During this past week, I had to attend a meeting of the New Mexico Chamber Executives Association in Gallup and a New Mexico Hospitality Board of Directors Meeting in Taos Ski Valley. Along the way, I met with the president of the New Mexico Christian Motorcyclists Association to discuss bringing their state meet to Silver City in 2020.

Going to Gallup, we traveled the western side of the state heading north. It was an absolutely beautiful drive. As we were coming into Luna, there was a huge herd of elk along one of the streams. Elk are just truly majestic animals. I have always enjoyed spotting elk, but to see a herd of 30 to 50 elk was pretty cool. We went across to Alpine, Arizona, and once again came across a couple of herds of elk grazing in the grass meadows near the lake.

The beauty of the southwest is magnificent. An activity we enjoyed one evening while in Gallup was attending a Native American Pot Dancing ceremony. The ladies did an excellent job describing the dance and the songs they sang. They described the meaning of the clothing they were wearing. After several dances and songs, they invited the members of the crowd to join in. Thankfully, they didn’t make my wife Kathy keep a pot on her head. I didn’t want to pay for a broken pot. The Native American dancers rarely drop pots, but they did tell some funny stories about how they have busted pots.

We traveled from Gallup to the Four Corners area. Some folks talk about how stark the land is between Gallup and Shiprock, but there is a beauty to the mountains and the grasslands. And the closer you get to Shiprock, you come across the huge outcropping that are reminiscent of Monument Valley. And of course, there is the splendor of “Shiprock” itself, the historic volcanic throat that towers over the grassland at its base. We stayed in Farmington, as I had a meeting in Bloomfield with the State President of the New Mexico Motorcyclists Association. At our meeting we discussed the possibility of 150-250 Christian Motorcyclists coming to Grant County in 2020 for a state meeting. I showed him some of the roads in our area that are great trails for “bike” rides. It was a good meeting, and it may make for an exciting weekend in Grant County in 2020.

One of the things that we noticed was the amount of snow still on the LaPlata Mountains near Durango. I can understand snow pack on the north face… away from the Sun. But there is still lots of snow on the south face of the mountains. It is kind of strange to see that much snow this late in July. In another month and a half, they will begin getting their first snows on the LaPlata peaks again. The mountains were awesome.

If you have never driven Highway 64 from Bloomfield through Chama and on across to Taos, you should do it sometime. Driving through the Carson National Forest this time of the year was nice. You leave the high desert plateau of the Four Corners area and the closer you get to Dulce and the Jicarilla Apache reservation, the taller the ponderosa pines seem to get. And the drive from Tierra Amarilla to Taos on Highway 64 is one of the most beautiful drives I have been on. It is always interesting to travel by the Earthship Houses just before reaching the Rio Grande Gorge. I was amazed at how many people were on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and overlook areas. It is something to behold.

Our Hospitality Board Meeting was held at a wonderful facility called The Blake at Taos Ski Valley. I found the facility to be pretty great… and then they took us on a guided tour. The number of wonderful pieces of art throughout the building is incredible. There’s even an original Georgia O’Keefe at the front desk when you check in. And a couple of O’Keefe collections displayed throughout the hallways.

When we left to drive back to Silver City, honestly, the drive between Albuquerque and home was simply boring compared to some of the other vistas we encountered.

New Mexico is a state of hidden treasures. They are everywhere. Even right here in Grant County. Though I have traveled between Albuquerque and Silver City enough times it seems sort of mundane, for people making their first trip to our region, it is just as beautiful as some of the places I have mentioned in this article. Just as we ask people to travel from other areas to visit Grant County… we should travel more frequently to areas in New Mexico. It will definitely give one a better appreciation of this State we live in.