Route for Zennie's 2017 US Road Trip, Summer Chill-Out

Summer Chill-Out – US road trip recap

I was sitting in Tucson during June 2017, trying to work on some Zennie projects in temps that reached 115 degrees. :( Eventually, I came to my senses, and realized that I shouldn't be there!

It was definitely time for a US road trip! My first thought was to get to some mountains, FAST, in search of high elevations, tall pine trees, and brisk alpine air... ...
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Campsite view from Echo Amphitheater campground

Echo Amphitheater campground, New Mexico

If you're looking for a lovely free campground while you're exploring the O'Keeffe country of New Mexico, here's a great option for you!

Just over 10 miles north of Ghost Ranch is the Echo Amphitheater campground, and though they used to charge money to stay here, nowadays it's free. :) ...
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View of Brazos cliffs

Brazos Overlook, an unofficial campsite

If you're in northern New Mexico, the northern drive across the Carson National Forest on highway 64 is gorgeous!! It's a high-altitude drive, with pine and fir forests interspersed with brilliant green valleys.

And for a free (and super scenic) place to spend the night ...
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Sample of a Motor Vehicle Use Map

Finding campsites with a Motor Vehicle Use Map

When I'm looking for a good boondocking campsite, I usually research it beforehand. I have some standard information sources, that usually turn up a few good alternatives.

But sometimes I come up empty. Some parts of the country just haven't been traveled that much, or at least not by people who write about it! So what's a person to do? ...
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View from Taos Junction boondocking campsite

Taos Junction – Free camping near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

Ojo Caliente is a famous hot springs resort west of Taos, and quite a luxurious place to stay. But if you don't feel like paying the big bucks they ask for a room there, there is free camping nearby.

Just boondock at Taos Junction (about 10 miles north), and you can use the resort's facilities - soak in the hot springs, hike the trails, or get a spa treatment. And think about how much money you're saving while you do it! ;) ...
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Santa Cruz Lake Overlook campground

Visiting Chimayo? Santa Cruz Lake Overlook campground

Chimayo is a small town along the High Road between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. It's famous for its miraculous church, and people from all over come to see it.

I've visited Chimayo a dozen times in the past. But I never even knew about the lovely lake campground just a few miles away... until now! ...
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Gateway to Dawson New Mexico

Dawson, New Mexico – Grandpa and the ghost town

Dawson is a ghost town in northeastern New Mexico. Like so many abandoned places, it was a mining town whose fortunes rose and fell with the mine itself.

But this isn't just any old ghost town. No, this one is special, with a unique family connection so that I had to visit it. You see, for a brief moment in time, my grandpa owned the old Dawson Hotel. ...
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Boondocking in Carson National Forest

New Mexico free camping – cool, green, and beautiful

Who knew New Mexico was so green? This isn't just photoshop, either! ;)

If you're looking for a camping spot with cool mountain air, beautiful scenery, lush green meadows, plenty of shady trees, and a creek running right by, then this could be the spot for you. And did I mention it's free? ...
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Costumes at the Taos Pueblo Powwow

Taos Pueblo Powwow – A cool New Mexico event

I hadn't really intended to go to the Taos Pueblo Powwow. In fact, I didn't know anything about it until we saw a sign while wandering around town.

So it was sheer luck that I was there at the right time for the Powwow, and I'm sure glad that I was! It was very cool to see, and there's a lot more to it... ...
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Perfect spot at Rio Grande del Norte

Rio Grande del Norte (Wild Rivers) — Awesome camping!

If you're looking for a place to go camping and/or hiking in northern New Mexico, go to Rio Grande del Norte, aka Wild Rivers. Just do it! You won't regret it. :)

* You've got the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge, with the mighty river swirling and tumbling over rapids far below... ...
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