American Locations 48 – Taos

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

 Taos, New Mexico

After visiting with my wife’s sister for three days, we drove south from her ranch outside of Arboles, Colorado, around the western side of the Navajo Reservoir into New Mexico. These back roads were some of the roughest roads we traveled on the entire trip (except in Indiana – more about that later). We bumped up and down and around mountains as we went around the west side of the reservoir. Here is a good shot of the reservoir, with the snow-capped Rockies in the background.

1919_Navajo Lake

We crossed the Navajo Dam at the southern end.

1926_Navajo Dam

We continued south to Turley, where we turned east onto Hwy. 64. Another interesting drive. At first we passed through desert. Then we climbed high into the mountains. We passed an open gate. Which meant this highway was closed at times due to significant snowfall. In Colorado, even the interstates are gated. So we knew we would be gaining quite a bit of altitude, as we were starting our ascent from the desert floor. We wound back and forth up the mountains to such a high elevation we reach snow.

1931_Taos mountains

1933_Taos mountains

We descended in the same fashion, and were soon back in ninety degree heat on the desert floor. Fascinating. We continued east on 64 to the outskirts of Taos, where we came upon a collection of artsy houses built mostly with recycled materials. It looked like a Dr. Seuss wonderland.

1936_Taos house

1937_Taos house

1938_Taos house

1940_Taos house

1944_Taos house

1945_Taos house

1946_Taos house

Continuing east, we crossed the Rio Grande River, which at this point went through a deep gorge.

1954_Rio Grande Gorge

I parked at the end of the bridge, then walked back out to the middle to take pictures. On both sides there were phones. They were connected to a suicide hotline. So this bridge must be a popular place for people to jump from and kill themselves. The height and the rocks below would definitely do it. Those phones wouldn’t be there unless there was a need. Our next stop was Taos Pueblo.

1956_Taos Pueblo

1962_Taos Pueblo

This is a World Heritage site.

1958_Taos Pueblo

1959_Taos Pueblo

1961_Taos Pueblo

It is the larges adobe structure still being lived in. Although updated for modern convenience, such as a kitchen where this woman could prepare fry bread, which was delicious. As you can see she posed, which means I asked her permission. I always ask before taking someone’s picture.

1964_Taos Pueblo

She did this in the modern way rather than the old-fashioned way.

1957_Taos Pueblo

The integrity of the structures has been maintained.

1968_Taos Pueblo

1974_Taos Pueblo

1975_Taos Pueblo

Once we finished there, we drove quickly through to actual town of Taos. Not much to see there you couldn’t see in any number of touristy hot spots. We followed Hwy. 64 east into the mountains. Another beautiful drive, twisting and turning through the trees. We stopped at the eastern edge of  the mountains at Eagle’s Nest campground. Another beautiful place to park our motor home.

1976_Eagle's Nest

After relaxing a short while, I hiked over to see a nearby lake. Note the bank of snow on the right. We were back in higher elevations.

1977_Eagle's nest

1979_Eagle's Nest

I didn’t see any eagles, but there were quite a few large birds.


Next Location – Dodge City, Kansas



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