Friday, July 15, 2011

Red River, NM to Liberal, KS

(Our southwest trip started May 1. All of my posts were written as the trip went along but were not posted live until we returned. If you want to read all the posts related to the trip, click on "southwest" in the label section below)

From Red River we drove to "3:00" on the Enchanted Circle Byway and then turned northeast towards Raton. We had learned that Raton Pass was part of the Santa Fe Trail and the break in the mountains was obvious as we drove through the area.

Our next stop was Capulin Volcano National Monument. The road to the top of the volcano was another curvy and narrow mountain road. Some of the S-turns were quite sharp and we were surprised to see a full-sized motor home in the parking lot at the top of the rim. I spoke with a park ranger who told me that they stop opposing traffic when a motor home is on the road. I wasn't surprised. There is no way a car and motor home could pass each other on some of those curves.

The view from the top was spectacular. We could see for miles and miles. It was well worth the drive.

There is a paved path to the bottom of the cone and I decided to tackle it. Going down, of course, was easy. I'm glad I had my walking stick with me as it made the hike back up a lot easier.

Looking up from the bottom was great too. I could just barely make out the shelter at the edge of the rim. For those who are a bit more hardy than we are, there is a path that goes, literally, all around the rim.

Once we left the park we had a decision to make. We could return to Raton and pick up I25 to Colorado Springs and then I70 east. Or we could continue on route 64 southeast to Dalhart, TX and pick up route 54 to Liberal, KS, passing through the Oklahoma panhandle to through Wichita and picking up I70 at Topeka, KS. We made the decision to go through Liberal, KS and it was the right decision. Along the way we met up with a couple, at a rest area, who had tried to go north on I25 out of Raton. They were stuck for 1.5 hrs on I25 because a wildfire had jumped the highway and the road was closed. In the end, they had to re-route and were following the same road we were.

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