A few years ago, we watched a documentary on television about a little chapel in the middle of a historic city in the desert southwest that has quite a bit of cool notoriety. So, who would have known years later that we’d find this beautiful historic treasure. We’ll call this one Our Walk of Faith in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Campground/RV Park: Santa Fe Skies RV Park
Santa Fe Skies RV Park is located on the Turquoise Trail at I-25 & NM 14/599. Beautiful sunsets, close approximity to Santa Fe and eateries is right around the corner. While we were there, we visited the Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel and Cathedral Basillica of St. Francis of Asisisi as well as enjoyed window shopping in the Santa Fe Plaza downtown.
We checked in approximately 4:00pm; we were the only RVers checking in at the time. The young man cashier was not very pleasant and not very helpful. He just handed us the park map, rules and was more interested in other things. He didn’t let us know about the club house and what it had to offer. The campground is terraced with approximately 90 FHU sites. The entrance is a bit tight for big rigs. Check in is at the large building on the right; there’s also a clubhouseand small souvenier shop. The laundry was small and not adequate for how many sites there are.
Each site is terraced on gravel with concrete pads equipped with a picnic table. Sites are tight and mostly not level; had to use several blocks. We had a hooking and unhooking issue because of it. Other than grills, no open fires are permitted. The roads/aisles are narrow. There are some permanent campers but they are in another area of the park. Free WiFi is located in the clubhouse and only during office hours. Propane is available for sale at the park. Groceries, shopping, restaurants and fuel is fairly close by. RV’ers are responsible for taking their own trash to the dumpster at the park entrance.
Santa Fe Skies is a dog friendly park; there is a dog park and a 3/4 mile walking trail. Do not let small dogs or cats outside; they could end up as Coyote snacks. It can get quite windy at the park, they recommend not leaving awnings out while you are away from your RV.
We rated this park at 2 stars because of the lack of hospitality, maneuverbility and leveling difficulty for big rigs, very close approximity to neighboring coaches and inadequacy of laundry facilities per amount of RVers; also because there WiFi only available in the clubhouse. If we visit New Mexico again, we may look elsewhere.
When our RV friends weren’t working their remote jobs, we’d get together for an outing and vittles. One morning, we all rose early to drive out to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for some hiking, sightseeing and to get our National Park Passports stamped.
About the Great Sand Dunes…
Welcome to the Dunes…
After getting parked, we got our passports stamped at the Visitor Center and viewed a video and hands-on informational exhibits.
All four of us headed to the picnic area where we sat down to enjoy some fellowship while chowing down on our cooler full of vittles. We were blessed with beautiful weather too.
Our exciting adventure…
It was already a very warm day so it seemed like it was a little more work but that didn’t stop Dan and Brittany from doing the inevitable; climbing to the top of the dunes. Being that Eric has bad knees and I have back issues, we hung out at the top of the smallest dune to watch Brittany and Dan challenge themselves. We were already 6000′ above sea level, so this was a bit more challenging than just taking a stroll up a 750′ hill, not to mention, it was loose sand.
While Eric and I stood there chatting for what seemed forever (because we stood there in the heat for all of it), Brittany and Dan disappeared over the crest of the first dune. They looked like little ants the further they hiked. We’d see them again and then loose them doing down another…and another…and another.
Brittany’s words upon their return, ‘it was quite exerting; one step forward, three steps back and doing it at higher altitude, we just couldn’t catch our breaths’.
Dan said they had to stop often to empty their shoes which weighted them down. Adding to that, it was a very warm day; about 85 degrees.
A few times, we’d see one of them, bend over in the distance during their climb and stop for awhile. They said they were offered water by some passerby’s (hikers that were faster and more in shape as them?!). Then we’d see them start up again.
The finish line…
An hour and a half later, they successfully made it to the top and another hour and a half after that, they came back tired, weary but celebrated. They were red-faced and a bit dehydrated so Eric and I sacrificed our own water bottles to get them back to looking a normal color. But LOOK at them looking all celebratory!
On the drive back, our tummies were growling so Eric took to googling places to eat in Pueblo. We agreed on the Bingo Burger which turned out to be a very deserved and pleasant meal. Fantastic burgers!Best friends! Good times! Fantastic memories!
Pin this to your Pinterest Board…
Planning to go? You may want to read these…
Back in 2016, while we were parked at the Air Force Academy, Dan was called out for a family emergency in Pennsylvania. Our campground neighbors made certain I didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It was then that I met another motorcycle riding couple, Vicki and Rex in the sight behind ours.
During a morning coffee conversation, Vicki asked if I knew of any good roads or day-rides (they had a trike). I had told them about a cool trip to Bishop Castle, a hand-built medieval castle in Wetmore, Colorado that our son took us to see years prior. I told her the route to get there was outstanding, especially riding motorcycles.
Austin heard me talking about it and googled it on his phone as I described it. We all then made plans to ride out the following day with Austin riding on the back of her trike as her navigator.
The next morning, we coffee-d up, ate breakfast and rode out. The ride out was gorgeous as was the day! Surprisingly, not much traffic for being a weekend. Getting there was simple.
We rode out the gate of the Air Force Academy south on I-25 to CO 115 to Florence, onto CO 67, turning right on Hwy 96 in Wetmore. We saw signs directing us to the castle; turning left onto CO 165. It was about a 90 minute ride out to Bishop Castle.
Once we got there, the site was a little busy but nothing to be worried about when it came to capturing some good photos.
Admission was free, although donations were greatly appreciated. There was also a gift shop that helped finance Mr. Bishop’s ongoing build. It’s open most of the time.
About Bishop Castle…
There is nothing architecturally ‘perfect’ about the castle. Its completely constructed by the hands of Mr. Bishop. I’m willing to bet there were no official blueprints. If you’re into the whole Harry Potter thing, this is the place for you! The stonework, iron work and blacksmithing was done all onsite; there is even a room where all of his tools and shop are on the ground level.
Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere. Bishop called it “a monument to hardworking people” and “America’s biggest, one-man, physical project. I always wanted a castle. Every man wants a castle,” Bishop said.
Other places we visited while in Colorado…
In our experience and opinion, Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground was overpriced for what it was. This is not a long-term campground’/park; only good for a couple/few overnights. This was the only place with vacancy for our 44′ big rig toyhauler 5th wheel. Though accessibility to I-25/US-6 was great, no sewer connections (except for dump station which was not big rig friendly), layout of the park, spaces between sites, maneuverability, and no sewer earned only 2 stars.
Would we stay here again? As a last resort.
Romans do’, but what do you do in a small Nebraska town who celebrates their
Greek Heritage? Of course, do as Greeks
do! CELEBRATE with a festival!!
about going one evening, so what’s a couple of spontaneous RV travelers to do when they’ve not
planned anything for dinner? GREEK
FOOD!!! When we were parked in Scotts Bluff for our ten-day stay, we checked out
the local to-do’s and noticed fliers for a Greek Festival in the town of
92 and passed Chimney Rock and the Pony Express historic marker headed east to
Bridgeport, Nebraska (got some great photos of that for a later blog entry). It was the Bayard Assumption Greek Orthodox Church fundraiser; sharing their religious heritage with food and entertainment held in their
local Prarie Winds Community Center. We walked in being
met with smiles, handshakes and welcomes as we were directed into the gymnasium
where the festival fundraiser was being held.
buy tickets and then turn in an allotted number of tickets to sample different
Greek Foods…and beer….GREEK beer, which we tried one each and they were pretty
good with a higher alcohol content (those Greeks do it right the first time,
don’t they?). We first bought $20 worth
of tickets; tickets being in $1 stubs.
Our beers cost us 4 tickets each, leaving us only 6 tickets each to buy
our food which really wasn’t enough to enjoy a little of everything Greek.
salads, fried calamari, and this tomato-y pasta dish. We later bought Baklava Sundaes to finish off
the evening. They had scheduled for 7:00
pm an evening of Greek Heritage dance presentations however, sadly we couldn’t stick
around for it because my back was giving me issues.
to’ go to the dessert table to use the rest of our tickets to get some desserts
to go. I got into a couple conversations
with a few of the locals; all were enthused and very interested in hearing our
story (they obviously knew we were ‘not from around there’). We gave them a few of our travel cards so they
can keep track of us on our Facebook page and blog.
is our travels and adventures aren’t only for seeing and doing the ‘attractions’, it’s about
meeting the wonderful people from all over our great Country and hearing their
stories. We are equally excited to learn
about them, their walks of life, hopes and dreams. It is because of them that makes us remember them and want to return…and look forward to great folks in the next town.