Although it is almost 20 years since we lived here, there is a feeling of coming home every time we cross back into New Mexico. Upon seeing the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign we become giddy with excitement, anticipating that first taste of green chile and deciding upon where it will happen. We get butterflies in our stomachs and become more alert, drinking in the beauty of New Mexico’s landscape. The best analogy to describe these feelings is quite simply that of being in love.

"welcome to New Mexico" road sign with stickers on it.

New Mexico just may be the best state to visit in the U.S. simply due to the variety of sights on offer. Quirky? Check. Sublime? Check. Poignant? Check. Therefore, you just may find everything you want as a tourist waiting for you here along with some of the tastiest regional cuisine, which will almost certainly make any New Mexico travel itinerary pop with flavor.

In no particular order we have compiled a list of places that make the Land of Enchantment an enchanting land. Driving down Route 66 is just the start of a journey that will leave you craving more. Did you know New Mexico has more PhDs per-capita than the rest of the United States? New Mexico will always surprise you.

This post is dedicated to one of the first supporters of this blog, Bill Gayton, who passed away a week before Christmas 2017. Bill was our next-door neighbour and friend in Portland, Maine for 14 years and he was the best. He kept an eye on our apartment, watered our plants and minded our vehicles whilst we travelled from 2013 – 2014. He also was a huge fan of New Mexico and similarly a huge green chile aficionado, having spent time here in the past. Each Autumn Bill ordered green chile on-line and always gave us a bag. Bill was always one of the first and likewise the only one to comment on our posts. We miss his input and cherish all of his comments. Each of these sites were visited with Bill on our minds and in our hearts.

In no particular order, 20 things to do in New Mexico…

1) Feed Your Culture Vulture

No matter where you are in New Mexico and pretty much no matter what you order you will be posed with the official state question: Red or green? To complicate matters, you may be offered “Christmas” which is a combination of red and green! Although Hatch, New Mexico is the world-renowned de-facto capital of New Mexican chile, you won’t be disappointed with which part of the state your regional capsicum hails from.

2 bushels filled with red and green chile peppers.
Harvest Time! Fresh Chiles Ready for Roasting.
a breakfast burrito covered in melted cheese on a plate.
Christmas, or Red and Green, on a Burrito
A tray with tortillas, burritos and red and green chile stew.
Green Chile Stew with Red Posole and Tortillas
honey and sopapillas on a table.
Warm Sopapilla with Honey.

If you’re lucky you may get a complimentary desert; warm sopapillas drenched in honey will certainly seal the deal on tasty New Mexican cuisine. Typically, if you see a bottle of honey on the table of your eating establishment you may be in luck.

2) Witness an Alien Spacecraft Landing

vehicles parked in front of the UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico.

The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is full of information and artifacts related to an alleged flying saucer crash near Corona, New Mexico in 1947. From pop culture to conspiracy theories, witness for yourself the hold this singular event and the UFO phenomenon has on the minds of us measly earthlings. Marvel at the simulated saucer-landing as it spins and hisses steam. Imagine how disappointed those aliens would be if we took them to our leader…

Turn Up The Volume And Check Out Our Video Below

Video by acoupleofdrifters.com

Meanwhile, treat the kids to the alien autopsy display conveniently located near the gift shop. The International UFO Museum and Research Center is all in good fun and certainly worth an hour of your time. It is located at 114 N. Main St. in downtown Roswell. The museum is open (and the saucer lands) 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information click here.

Museum display of an alien autopsy.

sign on wall of museum with a robot in the background.

3) Have a Good Time in the Badlands

wilderness area sign in the desert.

If those aliens in Roswell weren’t enough, come to Bisti/De-Na-Zin Badlands Wilderness Area to see just what their cosmic world may or may not look like. Located off New Mexico Route 371, south of Farmington, Bisti Badlands is a lunar-like landscape you are free to explore.

mushroom-shaped rock formations against a blue sky.

Strike off in any direction and see the effects of time, wind and water erosion – evident all around in the bizarre rock formations. Keep walking and you will likely come across petrified logs which serve as proof of how prolific this barren land once was. You may even spot fossils if you look hard enough.  The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Badlands Wilderness Area is free and all hikes are self-guided.

man looking out over strange rock formations in the desert.

eroded rock formations in the desert against a blue sky.

4) Follow an Ancient Trade Route

Get off the beaten path and explore an ancient trade route overlooked by most. This beautiful scenic drive – The Salt Missions Trail  – is 140 miles long and begins in Tijeras, just South of Albuquerque. Residual salt deposits in an ancient lake-bed provided early settlers with a viable trading commodity. These early pueblos were targeted by seventeenth century Spanish Missionaries whose proselytizing incorporated the construction of 3 separate missions – Gran Quivira, Abo and Quarai.

"salt missions trail scenic byway" road sign against a blue sky.

Follow the trail for a rather pleasant day trip and avoid the crowds of the more prominent sites in New Mexico. Tired of ruins hopping? The nearby quaint town of Mountainair offers photo ops, coffee shops and galleries galore. Although operated by the National Park service, these sites are FREE and are open daily with Summer hours (Memorial Day – Labour Day) 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Winter hours 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

VW van parked behind a national monument sign.

pueblo and church ruins against a blue sky.
Gran Quivira, Set Upon an Overlook

National monument sign with juniper trees in the background.

ruins made of red sandstone against a blue sky.
Abo is Beautifully Situated

National monument sign with bushes in the background - Quarai ruins.

a large ruined church against a blue sky.
Quarai, the Most Complete of the 3 Ruins

5) Get Into the Groove

Not only is Tijeras a good starting point to jump on (or off) the Salt Missions Scenic Byway Trail, it is also the location for its own quirky oddity: The singing highway. If you would like to hear an excerpt of “America the Beautiful” rumbled out by your vehicle’s tyres and the specially-designed grooves in the road, this may be for you.

Coming from Albuquerque on Interstate 40 take exit 170; the singing highway is on old Route 66, or present-day Highway 333. Find the musical rumble strip between mile markers 4 and 5. To hear the music you must  be travelling Eastward on the highway. To get the correct tempo follow the sign’s recommended speed limit of 45 mph. and roll up the windows. You must align your passenger-side tyres exactly on the grooves along the edge of the lane to hear the melody. It may take a few tries, but it is worth it! This certainly is a unique attraction, one of only a handful of musical roads in the world.

Turn Up The Volume And Check Out Our Video Below

Video by acoupleofdrifters.com

6) Hike Through Forgotten Worlds

Although it can take a little effort to get there, you will certainly not be disappointed with everything that Chaco Canyon offers. Picture it: The deep blue New Mexican sky as a backdrop against burnished gold sandstone cliffs and canyon walls. Add to this the glow of a sunset on the time-worn ruins that dot this captivating canvas.

Within the park are 5 hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. For those with less time on their hands there is a 9 mile driving loop which provides access to the most popular ruins. Camping is available and we strongly recommend it.

Admission is $25 per vehicle, which allows access for 7 days. Camping is $15 per vehicle per night. Click here for a more comprehensive guide to this rather amazing, mystical landscape.

welcome sign for chaco culture national historic park against a blue sky.

ruins and desert scrub, with a mesa or butte in the background.
View From Una Vida Trail of Fajada Butte in the Background
Supernova Pictograph Penasco Blanco Trail with hand and moon symbols.
Supernova Pictograph Penasco Blanco Trail

7) Witness Man’s Control and Destruction

The Trinity Site at White Sands has the dismal distinction of being ground-zero to the world’s first atomic bomb, detonated on July 16, 1945. As part of the Manhattan Project, Trinity was the code-name given to this game-changing new weapon heralding in a new era of warfare.

Located on the grounds of White Sands Missile Range, visitors are granted access just twice a year to the once-classified desert outpost. These open days occur on the first Saturday of April and October each year. Hours are strictly 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with last admission at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free and reservations are not required. Government issued I.D. is required for admission. Click here for more details.

historical informative sign for Trinity Site.

black and white photo of a mushroom cloud.
Trinity Test Fireball 25 Milliseconds After Detonation (July 16 1945)
a photo of a mushroom cloud, black and white.
Trinity Test Fireball 15 seconds After Detonation (July 16 1945)
stone obelisk at Trinity Site.
Obelisk Memorial
highway sign warning of missile testing range.
Due to the Launching of Missiles, Your Commute May Be Effected

8) See an Ever Changing Landscape

With the passing of time and the shifting winds, White Sands National Monument is in constant flux. Imagine if you can, 224.6 mi² of pure white sand dunes as far as the eye can see; have sunglasses on hand because of the blinding glare from the sun! Without getting too much into the mineralogy of this dazzling rare phenomenon, this is simply the world’s largest gypsum dune-field. You can even sled down the dunes – bring your own or purchase one at the gift shop. We recommend an evening ranger guided tour – you’ll be amazed at what you can learn.

woman holding a handful of white sand.

Having experienced (suffered) 14 Maine Winters, we have a bit of a grasp on drifting snow! What about drifting sand? Well, these Drifters posed that very question to the park ranger. His response: They plow the roads daily! Admission is $5 per person, valid for 3 days. Click here for more information.

white sand dunes against a blue sky.

picnic shelters surrounded by white sand dunes.

9) Visit Lawless Lincoln’s Past and Billy the Kid

Although Lincoln’s main street was once referred to as “the most dangerous street in America” by then-President Rutherford B Hayes, this one- street-town is now accredited as America’s best preserved example of an authentic Wild West town of the 1870’s. Lincoln is a rather fascinating diversion, steeped in history. Experience the setting of the Lincoln County War, often referred to as the bloodiest chapter of New Mexico’s past.

old west building of wooden clapboard against a blue sky.
Original Lincoln Building

Take a step back in history and allow your imagination run riot as you envision Billy the Kid’s final escape from the jailhouse, which still stands. This town is full of original buildings, many of which are now part of the Lincoln Historic Site. Click here for more information. Lincoln is situated 57 miles West of Roswell on US 380. A final note worth mentioning is Lincoln’s quiet, authentic, simplicity; Lincoln is not “disneyfied” in an attempt at sharing its history with the public.

2-story stucco building on the side of the road with mountain in the background.
The Courthouse/Jailhouse where Billy the Kid Made His Final Escape From
historic red building with a plaque in front.
The Hostelry Across From The Courthouse, From Whence Billy the Kid’s Guard Ran Into the Kid’s Gunfire

140 miles North East of Lincoln you will find Fort Sumner, New Mexico, the final resting place of Billy the Kid. If you are driving from Lincoln take US 380 East, look for signs for US 285 North and follow this route until you reach NM 20. Take NM 20 North until you reach US 60 which will take you into Fort Sumner. Follow the signs to his shackled headstone – a last ditch effort to prevent people from continuously stealing it!

William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, is undoubtedly Lincoln County’s poster child for tourism, as can be witnessed by the scenic byway named in his honour. Looked upon as an outlaw in his own time, he has posthumously crossed a threshold and has become immortalised as something of an anti-hero in present-day recounts. Visit his grave and then explore the Billy the Kid Museum which is a wonderful little hodgepodge of preserved Americana beyond all things Billy. Museum admission is $5 per person. It is located at 1435, Sumner Ave. in the town of Fort Sumner, just off of US 60. Click here for museum information.

famous portrait photo of billy the kid.

a cage surrounding the grave of billy the kid.

10) Cruise Down Route 66

Albuquerque and Tucumcari embrace their Route 66 roots, as evidenced by the amount of original establishments still operating from that era in these towns. Central Avenue in Albuquerque (old Route 66) boasts many vintage eateries and lodgings. While not updated, these places still display an allure that you will find difficult to deny. Grab a bite, or bed, under almost any neon-sign that grabs your eye in Albuquerque.

glowing neon sign of western view coffee shop in albuquerque.
Route 66, Albuquerque
colorful mural of garcias restaurant in albuquerque.
Route 66, Albuquerque.
rusted old neon sign in front of abandoned building.
Remnants of a Bygone Era – Route 66 Tucumcari, New Mexico

Finally, check out Tucumcari for another reminder of days gone by, yet in a slightly more spiffed-up fashion. Tucumcari deserves praise (and a visit) for seeing a future in its past, which is certainly something most towns in this country could learn from. You will find more vintage visions of Route 66 (The Mother Road) lighting your path as you drive through the proud showcase belonging to this town. Good for you, Tucumcari!

glowing neon sign for the blue swallow motel on route 66 in tucumcari, new mexico.
Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico.
palomino motel sign at dusk, route 66 tucumcari new mexico.
Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico
glowing neon sign for a gift shop in tucumcari new mexico.
Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico

11) Go Underground in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The size of the underground network of caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is as impressive as the spooky formations that await you. Journey deep into this rather complex cave system with confidence, knowing there is a cafeteria underground to fuel your journey back to the above-ground world! The vividness of the calcified chandeliers above and the seemingly never-ending path through the cave will humble you. Again, you will be amazed by the immense size of this subterranean wonderland! Admission to Carlsbad Caverns is $12 and is good for 3 days.  For more information, click here.

winding walkway entrance to carlsbad caverns.

dripping formations on a cave ceiling.

unique rock formation hanging from a cave ceiling.

formations of rock on a cave ceiling.

12) Visit Steamy, Dreamy Hot Springs

The west is rather full of geothermal pools waiting to delight the adventurous traveler; New Mexico is no exception. Either in desert or pine-clad mountain highlands, you will find a scenic spot to soak. Choose from either luxury spas or hike-in pools you may have all to yourself. In addition, you may even find some road-side hot springs begging you to pull over. The town of Taos, blessed with 3 different pools in the area and a destination in its own right, makes a great place to come for a soak. The town of Truth or Consequences was built quite literally on top of hot springs! New Mexico must be seen to be believed and believed to be seen.

several pools of hot spring water on a mountain side.
San Antonio Hot Springs, Near Jemez Springs
2 old concrete pools filled with hot spring water.
Ponce de Leon Hot Springs, Near Taos
naked woman sitting in a pool of hot spring water.
Fiona, at Manby, or Stagecoach Hot Springs, Near Taos

13) Marvel at Photogenic Lithics

New Mexico is home to some rather unnatural looking wonders that have been molded by nature over time-immemorial.

Shiprock is sacred to the Navajo Nation, which means you are not permitted to climb it. Making it to the base of this formation is certainly adventure enough. A high clearance vehicle is strongly recommend along with dry road conditions. There are no  road-signs for this monument. From the town of Shiprock, go South on US Route 491. Go right on service route 13. Take service route 13 (a dirt road) about 6.5 miles until you come across another dirt road veering right just in front of a black wall rock formation. Take this dirt road, which is very  rough, all the way to Shiprock and enjoy the isolation.

A vie of shiprock from the side of the highway.

Camel Rock –  a quick diversion located just outside of Santa Fe. From U.S. Highway 285/ 84, take exit 175 onto the frontage road. Continue to the small parking lot provided. Climbing on the camel is strictly prohibited! Enjoy the view from a short distance away instead. The camel is a work in progress, with nature lopping off the camel’s nose early in 2017.

In the late 19th century, real camels wandered the arid scrub-lands of America’s South West. To find out why these dromedaries were imported, and the ensuing myths and legends associated with them, click here.

sepia photo of a rock formation resembling a camel.
By Mike TungateFlickr: Camel Rock, CC BY 2.0, Link Before natural rhinoplasty!
rock formation resembling a camel.
After Nature’s Nasal Intervention

Soda Dam –  located directly on the side of Route 4, just outside of the town of Jemez Springs. Parking is not available; pull in on the side of the road and hop over the guard rail. This calcium carbonate deposit has draped a natural bridge over the Jemez River, beneath which flows a waterfall. This is a particularly photogenic spot any time of year.

strange rock formation at base of waterfall.

Battleship Rock – rises like the bow of a ship out of the forests of Jemez. You can find this nautical knock-off on Route 4 North of the town of Jemez Springs. The associated picnic ground with amenities – toilets, potable water – is a day use area only. It is $5 per vehicle per day. Alternatively pull in on the side of the road, snap your picture and continue on your way.

rock formation resembling the bow of a battleship.

14) Take a Hike to Hallowed Ground

In the Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque you will find a hiking trail noteworthy for a rather somber reason: The final resting place of doomed TWA Flight 260 from 1955. This is a rather strenuous hike: Do not attempt unless fit, confident and certain of the weather. The trail begins at an elevation of roughly 6,500 ft. and ends at an elevation of 10,138 ft. WE REPEAT: This is not an easy stroll in the woods! 

Though the crash site is below the peak of the trail, there is still an incredible amount of effort, experience and elevation gain involved in getting here. We suggest using an app such as AllTrails. With this app you can search for the Domingo Baca Trail #230, complete with specific directions to the trail head, reviews and a handy GPS map which will guide you on the 7.7-mile round trip hike.

piece of fuselage from TWA flight 260.

mangled engine of TWA flight 260

A rather scenic (and very tough) uphill scramble will bring you to doomed TWA flight 260, which crashed into the peaks above on February 19th, 1955. All 16 persons aboard the Martin 404 aircraft died instantly. Nascent rescue crews managed to recover only the bodies, due to the challenging terrain. As a result, the crumpled aircraft remains where it fell. Here, a memorial plaque gives further details and names the 13 passengers and 3 crew members who perished.

cross section of wing, TWA flight 260

Almost all the plane can be seen and explored: a seat, both wings, a cargo door, main landing gear, tires, a contorted propeller and even a portion of the passenger boarding stairs remain on the mountainside. In addition, sections of the fuselage, complete with TWA logo and a portion of the tail number, poke out from the brush. Above all, treat this somber site with respect.

15) See the REAL Albuquerque Isotopes

front view of albuquerque isotopes stadium.
Isotopes Stadium

In the past, you had to watch The Simpsons to hear mention of the Albuquerque Isotopes. Since 2003, the team has come to life (literally) and has a rather nice stadium to boot! Check out a home game and marvel at the gimmicks happening between innings and participate in the silly Y.M.C.A. dance with resident goof-ball and mascot, Orbit. If you are a Simpsons fan you will have fun spotting the cartoon family depicted everywhere, emblazoned on the walls and doors throughout the stadium.

mascot dancing on top of dugout at a nighttime baseball game.
Orbit the Mascot
mascots on a baseball field with jumbotron in the background.
On-Field Antics

We recommend an upper level seat on the 3rd base side for the best view of the field and the Sandia Mountains in the background. Settle in and heckle the opposing team with all your might and enjoy the game. Meanwhile, treat yourself to the most overpriced food and drinks you will find anywhere! If paying $8 for a 12 ounce beer or $5 for a slice of wilted-looking pizza is your thing, the Isotopes have you covered. We drank in the parking lot prior to the game and therefore saved ourselves a bundle.

view of action on a baseball diamond from the 3rd base side.

Baseball games are a rather fun way to catch some excitement or just zone out for a few hours and people-watch. Day games tend to be rather uncomfortable in the desert sun; come for an evening game instead.

16) Shake Your Little Tush on the Catwalk

For those of you who remember the seminal song ” I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred, we present your very own outdoor catwalk…in style, of course. Slink your way through a box canyon along the Whitewater Creek here in New Mexico – rather than Paris or Milan – and enjoy the scenery while you channel your inner diva. Why not have a picnic or maybe take a dip in the clear waters below?

steel walkway on side of rock face above a creek.

Located at the end of State Route 174, 5 miles east of the town of Glenwood, Catwalk National Recreation Trail is a rather easy 1.1 mile walk along the creek and atop an elevated support-beam walkway that meanders through the canyon.

The catwalk was the name of the original wooden walkway that once stood over a steel pipe used to channel water to an ore processing plant, which is still visible from the parking area. Time has banished the old wooden catwalk and the pipe but the original route is still followed by the contemporary walkway.

The rather charming little village of Glenwood is located on U.S. Route 180; follow signs from there to the recreation area. Admission to The Catwalk is $3 per vehicle. 

17) Check Out a “Ruin with a View!”

Not far from Glenwood and the Catwalk you’ll find some rather stunning prehistoric real-estate at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Located at the end of New Mexico Route 15 north of Silver City, the Gila Cliff Dwellings certainly enjoy commanding views of the pine-studded valley below. The natural rock shelter here provided a rather perfect location for the ancients who built these structures between 1276 and 1287.

cliff side adobe ruins in partial shadow.

view from inside a cave looking out at an adobe wall and trees.

An easy interpretative loop-trail brings you to the ruins, which you are free to explore. Step inside some of the structures and experience the natural advantage these cliffs offered to the original inhabitants. Getting to the monument, however, is not for the faint-of-heart as the road from Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings is extremely narrow, rough and winding. After that, soak in hot springs and camp out for the night if the precariousness the drive to the ruins leaves you…ruined.

adobe ruins built into a cave.

a roof over a hot spring pool with a cliff in the background.
Your Hot Spring Pool Awaits

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per individual or $10 per family – defined as parents with children. For more information, click here.

18) Rise to the Occasion

If you are lucky enough to be in New Mexico during the first week of October you must visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This world-famous 9 day event is simply an amazing spectacle and therefore cannot be missed. Spectators surround the balloons and crew as preparations for ascent begins. Feel the heat from the burners as the colorful glowing globes take off and try to count them in the sky as they rise.

many people gathered around a glowing hot air balloon.

30 hot air balloons against a blue sky.

Get to the festival before sunrise and enjoy the midway, full of concessions and activities. Temperatures in Albuquerque can be very chilly before sunrise in October; dress accordingly to fully enjoy the early morning balloon showcase.

concession stands on the midway at night.

Balloons take to the skies above Albuquerque throughout the year, should you miss out on the 9 day celebration in October. Early risers will often see several balloons rising against the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains on any given day. The Duke City presents optimal weather conditions for balloonists year-round and as a result has become the de-facto hot air balloon capital of the world.

19) Rock Out to Meta-Historical Graffiti.

Way before Led Zeppelin, travelers rocked out here in New Mexico at El Morro National Monument. Back then, a striking sandstone bluff with a pueblo on top became a landmark to all sorts of passers-by who stopped here for water and to carve their names for posterity into what has become known as Inscription Rock.

far off view of rock cliff, blue sky and a few clouds.
El Morro National Monument

Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate carved the first “modern” inscription in 1605. 2,000 more carvings were to follow, from assorted characters who played a role in New Mexico’s history to settlers heading west in covered wagons. Get up-close to the famous inscriptions,  nearly all of which are still legible through the years. Rock on!

cursive signatures in rock.
A Rather Fancy Carving
a column of historical rock carvings and signatures.
More Inscriptions

The inscriptions are only half the story at this wonderful site; check out the rather ancient pueblo ruins on top of El Morro Rock! A moderate 1.8 mile loop trail begins from the visitor center and climbs to the rather stunningly situated ruins that still stand guard over this storied location. Follow the path carved into the sandstone atop this desert perch. This path winds its way down to the famous wall of inscriptions and past the freshwater pool that provided succor to both the original inhabitants and those merely passing through.

ruins on a mountain top with sky and clouds beyond.
Roof-top Ruins
on top of a sheer rock cliff with the desert floor below.
Lofty Views

El Morro National Monument (FREE!) is located off New Mexico Route 53 between Grants and Gallup. Camping is available on-site. The visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The trails are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, click here.

20) Go Nuts!

So, you think you know New Mexico by now? Wrong. This state continues to amaze because it has grabbed a superlative that should have gone to California: World’s Biggest Pistachio Nut! In your face, Ca-lee-for-ni-a!

We are ceryainly digging deep to the very bottom of the barrel for the 20th thing on our list, but we had fun seeking it out! Likewise, you should have just as much fun in New Mexico, for this really is a great place to visit!

man and woman holding sign in from of very large pistachio nut.
World’s Biggest Pistachio Nut! Alamogordo, New Mexico.

In conclusion, should a giant pistachio somehow manage to find itself on your short list of must-see things, get yourself to Highway 54 in Alamogordo, pronto. Most importantly, this odd site is free to all who think they need to see it.

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  1. Maggie Hadden

    Hi Fiona and Jerry, it was cool to meet you at Tinkertown with my friend Sonya back in early October, we had just started out on our 2 week stint in New Mexico and had the most incredible trip. Paying homage to Georgia OKeefe at Ghost Ranch, Santa Fe and Abiquiu was priceless and just experiencing the sublime landscape , light and colours of NM was transformative……we stayed with the Benedictine at Chama Canyon, spent 4 days around Taos, Earthship stay, visit to Mabel Dodge Luhans, the Taos Pueblo…….the. Rio Grande gorge!! So much….but so much more we didn’t get to in your blog so maybe another visit. It’s an incredible state!! Hope your travels go well and look forward to browsing your FB page and web. Cheers. Maggie from Ireland

    • Maggie,

      You two certainly packed in a lot of Northern New Mexico! We are happy to hear you both enjoyed it so. Do return in the future, for there is so much to see and do here. We cannot get enough of New Mexico and we are always happy to share our enthusiasm with people like yourself and Sonya; making a connection with yous at Tinkertown was cool! Thanks for the comment!

      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  2. I live one state over and never actually spent much time in New Mexico, I think I need to plan a trip there soon. ?

  3. I was born in Los Alamos, and have vivid memories of the amazing food, Camel Rock and Carlsbad Caverns (the rangers told me the tooth fairy lived there!). It has been such a long time since I’ve been there and I’d love to go back and explore some of the places you mentioned and stay and funky retro motels along the way.

    • Lara,
      We do hope you make it back to New Mexico soon. That is funny about the tooth fairy; I can see them choosing the caves to live in…
      There are loads of cool retro hotels to be found all over the state, so just put together your own New Mexico road trip and have a blast!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  4. What a great list! I haven’t been to New Mexico, but I would love to see the natural wonders and the quirky sites. An alien autopsy and a singing highway, followed by some food with hot peppers and a giant pistachio nut sounds like great fun to me!

    • Cindy,
      You sound like you are into the quirky sights, so New Mexico is just the place for you! This is also ground-zero for numerous road trips that you can throw together on your own, taking in a bit of nature, history, food, scenery and odd-ball attractions. Don’t forget the chance to luxuriate in a mountaintop hot spring or a luxury spa, should all that driving make you weary.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  5. I’d forgotten about Christmas! I remember honey on the table just like another condiment though, and a lot of huevos rancheros. As a Brit, the landscape of New Mexico was totally alien to me, and fascinating. On the alien front, I’m glad you made it to the UFO museum. The day we tried to visit, there was a total whiteout, and we spent seven hours at Roswell airport watching the snow fall and waiting for a flight back to Albuquerque. The aliens kept us away, I suspect.

    • Bernie,
      New Mexican food is some of the tastiest in America, in our opinion. Huevos Rancheros will set you up for the day, without a doubt!
      We are sorry to hear you did not make it to the UFO Museum. Roswell has become a hip place to visit, aside from all things alien. There is plenty there, including a free zoo, to keep you hanging around for a few days. Maybe next time…
      We would love to hear more about your trip to New Mexico and what you did whilst there!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  6. Wow! I’d never really thought about a trip to New Mexico but there is so much on offer. I love all the natural and historic sites you’ve showcased I’d certainly be adding the Carlsbad Caverns and the Badlands to an itinerary. Think the singing highway certainly wins the quirky award!

    • Kirstin,
      The singing highway scores points for quirky, without a doubt. There are only a few of these in the world, so seeking out at least one should be a priority if you love the odd-ball attractions!
      For the nature lover there are, of course, all the inspiring landscapes along with a rather famous underground cave to explore. We promise New Mexico will have something for any mood you may be in.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  7. Food, food and more food…on my mind, after seeing those tempting pictures in your post. I’m picturing the drive with the music along that road…with the volume up 🙂 And all those hot air balloons make such a colorful vista!

    • Punita,
      Food will always win over anyone who travels! And who does not dream of a classic road trip? New Mexico really does have it all – it is worth a visit!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  8. I think I’m a little too afraid to get into a hot air balloon. However, I’d love to visit the hot springs, badlands, and ruins. I also want to eat my way through New Mexico ?

    • Carmen,
      You can always view them from the ground! Of course, the hot springs are relaxing and the red and green chile will make everything better.
      We hope you make it there soon.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  9. I have yet to visit New Mexico but it’s definitely on my list. Some of these hikes and adventures look awesome. I’ll have to add those to my list of things to do when I visit. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Joshua,
      New Mexico awaits you, with whatever it is you may be looking for. There are plenty of great hikes and the Balloon Fiesta is just around the corner…
      Just promise us you will give yourself some time; New Mexico has a way of keeping you hanging around.
      Thanks for the comment!
      Your Drifters,
      Fiona and Jerry

  10. Wow, I have to be honest, I had literally no idea what there was to do in New Mexico at all, the only reference I had was Breaking Bad!! What a gem though, the landscape is just something else, there seems to be so much to do too. I just love that Billy the Kid history as well and the food looks amazing. I’ll add it to our future USA road trip plans for sure!

    • Nic,
      Breaking Bad is reason enough to come to New Mexico for a visit. We cobbled together our own tour of locations from the show and had a blast doing so.
      The food and the other quirky sites will keep you lingering – the hikes and the landscape will keep you hanging on a bit more.
      Thanks for the comment, and use this post as a guide, should you make it to New Mexico one day.
      Your Drifters,
      Fiona and Jerry

  11. I’ve been to NM once, and the thing I most remember, besides the landscape, is the “red or green?” question when I ordered food. I soon learned to ask them to mix the two, though I never heard it called “Christmas”. Any state that stuffs croissants with green salsa is okay with me. Besides food, anyone who goes there should just get out and see the landscape.

    • Tom,
      Yeah, New Mexico nails it pretty good with the red and green chile! The landscape is pretty good, too. There honestly is a bit of something for everybody in New Mexico. We hope you find your own photo-op and flophouse there again soon and you use this post as a guide!
      Your Drifters,
      Fiona and Jerry

  12. Christne Marlow

    This is great! I’ve lived in New Mexico for 33 years and there’s always somewhere different to explore. Gallup also has a balloon fiesta in early December. Very cold weather but spectacular as the balloons rise against the red cliffs behind the town. Also, another “attraction” is the variety of petroglyphs to be found throughout the state.
    Oh, and don’t forget the volcanic areas, for example El Malpais. Guess who’s missing you both?!

    • Christine,
      Yes, there are even more reasons to love New Mexico! Even after spending months there – and living in the state 20 years ago – we feel we need to hold off on some of the sights and attractions so we will have something new to discover on our next visit. You certainly do seem to understand the allure of the place just like we do.
      If we ever make it back to the mesa it sounds like we will have to take Lily to the lake for a swim…after our hike of course! We do miss them an awful lot as well.
      Your Drifters,
      Fiona and Jerry

  13. Cindy Charest

    Wow! Great trip segment, nicely described and photographed. We hiked in the Bisti and in Chaco – both are fabulous! Recently, we drove to Ship Rock and took that rough dirt road right to the base of it. Surprisingly, my husband had excellent cell reception there, so he made some calls while I scrambled around. Such a cool place!

    Thanks for allowing us to follow along. ?

    • Cindy,
      It really is good to hear you saw some of the quieter sides of New Mexico; it is one of our favorite places anywhere. Thank you for such a nice comment, as well! Please continue to follow along and please share with us your New Mexico tips – there is always more to discover.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  14. Debbie Cratsley

    By far this has been my favorite read! I can’t believe the beauty of New Mexico and have now added it to my bucket list! When I was about 5, my aunt & uncle lived in Clovis New Mexico but I don’t remember much of being there. I look forward to your next post and making my own trip to New Mexico..
    Safe travels

    • Debbie,
      We are both very happy you liked thiis post and that you are inspired to visit. New Mexico has quite the variety of sites and sights. The Balloon Fiesta in October is a good excuse to head west; the yummy red and green chile, however, is served yeat-round. Let us know where you go and what you did on your next visit to the Land of Enchantment!
      Thanks for reading along, Debbie!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  15. Eilidh Duff

    Hello Drifters!

    Thank you for reminding me of all the great places you took me to when I visited you in New Mexico back in 1999. It truly was an amazing holiday and I have very fond memories of my time with you both – and of course Scraps too! Your kindness and generosity are unsurpassed. Thanks for letting me drift around with you for a bit.

    • Eilidh,
      We had a great time with you and we were so happy you came to visit. It was so good to able to show you around and to know you still remember it so well! Going back to New Mexico on this drift has been amazing and we feel we got to see some things we never had a chance to see when we lived there. That was 20 years ago, huh?
      We would love to see you and Allan again soon and to finally meet James!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  16. Vicki Gayton

    Dear Fiona and Jerry, Your post takes me back to the wonderful times I shared with Bill Gayton while traveling through New Mexico. Please know that he is with you in spirit. Bill loved new adventures and lived vicariously through you and your travels. Holding you both close to my heart ??❤️??

    • Vicki,
      We are so happy this post reached you! Bill always fondly recalled that trip out west with you. We certainly looked forward to each bag of green chile he had for us. We are thinking of you and we send our love. Say hello to Portland for us.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  17. Guys, take a breath! Im exhausted just reading through the list! Glad your having a good time ‘back home’, your clearly in love with the place.

    • Allan,
      New Mexico certainly does have a magnetic pull with us. We are lucky to have lived there for a bit, and lucky to have the chance to return when we want. It really is a special place.
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  18. Thanks! I have always wanted to visit New Mexico! I watch the Navajo Murder Mysteries with detective Jim Cheers over and over just to soak up the open spaces and peaceful feeling of the landscape. Don’t know when I’ll get there. I’m not currently a fan of traveling alone, but I’m sure I will make it eventually..

    • Louise,
      We hope you do malke it to New Mexico soon. You would love it. You sound drawn to the land; what are you waiting for? Grab a friend and go!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

  19. Fiona, I don’t know if you know but I went to University in the Mexico in ABQ for 3 years for my masters degree 86 to 89. Then Laurie and I went back 2 years ago for some short conference and we still love that City. My Master’s thesis was the Ladron Mts on the west side of the river between Albuquerque and Socorro. Totally cool State I’d love to talk to you guys more about it.

    • Keith,
      We love Albuquerque, too! In fact, we know a geologist at the University here, Grant Meyer. Do you know him? Hopefully some day we can share more tales together. Also, there are tons of great trails to hike around ABQ, and beyond. We hope you make it back here soon!
      Your Drifters,
      Jerry and Fiona

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