Photo journals of western scenic byways help to provide clues as to what to expect when planning a trip. Many amateur photo journalists do not adhere to mainstream restrictions, so their travel articles tend to be reality based, rather than being corporate sponsored. In an amateur photo travel journal, one will see more pictures and mentions of unique places that are truly interesting and local businesses are more likely to be recommended over the national corporate chain options. For tourists that want to escape from the big city grind and experience the real world, perusing amateur photo journals of western travel routes can provide much needed information that the mainstream travel magazines overlook.
U.S. Highway 84 runs from Pagosa Springs, Colorado all the way east to the Atlantic Coast in Georgia. West of the Mississippi, this old highway definitely is one of the roads less traveled in this modern age, especially through New Mexico. In fact, the Colorado and New Mexico sections of Highway 84 pretty much only see local traffic, which is composed of rural folk heading to cities for necessities.
Today’s scenic drive features the 48 mile long section of Scenic Highway 84 that runs south from Highway 160 in Pagosa Springs to Highway 64 near Dulce, New Mexico. During the winter, this section of Highway 84 is a tourism corridor for visitors traveling to hot springs resorts in Pagosa Springs, ski resorts in Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado and the Taos Ski Valley resorts of northern New Mexico. During the summer tourism season, Highway 84 is a main thoroughfare for outdoorsman seeking adventure in the Rio Grande National Forest of the Rocky Mountains and for people doing the ancient native pueblo tour.
As can be viewed on a map, the short 48 mile section of Highway 84 from Pagosa Springs to Highway 64 near Dulce can lead to many different worlds of vacation adventure. This travel route runs through some western farm and ranch territory that is pleasing to the eye. The majestic Rocky Mountains provide a stunning backdrop, especially during the winter months when the peaks are covered with snow. the road passes through vast lush pine forests in the high elevations on the Colorado side of the state line, then the landscape changes dramatically to sparse high desert juniper forests when entering the lower elevations on the New Mexico side of the border. The eroded mesa bluffs and picturesque towering rock pillars that are associated with the New Mexico landscape are seen more frequently as one approaches Highway 64, which is the main east-west thoroughfare through the sovereign territories of the Southern Ute, Navajo and the Jicarilla Apache Nations.
In order to visit Dulce when traveling on Highway 84, all that a tourist needs to do is head west for 13 miles on Highway 64 into the Jicarilla Apache Nation. The rolling hills, mesa and canyon landscape along Highway 64 to Dulce is both beautiful and mysterious, so plan on making a few stops to take the views in. When approaching the town of Dulce, the roadside signs for Apache cultural attractions become more frequent, then the visitors center appears just across the territorial line.
Dulce is by no means a big city and the amenities are limited. Dulce is basically a small village that serves the needs of the surrounding farms and ranches, so this is the clientele base that most of the local businesses cater to. Tourism is part of the economy, but this section of Highway 64 definitely is a road less traveled till the New Mexico summer tourism season rolls around.
For those who plan to do the complete New Mexico ancient pueblo tour, Dulce is a unique stop along the way where a visitor can learn a little something from cultural exchange. Dulce is most famous for being a place where Apache artisans market their unique crafts, which can be found nowhere else in the world. Hand crafted clay pottery and woven baskets have a high intrinsic value and collectors worldwide make pilgrimages to places like Dulce to purchase items, just so they will have a chance to meet the native artists in person. As can be imagined, a lot of tribal wisdom, lore and knowledge can be learned from these people and this intangible factor is what motivates art collectors to make the trip to Dulce happen.
Other than shopping for Apache artisan crafts in Dulce, there really is not much else to draw tourists in, other than the local tribal casino resort. Tribal casino resorts tend to be first class operations that offer better than average amenities in remote locations, so they are worth looking into when traveling through the vast desolate rural areas of the west. The Wild Horse Casino is by far the premier attraction in Dulce and it is a place where tourists can certainly feel welcome.
There is another thing that Dulce is famous for, but not everybody believes in such things. Dulce is the headliner of many conspiracy theory rumor mills that have to do with secret underground military bases and extraterrestrials. In this case, Dulce is supposedly the home of a top secret deep underground base that is actually operated by both humans and alien beings from somewhere in outer space. In this place, it is rumored that the aliens conduct genetic experiments on abducted human victims and there are plenty of horrid results. Sightings of strange looking humanoid mutations in the forested mountains of this region add credence to the alien base rumors, which sound nightmarish to anyone that thinks about visiting Dulce.
There are some people that are so creeped out by the alien genetic experimentation rumors, that they will not drive within a thousand miles of Dulce, New Mexico. To put it mildly, being an unwilling victim of alien genetic experimentation is just about the most horrible experience that can possibly be imagined, so for many people the stress of venturing to Dulce may be too much to overcome.
On the flip-side, the lure of visiting a place where there might be a real live top secret underground alien base will be good reason for going on a conspiracy theory quest of a lifetime. If you choose to go to Dulce for paranormal reasons, you will not be the first to do so, because the Dulce alien base rumor mill has been going on for several decades. From what I can gather, many of the local people in Dulce are dead tired of people asking questions about the secret alien base, so it may be best to keep the inquisitive nature in check. Then again, some of the locals will readily spill out every last detail about the terrifying alien genetic experimentation agenda, just as if the secret underground base is a matter of fact.
To sum it all up, The scenic drive on Highway 84 is as picturesque as can be and Dulce offers a chance to shop for unique Apache artisan crafts that are highly prized around the globe. If you happen to be an an extraterrestrial conspiracy theory believer, the town of Dulce is either a pilgrimage site or it is a place to stay a million miles away from. Since the theme of today’s article is about the scenic drive, it is best to just forget about possibly being abducted by aliens for genetic experimentation while cruising along on this road. That is of course, unless an unexplainable loss of time occurs while motoring along this highway and one of the passengers grows a mutated extra appendage during the second half of the trip. Only then will there be reason for second thoughts!
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