So, when we left Santa Fe ten days ago, we were driving along on I-40 toward Gallup, New Mexico and started seeing what looked like volcanic material. Hmmmm.
Right after that, we saw a sign for El Malpais National Monument and literally decided to go there at the exit, after checking Google satellite to make sure the coach would fit in the visitor’s center parking lot. I really don’t know how people RV’d before Google. 🙂
The visitor’s center had a short film and super helpful staff that advised us we could take our 60′ total “sport” coach and trailer on one of the park roads, NM 117, a scenic drive to see lava flow fields and beautiful sandstone cliffs on the east side of the monument, plus a sandstone arch known as ‘La Ventana’.
Now some may know that our coach line is the Ventana. So this arch’s name made us smile. Off we went. What’s a 45-mile round trip when you can see a sandstone arch with the same name as your coach?
Turns out, we were here before, 22 years ago! Credit to Jerry for remembering that we visited La Ventana on our very first trip together to New Mexico. Surely our relationship with Koko (La Ventana’s given name) was meant to be!
Mount Taylor, the highest point (11,306′) in the Cibola National Forest, in the distance to the North of El Malpais
We hope you’ve enjoyed this spur of the moment visit to one of our special National Monuments. There was so much more to see here, including volcanic cinder cones, craters, a lava tube cave system, and even ice caves, but due to our vehicle size, we were limited to a scenic drive and spectacular natural arch. Yes, we could have unloaded the bikes and explored further, but we were on a bit of a schedule, to get to the Petrified Forest the next day!!! That is a post for another day…
I hope this inspires you to get out there and see some of our incredible natural resources!