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Wish We Were There Wednesday: Random Places

Today we’re taking a random places road trip, and we are so happy to have you along for the ride. Enjoy!

Pike Place Market, Seattle. Established in 1907, it is the oldest running farmer’s market in the U.S. The original Starbucks opened here in 1971.
The Green Monster left field wall at Fenway Park, Boston. The reason the wall is there? To keep people from watching the game for free. In 2003, 269 barstool seats and 100 standing room only spaces were added to the deck on the wall, however tickets for those seats are hard to come by. By the way, the scoreboard on the Green Monster is still updated by hand. Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912.
Smokey Bear’s gravesite, Capitan, New Mexico. The idea of a fire prevention mascot was conceived in 1944 when the National Forest Service came up with a character called Smokey Bear. In 1950, a black bear cub was found badly burned after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. The firefighters who found him named him Smokey. A popular living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey made his home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. until he died in 1976. He was returned to Capitan where he was buried in what is now Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville. Home of the Midnite Jamboree, which started right after the Grand Ole Opry show was over on Saturday nights. Ernest helped many artists get their start right there in that store until 1974 when the show was moved to another venue. The Midnite Jamboree was moved back to the store in 2021. Tubb was born in Texas, 35 miles south of Dallas. He performed and wrote songs up until his health required him to quit in 1982. He died in 1984. In March 2022, it was announced that the store is being sold and the Midnite Jamboree would be ending.
Geographic Center of the U.S. The actual survey marker is 22 miles north of town, but Belle Fourche, South Dakota does a great job of letting people know it’s close by.
UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico. Occupying a 1930s era movie theater, the museum was opened in 1991. In addition to the exhibits, mostly about the so-called Roswell incident, they also have a gift shop that carries things like bumper stickers that say, “I Like Aliens, They Taste Just Like Chicken”, and other gotta-take-one-of-these-home souvenirs.
Granary Burying Ground, Boston. Established in 1660, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are all buried here, along with some of Ben Franklin’s family members and victims of the Boston Massacre, among others. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people are buried in this small cemetery, though there are just over 2,300 markers.
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, Nebraska. Site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch, which was his home from 1886 to 1913. This beautiful barn was built in 1887 to house his purebred stallions and other livestock that lived on the 4,000-acre ranch. His mansion is shown below.
Buffalo Bill Cody’s home at Scout’s Rest Ranch
Reflections on the Colorado River, Moab, Utah. Did you know that the Colorado River Basin is part of eleven national parks? The Colorado River also flows through seven states, two Mexican states, and it forms a partial border between Arizona and Mexico.
Provincetown, Massachusetts. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower landed first at Provincetown in 1620 where the men on the ship signed the Mayflower Compact. The compact was a document whereby they agreed to self-rule the colony they were set to establish in the New World. After finding no fresh water in the area, they sailed across the bay to Plymouth, and the rest, they say, is history.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, opened the hotel in 1909. In the 1970s Stephen King visited the hotel and was inspired to write his novel The Shining. Today, the Stanley Hotel claims to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country with none other than Freelan and his wife, Flora (among other spirits) roaming the hallways. We toured this stunning hotel, and even went in the basement, but we didn’t see any paranormal activity – or Jack Nicholson!

That’s going to do it for today. Thanks so much for joining us on our random places road trip. We hope you will return to our site again for more sights, scenery, trips, tricks, and tips. Be sure to sign up to be an e-mail follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Tell your friends! We want to be friends with them, too.

Happy hump day, everybody!

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Paso to Ruidoso Road Trip: Things to Do

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Tucked snugly beneath the cool pines in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico, Ruidoso is a year-round vacation destination that has something for everyone. With its towering peaks, such as Sierra Blanca pictured above, and quaint alpine village setting, Ruidoso is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We started going there as kids with our parents and grandparents, and we’ve been going back ever since!

The area offers skiing and other snow sports in the winter, along with the sweet, smoky aroma of piñion wood crackling in the fireplace. Summer brings the thrill of horse racing, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, golfing, and just about anything else you can think of to do outdoors. We love Ruidoso any time of year, but if we had to choose our favorite month to visit, we would choose October. We’re anxious to share this trip with you, so let’s get going!

Ruidoso is approximately:

140 miles from El Paso, Texas180 miles from Albuquerque, NM250 miles from Lubbock, Texas

This airport to destination road trip is going to start in El Paso since it is the closest city with a major airport. Drive time between El Paso and Ruidoso: 2.5 hours.

Things to do in El Paso:

  • Chamizal National Memorial
  • Franklin Mountains State Park
  • Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
  • El Paso Museum of History
  • El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • El Paso Museum of Art
  • Mission Trail
  • Water Parks
  • Children’s Museum

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From El Paso, take US Highway 54 north toward Tularosa via Alamogordo, then take US Highway 70 northeast to Ruidoso.

⇒Alternate (recommended) Route: from El Paso, take I-10 north to Las Cruces, New Mexico. At Las Cruces, take US Highway 70 northeast to White Sands National Park. Drive time between El Paso and White Sands: 1.5 hours.

Bonus stop: Las Cruces. Stop for an hour or two to visit Old Mesilla Village. Walk the plaza which is a National Historic Landmark. Mesilla offers shopping venues as well as dining along with history lesson on the side. If a hike sounds appealing, check out the Dripping Springs Natural Area at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument for scenic trials. While in Las Cruces, look for the mural-painted water tanks and the giant roadrunner sculpture made from an array of recycled junk such as old sneakers and computer components.

Organ Mountains near Las Cruces – photo by Jason Pofahl

Bonus stop: White Sands National Park. Currently $25.00 per vehicle to enter the park. The gift shop at the visitor center sells sand discs for sledding on the dunes. Even if sledding isn’t your thing, the scenery is out of this world. There are plenty of places to park along Dunes Drive, so get out of the car and climb the gypsum dunes for spectacular views and photo ops with the mountains as the backdrop. Here’s the link: White Sands National Park

Travel tip: before you go, check the website for temporary park and highway closures due to testing at White Sands Missile Range. Closures typically last three hours or less.

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From White Sands, take US Highway 70 to Alamogordo.

Bonus stop: New Mexico Museum of Space History/International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo. Plan to spend a couple of hours here, as it is a fantastic museum that both kids and adults will love. Alamogordo offers many hotel and restaurant choices, as well as a state park, wineries, and a zoo. While you’re in town, be on the lookout for the world’s largest pistachio! 

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From Alamogordo, take US Highway 54 north to Tularosa (13 miles), then take US Highway 70 northeast to Ruidoso.

⇒Alternate (recommended) Route: from Alamogordo, take US Highway 82 east to Cloudcroft. (19 miles of steep two lane road.) This route through the Lincoln National Forest is very scenic.

Travel tip: when approaching the “Tunnel Ahead” sign, slow down for a pull out. The view of White Sands from the viewpoint is pictured below.

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Continue east on US Highway 82. Right before you reach the village of Cloudcroft, there is another pull out. Stop and get out of the car, stretch your legs, and breathe in the fresh mountain air. (The elevation here is about 8650 feet.) Learn about the historic Cloudcroft Railroad/Mexican Canyon Trestle pictured below. This only remaining portion of the old rail line is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Bonus stop: Cloudcroft. Stop and have a look around the village that is home to Ski Cloudcroft. The village also has shopping, restaurants, history, and a totally laid-back atmosphere. *Recommended restaurant in Cloudcroft: Dave’s Cafe – 300 Burro Ave. Good food and good service.

⇒Side trip: Sunspot Solar Observatory. Head south from Cloudcroft on Highway 130 toward Sunspot via the Sunspot Highway (aka Highway 6563). It is an extremely scenic drive (a total of 19 miles in the Lincoln National Forest) that ends at the observatory.  Along the road, be sure to stop at the scenic viewpoint pull out for fabulous views of White Sands and the Tularosa Basin. At the observatory, check out the visitor center, the telescopes, and the beautiful scenery. The elevation at Sunspot is about 9200 feet. Travel tip: Google Maps for directions to Sunspot are not reliable.

From Cloudcroft, take Highway 244 north to US Highway 70 to Ruidoso. Highway 244 is also a scenic route through the Lincoln National Forest. Drive time from Cloudcroft to Ruidoso: 1 hour. Travel tip: watch for deer and elk along this road.

Did we mention why we like this area in October?

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Destination: Ruidoso, New Mexico

*Recommended resort in Ruidoso: Inn of the Mountain Gods. This resort has everything, including a gorgeous, yet challenging golf course and a casino! Here’s a link: Inn of the Mountain Gods

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*Recommended hotel in Ruidoso: Hampton Inn.

*Recommended Mexican food restaurant: Casa Blanca – 501 Mechem Dr.

*Recommended restaurant for dinner: Texas Club – 212 Metz Dr.

*Recommended restaurant for lunch: Anaheim Jacks – 1097 Mechem Dr.

Things to do in Ruidoso:

  • Bet! Enjoy the excitement of summer horse racing at Ruidoso Downs. The adjoining Billy the Kid Casino is open year-round.
  • Gamble! Play the slots or try your hand at one the gaming tables at Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino.
  • Shop! Ruidoso’s downtown offers a variety of great shops and art galleries. There is bound to be something for every heart’s desire.
  • Play! There are public golf courses, a public swimming pool, tennis courts, public parks, a bowling alley, miniature golf, bumper boats, go-carts, Wibit Water Park, and horseback riding stables, just to name a few.IMG_4710
  • Ski! Head to Ski Apache for wintertime fun in the snow. There is also a site for sledding and tubing near the ski area.
  • Learn! Check out the Hubbard Museum of the American West, located just east of Ruidoso Downs racetrack.
  •  Hike or Bike! There are many hiking and biking trails in the area. Here’s a link for trail information: Ruidoso Trails
  • Get on the Water! Area lakes provide the perfect setting for canoeing, kayaking, or fishing.
  • Drive the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway

Travel tip: stop in at the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway Visitor Center in Ruidoso Downs (next to the Hubbard Museum of the American West) before traveling to the following sites. Here’s a link: Billy the Kid Scenic Byway.

IMG_4654⇒First stop: For history buffs, head northeast on Highway 48 from Ruidoso to Capitan for a visit to Smokey Bear Historical Park. Spend an hour touring the museum and nature area and see Smokey’s final resting place. Tickets are $2.00 per adult and $1.00 for kids between the ages of seven and twelve. Six and under are free. Cash only.

⇒Second stop: head east on US Highway 380 to Fort Stanton Historic Site. Take a tour of the grounds and learn the importance of this historic fort. Here’s a link: Fort Stanton.

⇒Third stop: Lincoln, New Mexico for some Old West history. (East on US Highway 380 from Fort Stanton.) Learn about the Lincoln County War, Sheriff Pat Garrett, and Billy the Kid, while touring the historic buildings in town. Tickets for entrance into the museum and designated buildings are $7.00 per adult at the visitor center. There is also a nice hiking/nature trail along the Rio Bonito. The shots below show some of the sights around Lincoln. Click on image to enlarge.

Sedona 2007 158

We’re going to end this post with one last side trip idea. While in any area, why not see everything. Right?

Just a one-hour drive east from Ruidoso is the city of Roswell, New Mexico. Remember the 1947 Roswell incident? Well, whether or not you believe a flying saucer crashed there, a trip to the International UFO Museum and Research Center might be a stop you want to add to your itinerary. Telling about your trip to this museum will make for great campfire or cocktail party conversation!

Hopefully we have inspired your wanderlust, and if a trip to New Mexico is on your radar, we sincerely hope that you will make plans to visit Ruidoso and surrounding areas in the future. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022