September 24, 2012:
We arrived at Cedar Rail Campground on the afternoon of September 22nd, it is located on the summit of Raton Pass, 7,800 + feet , just over the border in New Mexico. It was a little exciting getting to the campground, due to road construction the normal exit at the top of the pass was closed, so we had to go all the way down the other side to the next exit, turn around and go all the way back up the top of the Pass for the exit into the campground. This campground has a truly remarkable view, we had one of those 100 mile views out of our rear window.
I ran 65 + all the way from Colorado Springs to Raton and averaged almost 12 MPG, highest ever towing. I have noticed that I get better fuel mileage when going up and down hills than on level ground, it seems to gain more going downhill than it loses going uphill.
The Cedar Rail Campground is a really nice site and they were extra friendly. The only complaint is that they told us to listen for the bulging elk in the morning and we were kind of excited about that; all we heard was the eighteen wheelers going up and down the highway.
After setting up, I explored downtown Raton, New Mexico while Twinkles quilted: she does not share my enthusiasm for old derelict run down poor towns with rich histories. Raton definitely qualifies as that, it has a 1st street with an intact row of vintage buildings (bars, stores and bordellos) from the early 1900's across the street from the classic mission style train depot (Amtrak still stops there, actually saw the train pull in). Raton came to life with the advent of the railroad line over the Raton Pass and with the mining and ranching industry. Then you go uphill to 2nd street and you find the more modern area with a beautiful old Opera House and move theater and lots of other historical buildings. As usual, many buildings are vacant, for sale, not looking too prosperous.
On Sunday, Twinkles joined me to explore the town of Trinidad, Colorado on the other side of the Raton Pass. It is very similar to Raton, NM, got it's start with the railroad, mining and cattle ranching too. It has a somewhat more prosperous looking downtown, one of the most fantastic ornate Bank buildings anywhere ! We stopped at a nice cafe with outside seating for breakfast that was really good. Then we found Rt. 12 west, old Santa Fee trail, (Highway of legends), for a ride out into the country for 20 or so miles. It was mostly old closed mines, old adobe buildings, poor houses and small towns. The further we traveled, the prettier it became as we came closer to the Spainish Peaks mountain area.
Next stop Santa Fee, New Mexico
|Raton, NM Train Depot|
|Palace Hotel sign in Raton, NM|
|Santa Fee Cafe in Raton, NM|
|The El Raton theater in Raton, NM|
|Marchiondo's store in Raton, NM|
|Swastika building in Raton, old indian symbol|
|Last coal steam locomotive in Trinidad|
|Mining monument in Trinidad|
|Sign on Trinidad restaurant|
|Strange detail on Trinidad Bank|
|Trinidad streets are paved with bricks|
|Sidewalk art in Trinidad|
|1st National Bank of Trinidad|
|The sign for Cokedale Mine, slag pile in background|
|Heading down the road in Colorado towards the Spanish Peaks|
|That's the Cedar Rail Campground from the highway|