Denver to Santa Rosa

9 o’clock Friday morning. I barely slept the night before because of the nerves and excitement about the trip ahead of us. We loaded the truck, packed tight around the baby seat. Grabbed all the snacks we thought we would want, but wouldn’t eat. Set google maps for Santa Rosa, New Mexico and headed out.

The drive from Denver to Santa Rosa along I-25 south is about 6 hours. It took us close to 9, between the lunch break and inevitable (and highly dreaded) bathroom breaks. Sorry hunny! But with the exception of a small grey patch, we had blue skies and a great view, so the delay wasn’t all bad. And besides, how else are you going to find the hidden places?

One of our stops in New Mexico was the quaint town of Raton. It is about 7 miles south of the Colorado/New Mexico border and part of the Santa Fe Trail. Driving in, it looked like any other small town from the past. A closed Texaco and a couple older motels. But the main street shows a glimpse into a time almost forgotten.

From Raton, we got back on I-25 and almost took a huge detour to Capulin and Clayton, because we saw a sign for the Capulin Volcano National Monument and, well, Clayton’s name. But it would have added an extra hour and a half, and we wanted to get to Santa Rosa for dinner. So, we added them to our ‘Trip Wish List’ and drove on.

We finally made it to Santa Rosa about 6 that evening, checked in to our hotel, and went exploring. We looked up places to eat in the area, and Clay wanted to check out The Blue Hole.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Heading east on I-40, we took Exit 273 for Santa Rosa along Old Route 66. Driving into town there is again a glimpse of the past. Buildings and hotels that still stand, but have long been forgotten by travelers. One of my favorites was this motel and restaurant. Sun ‘n Sand.

It just felt very ‘New Mexico Route 66’.


Google images of The Blue Hole are very cool! I imagined something completely different, though. I had no idea you could actually swim in it, clearly I didn’t scroll down far enough on my image search. So, if that’s something you are interested in, definitely bring the suit and your sunscreen – there isn’t much shade. Driving in, it seems like you are going the wrong way, but it is in fact in a parking lot behind a building. They have some cool signs that talk about it and of course, some photo stand ins.

From the Blue Hole, we headed back onto Route 66 for dinner. We were in the mood for pizza, as usual, so Joseph’s Bar & Grill it was. When you walk in, its full of signs and posters all relating the Route 66 and that time. If you want pizza or wings, don’t stop at the host area. Head straight back to the bar. We sat in the dining room, not knowing there was a difference, but our waitress was nice and went back to get a bar server to take care of us since pizza was not on their regular menu. There was a nice variety of Mexican and American food, but nothing that jumped out or sounded better than pizza. I got cheese, because I’m simple (lol), and Clay got pepperoni and New Mexico green chili, because when in Rome… Both were very good. We ordered some chips and salsa my weekness, but it was a little too spicy for me. We could have ordered one pizza and still had left overs, so bring your appetite!

All in all, I’d say it was a successful first night on the road. We did some sightseeing, tried some local food, and relaxed. We left the next morning for Amarillo, rested and even more excited.

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