Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #4 - The American Southwest or My Honeymoon

TT gave us a theme this time, and since this was something I had considered doing already, I decided now was as good a time as any! Since last week was my anniversary, I’ve decided to talk about the places we went on our honeymoon! It was a wonderful trip, and I’d really like to go back to these places and take my Mom, because I know she’d enjoy it!

1. We started off by driving down to Carlsbad, New Mexico where we spent a couple of days to go through Carlsbad Caverns. The Cavern is extensive and there are different tours of varying degrees of difficulty, in addition to the large self tour that is open all the time. If you are interested in caves, you should try to get here, you can easily spend several days if you wanted to do more than one tour, and you HAVE to stay for the bat flight in the evening! It was quite a site!
These pictures are a bit fuzzy because of the lighting. The first one is a look out across the vast room of the self-guided tour, and really doesn’t do the view justice. The next are just a few of the structures you can see, and by far not the most spectacular! We also saw several of the painted ponies, kind of like the cow parade, so I'll post the pictures of the ones we ran into, the fire pony is my favorite!

2. We made our way north next, and HAD to stop at Rosewell, New Mexico, just to say we’d been there, and to stock up on alien stuff! Check out the International UFO Museum and Research Center to fulfill all your alien needs! You can even take the virtual tour on the website, I think they show just about everything! The last pic is of my husband next to his ride to his home planet... (hey, he's the one that claims to be the alien!)

3. On the way to Albuquerque we drove through the Valley of Fires We didn't actually stop along the way, in fact didn't even know what it was, except for a sign. It seems to be a big black lava field that has since been broken up over time. I'd like to check it out next time we're out that way, it was kind of eerie!

4. Outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico we stopped at Petroglyphs National Monument and toured Bosa Negra Canyon.

5. Once in Albuquerque we visited the BioPark, which is a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden all connected to each other. This was a nice trio of attractions. The most memorable thing for me was the children’s garden, with a big topiary dragon out front, and giant veggies and bugs (and a spider!) and such behind a castle wall that makes you feel like you’re down on the level of an insect, pretty fun! That's me leaning on the potato, because who wouldn't love a giant baked potato?!

Also in Albuquerque they had a nice natural history museum, with a good dinosaur display! It was a bigger place than it looked! They even had their own version of painted ponies, painted pterosaurs (ok, I don't remember what they were actually called, but it sounded good!)

6. Chaco Canyon was an especial favorite of mine, as it was a place we'd talked about in my college anthropology classes, but that I never thought I would actually visit! They are like cliff dwellings, only on the ground, and much larger. Out in the middle of nowhere pretty much, but to me, well worth it! There are several larger sites all in the same area, the last picture is what one of the more well known of them would have looked like in it's own time period. Look at how all the stones are fit together! AMAZING! (yes, I'm an Anthropology geek, it seriously was a major experience for me, I cried...)

7. The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest are connected, and I would suggest that if you're going to the Grand Canyon as well, that you see the Painted Desert first, as anything pales in comparison after the Grand Canyon! But Painted Desert, being my first experience at colorfully layered landscape, was beautiful! There were some more petroglyphs too, actually more spectacular in my opinion that Petroglyphs monument. I believe this one was called newspaper rock, and was quite extensive, my picture is only a small portion of the work. The last picture is one of the trees all polished up.

8. Meteor Crater is another out in the middle of nowhere place, but worth stopping in at least once. You can take tours along the rim and there is an observation deck outside, but it is sometimes shut down for very high winds (over/near 100 mph?) that make the walks dangerous. The deck was closed off the day we were there unfortunately.

9. The Grand Canyon... there's not a lot more to say than WOW. It's one of those things that even when you're looking right at it, it's hard to believe it. One of the places you must try to go. I won't say that you have to take a mule tour, I don't think I could do it, but even just looking out across it is worth the visit! The last picture is of the hotel where we ate dinner several times, with a patio area that you can sit and look out across the canyon.

10. Monument Valley is the image that is often shown as the epitome of the American Southwest. I'm pretty sure most people who've seen a western in a desert setting have seen a picture of Monument Valley. We arrived too late in the day to make it to the visitor center, but just the view is amazing!

11. Mesa Verde is probably what most people think of when they hear "cliff dwellings" and I think they've earned that right! You can't get to all of these, although there are some tours you can take, like in Carlsbad, of varying degrees of difficulty, but there is also one you can get to fairly easily by walking along a switchback trail (it's paved though, not too bad at all), the rest you can see from the road, there are stopping points with overlooks and good views. Can you see the ladder/handholds in the last picture? I wouldn't have made it living in these times! (there was also a stairway at Chaco Canyon that was just carved right into the top of a cliff that it looked like you would have had to be Spider Man to stay on! It was an amazing culture!)

My last two places I don't have any handy pictures of them... why? Because the day we were there, the fog was so thick, many people were getting lost because you couldn't see the street signs! So I'll link you to their websites, I've been there many times before, but was frustrated because I really wanted to share them with my husband and couldn't! So, poor guy has been near them, but not seen them! LOL!

12. Pikes Peak I highly recommend taking the cog railway tour, rather than driving this yourself. Save the wear and tear on your car and yourself, and enjoy the ride, instead of being scared to death by it! LOL!

13. Garden of the Gods was probably the most interesting geological park I'd seen before I visited Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, and it will always hold a special place in my heart, I fell in love with it the first time I went there, probably I was around 12, and I just can't go to Colorado without going there. I was SOOOOO frustrated that I couldn't share it with hubby on our honeymoon. So we'll have to go back!

Wow, this post took much longer than expected (and caused some panic as I couldn't initially find the honeymoon pictures, but the husband saved the day and found them for me! LOL! Also credit to him for finding the Valley of Fires, because I couldn't remember what it was called!) but was a much needed rewalk through one of the neatest vacations I've been on! Hope you all enjoy, and can make it to some of these magnificent places!


  1. Wow, what a great trip and I didn't spend a dime or even leave the comforts of my own couch! Thanks. :)

    Happy TT.

  2. I took a very similar trip in the late 1980s with my family. Happy TT.

  3. Great post with great pics. thanks for sharing in here...

    Will you visit mine Thanks

  4. Sounds like a great trip and that you had a fabulous time. I've only seen the Grand Canyon from above in an airplane and even that was amazing.

  5. Damn. Your honeymoon rocked. I want to go to most of those places now!

  6. Your honeymoon beats mine...wait I didn't have one. Knew we forgot something back then. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip for TT this week. Mine is up @ The Cafe if you'd like to pop by.

  7. I have spent a lot of time in the southwest. I always got a kick out of Elephant Butte Lake near Thruth or Consequences New Mexico.

  8. I have this sudden urge to go on a road trip. Lucky I have some vacation coming up next month.

    Happy TT!

  9. I've never been that far West, so thanks for the tour!

  10. Now that's a great trip. And I've been to every spot! Did you see White Sands? That's amazing and on Outside magazine's top 10 to see before you die. I'm glad you had a nice trip!

  11. I am just tired from a day trip to Bratislava!!!

  12. I love the pictures and have to say I am very jealous.


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