If you want something basic within walking distance of shopping/food, this is a good choice.

Some of my other favorite spots in ABQ:  Totally hip and gently used clothing at Buffalo Exchange; local & organic The Grove Cafè & Market; and biking trails all over the city and mountains!

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