Carl Henning


No, not that Madrid (the one in Spain). This one is in New Mexico and it’s pronounced MAD-rid. Boomed on coal mining; busted when railroads switched to diesel. Became a ghost town. Then the hippies moved in. Then the artists. Now even some families. Current population: 225; down from multiple thousands. We tried to stop here a couple days ago, but the town was over capacity with the Fourth of July parade. Today we made it a destination.

New Mexico History Museum

The full sweep of New Mexico history is timelined in the New Mexico History Museum. From Ancestral Pueblans to pueblans to Spanish to Mexicans to Americans to the Atomic bomb – it’s all here. There was a nice section on the music of New Mexico (including Route 66 and some Western songs). I thought this would be represented in the gift shop, but, sadly, no.

Casa Grande Trading Post

We spent a non-traditional Fourth of July driving down the Turquoise Trail from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. We found a couple funky little museums along the way. First,  the Casa Grande Trading Post, Petting Zoo & Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum. We were the only visitors that morning. It was a bit of a challenge to find it on the dirt roads of Cerillos, New Mexico.

Pecos National Historical Park

We decided to not drive the freeways home over the extended July 4th holiday weekend. Instead we decided to stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico until after the holiday. So from Tucumcari we took the road less traveled, New Mexico state route 104 to Las Vegas, then to Pecos National Historical Park. (New Mexico also has a Las Vegas, but it’s much less crowded than Nevada’s.)

Tucumcari Historical Museum

Another small town museum, the Tucumcari Historical Museum. Like many small town museums, it contains an eclectic mix of small town memorabilia. One recommendation to visit described it as going through someone’s attic. (A characterization I should not have used in front of the docent.) There was lots of stuff but minimal organization. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our stop there.