The Great Northern New Mexico Loop

July 22-25, 2021

Storrie Lake to Silver City

Travelers Cafe interior

Of course we had to stop for coffee at the Travelers Cafe in Las Vegas, New Mexico. But a brief walk around town was a reminder that being a popular locale for movie-making comes with its own set of headaches. The main street was total chaos as crews shuffled businesses from building to building, and repainted storefronts to prepare for the next production. Even the Longmire "Absaroka County Sheriff's Department" decal of Longmire fame had faded and peeled off the window above the old pharmacy door.

Lamy train station

Rumbling south on old NM 41, we pulled into Lamy around lunch time. Almost a ghost town today, Lamy has an illustrious past as the nearest station to Santa Fe, New Mexico. ornate waiting room door

The Santa Fe originally planned to run from Atchison, Kan., to Santa Fe, N.M., and then west to California. As the track building advanced into New Mexico, the civil engineers realized that the terrain around Santa Fe made this an impossible undertaking. The line was built through Lamy instead, and a spur line was built northward to Santa Fe. Amtrak passengers headed to the state capital still alight at Lamy where a shuttle transports them the remaining 18 miles.

Legal Tender Saloon

Unfortunately the Legal Tender Saloon and Eating House was closed. Too bad, it looks like a great place!

Pavement Ends, West Begins

The sign says it all.

We had a great visit with our dear friends Tom and Ann C. in Edgewood, with several violent thunderstorms for emphasis. By Sunday morning, we were on the road again, now heading south toward Mountainair, home to the fabulous Salinas Pueblos National Monument, which includes the ruins of three pueblos dating from the 11th century.

Alpine Alley Cafe

Ann introduced us to the Alpine Alley Cafe, a great local coffee shop.

Shaffer Hotel ceiling

We were on our way out of town when Ann spotted cars at the historic Shaffer Hotel and Restaurant, which had been closed for years. Built in 1923, it features a quirky stone fence and a restaurant with a mesmerizing ceiling hand-painted by the original owner.

Fireplace in the restaurant at the Shaffer Hotel

Fabulously ornate fireplace in the restaurant (photo by Ann H).

Marion and Dennis on a round ench

Photographers photographed (by Ann H). We were told that the other half of this bench resides at the Smithsonian!

camping at Datil Well

No trip to the northern half of the state would be complete without a stop at Datil Well, one of our favorite campgrounds. It was a cool and quiet evening, with time to contemplate all the wonders we'd witnessed during our travels. Many thanks to Ann H for her extraordinary patience and companionship, and for sharing her wealth of knowledge of anthropology and natural history! Where to next?

Madeleine and Elio

And last but not least, thanks to Madeleine and Elio for being such good travel cats, and always adding to our enjoyment of the trip!

map of the loop

The Great Northern New Mexico Looop