New Mexico True Television

With so much to see and do in New Mexico, it’s hard to decide where to begin your trip. Come along with our host, Michael Newman, as he explores the state’s most memorable destinations (and meets a few interesting characters along the way). New Mexico True Television airs Sunday mornings in select New Mexico and Texas markets, but you can also check out the full episodes here.

Episode Seven: Southwest New Mexico

In this episode we got to soak up some of New Mexico’s most visited waters and made some historic stops along the way.

For those who may not know, the city of Truth or Consequences has a very long history in New Mexico.  Having been previously called Hot Springs, New Mexico, I learned that city had its name changed after winning a contest for a famous TV game show called Truth or Consequences. 

Watch Episode Seven

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Michael's True Travels Episode 6 Blog

“...Episode 6 will air this Sunday, July 27, 2014”

Hey everyone!

In this episode we got to soak up some of New Mexico’s most visited waters and made some historic stops along the way.

For those who may not know, the city of Truth or Consequences has a very long history in New Mexico.  Having been previously called Hot Springs, New Mexico, I learned that city had its name changed after winning a contest for a famous TV game show called Truth or Consequences. But that is not the only unique thing about the city; it was also a place where many Native Americans tribes would come and peacefully soak in the healing hot springs. There are many tales of the people that came through this town over the years. One of the major names that many may recognize is Geronimo, the famous Apache warrior.

Since those days, many things have changed in Hot Springs, NM (specifically the name) but some things have stayed the same.  People still come from all around New Mexico and the country to soak in the restorative all natural hot springs. This is what initially drew me here and MY… was I not let down. Luckily I had my local guide Monika to guide me through town, to the plethora of hot spring spas offered in town. On the tour I found that there is a place for every taste, from super luxurious to minimal and rustic. No matter what your desire for spa aesthetic, one thing is for sure, the water will truly put you in a peaceful state of mind, at least it did in my experience. There is a certain aire about the town that screams “slow down, take a breath, and smell the flowers.” So I did just that. The people of TorC (Truth or Consequences) are super friendly, patient, and creative.  It is the ultimate place to unplug and soak!

Another great stop on this journey, we stopped in at the well-preserved ghost town of Chloride. Escorted around the ghost town by a local, Don, I learned that the town went bust during the Mining era. Don had a great story though…when he came to live in town he found the general store fully intact with relics that had been left untouched since the 1800’s! Talk about history. I was so fascinated by all the old tools and items from that era that you mostly only see in books. This place was a living encyclopedia. The town is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in New Mexico and is sure to give you a first hand perspective of what life was like in the 1800’s.

If you’re in the same area and are looking for a nice cool down after a soak or exploring ghost towns, you must make the stop to Elephant Butte Lake. This is probably the most frequently visited body of water in the state. Filled with lots of awesome water activities, you can find families taking their boat out, fishing, water skiing, and so much more. They also have a world class golf course and some great hikes there too. In other words, there is no shortage of activities if you want to be active.

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As always thank you for reading and watching.

Keep exploring,

MN

Michael's True Travels Episode 6 Blog

“...Episode 6 will air this Sunday, July 20, 2014”

Hey there again!

In this episode we explored one of the more traveled regions in New Mexico, but with a twist. We were on a mission to find things off the beaten path, and show some new things to do in the more populated, Central, part of the state. 

One of the most unique outdoor activities in the region is going to Kasha Katuwe, or as most people refer to it as, Tent Rocks. This rock formation is spectacular because of the distinctive structures of white cliffs that are in the shape of tents. Shooting in this environment was a lot of fun because it was an actual hike and there were some gorgeous slot canyons we got to roam through. We also got to stop along the way and do some time-lapse video with the cliffs to show the clouds moving around it.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is go biking through the acequias around the quaint farming town of Corralles, right outside of Albuquerque. This small farming community is the perfect getaway to escape the city and get immersed into old New Mexico. Biking through it is the best way to see it, and the best way to get to their Growers Market. The acequias through the town go on for MILES, and are shaded by aged cottonwoods. The sound of the leaves brushing in the wind makes for a very peaceful ride. 

If you are looking for different way to the see the urban area of Albuquerque, the Breaking Bad Tour out on by ABQ Trolley Tours is the best way to get a different view of the town that most people are familiar with. The world acclaimed TV show, showcased many different businesses and locations around ABQ, and the Trolley Tour does a great job of giving you the backstory of the show and how it impacted the city.

While you’re in ABQ, The beautiful Sandia Mountains warrant all kinds of activities. The most obvious of the activities is going to the top of Sandia Peak aboard the Tram. Having done this before, the real highlight for me was being able to talk to some folks visiting from Chicago, as they went to the top. Seeing and hearing their reaction really opened my eyes to the beauty of the Sandias that I think many locals like myself start to take for granted. Seeing the whole city from that high up, literally and figuratively gives you perspective, that you don’t get day to day.

All in all, hopefully this episode gave you some ideas of new things to do in central New Mexico, a place many of us call home. We want to show you, there is always more exploring to be done, even in your own backyard.

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As always thank you for reading and watching.

Keep exploring,

MN

Michael's True Travels Episode 5 Blog

“...Episode 5 will air this Sunday, July 13, 2014”

Hey there everybody!

I hope you’ve been taking your New Mexico True Vacations by now. As always we want to inspire you to take the trips that you’ve thought about but never have. This week we went around the North Central region of the state. The landscapes of this area are where, I believe, the ‘Enchantment” of the Land of Enchantment come from.

We started out in Georgia O’Keeffe Country, out at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. Being able to stand in the very place where Georgia used to step and paint these beyond beautiful landscapes was awe-inspiring. Not to mention, our whole day was filled with so many other spectacular outdoor activities. One of my highlights was being able to do the high ropes course at Ghost Ranch and learning the zen of rock climbing. A big surprise for the crew and I was me hitting the bulls eye zone on my first archery lesson. This has been something I’ve wanted to for a long time, so I had a lot of fun and found I developed a new hobby. So much so, that I almost ran the crew off schedule because I was shooting for probably another 30 minutes. It really was like a summer camp for kids, except with famously painting red cliffs in the background.

Another dream come true for me was being able to sleep in an Earthship! Me being a nerd for anything dealing with sustainability, I was ecstatic when I heard we would be able to make a stop in Taos at the Earthships, and even stay in one! For those who don’t know what an Earthship is, it a completely sustainable off the grid house, that is the epitome of efficient. If you’re not totally into that kind of stuff, it still is well worth checking out because of the truly unique lodging. The architecture designs look like they are straight from space its even more awesome because all the materials are made out of recycled goods (car tires, glass, and aluminum). One cool feature is that they have gardens established INSIDE the building, as part of the whole ecosystem that house is part of. In fact, the largest one that you can rent out has its own greenhouse with tropical plants and animals flourishing inside. The earthship movement has taken off all over the world, but it is so great to know that it started right here in Taos.

Another stop in Taos was going White Water Rafting on the Race Track course. My guide Cisco has been a legend around town for many years and made my ride down the Rio Grande exhilarating and enlightening. Being one with the sometimes-docile sometimes-violent element of water was a very grounding experience for me after being on the road for a while. It was also really cool capturing the float down the river from so many angles. Rafting is such a full body experience, so our crew wanted to really immerse the viewer into the action. We were able to take you with us on that natural rollercoaster by having cameras in every direction. It definitely took some work to capture nature at its finest!

Hope we are sparking some ideas for you and your family! So what do you say? How about getting out of your comfort zone a little bit and exploring…? I promise it will be worth it!

As always thanks for reading we will see you next week!

Much love,
MN

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I hope you enjoyed the episode and got inspired to go and do something new, maybe something that may have even scared you before.

Much love,

MN

Michael's True Travels Episode 4 Blog

“...Episode 4 will air this Sunday, July 6, 2014”

Alright…

In this round of traveling we took on Northwest New Mexico. This episode was definitely one of the most exhilarating yet, simply because I got to experience two different things that I have never done before, but have always wanted to. One, would be fly-fishing and the other being Hot Air Ballooning. Both of which, are a big reason why a lot of people come to New Mexico.

Farmington, NM is a place that I didn’t know a lot about, other than the fact that they have the San Juan River. But what I didn’t know was that they have some of the best fly-fishing in the country. My guide TJ told me that he has clients from all over the world that come to New Mexico to catch trout on this river.  Needless to say, I was eager and excited to learn the intricacies of casting a fly reel. It’s a little hard at first, but once you get that motion of pulling back the line, holding for 2 seconds, and then going back forward, it starts to become almost meditative. I loved it, not to mention the beauty of the desert around the river.  I even got to do some yoga in my waders. haha… A challenge I thought we were going to have though, was actually catching a fish on camera. The fish didn’t really know our agenda so they didn’t exactly bite when we said action, but they did eventually come. I actually caught 4 Rainbow Trout on the water that day. I was pretty proud of myself, considering I’ve only fished about 5 times in my life. Anyway, that was a day on the water that the crew and I would never forget. Fishing the San Juan Quality Waters is the epitome of New Mexico True.

Our next stop was in Gallup, New Mexico. One of my favorite things about Gallup was that you could feel a train going through the middle of town like every other hour. You really FEEL the history the train has played in this town. I was also really blown away by all the art on the walls of the town. There are murals with a story on almost every block.  They have vibrant and colorful paintings that illustrate the history of Gallup, including the historically significant Navajo Code Talkers.

Our last day in Gallup, I got to take a sunrise Hot Air Balloon ride. This was truly one of the most mesmerizing things I have ever done in my life. Living in New Mexico, balloons are just one of things that you expect to see in the sky, but being in one is a whole other experience. I learned the ins and outs of getting ready for a flight by working with the crew, and then got to reap the benefits of my labor by floating over beautiful Church Rock. There is nothing like the feeling of floating from the ground and gliding in mid air. And it gave me a vantage point of a New Mexican sunrise that I have never had before. Definitely in my memory bank forever.

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I hope you enjoyed the episode and got inspired to go and do something new, maybe something that may have even scared you before.

Much love,

MN

Watch Episode Four Here

Michael's True Travels Episode 3 Blog

“...Episode 3 will air this Sunday, June 29, 2014”

Hey there,

My excursion through Southeast New Mexico consisted of using many different forms of transportation to see the terrain, the first one being a mountain bike. Nothing could prepare me for taking in Ruidoso, New Mexico by bike at the top of Ski Apache. Imagine being at the top of the mountain, seeing gorgeous forest to your left, seeing White Sands in the distance to your right, and then a rugged trail in front of you, begging to be tread.  Talk about a sight to see. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous at first. But once I started to move down the trail with my guide, Brett, all I could think of was how nice the wind felt on my face, and how grateful I was to be able “work” on a mountain bike. Needless to say, I got a lot more comfortable after having to go up and down the trail about 7 times so our photographer could get a good shot. I’ll tell you, making TV isn’t as easy as it looks!

It wasn’t very long until I boarded my next mode of transportation, this one a little more interactive. He was a friendly horse named Prettyboy. This gentle giant among many other horses were boarded at The Inn of the Mountain Gods Stables in Ruidoso.  Riding horses is one my favorite outdoor activities, especially in undeveloped terrain. The bonus is that riding in this area you also get a sense of history too, because you are taking in this land as the Mescalero Apache People have done for many generations. When you are on the trail, you feel totally in sync with your horse and the earth.  It’s truly an enchanting experience.

Another highlight in this area was stopping at Ft. Stanton and in Lincoln, New Mexico. These two places gave me a perspective of how old New Mexico really is. Ft. Stanton is an old military fort that has over 155 years of history, and Lincoln is the place where the infamous Billy the Kid escaped from jail during the Wild West days. It’s one thing when you hear all the old stories about New Mexico, but when you are there and you see these buildings that have literally been written in history books, it really starts to hit you.

Another great stop along the way was our art tour of Roswell, New Mexico.  Many people have no idea that Roswell has very well renowned art community, as well as an Artist-in-Residence program. If you are in town, do not miss the opportunity to see this sometimes overlooked dimension of Roswell. Honestly, they have some of the best and most accessible art museums I personally have ever been to. An unexpected surprise on that shoot was having the chance encounter with Don Anderson, a pioneer in the Roswell art community.

Finally, the most awe-inspiring location we visited was White Sands National Monument.  I got to tag along with my friends Sasha and Laura on this trip and on the way we made two great stops along the way; Valley of Fires and Three Rivers Petroglyphs. When we actually go to the gates of White Sands, we didn’t know what to expect. Sasha was visiting from Florida, and while she was used to white beaches, nothing could compare to what White Sands offers. There is really no way to explain what it’s like being surrounded in all directions by white sand (which is actually gypsum not sand). There were moments where I felt like I was in the Sahara desert and other moments I felt like we had landed on another planet and there was nothing but wind and sand. In my opinion, it is one of the most unique places on the planet. But to put icing on the cake, we stayed for the Full Moon, which made for the ultimate E.T.-movie Moment.

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As always, thank you for reading and watching! Hopefully we gave you some inspiration to get you and yours on the road to Southwest New Mexico.

-MN

Watch Episode Three Here

Michael's True Travels Episode 2 Blog

“...Episode 2 will air this Sunday, June 22, 2014”

On this journey through Southwestern New Mexico there were many gems. The plains landscapes were gorgeous, the people were so nice, and the activities were endless! Not having traveled this area of state before, I didn’t know what to expect, but MY, was I in for an eye-opening experience.

So much of this area is undeveloped, so when you’re driving you just get enamored by the vast terrain - especially on US Hwy 60. Which brings me to one of my most anticipated stops…The VLA.

The Very Large Array is a radio astronomy observatory located between the towns of Magdalena and Datil off of US Hwy 60. You’ll know you’re there when you start seeing little white antennas (I thought they were satellite dishes, but I was informed the accurate term for them are antennas) popping up everywhere, as far as the eye can see. They look small from afar, but if you make your way up to the visitor center you will see that they are massive. I mean, you pretty much have to look straight up to see the whole thing.

The VLA is most notably remembered because of its iconic portrayal in the movie, “Contact,” with actress Jodie Foster. Nowadays people come to learn about the mind-boggling discoveries being made here in regard to the qualities of deep space and of the universe as a whole. A MUST SEE if you or your kids are science buffs.

Oh, and when you get hungry at the VLA, one of the best stops you can make is stopping in Pietown to see Kathy at Pie-O-Neer Pies. They hands-down have some of the best pie I have ever had in my life.

Our stop in Silver City was where we got to meet some of the warm people of the Southwest. It is also where I learned about the thriving art community in this part of the state. Everywhere you look there is color! From the walls of buildings, to the large murals made by children of Silver City, this town has no short supply of eye candy. To take in all this art, be sure to follow The Red Dot Tour.

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And if you like to knit like me, head to Yada Yada Yarn to pick up your next scarf project. This place is a stop on the Fiber Arts Trail, which brings people directly to the fiber artists of rural New Mexico.

Our last stop was at the seemingly prehistoric City of Rocks. This NM State Park is like a boulder playground in the middle of the desert.  It was a lot of fun to do some yoga and lose myself in this randomly assembled field of massive boulders. If you are in the area, it’s a great place to camp. Plus, with little to no light pollution, they have some of the best skies for stargazing.

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As always, thank you for reading and watching! Hopefully we gave you some inspiration to get you and yours on the road to Southwest New Mexico.

-MN

Watch EpisodeTwo Here

Michael's True Travels Episode 1 Blog

Out in the beautiful Mora Valley, I got to visit Victory Ranch to have my first close encounter with an Alpaca. And oh my…was it love and first sight. These friendly creatures derive from the high-attitude mountains of South America, but now live a more “down-to-earth” life here in New Mexico. With Alpacas roaming as far as the eye could see, it was hard to believe they all have different names and personalities; not to mention, all shades of fur. I got to talk with the owners Brian and Darcy about their Alpaca oasis (as well as other animals) and got to participate in one of their daily feeding tours. A MUST DO if you’re in the Mora area. The kids will love it!

Just outside of Raton, Vermejo Park Ranch is 920 square miles of gorgeous mountain wilderness. I, personally, had never been anywhere this pristine and vast in my life. I got to take a personal tour of this exclusive private property with my guide Nicole, but even after exploring for 5 hours we only saw a small portion of the land. It is an outdoorsman’s (or woman’s) paradise with plenty of activities spanning from hunting to photography tours. Also, it’s the only place I have ever been where it’s commonplace to see a herd of bison casually roam 5 feet away from your car door. Talk about immersion!

I got to partake in a little bit of fly-fishing, but the highlight for me was just enjoying the stillness of this majestic landscape. Like I said, this place is an exclusive private getaway that requires lodging in order to engage in any outdoor activities, so definitely save up for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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When heading into Raton I got to check out “The Station”. It’s an old gas station that has been kept up to be the hangout for all the hot rod car buffs in town. On any given day you could find 30 different cars, all of which dating no later than the 1950’s.

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Lastly, I had to share my inaugural experience as an outfitted cowboy. In Raton, we stopped at Solano’s Boot & Western Wear; a family owned shop specializing in the best Western Wear around. When we got there, I intended to try on a couple hats to fit my not-so-small head… but we decided to go all the way. I’m talking from the authentic western steamed hat, to the knee-high boots. Isn’t funny that when you dress up, you kind of take on that persona? I felt like I was really going to go heard some cattle. No…like for real.

All in all, my travels through Northeast New Mexico have opened me up to the lush, vast mountain landscapes that I think many people forget about. It’s a region with warm people and vistas for days.

So what are you waiting for? Go explore!

Thank you so much for reading…and see you on my next adventure!
-MN

Watch Episode One Here