At the temple ruins in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Khao Yai National Park, Thailand on December 13th.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Beautiful drive, but too many people

We enjoyed our three night boondocking spot in Santa Fe National Forest, but it was time to move on. We were actually headed to visit friends in Sante Fe, but decided to take a round about route to get there.

Highway 4 from Los Alamos to San Isidro looked like a really nice drive, and one of our readers had suggested we go see the Gilman Tunnels. Plus, when you can fill up with gas at $1.30, you don't mind doing some touring!

We got an early start because it was a Saturday and we figured (correctly!) that things might be a bit busier.

Forest fire remains.

Notice the beautiful blue sky!

Valle Grande.

Sacred for the natives, and apparently for everybody else to!

Sherman, taking a break.

As we went along, we noticed more and more cars. As I said earlier, we kind of figured this would be the case on the weekend. People want to get out and get some fresh air, and we certainly don't blame them. But, it would have been a better drive for us to do mid week. 

There are a lot of trailheads from highway 4 and some great scenery. But the trailhead parking areas were already filling up and we decided we just didn't want to deal with that many people.

Nice picnic area - closed.

We got to the turn off to Gilman Tunnels and of course saw the "Road Closed" sign. Upon closer inspection, it was not closed due to the virus... it was closed due to some major road construction.

The problem was, I knew that road becomes quite narrow and I had no way of knowing if there would be parking for us if we were able to get close enough to walk to the tunnels. And, with all the traffic that was already heading up there, I didn't know if we would even be able to find a spot to turn around.

We decided to carry on.

We made it to the far northern part of Albuquerque (pop 500,000) and saw a Home Depot that was easy to pull into an empty corner of the parking lot to take a break and stop for lunch.

I think that New Mexico has only just opened this type of store for shoppers and they are only allowed 25% of the maximum fire code number of people in the store... and everybody has to wear a mask.

Waiting to get in.

Couch's kingbird.

Traffic skirting Albuquerque.

The I-25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

We had no choice but to get on the Interstate highway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We avoid interstates whenever possible, but in this situation there really was no other logical route!

Yesterday's drive, 117 miles (188 kms).

We've been avoiding populated areas as much as possible, but when we received an invite from friends David and Bonnie, we made the detour to Santa Fe. 

We met them originally at Acapulco Trailer Park in January of 2013 when they were traveling Mexico with "Dan the Van", their 1984 VW Camper Van and we were heading to Guatemala with the little blue car. We traveled together to Playa Ventura, and saw them again in Puerto Escondido and San Cristobal de las Casas.

Since then, they have been traveling Europe in a motorhome they purchased in Germany. We've kept in touch, and got together again in Seville, Spain in February of 2017 when we had done that motorhome exchange and had our own European RV for two months.

Great to see them again! They have a nice spot for Sherman to do some driveway camping for a couple of nights, and they have a beautiful outdoor patio where we can socialize while staying six feet away from them!

The view out Sherman's side window. 
The view out the opposite side window is of their garage door!

Another beautiful day... maybe we will walk downtown.

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  1. Beautiful drive...too bad no tunnels.

    1. It was a beautiful drive. Hopefully one day in the future we will be able to come back to this area and see the tunnels and some of the other things that we have missed.

  2. Don't blame you for avoiding crowds at this time.
    The experts say it's too early but the politicians say different. Who do you believe.
    Be Safe and Enjoy visiting your friends.

    It's about time.

    1. We don't normally like crowds so with this virus around it just makes it that much easier for us to stay away from them as much as we can.

      We don't think this virus is going to go away anytime soon!

  3. There is a beautiful route between ABQ and SF (Hwy 14, the Turquoise Trail) but it would have been out of your way because you weren't really in ABQ yet.

    1. Looks like you have a great spot though. It would have been nice to be able to get into Santa Fe, ordinarily it's a world-class people-watching location, also great regional cuisine.

    2. Yes, taking that route would have been quite a bit out of our way but it does look like it would have been a nice route to have taken. Hopefully if we are ever in this area again sometime we can make a point of taking it. There is certainly lots to see and do here in New Mexico.

      We actually walked into downtown Santa Fe yesterday. Kevin will be writing about it in today's blog post. I am sure that we didn't get the same experience that we would have gotten had we visited the city during normal times but at least we got to see the downtown area.

  4. A friend of mine lives in Madrid which you passed on the interstate. It's a quirky, hippie type place that seems pretty interesting.

    1. Yep, we see it on the map and had we taken Hwy 14 like Creigh mentioned we would have passed right through it. Looks like stopping by there for wander around will have to wait for a future visit to New Mexico.


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