Rocky Mountain Road Trip: Texas and New Mexico

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Day 1 – Texas

The first day’s drive was fairly short and needed to be because we left after work to spend the night with friends in Amarillo. We have both made this drive often as we went to college in the Texas Panhandle. The most direct way to get from DFW to Amarillo is to take U.S. 287 N then take the exit for Interstate 40 W. No matter which direction you are driving on U.S. 287, do not speed even a little bit or you will get a ticket.

It might be odd to have a favorite gas station but on this drive I do. It’s a Phillip’s 66 with the normal gas pumps and car wash but it also has Tesla charging stations and, best of all, a dog run. I love that I can let Bear out to stretch his legs for a minute without him having to be on a leash.

Day 2 – Texas > New Mexico > Colorado

There was a lot of driving on day 2 but we got the chance to see some beautiful country. The route week drove took us trough a lot of the Texas Panhandle towards Texline and Clayton, New Mexico and then on to Raton, NM before crossing into Colorado.

New Mexico | Favorite Things:

Dinosaus: Outside of Clayton, NM on the way to Raton there is a metal art shop with an outdoor galley. One of their pieces is a t-rex fighting raptors. I only go to see of briefly from the road but it’s a wonderful bit of art.

Fire Mountains: On the drive we passed some extinct volcanos. There are a decent number but the best well know are Sierra Grande and Capulin. Capulin is a cone volcano and a couple of years ago we visited the National Monument. For this trip we only got the chance to stop briefly and admire the volcanos that helped to shape this Land of Enchantment.

Mountain Pass: On this trip we drove on a number of mountain passes. The first of which was Raton Pass on Interstate 25. I actually did not know this pass existed until this trip. It is a beautiful drive. There are places to pull off but we did not due to time constraints.

Colorado | Favorite Things:

Dog Friendly: In Trinidad, CO we met up with family to caravan the rest of the way to our destination. We had two dogs with us this trip and stopped for lunch at a dog friendly restaurant with a covered patio.

Caravanning: Since we met up in Trinidad with people from other states we decided to caravan to the location of the family reunion and we had walkie-talkies and yes, each vehicle had a code name. If you want to know them, let me know in the comments.

Westcliff: This was a small town that we stopped at both on our way to Salida and on our way home. We initially stopped because it has a good little park off of 69 to let the dogs go to the restroom. I liked it though because I finally felt like I was in the mountains. I could see tall peaks all around, there was a storm rolling in and a bit of chill in the air – perfect.


Day 2 of our road trip! Amarillo, Texas to Salida, Colorado. #travel #roadtrip #texas #newmexico #colorado

♬ On the Road Again – Willie Nelson
Keltin’s TikTok of the Day 2 drive from TX to CO

Here are some things that made this drive easier:

  • Staying Hydrated: Altitude sickness is not fun and staying hydrated helps us keep feeling well and stay awake. We love using our refillable water bottles. If you want something a bit different with a bit of carbonation but not the sugar of soda try Wonder Drink, a prebiotics drink, use code LaciM15 for 15% off.
  • Easy Snacks: We travel with a small soft sided cooler filled with snacks like carrots, celery, oranges, cheese sticks, and nuts. Yes, we also have a stash of gum and candy.
  • Road Map: A lot of the country we drove through had very little or spotty cell service. A map provides good peace of mind. I also use the map to learn random bits of information. This is the one we use. This particular map includes points of interest along with cities and roads and is pretty hardy with a heavy cover and pages that are difficult to beat up with normal use.

Yes, this was a long drive but it was a beautiful one that just hinted at all of the wonders to come. I’d love to hear about your road trip experiences and what make the drive easier. Safe travels and remember to leave no trace.

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