3/1 & 2/22: Phoenix-Home via Las Vegas, NM

Family and friends,

For us living in Denver, a getaway to Phoenix last month was the perfect destination by car as it’s an easily doable two-day drive with a stop in Gallup, New Mexico, on the way down and Las Vegas, New Mexico, on the way home. Steven and I much prefer getting off the interstate and driving the back roads unless speed is of the essence. Taking the roads less traveled and seeing more of the towns and countryside en route is the way to go for us! I hope you enjoy our trip home from Phoenix via Las Vegas – I promise it’ll be far more relaxing for you than it was for us with our bums glued to the seats for about 13 hours!

All the best to you and your loved ones,


After spending the month of February in Phoenix, Steven and I were sad to leave the desert city we’d come to enjoy so much for its fantastic selection of hiking opportunities and being able to lounge by the pool each afternoon but a few weeks at home in Denver beckoned before setting off into the wild blue yonder again.

In case like us you also didn’t get enough of the many armed saguaro cactus from the previous posts, all those in the canyons northeast of Phoenix surely would be enough for any saguaro fan!

 The hills further north looked like they may have had terrace farms.

As pretty as the snowy terrain was in northern Arizona, it was a reminder of the snow facing us back home in Denver!

The beautiful landscape of the desert mountains in New Mexico was one step closer to home.

About 40 miles west of Albuquerque in Laguna, New Mexico, we passed under the Khe Sanh Bridge overpass. I was curious to find out how the bridge came into existence and read that a fellow called Harold Lockwood was instrumental in getting the state of New Mexico to install and dedicate the bridge across I-40. It was dedicated to all fallen Marines and servicemen that were lost during the 77-day siege at the Khe Sanh combat base in Vietnam. Lockwood also got the state to place a roadside marker honoring that battle. 

After driving for about nine hours, we stopped for the night in Las Vegas but NOT the one you’re thinking of in Nevada but Las Vegas, New Mexico! Las Vegas was the perfect stop for one night on the road before driving the remaining 325 miles home the following day. The funky Skillet Restaurant was our port of call before bunking down for the night.

I love taking shots of odd bathroom doors as we travel but must admit to having to text our daughter, Nina, in NYC this picture to ask if she knew whom it was of. My question certainly confirmed my status as an old fuddy-duddy as she was incredulous I didn’t know it was of a young Beyonce! The men’s door displayed an image of Jay Z, her husband and music partner. In my defense, I’d like to think if the pictures were more recent, I’d recognize both superstars!

The next morning, March 2nd, Steven and I wandered around Las Vegas’ historic downtown for a bit. I learned that Las Vegas was established in 1835 after a group of settlers received a land grant from the Mexican government. The town was laid out in the traditional Spanish Colonial style, with a central plaza, now known as Plaza Park, surrounded by buildings that could serve as fortifications in case of attack. 

The Cry to the Ages statue was erected in 2014.

El Campesino was dedicated to all the farmworkers in San Ysidro county.

I almost gagged when I saw this picnic table in the plaza as never had I seen one that nobody would surely want to sit on! It was such a shame it was so filthy as the park was quite pleasant.

After a railroad was constructed to the town in 1880, Las Vegas boomed during the railroad era quickly becoming one of the largest cities in the American Southwest. Turn-of-the-century Las Vegas featured all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway, an opera house, a Carnegie library, the Castañeda Hotel, and the New Mexico Normal School, now New Mexico Highlands University.

The 1895 Veeder Block was named for the Veeder brothers who were lawyers and community leaders. They lived on the second floor while a grocery store occupied the first.

The arrival of the railroad brought with it some dubious residents. Murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers, gunmen, swindlers, vagrants, and tramps poured in, transforming the eastern side of the settlement into a virtually lawless brawl. Among the notorious characters were such legends of the Old West as dentist Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Wyatt Earp. Historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell once claimed, “Without exception, there was no town which harbored a more disreputable gang of desperadoes and outlaws than did Las Vegas.” 

According to Roadside America, Bobby Valdez’s Sculpture Garden was a fun sight to see in Las Vegas. However, there was a big No Trespassing sign out front so this was all I could view.

The Howdy Doody Calumet sign/mural was far more approachable!

In northeastern New Mexico, the village of Wagon Mound was named after, and located at the foot of, a butte of the same name. Resembling a Conestoga wagon, it was a landmark for covered wagon trains and traders going up and down the Santa Fe Trail.

Being in Phoenix for all of February was such a great break from the winter blahs in Denver that we’ve already rented a condo in nearby Tempe for next February.

Next post: From snowy Denver to paradise aka Hawaii!

Posted on March 28th, 2022, from the town of Lihue on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We have a couple of more days here before we fly to Maui for almost a week and then the same amount of time on the Big Island. To say life is good for us and we are blessed is an understatement.


2 thoughts on “3/1 & 2/22: Phoenix-Home via Las Vegas, NM

  1. We loved our overnight stay in Las Vegas NM (much more so than the famous one!) But we had poor weather so didn’t see as much of the town as we’d have liked. However several of your photos around the Plaza look very familiar and brought back good memories. We stayed at the hotel there, full of old days charm, and because of the rain ate in its restaurant and drank in its bar. The barmaid mixed a very generous margarita – too generous as it turned out, as my second one resulted in a very sore head and queasy tummy the next morning 😆


    1. Funny tale about your stay at the hotel or at least the bar in Las Vegas, Sarah! We didn’t enter the hotel at all but it did lok interesting from the exterior with it’s old days charm.


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