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Our End of Trail: New Mexico

Author: Sandi McKim
Date of Trip: June 2007

Last June, my husband and I left our home in Kansas to journey to the magnificent State of New Mexico. We’d never really seen much of the state before. My husband and I had recently joined the Cowboy Action Shooting Society (SASS) and we thought it would be fun to attend the world championship contest just outside of Albuquerque known as “End of Trail.” I planned a week touring the northern part of the state before we had to be at our final destination. We packed the car to the hilt with all our 1800’s finery and headed west!!

Our itinerary took us first to Dodge City, Kansas, where we toured the streets of an old cowtown – yes, similar to what you see on the ever-popular tv show “Gunsmoke” – one of my favorite westerns! From there, we drove to Meade, Kansas where the famous Dalton Gang hid in an underground tunnel on a farm owned by their sister. Liberal, Kansas, was our first overnight at a fairly new Holiday Inn Express.

The next day, we headed southwest towards Guymon, OK, and this is definitely ranch territory!! On we went towards the New Mexico stateline and into Clayton – mmmmm – smell that beef right on the hoof!!! lol We stopped at an old Eklund hotel (famous for it’s gunshot holes in the ceiling) for lunch in downtown Clayton, did some antique shopping and turned our vehicle toward the Capulin Volcano National Monument – drove up to the top – then back down and on to Raton, another major cattle trail stop back in the old west!

From Raton – we took off across Highway 64 to Cimarron and Eagle’s Nest, Red River and around the Enchanted Circle loop to Taos. We spent 2 days in this city touring the art centers, museums, and shopping!! Fantastic!

From Taos – we took the “high road to Taos” – to Santa Fe (backwards – lol) and it was awe-inspiring to see where some of the natives live and work. We stopped at 3 wineries and took in some wonderful samples as well as picked up a few bottles to take home with us! We found a great hotel close to old Santa Fe and spent a Sunday afternoon enjoying an art fair in the old square, toured the Palace of the Governors, the famous Loretto Chapel, the oldest church, and many shops. Even met up with a famous country singer, Holly Dunn, who is an artist and now lives in Santa Fe.

From Santa Fe, it was on to our specified destination – Elaine’s Bed and Breakfast, Cedar Crest, NM!! We knew from her website, it was going to be fantastic and it was!! Off the beaten path, great log home, warm welcome, great private rooms, balcony with a fabulous mountain view, scrumptious breakfasts served in the hearthroom or outside on a fresh-air patio!! Elaine and all her guests enjoyed seeing us come down to breakfast every morning in our western getups, too! I think the people from England had the biggest appreciation for our us in our costumes and said it really made their trip memorable! Makes me want to go back right now!! (And, in fact, we are going back next June!)

We spent 6 days and nights at Elaine’s B&B and End of Trail – yeah, lots of dust and dusty cowboys and cowgirls! But worth every minute – made lots of new friends and learned a lot, too. It must have been great, if we want to do it again – especially when it got to be 95 degrees in the mid to late afternoon every day! But really, lots of (safe) shooting excitement and good old-fashioned competition, great costumes (my favorite part), singing, and even a visit from western historian, Bob Boze Bell, and western actor, Hugh O’Brien (Wyatt Earp) – even outlaw, Billy The Kid, showed up (wink)!

We took one afternoon to tour Old Town Albuquerque where we did some souvenir shopping and had a great, intimate lunch at one of the old mission-style restaurants.

Time to head home took us via Highway 40 through Texas and into Oklahoma – sort of following the old Route 66 trail – several stops had great souvenirs with that theme. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Clinton, OK, and the next morning were off to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. We spent the afternoon there until heading towards Tulsa to visit our daughter and her family.

From Tulsa, we turned our weary wagon homeward arriving with some sadness that it had all come to an end. Great memories, however, and God willing, we look forward to another trip to Elaine’s Bed and Breakfast and End of Trail in June, 2008!

Thanks for reading my report!!

Sandi McKim, Overland Park, Kansas

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