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RedRaider89

Durango, CO to Lubbock, TX where to stop in-between?

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I have planned my first long range duration RV Trip in June with the wife and daughter.   We are heading from San Antonio staying in 3 separate State Parks  (in Texas and New Mexico) and eventually getting to the KOA Campground in Durango, CO.

My current plan to drive back home to San Antonio is to drive over 8 hours from Durango, CO.  stop in Lubbock for a 2 day rest and see the City.  Then head to San Antonio for the 6 hour trip back.   

Any thoughts and where to stay a night or two between Lubbock and Durango that is interesting?  I am not overly thrilled driving 8 to 9 hours straight in one day from Durango to Lubbock.

Thanks

 

 

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I've stayed in Santa Rosa, just a simple RV Park.  There's also Santa Rosa Lake State Park just north of town.  I've never stayed there, so can't comment on it. 

I've also stayed in Fort Sumner.  There's an RV Park there a half a block from the Billy the Kid museum.

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Cochiti Lake Corp of Engineer park not far from Santa Fe if you want to do a day trip.  About a mile or two from there is Kasha-Katuwe Nat'l Monument (Tent Rocks) which is a very unique place for a walk/hike.

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Thanks Chirakawa.  I saw Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner on the map just not sure what to do there.

Hi 2gypsies,  We are actually staying at Cochita Lake for 5 days as base camp to visit Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument and other attractions on the way up to Durango, CO,   I think you may have suggested it in a early post when I was initially planning this trip.

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I'd recommend looking into United Campgrounds of Durango, the narrow gauge railroad runs through the campground a couple times a day and is really cool. Also way closer to town and you can catch the free trolley/shuttle from there.  At least worth looking at.  I've stayed there several times and have enjoyed it..

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What New Mexico State Parks were you planning to stay in on the way to Durango and what route were you contemplating from Durango to Lubbock. My mapping program shows a route that takes you close to Albuquerque through Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner.  In Albuquerque there is Petroglyph National Monument, the Pueblo Cultural Center, the  Turquoise Trail and the Sandia Crest Highway.  Santa Rosa is another Route 66 town and has  The Blue Hole and Santa Rosa Lake State Park which has a nice campground.  Fort Sumner is where Billy the Kid is buried and there is a campground at Sumner Lake State Park.

We enjoyed the buddy Holly Museum and Windmill Museum in Lubbock.

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From San Antonio we are going to Davis Mountains State Park in Texas.  Brantley Lake in NM to visit Carlsbad Caverns, then Cochita Lake for the Santa Fe visit, then onto Durango at a KOA.  

I am leaning towards doing a 2 to 4 night stay in Albuquerque area so these are great recommendations.  Also I noticed a Cibolo National Forest just outside of Alburquerque.  I wonder if that is any good.  

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1 hour ago, RedRaider89 said:

...I noticed a Cibolo National Forest just outside of Alburquerque.  I wonder if that is any good...  

Not very familiar with that Forest. Checkout the Campgrounds and the MVUMs for dispersed camping opportunities.

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Sandia Ranger Dist. of Cibola NF is just outside of Albq. There is very limited dry camping there and not real accessable for RV's. This is a good area to spend at least 3-4 days but I would look Private campgrounds while staying in this area.  I have been volunteering on this district almost every summer for about 18 years. JMO

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While in ABQ, take the tram up to the top of Sandi Peak and eat dinner in the restaurant, while watching the sun set. 

Also if you like New Mexican food, go to Old Town ABQ and eat lunch or dinner wander around the shops.

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Why not stopping at the Sand Dunes Park in Southern CO? There is a nice RV park there.

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I hope you see this in time. The High Finance restruant at the top of the tram in closed. It is being rebuilt and I believe I was just told that it is expected to be open not this summer  but late next summer maybe in time for Balloon Fest 2019. That could be affected by any restrictions on using power equipment due to fire risk,  We went into stage 2 fire restriction last Friday which means if you picnic and want to cook you need some type of stove or grill with a shut off valve. Smoking only inside an enclosed vehicle.  There is speculation that we could go into full forest closure after Memorial Day if we don't get some moisture.  Closure means you won't be able to even drive up the road in the east mountain area to the overlook at the top.  I don't know if they will close the tram then but if not you won't be able to get off the deck at the top.   At the top of the drive to the overlook there is a gift shop and snack bar with limited service and food.  There has been some issues and they have not been open on weekdays at least some of the time recently.  The overlook up there is great so I hope they won't have to close things down but the fire risk situation in the forest here is pretty bad and it ain't looking good. 

 

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RR 89 if you are talking about KOA on the east of Albq. at the Juan Tabo exit you will find it  pretty convient but possibly  a little noisey from traffic on I40.  Another opdtion in the east mountain that is more scenic  is Turquise Trail Campground about  7 miles north of I40 in Cedar Crest NM and it is scenic and more interesting going north on hwy 14 to Santa Fe about 50 miles going through scenic tourist area old mining town of Madrid and it will be quicker than going up I25. The other KOA is about 20 miles of Albq. at the town of Bernalillio up I25.

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Hi Bigjim.  Thanks for both of your posts.  Also appreciate the warning on the High Finance Restaurant Closure and using a stove or grill with a shut off valve.  I was considering bringing my charcoal grill but decided to now bring a small tabletop gas grill due in large part to your post.   We already booked the KOA off of I40.  Hopefully not too noisy.

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You might be ok with the charcol at the KOA but a lot of the forest out here are likely to be in stage 2 fire restrictions or worse so the table top probably would be better in most places.  Sometimes counties can have stronger restrictions sooner. That happened here.  If we are not in forest closure I will most likely be working the interpretive hut at Doc Long picnic area on Hwy 536 which is the drive up to the overlook on the east side of the mountains. (basically a must see) and not far from  where you will be at that KOA. Maybe 25 miles from KOA to the top with some stuff to see on the route.  I should be there from about 10am to 2pm or so on Saturdays and Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day and maybe during the Balloon Fest.  Might catch me at the ranger station about 1/2 mile south of I40 and old 66 also but there are plenty of folks in this area to help you find cool stuff to see and do.

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New info. We got notice today that we are going into full forest closure at 8AM on Fri June 15. The Mountainaire district just south of us likewise. The Santa Fe forest  is in full closure now also. I don't know about the rest of the districts in NM.  It  will severely limit what you can do here in the Albq. area.  You almost certainly will be able to ride the tram but won't be able to leave the deck at the top. I won't be working the interpretive hut in closure but may man and entry point barracade, be part of a patrol, or help out at the ranger station in Tijeras depending on what is needed.  I am at a volunteer site behind the ranger station. and of course if you are following the news the 416 fire in southern colorado is near Durango but accordint to news at 6 Pm Durango is still open for business.

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 "and of course if you are following the news the 416 fire in southern colorado is near Durango but according to news at 6 Pm Durango is still open for business. "

As of some time today, the entire San Juan National Forest is closed completely, Stage 3 status due to ongoing extreme drought & fire danger. This covers almost 2 million acres of prime outdoor recreational lands from the Dolores River to Wolf Creek Pass across the south western half of CO. NFS management says this closure will remain in effect indefinitely until the summer monsoon rains change the conditions. Yes, the city of Durango remains open for business, but all the public lands around it are now closed. US hiway 550 has been closed in both directions frequently, then opened as the fire conditions allow. The Durango to Silverton Tourist Railroad has been closed off & on due to the fire.

Edited by JRP

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Well looks like Durango, CO is off.  They closed the Silver Guage Rail Road till June  30th.  We had tickets to Silverton on the 26th.  Now we are trying to decide if staying at Brantley Lake State Park for 4 days and visiting Carlsbad Caverns and then staying at Cochiti, Lake outside of Santa Fe to visit Bandolier National Monument  makes sense.  

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2 hours ago, RedRaider89 said:

Well looks like Durango, CO is off.  They closed the Silver Guage Rail Road till June  30th.  We had tickets to Silverton on the 26th.  Now we are trying to decide if staying at Brantley Lake State Park for 4 days and visiting Carlsbad Caverns and then staying at Cochiti, Lake outside of Santa Fe to visit Bandolier National Monument  makes sense.  

Have you thought about staying in the campground inside Bandelier Nat. Monument?  https://www.nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/juniper-family-campground.htm ?  Bandelier is worth a visit.

Also it is a pretty good little drive from Cochiti Lake to Bandelier for a day trip. 

Edited by Al F

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Options if you decide to not go to Durango:

--  Chama NM has a very nice train ride.  For young kids or teenagers the full trip to Antonito and bus ride back is to long.  It gets a little boring.  However they have a shorter trip.  A couple of hours up, stop for lunch and back down. 

--  About 30 miles or so north of Chama there is a nice NF campground at about 10,000 feet.  https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/rockymtn/riogcmp.htm#trujillo meadows

-- Great Sand Dunes NP is a 2-4 hour drive from there. 

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I second the possibility of the train ride on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad train ride between Chama NM and Antonito Colorado.  If fact I was told way back that if you could only ride one to do the Cumbres  ride over the Durango ride and I found that to be true.  I would suggest the ride from Chama end first but I really liked it in both directions.  It is probably too late in the season to see a catapeller stop the train.  There are some nice campgrounds in Chama and a decent elevation so cooler. One campground is right along the water way and the train track.  There is a COE park about an hour  south I think at Abique lake  and some others near also.  I still would not rule out Albq or near  Ablq as there is still decent stuff to see within reasonable driving distance for day trips. Cochiti lake is kind of  in the middle near Tent Rocks  and not too far to Albq and Santa Fe and  a little  further to Bandelier Nat. Monument.  Campgrounds there but all could be closed depending on the fire situation. 

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