Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 8, Tuesday June 9th - Grants to Bernalillo

Yep, that's right.  We changed our plans a bit, ending in Bernalillo rather than Cuba.  Sandra had doubts about the motel in Cuba (so did I), so we decided that we'd stay in Bernalillo, about an hour from Cuba and 20 miles from the NM-4 through the Jemez Valley.  We visited Pueblo Pintado, a Chacoan outlier ruin in the middle of nowhere (it's only 1/2 mile off a paved road, which can't be said about Chaco).  We also turned off on a side road looking for a wilderness area with easily reached hoodoos.  Don't think we found the right place, but still found some interesting rock formations.

Lunch was at the Cuban Cafe, green chile soup for Sandra & a green chile cheeseburger for me.  Sandra pulled out the poem and said she wanted to search instead of going straight to Bernalillo.  So, we pulled out tomorrow's trip plan and headed up NM-126 toward the Jemez Mountains.  This road quickly gets into a heavily forested area, and also becomes "unimproved."  That's being kind.  We finally got to a paved section near a state park w/ fishing lake, and intermittent rain started falling.  Oops, there went our plan to drive down an unpaved (& now slick) Forest Service road to scout it and see the Gilman Tunnels.

So, we continued on 126 to NM-4 and turned east down the long road to Jemez Springs, scouting for places to check out tomorrow, and seeing a few of the tourist stops.  The State Monument was closed, we drove past Battleship Rock & Soda Dam, and stopped at the Walatowa Visitor Center.  We also took a side trip on NM-485 to see the Gilman Tunnels, originally built for a railroad, in a narrow rocky gorge with waterfalls.  Spectacular.

Finally got to the motel, had dinner at The Range (popular restaurant - their logo is a kitchen stove), stopped at a grocery for some local beer, and retired for the night.  The 165 mile trip turned into 249 miles.  Tomorrow it's back up the Jemez, check out some spots, visit Bandelier Nat'l Monument, and spend the night at Los Alamos.

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