After escaping single-digit temperatures in Oklahoma, we spent the last couple of nights at Santa Rosa Lake State Park in New Mexico.
The town of Santa Rosa advertises itself as “The City of Natural Lakes,” but the lake we’re on is man-made, courtesy of a dam on the Pecos River.
The town does have some small lakes and something called the Blue Hole, which turns out to be an artesian well 81 feet deep that is a favorite haunt of scuba divers, though no one was there when we stopped.
Santa Rosa’s other claim to fame is having part of old Route 66. Like a lot towns on that storied road, it is a bit down at the heels but is trying to rebuild itself by appealing to nostalgia for the old highway. There’s an old-car museum and a railroad bridge that made an appearance in the 1940 movie of “The Grapes of Wrath.”
We drove about 10 miles south to Puerto de Luna, a settlement founded by Coronado that, local legend has it, was once visited by Billy the Kid. It has an odd mix of palatial haciendas and modest houses.
We enjoyed our time here, not least because of the warmer weather. We spent part of our time just sitting in the sun and baking out the cold.
Now it’s on to Arizona.