Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Southwest for Spring Break

Hey there Road Trip USA --

Hello, I have two high school foreign exchange students and we are planning a trip over spring break. We live in Waco, TX, and are thinking of going to Sante Fe NM, then Colorado Springs CO, and then via Oklahoma back into Texas.

We have only a week and I don't want to be stuck in Texas since we live here and I don't want to drive every single day.

I was going to go to Amarillo, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Pagosa Springs, Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Jefferson Texas, then Marshall, TX, then back to Waco, but that's too much driving for 7 days and no time to see anything.

The boys want to pan for gold, see ghost towns, go geocaching and see Pikes Peak (weather permitting of course) and I'd like to find some Native American Indian places to visit.

What do you think, suggestions?




Hello LuCinda --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and sorry it took me so long to get back to you. The first place that came to mind when I read you message was a nifty / tacky old theme park near Colorado's magnificent Royal Gorge. Called Buckskin Joe, it was a ghost town / mining camp / entertainment, but unfortunately Buckskin Joe closed down last fall, after something like 50 years in business. Bad luck, but fortunately there are lots of real-life ghost towns and Native American communities around the Four Corners region -- my favorite is probably Silverton, above Durango Colorado, along the famous Million Dollar Highway. Telluride is another lovely & fun former mining camp -- though I don't know of any places where they can "pan for gold", except out here in California (Columbia State Historic Park is a great destination, if you ever make it out West!)

For this Spring Break trip, besides Santa Fe, and Taos (and Taos Pueblo!), I would also recommend taking your visitors to Mesa Verde cliff palaces national park, which is a magical place, and gives a deeper sense of America than what many people think before they come here.

Unfortunately all of these wonderful places are a long day's drive from Waco, no matter how you go. Route 66 / I-40 is the most fun, and I also recommend Carlsbad Caverns, which could be right on your way. If you aren't dead set on Oklahoma City, you could come back via Tombstone Arizona, which is another appealing old Wild West town.

(I did look into saving you some time by suggesting you start off the trip with a Southwest Airlines flight-- from Dallas to Albuquerque? -- but these looked to run $300/person, which adds up to serious expense .)

Hope this helps, and hope you all have a great experience.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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