Inspired by the generosity of Audrey & Nick Taylor and the positivity bonus offered to netlogx employees in 2021, I decided to use that bonus money to treat my friends, Robin and Mary Catherine, my spouse Amy and niece Julia to a four-day trip over Memorial Day weekend to see a few sights from my New Mexico “bucket list” of places to see and visit while also supporting local, small businesses in each of the places we visited.

Robin and Mary Catherine had rented an apartment to me in Santa Fe for the last year on a property for which they are the trustees. Amy and Julia and I were in Santa Fe in May 2021 while we helped them with some property projects.  Robin works as a sign language interpreter and advocate for people with disabilities. Mary Catherine works as a chaplain at Rust Hospital in Albuquerque and has spent the last two years working on the Covid floors ministering to patients and their families. The pandemic has taken a toll on healthcare workers certainly, and it has also taken a toll on the spiritual ministers who are often the staff presiding over a patient’s final moments on earth. Both of my friends needed and deserved a weekend away from their day to day lives.

We had a southern New Mexico road trip planned with stops in Belen, Socorro, Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, Truth or Consequences and the White Sands National Monument.

On Friday we toured the Harvey House Museum in Belen, New Mexico, and were entranced by the amazing local history guide and museum curator, Frances Zeller. Ever since reading about Fred Harvey, his company and the company’s chief architect and interior decorator, Mary Colter, who designed and decorated the hotels and restaurants.  The Harvey company owned and managed hotels and restaurants which were built along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railway lines. The La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe is one of the few remaining Harvey House hotels that is still open and operating. Many others have been knocked down for “progress,” especially after the hotels fell into disrepair and travel by train was replaced with travel by airplane.

After an overnight stay in Socorro, and a driving tour of that rough and tumble town, Saturday was our day for the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge. Amy and I got up early and arrived at the refuge at sunrise. Our friends and our niece elected to sleep in and skip the sunrise photography excursion. Late May is not the time of year to see the migrating cranes, but plenty of other birds and a herd of elk were up early and moving around. We also saw the warning signs advising visitors to be careful of bobcats.  We returned to pick up our friends and our niece around mid-morning and then headed farther south to Truth or Consequences.  We had booked some hotel rooms at the Pelican Spa and Motel, an eclectic and off-the beaten path kind of place that offers natural spring baths in the motel.