2014 Western Road Trip Day 14, Sunday May 18th

Leaving Truth or Consequences we drive west back into the  middle of nowhere, flat with lots of sage brush. After about an hour, we trade flat middle of nowhere for mountainous, narrow road switch back curves of the Trail of Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway, middle of nowhere. We are going to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

The scenery along the highway is beautiful but I needed to pull off at pull outs to enjoy it. There are no guard rails for 10 mph switchbacks that have drops of a couple of thousand feet on either side depending which way you are going on the road.  This marvelous “road race sensation”  highway is NM15.

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Massive Rock formations line the road at places

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Lake Robert’s a man-made fishing lake, is at the summit.

It took us three hours to reach the Cliff Dwellings visitor center where we watched a 15 minute film which explained how the cliff dwellings came to be. Located near the Gila river, the dwellings were constructed in five natural caves somewhere between 1276 and 1287 by adding rocks, mortar, and wood . The inhabitants were Indians migrating from the north to the southwest. They were hunters and gatherers who also farmed. The film said that they only lived there for one generation before moving on around 1300.

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Lots of steps and bridges. We only took the half mile loop.

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The cliff dwellings are high up the cliff face

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There is an original wall in the left cave dwelling

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The final bridge

After returning from our hike, we drove to a nearby camp area to eat another picnic lunch.

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Why do I always have to be the lunch photo?

After lunch we began our 2 hour trip to our nights lodging at a Hampton Inn in Lordsburg, NM. That gave me the opportunity to drive down the same curvy road course!

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Did I mention fires? Lots of roads on the way down the mountain were closed.

The good thing is that we are stopping early enough to do some laundry. Dinner was at a place named El Charro. My dinner was okay and Babs didn’t like hers……go figure.

Tomorrow is another “drive” day toward Phoenix, AZ with no planned stops……..but you never know! We have driven over 4,300 miles so far this trip and we are not half way through. What is amazing is that the only interstate highways that we have been on was the first day from MD to Memphis, TN.

Babs Says: Once again I have nothing to say.

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4 thoughts on “2014 Western Road Trip Day 14, Sunday May 18th

  1. Yes Mary, you can enter all but one which you can not reach and they never used. It is a hard, steep, mile and a half,180 steps climb that I just couldn’t do. That’s not counting the 96 degree temp.

  2. Jerry Mallack says:

    Frank and Babs – Sounds and looks like you two are have a great adventure.
    Sister, my youngest Jen and myself traveled your Sunday route about 10 years ago and it was a wonderful trip – the switchback road to the cliff dwellers was enough to make one sick, especially if you were not the one doing the driving and had the misfortune of sitting in the back seat!
    Get better- be safe and keep the post coming for I am enjoying your pictures and living the adventure right along with you – Thanks – Jerry

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