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Southern NM
Old 07-26-2009, 11:22 AM   #1
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Southern NM

Its looking like I will be returning to NM in late March for a week, notwithstanding the fact that I would much prefer to go somewhere tropical. I have to be within, say, 90 minutes of Albuquerque although I would also like to get as warm and sunny as I can for that time of year (thinking due south). My trips to the state have been confined to Albuquerque on north, so I know essentially nothing about the bottom half of the state. Any ideas where I might think about dossing down? I will have small kids with me.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:02 PM   #2
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Two years ago I ran the Bataan Death March marathon at White Sands Missile Range in late march. It commemorates the veterans of the real Bataan death march. They have a great program of movies and talks by some of the survivors, who are in their late 80s now but still very sharp and fascinating to listen to. Next year it is March 21. I'd think you could go and see some of the activities without actually taking part in the marathon or shorter 15 mile walk. It was a very memorable weekend for me.

There's also a neat collection of missiles through the year on a display at the base. And about 20 miles away is White Sands National Park which has some great sand dunes the kids could sled down.

Haven't been anywhere else down there but I know Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell (UFO stuff) are down there.
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:42 PM   #3
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What RB says about White Sands National Monument just outside Alamogordo. Interesting place and the kids will enjoy it. Another interesting (in a much different way) and closer spot is the Valley of Fires State Park southeast of Albq. near Carizozo.

Will you be camping?
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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Not camping, since this will be a fly in, rent a car, rent a place trip.

Any clue what the weather is like that time of year there?
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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According to Alamogordo, New Mexico, average lows in March are around 40, average highs in the mid 60's and avg rainfall is 3" or so - lots of sunshine.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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According to Alamogordo, New Mexico, average lows in March are around 40, average highs in the mid 60's and avg rainfall is 3" or so - lots of sunshine.

So sunshine but chilly. Hmmm...

Is a day trip over the border feasible? Is there anything I would want to see on the other side, considering I have small kids and will not be going to th strip joints drug bazaars bars?
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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Nothing to see along the NM/Mex border - on either side
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:27 PM   #8
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Nothing to see along the NM/Mex border - on either side
OK, so it sounds a lot like I will be kicking it in and around Albuquerque whether I like it or not. Will have to poke around at rental houses.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:34 PM   #9
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have you been to the Painted Desert just over the boarder in Arizona? It's pretty cool. The kids will like the petrified trees.
Painted Desert, Arizona - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:29 PM   #10
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The Gila National Forest is essentially a tropical rain forest in the summer. There are also cliff dwellings there. It's a wilderness paradise, so maybe not for small kids. Great hiking and skiing. There is a small lake. Silver City is nearby. I'm not quite sure what you mean by southern NM though.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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Look at the Ruidoso/Cloudcroft area. This is one of my very favorite areas...
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:27 PM   #12
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I spent the better part of a week in Cloudcfoft and Lincoln National Forest a few summers ago. Very nice place.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:37 PM   #13
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I agree that the Ruidoso and Cloudcroft areas are great in the summer - love those cool temps. Brewer will be in NM in March and I get the idea he's looking for warmth, not mountain air...
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:46 PM   #14
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Ooops. Late March, still lots of snow in the Gila mountains. One spring break we went in on our cross-country skis. We met a rancher on horseback who gave up trying to get over a ridge because of the snow. However, once we got over the ridge, all the snow in the next valley was gone. We ended up hiking in our shorts for a week.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:36 PM   #15
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Had a great trip through Silver City NM.
Mostly I like northern NM & AZ but do like off roading a bit in our Jeep.
No one mentioned Las Cruces and Carlsbad for the caves. Both are worth seeing if you are in the area but otherwise I would stay north, especially Santa Fe.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #16
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Its looking like I will be returning to NM in late March for a week, notwithstanding the fact that I would much prefer to go somewhere tropical. I have to be within, say, 90 minutes of Albuquerque although I would also like to get as warm and sunny as I can for that time of year (thinking due south).
Just want to point out that NM is a huge state but is also very unpopulated, especially as you head south. Alamogordo/Las Cruces/Roswell/Carlsbad are all 3-4 hours from Albuquerque. If you head 90 minutes south from Alb, you get nothing but lots of high desert with a few small towns. Elephant Butte Lake and the town of Truth or Consequences (yes, they renamed the town after the old TV show to win a contest) might be about 2 hours away - I'd have to check the map to be sure.

There's no place in NM that will be actually warm in March other than the far south around Las Cruces/Deming, and even those areas might have storms blowing through that lower the temps. You have to remember that most of NM is at a high altitude and that keeps the weather cooler in the winter. Because of the dryness, though, as long as it is clear, the days feel pleasantly warm and the nights don't have that damp east coast chill. One other thing to be aware of at that time of year is the winds. They can really get to ripping in the southern part of the state. If you've got kids with you and are willing to drive the three hours to Alamo. I think they would like White Sands and the Space Museum, but sometimes in the spring, the winds whip around so badly that it isn't very pleasant to be out there in the sand.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #17
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Don't forget Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad New Mexico! Well worth the trip in my view.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:36 PM   #18
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Don't forget Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad New Mexico! Well worth the trip in my view.
Yeah we did it in the spring. Fun half a day thing or whole day depending on what you want to do. White Sands was fun. DW and I didn't want to sled down the dunes though. We seen tons of other folks do it though. We enjoyed the Gila Cliff Dwellings. However, depending on the direction you are coming from I wouldn't do it with any kind of trailer.
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