The American Southwest — Patrick


Enchanted Lands!

Timing is everything. It is just possible if we leave on September 10th early from Denver International Airport, headed with a beeline South for New Mexico, to experience the opening night of Fiestas de Santa Fe, complete with the burning of the Zozobra, while also getting a chance to seek out some of the most rare and exciting locales in the US. Let’s get started! I have saved a map on Google so you can follow along on our journey:

  1. We pick up the striking new 2010 SRX just after dawn on Friday with a mission to cover some miles early. Due South compadres!
  2. After a short jaunt from I-25 we climb up to the rarefied air in Tres Piedras, NM just over the border.
  3. Really the jaunt to the West was to set us up to cross the fifth highest bridge in the US; The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Featured in the ‘Wedding’ scene from Natural Born Killers, this bridge offers some vertigo inducing vistas. Photo op with the Caddy anyone!
  4. Next we just head North of Taos to follow the Questa/Eagle Nest/Angel Fire for a wishful search for some early autumn aspen foliage, but if we just spend some time on a gorgeous stretch of mountain road, us and the SRX – the road and the mountains, we won’t be complaining.
  5. Approaching is our first of many-to-come Green Chile fixes. Hello Taos, NM! Can you feel the hum? The SRX keeps us in high style and good graces in the movie star hangout.
  6. Since we are headed to Santa Fe, why not jump on some of the oldest and most established sections of the Santa Fe trail complete with monumental scenery in Wagon Mound, NM. Boy aren’t we glad for this new CUV from Cadillac and that we are not in a covered wagon of olde? Take your snapshots quick! We gotta get moving.
  7. Breezing through Las Vegas we can get a Cohen Bros. proximity high and decide for ourselves if this really is no country for old men! Good thing we got the young hip SRX.
  8. It’s time to find a good spot to park our Chromed-Chariot, because we have reached Santa Fe, and it is time to PARTY! Viva la Fiesta! This is a popular time in this small historic town, Fiestas is the oldest continuously running cultural event in the country, and since hotel rooms may be scarce, this may be time to see how to new Cadillac sleeps for the night!
  9. Bright and Early let’s get a move on to Los Alamos. This birthplace of the Atomic Bomb, is a nice quick drive-through on the way up the mountain towards much grander sights.
  10. First we make a quick stop in to Bandelier National Monument and ponder what it was like to live in the cliff dwellings high along the canyon walls. Hopefully we get a chance to stop by and check out the Hummingbird courtyard, small in comparison, but great to see nonetheless.
  11. Don’t blow your top when you see our next stop. The Valle Grande is an enormous crater leftover after a massive caldera erupted long ago and took the tops of a few of the nearby peaks with it. Herds of elk look minuscule amongst this out-scale setting. I think there is almost as much room out there as in /
  12. After winding our way down from the mountains, we settle in for some real highway roadtrippin’ on our way through Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. Grab a beverage and turn up the tunes, we’re haulin’! Our standard iPod interface will come in handy here.
  13. What American road trip in the Southwest is complete without some Highway 66 love? Stock up on chips and cheap sunglasses. Clines Corners is coming up. You know by the count-down signs. How much longer?! Are we there YET?! If my calculations are correct, we hardly need any gas because this ride gets such great mileage.
  14. If you are just waking up from your nap, lulled asleep by the curvy back roads and peaceful view, then I may need to clarify. We have not arrived on the moon. This Valley of the Fires State Park, and what you see is the power of lava.
  15. We can’t stay long, but if you look to your left you will see Ruidoso Downs. Home of the ‘Richest Race in Quarter Horse Racing’. Keep an eye out for Celebs, there’s gold in them there hills. The race was just last week, but we’ve got plenty of horses of our own. Hyah! SRX – onward!
  16. It’s picnic and sunscreen time. The blinding glow you see ahead is White Sands National Monument. A large gypsum deposit in the desert, this stark white collection of dunes is both a great place to test the latest and greatest in military technology and run around and slide down the dunes like a wild 7 year old trapped in a car on family vacation. Looks somewhat like the salt flats, but much gentler on our lovely CUV.
  17. If we hurry we can make the last tour down into Carlsbad Caverns. Get yer spelunkin’ on! Hey who turned out the lights? Classic family road trip stuff right there.
  18. Weary from the sights, but fresh as a daisy due to the phenomenal ride in our Cadillac SRX, it is time to head for the airport in El Paso for that sleepy flight home. We are sad to be done, but excited to spend the next few weeks recounting the fun we had, and remembering all the special places we saw while sorting through the handfuls of photo memory cards we will have inevitably taken.

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