Thursday, January 10, 2013


Monday, Nov. 19, 2012

We decided to stay an extra night at Santa Rosa, New Mexico and explore the area a bit. We had picked up a travel brochure at the New Mexico border for Santa Rosa, it talked about  a sink hole filled with clear blue water, pueblo ruins at Puerto de Luna, an old cemetery , all with glossy photos that made it all seem really nice and something we’d want to see.  The price was well within our budget as well, it was all free! 

So locking up the camper we headed out to find all these wonderful sites.

Our first stop was Blue Hole, it was beautifully maintained.  Blue Hole is one of 7 sink holes in the area.  This one is set up for swimming and scuba diving.  The water stays 62 degrees year round and is 81 feet deep.  It has a rich history of mammouths, outlaws, being a fish hatchery at one time and much more.  Right now it is best known for its scuba diving.
Completely land locked it is considered one of the best dive spots around.  at the depth of 81 feet the bell shaped sink hole  empties out into an underground river it provides a challenge for many a diver annually. 

Gary was a scuba enthusiast when we met and often talks about getting re-certified.  If he did this would definitely be a place he'd visit.
When he was scuba diving and snorkeling on a regular basis one of his favorite spots was Oklahoma's own Blue Hole in Mayes County, near Salina, OK.

While the one in Oklahoma is more of a family type old fashioned swimming hole the one at  Santa Rosa, New Mexico has been built up more to make it even more invitiing to visitors from all over the world. They have constructed a stationary diving board made of concrete for those who want to enter the cold water that way.  They also had a game of some sort set-up permanently (see photo) for those who wanted to scuba and go deep into the sink hole.

There are covered pavilions for picnicking and public restrooms there as well.  It would be a nice place to go on a hot summer day I am certain.  It definitely lived up to our expectations from the brochure.

 Next we decided to go see the old mission church, cemetery and pueblo remains at Puerto de Luna. Talk about false advertising!!! Seriously, the brochure makes it seem the old mission church was at the remains of an old pueblo building and that the cemetery was there as well.  That all had been well preserved for historical reasons.   NOPE!  While the old mission church was in Puerto de Luna   the 1800’s cemetery had been moved to Santa Rosa.  We had actually passed it on the way out of town and not noticed it.

The Puerto de Luna turned out to be in a very economically depressed town a few miles outside of Santa Rosa and only a few pueblo buildings remained scattered between junked out abandoned vehicles.  We were sorely disappointed.

I am certain that we are probably very spoiled to going to historical sites like Jamestown, where everything has either been cleaned up nicely, or reconstructed, but somehow an 1800’s pueblo building remains with a junked out Volkswagon Jesus bus  practically leaning against one of the stone walls was a bit unappealing to us.

However, the ride to and from Puerto De Luna was very beautiful as we wound through the rugged terrain. It was on this drive we first started seeing what would turn out to be numerous falling rock signs along our travels.

We stopped at the edge of Santa Rosa to take photos of the old mission building and cemetery (the one of moved fame) on the way back to town.  It was picturesque and I was hoping to get some shots good enough to use on some cards for Webfoot Tub Designs cards. 

As I walked around the cemetery snapping photos I gradually felt an almost stinging  sensation on the soles of my feet.  By the time I left the cemetery I was hobbling pretty slowly as the slight stinging had turned to actual PAIN! 

Once I got back to the truck I stood outside of it while Gary gingerly climbed out of the truck, where he had been waiting,  and came around to rescue me. He was walking carefully to avoid the same fate I was suffering.

I was wearing old Crocs that had definitely seen better days and they had taken it upon themselves to gather a new sole and sides of solid goat heads. Or that is at least what we call them in Oklahoma.  They are horrendous stickers with very sharp thorns all the way around.  These had been buried in the grass all around the graves and I hadn’t seen them before it was too late.

As I slid out of the now unwearable shoes and climbed into the truck Gary collected them and spent considerable time scraping the two shoes together to remove as many of the goat head stickers as he could from the shoes without getting stuck or getting any in his Crocs.

Once he had gotten all he could loose from my shoes he placed them in the back floorboard and I rode the rest of the day sans shoes. Luckily I had brought several pairs of shoes on the trip, I just needed to get back to the camper to get a pair,  and knew I could take time later using tweezers to pull the remaining barbs out of my shoes.

Once back into Santa Rosa completely we went to get fuel, it was back down under $4, so I was a happy camper.  While driving there we saw a very unique type of plane practicing taking off and landing at the small Santa Rosa airport.

It was a CV-22 Osprey.  For those of you that have never seen one of these it is built to do vertical take-offs like a helicopter, but it is actually an airplane and flies like one once it is airborne.  We watched it do several take offs and landings and just as we were finishing up watching it I happened to look out to I-40 to see the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile headed toward Albuquerque, NM.  It was moving too fast for us to get a photo of it, but it was still fun to see.  This is only the second time we’ve ever seen the actual vehicle in real life.  We had hoped to see it again to get a photo, but we didn’t.
I would have loved to have caught up with it at whatever appearance it was headed for to see it both inside and out.  As explained in the hyperlink here: Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile they carry the hot dog theme throughout the vehicle and it would have been fun to have got to tour it.  Oh well, maybe next time.

After our adventures for the day we went back to the camper, after all most places have a “No shirt, no SHOES,” signs up these days and I really didn’t want to walk in shoes still filled with barbs.

Once back to the camper Gary brought out another pair of slip on shoes for me and I went in to fix Sausage and Peppers for dinner.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and preparing for the next day’s departure.

Jan who says that despite the stickers and the disappointment about the ruins it was a very good day away from OK.



  1. You seem to have completely misinterpreted the printed information on the Santa Rosa, NM brochure. Had you investigated a little more thoroughly, you might have stumbled upon dozens of arrowheads. Many hundreds of Native American hunters lived and passed through here. It provided plenty of shelter, water, food resources etc. Why some people still believe Coronado was marooned here in 1541 is totally ridiculous. And yes, most of Puerto de Luna has been private property since 1846, not much we can do about an unsightly VW or something.

  2. The history of the area is indeed facinating. That is the exact reason we chose to visit Santa Rosa. However, we are not persons who search for arrowheads or trespass on private property. I made no reference to Coronado because I did not know what historical stories I had been told were true and which ones were not. I am sorry if my truthful description of the brochure and the area (which you will notice I described as beautiful) upset you.The purpose of this blog is to give my impressions as a traveler on the places we visit.