Oklahoma Or Bust

We finally left Albuquerque and the desert on Thursday, April 26, and headed for Oklahoma City.  Our plan was to divide the trip by driving half way (about 4 hours) and spend the night in Amarillo, Texas.  We would travel the last four hours the next day.  However, the wind had its own agenda.

We have learned that traveling with a headwind or tailwind isn’t too bad (it’s better with NO wind though), but a crosswind is NOT something to fool around with in a high profile vehicle like The Beast (this is what we call our 40 foot RV).  When the wind shifted directions to a cross wing and the gusts became quite strong, we started looking for a place to spend the night even though we weren’t anywhere near Amarillo.

If you travel in an RV or any kind of camping trailer, there is an app that we feel is definitely worth the few dollars to download.  It is called AllStays.  We bought the Camp and RV version, but there are also versions for Camp and Tent, Walmart Overnight Parking, Truck Stops & Travel Plazas, Military Campgrounds & RV Parks (FamCamp), and more.  Here’s a couple of screen shots of the AllStays apps.



Our AllStays app helped us find an RV park nearby by in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  It was called Santa Rosa RV Park and was a pretty nice park.  The area in which the park was located actually shielded us quite well from the wind.

Since we stopped earlier than we planned, we had all afternoon to explore the area.  The biggest and most pleasant surprise of all was when we googled “things to do around Santa Rosa, NM,” we found two lovely places to explore.

The first place we went to was called The Blue Hole.  It is a circular, bell-shaped artesian well that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the U.S. for scuba diving and training.  Since Santa Rosa’s elevation is a little over 4,600 feet, diving enthusiasts must use high-altitude dive tables to compute the dive profile and decompression stops when diving at the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is also open for public swimming, however, there are no lifeguards on duty.

The Blue Hole is a beautiful, clear blue body of water with a constant temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has a constant inflow of 3,000 US gallons of water PER MINUTE!  The surface is about 80 feet in diameter but expands to 130 feet in diameter at the bottom.  It’s depth is approximately 80 feet.



The round floating balls mark different depths diving platforms (15, 20, and 25 feet).  The diving platforms are the outlined white squares.


This diver is getting ready to go down.


Can you see the diver’s bubbles coming to the surface?



Swimmers have various platforms around the Blue Hole from which they can jump or dive.

Some of the water from the Blue Hole is siphoned off through a couple of canals and used for a couple of fishing ponds and a huge “swimming lake.”  The fishing ponds are somewhat unique in that they are reserved for children under 12, senior citizens over 65, and the handicapped.  The swimming lake has a roped off swimming area complete with slides and lifeguard stands, numerous entry points around the lake, and a small dock.  It really looked inviting.


One of the canals siphoning off water to the fishing ponds and swimming lake.



There is a small road complete with park benches between the two fishing ponds.



The swimming lake. REMEMBER: the lake is the same water temperature as the Blue Hole! 61 degrees!!


The second place we explored was Santa Rosa Dam & Lake and Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  The earthen dam has a height of 214 feet and is 1900 feet long.  It is the uppermost dam along the Pecos River and serves for irrigation water storage and flood control.


Even though the dam was authorized in 1954 as the Los Esteros project, it created a controversy with the Fort Sumner Irrigation District which depended on the Pecos River.  An agreement wasn’t reached until 1971 and construction of the dam took place from 1974 to 1979.  The name of dam and lake was then changed to Santa Rosa in 1980.

The reservoir it created was called Santa Rosa Lake and it hosts a variety of recreational activities:  fishing (largemouth bass, catfish, and walleye), boating, camping, and other activities at the adjacent Santa Rosa Lake State Park.


The earthen dam is on the far left side of the picture (built up with the rocks). That walkway out to the tower thing is not the dam.



The lake water looks brownish; probably because of all the recent wind storms.



If you look closely, you can see the lookout point structure that we climbed to the top in order to take pictures of the lake.

Not far from this side of the dam was a paved walking trail.  The trail had some interesting views of the dam and the lower Pecos River.  The river had carved a little canyon over the years.  You can see some of the canyon walls in a couple of the pictures as well as some of the desert plants in bloom.



Look closely and you will see the Pecos River



Pretty little yellow and white flowers.


I have NO idea what kind of little desert flowers these are; for all I know they are just weeds!

All in all, our “unplanned” stop in Santa Rosa, NM, was an interesting success.  Now, on to Oklahoma City and time with the grandkids!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


Hey! We Know the Way …. to Santa Fe!

Sunday we took an hour drive north to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We were supposed to spend a week in Santa Fe, however, our RV has been in the repair shop this whole week in Albuquerque.  The wind storms we experienced the last couple of weeks wreaked havoc on the vinyl covers over the slide-outs, so they had to be replaced.  And, of course, the vinyl had to be ordered along with some other parts to do some routine maintenance.

We had heard a lot about Santa Fe from some friends who have visited there several times and who dearly love the area.  We had originally planned to explore more of that surrounding area, however, with the RV in the repair shop, we had to make it a day trip.  Therefore, we spent the whole day exploring Santa Fe.

We went to Historic Downtown Santa Fe and the Plaza.  The architecture of the buildings in this historic area is so unique.  Buildings made of adobe are primarily built in the Spanish Pueblo and Territorial styles which are rooted in the area’s history (google Santa Fe’s history; it is FASCINATING!).  City laws have been passed that ensure that new construction situated in core historic districts fits with the old.

Located on one corner of the Plaza is a monument that marks the end of the Santa Fe Trail (the Santa Fe Trail was important in the western expansion of our country).  On that same corner is a street sign marking that road as the Old Santa Fe Trail.


Just a block or two from the Plaza is The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, also known as Saint Francis Cathedral.  This cathedral was built between 1869 and 1886 on the site of an older adobe church, La Parroquia (built 1714-1717).  Before that there was another church (built in 1626) on the same site that was destroyed in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt (part of Santa Fe’s interesting history).



These brass doors were gorgeous!


The building of this cathedral was influenced by the Romanesque Revival style and is in dramatic contrast to the surrounding adobe structures.  With all the ornate details, majestic architecture, and the inside design and decor, this cathedral is breathtaking to see.  My pictures that cannot come near to portraying the grandeur of this cathedral.



I found it interesting that this cathedral had such an intimate connection with the great composer, Igor Stravinsky.

A couple of blocks from the cathedral is the Loretto Chapel which was built in 1873.  This chapel is a former Roman Catholic Church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel.  It has an interesting history also, but it is mostly known for its helix-shaped spiral staircase (the “Miraculous Stair”).  The name and origin of the builder have still not been verified.  It has been the subject of legend, and the circumstances surrounding its construction and its builder were considered miraculous by the Sisters of Loretto.  It also has very unique architecture and the inside is gorgeous.  It is now used as a museum and wedding chapel.



This is an artist drawing of what the original staircase looked like when first built. It is interesting to think this staircase and balcony were built without railings.


After visiting the cathedral and the chapel, we were hungry and tired.  We found a small Mexican restaurant called Burrito Cafe just off the plaza that had outside tables (we had our Shih Tzu, Zoey, with us).  We both had the taco plate complete with black beans and rice and all the “trimmings.”  It was delicious.

After lunch we walked around the plaza and did some shopping.  I particularly liked looking at all the handmade Native American jewelry on display along the sidewalks.  The Native American crafters display their work themselves.  I bought a cuff bracelet from one young man.  It’s nothing fancy, but I like the fact that I met the person who made it.  It looks like gold, but it is not.  Inside it has Native American symbols (called Journey Of Life Symbols), and the young man shared what each represents:  Sunrise – New Beginnings; Bear – Strength; Bird – Freedom; Arrow – Protection; Shooting Star – Good Wishes; Feather – Blessings; and, Sunset – Beautiful Ends.


The weather was beautiful the day we visited Santa Fe, and we had a great time!

I hope my telling of the places we have visited along with the pictures has piqued your interest in them.  Believe me!  There is A LOT of history behind each place we have visited.  If you are a history buff, just google any of these places, cathedrals, and monuments and you will have plenty of interesting history to read.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


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