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This spring, I drove my motor home north through Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon to my destination for the summer in Southeastern Washington, where I arrived on May 2. At the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam on the Snake River, I’ll be volunteering in the Visitor Center until mid-September. Ice Harbor Dam Ice Harbor (photo…

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Barely 20 years ago, downtown Los Angeles was almost a city center that attracted the interest of few Angelinos, to say nothing of visitors to Southern California. I remember friends from the area commenting that L.A. “doesn’t have much of a real downtown.” Yes, after the big bank headquarters and city government offices closed for…

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After an extended cruise of Australia and Indonesia, I returned to the Phoenix “Valley of the Sun” area in mid-March, just in time to catch the final two weeks of the annual spring training season. I was able to see 15 games, visit every Cactus League park and see 13 of the 15 Major League…

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Christmas Eve in Old Town

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The Southwest on March 26, 2014

 
 

Last month I discussed several sights that made my winter in Southern New Mexico a most memorable one. However, I also spent a few days during late December in the state’s largest city, as I particularly wanted to see the holiday decorations and Christmas Eve luminaria in Albuquerque’s colorful Old Town. Although luminaria (basically outdoor…

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Just east of Albuquerque, the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway and one of New Mexico’s numerous fascinating “back roads,” which takes the traveler through two historic mining communities. Madrid served as a major coal mining boomtown in the 19th century. The town met the energy demands of both the federal government and the Santa Fe…

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It is highly unlikely that most readers have ever heard of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, one of New Mexico’s most fascinating but little known monuments. You won’t find it shown in the Rand McNally Road Atlas at all, and you’ll have to search diligently to locate its listing in the New Mexico TourBook, where…

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My Winter at White Sands

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The Southwest on March 03, 2014

 
 

I’ve spent the last couple of months as an interpretive volunteer at magnificent White Sands National Monument, 13 miles south of Alamogordo in Southern New Mexico.  This monument showcases the largest field of dazzling white gypsum sand dunes in the world. It not only offers a one-of-a-kind visitor experience, but its convenient location has allowed…

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With the discovery of silver in the area after the Civil War, Silver City began life as a typical Western mining “boom town.” Silver City avoided the “ghost town” fate of many similar New Mexico communities after the silver market crashed in 1893 by reorienting itself to cattle ranching, shipping and education. Mining in the…

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One of the nation’s more remote park sites, Gila Cliff Dwellings was named a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. From Silver City, four-hour round-trip via a scenic and winding mountainous highway. Motorcoach tour groups should plan for a full-day trip and bring a picnic lunch. Facilities of a modern Visitor Center, but…

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Hidden among a typical Southwestern landscape of mountains and desert wilderness is New Mexico’s unique City of Rocks. In fact, until reaching the top of a rise in the access road, no one approaching the site for the first time would even have an idea that this curious complex is located here. Through millions of…

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