This morning the clouds where looking heavy so we headed in town for lunch before heading out about an hour away to check out a great scenic road known for lots of wildlife.
Alley Cantina is in one of the oldest building in Taos and known for really good burgers and good cheap drinks.
We walked in and was greeted by the bartender Michael. This guy is a character! Full of jokes and kindof sounds like Seth Rogan when he talks. He makes you feel welcome instantly.
We started off with a $5 margarita. (Tip – if you go between 4pm and 7pm any day it’s happy hour and drinks are half off). The house margaritas are made in large batches which some people don’t like. I’m ok with that and it tasted really good where you could taste the liquor in it.
We where starving which didn’t help that we didn’t eat breakfast and Alley’s didn’t open until 11:30am. D ordered the Burrito (flour tortilla, cheddar/jack cheese, salsa, beans, sour cream, posole and red, green or veggie chile) bean $9, chicken $10, beef $10 or shrimp $14. We chose beef with red chile sauce. Wow, this was super filling. I was happy to see you actually got a lot of meat in there unlike other places that have a small spoonful. We recommend this if your hungry!
I ordered the Green Chile Cheese Burger 4 oz/$7 or 8 oz/$9 (chopped green chilies, cheddar, jack or provolone cheese, served with hand cut fries) Michael suggested the cheddar cheese so I went with that on the 8 oz burger. I really like the grilled flavor to the burger and it tasted really good.
As if that wasn’t enough food we split the Beer Battered Onion Rings $4. That was the best $4 I’ve ever spent on some of the best onion rings I’ve had in a long time!!!
As we headed back to the car we stopped in a chocolate shop, because no matter how full you are there’s always room for chocolate!
Oh how good this place smells!
We settled on the English Toffee and the Macadamia Nut Cluster. Yummy!
Back to the car where M was napping on her pillow in the back seat, we set off to Valle Vidal Road near Costilla.
The area has vast open spaces, magnificent peaks, and abundant wildlife.
Be warned that the guide says it takes 3 to 8 hours. It’s a dirt road so in some areas you are going 10 mph. It took us 6 hours to complete this road and that’s including stops to watch some wildlife. If you’re gonna complete it in under 5 hours you better be in a rental car or not mind the really bumpy road!
We hit some areas of light rain along with some snow in one spot. So far it didn’t yield any wildlife. We stopped at Shuree Ponds to stretch and let M out to potty. Man it was cold! We heard turkeys in the distance, but never saw anything.
Back in the car and we decided to take the shorter route out of the area. It’s about 10 miles shorter and we figured it would be best since we weren't seeing anything. Done the campground road (I forgot the name) we finally saw some deer!
We traveled 7 miles down this road before turning around and heading back to the main road. Bumpy as hell!!! Trees down and big pot holes didn’t make this stretch look like it was gonna get any better and we still had 28 miles if we kept going that way!
So back on the main road towards McCrystal campground (and much smoother road) we came to a really cool view of the Carson National Forest and 500.000 acres of Ted Turner’s land.
Once we got down to the valley area we ran into some buffalo in the road. Holy cow these animals are big!
After that it seemed like the windows opened to lots of wildlife. Elk are a little skittish and you can’t get close, but the buffalo herds don’t care that you’re driving by.
I’m not sure when we drove through Ted Turner’s property, but it’s the last 17 miles of road before we where back on Hwy 64.
Overall it was so cool we saw deer, elk, buffalo, ducks, turkeys and even a wolf! I think it would have been better if was a paved road and maybe even shorter, but if you have nothing to do all day it’s worth the drive. The drive home was another story. A storm blew in and it was raining on us all the way home.