"It's 101 outside and every time I open the door sweat starts dripping into my eyeballs temporarily blinding me and I need to change t-shirts after 10 minutes outside - we need to escape to the cool air in the mountains of New Mexico." No argument from Mrs.Texas Outside, so we packed the motorhome, hooked up the Jeep, and headed northwest to New Mexico.
From Georgetown it's a pretty boring (flat desert), hot (108 in Big Spring), and long (954 miles and 9 hours) drive, but once we got about 50 miles west of Artisa, New Mexico and started a steady climb up the Sacramento Mountains to Cloudcroft at 8600 feet above sea level the temperature dropped to a cool and refreshing 73 - I was ready to put on a sweatshirt!
After looking at oil wells, wind mill farms, flat brown desert (they say that in northwest Texas you can stand on a dime and see Dallas), roads that were straight as an arrow for miles and miles, and sagebrush, it was great to see mountain peaks, tall trees, clear blue ponds, and lush green fields with horses, cows, and farmhouses.
Our first stop was Cloudcroft and after getting the motorhome settled into it's campsite under some towering trees (which made our native Texas mesquite and cedar trees look like dwarfs) we started asking our neighbors about fun things to see and do. Cloudcroft is small, compact, and quaint and it doesn't take long to sample most of what it offers. We tried 90% of the restaurants, spent some time in the local bars, took a hike, played the only golf course, explored the Lodge Resort, ate some great BBQ, and walked all of the shops. Click on the Cloudcroft Vacation Article to read more. We also drove into Las Cruces to play a top rated New Mexico golf course and then de posited some of the sand from their bunkers onto the towering dunes at White Sands National Monument.
From Cloudcroft it is just a 58 mile drive along a two lane road that twists and turns and goes up and down the mountain on the way to Ruidoso. Not many cars, beautiful scenery of mountain peaks, meadows with colorful wild flowers, small ranches with grazing cattle, and road signs that say Pass with Care and watch for snowplows, deer, ice on the road, and falling rocks. As we slowly descended (a 42' motorhome towing a Jeep needs to take it easy - glad there wasn't any traffic) from an elevation of 8600 feet to 6920 feet in Ruidoso it started to warm up - but still pleasant in the low 90s. Not only did it get warmer but the population of residents grew from 674 to 7965 and there were stop lights, some traffic, lots of motels, shops, and restaurants - we were back in civilization! And I'm not sure I liked it - until I played the three golf courses, went zooming down a zip line, enjoyed several excellent meals, downed a lot of craft beer, watched my horse come in last, lost my money on the craps table, and listened to some live music three nights in a row! Read about our few days of vacation in Ruidoso.
It's an interesting 191 mile drive through the "Land of Enchantment" from Ruidoso to Santa Fe - out of the mountains with trees and lush green pastures to the gently rolling hills with scrub brush, mesas and arroyos, plateaus and grazing cattle, into Santa Fe and all of it's upscale adobe homes dotting the hillsides at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Santa Fe Mountains with their 13,000 foot peaks.
Our first task was to find our RV park - the RV's GPS is horrible - and once we found it and got the RV settled in we were off to happy hour and dominos. We stayed in Los Suenos de Santa Fe RV Park & Campground and it turned out to be a perfect location to explore Santa Fe. It's on a major street that leads straight into the centerpiece of Santa Fe (the Plaza) and on it's way to the Plaza we stopped at several good restaurants and bars.
Over the next five days we played three excellent and very different golf courses, rode bikes around Santa Fe, sampled lots of local brewed craft beer and several margaritas,, ate some very good New Mexican cuisine, and stomped our feet, clapped our hands, and sang along to some excellent live music. Read more about our vacation in Santa Fe.
One of the activities (if you can call it that) which we really enjoyed during this trip was visiting the local brew pubs in Ruidoso and Santa Fe and sampling the craft beer made in New Mexico. We tried flights (between 4 to 6 4 ounce to 6 ounce glasses of different beers) of local craft beers with names like Stone Arrogant Bastart Ale, Boxing Bear Paw, Swipe Pale Ale, Pancho Verde Green Chile Cerveza (a roasted chile aroma made from mild green chile that left me with just a hint of heat on the back end - I bought a six pack!), Alien Amber Ale, Guns & Oil American Lager, Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, and Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break just to name a few! With much regret and tears in the eyes and with our coolest clothes we reluctantly started heading back to Texas where it was still over 100 degrees!
Since it's 665 miles from Santa Fe to Georgetown, we decided to stop in Lubbock for the night and a round of golf the next day. We stayed at Camelot Village RV Park which is a great location to stay if you want to explore Lubbock and the surrounding area. Read our review of Camelot Village RV Park to learn more. The next day we played golf at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University - wow what a spectacular golf course that's rated as one of the best in Texas. The Rawls Course is a links style course that is home to some really fun golf holes, wind that can stop your ball dead in it's tracks, huge greens that are heavily contoured and well guarded, over 90 bunkers that are huge, multi-fingered, steep and deep, and now missing a lot of sand which went home with me in my hair, pockets, and shoes! Read our review of Rawls Golf Club - a spectacular course that we rated 9.4 out of 10.
Following a dip in the pool at Camelot Village we set off to the Depot which is the entertainment district of Lubbock. We enjoyed a great steak, some craft beer, and good music at Triple J Chophouse and Brew Company. As we devoured our steak we listened to a very talented guitar player and singer that picked and sang everything from Buddy Holly to Stevie Ray Vaughn to Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond, Bob Wills, and the Beatles! After which we checked out a couple more bars around the corner with live music - both of which were a little dead because Tech classes had not yet started. If you have to end a vacation, this was a good way to do it - back in Texas at the home of Texas Tech, excellent golf, some good food, cold craft beer, good music in Buddy Holly's hometown, friendly Texans, and hot temperatures! Welcome home!