Part 1 – The Bisti De Na Zin Badlands

We've arrived! Welcome to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.
We’ve arrived!

It was a long-time dream for me to photograph the landscapes and strange rock formations in the Bisti De Na Zin Wilderness, located in the four corners area of New Mexico. Long before we began traveling full time, I had discovered some amazing images of this far away place in a photo journal. It piqued my interest so I began researching the place, looking on topographic maps and finding other explorers GPS coordinates, because getting to the Bisti Badlands is not a walk in the park. But it is worth the journey!

Blue Swallow Motel with Maura and Airstream

Coming from Kansas City, after visiting the kids and grandkids, we usually enter New Mexico near the northeast corner, where Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico meet. We always stop in the town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, because it’s a flashback to the good old days, when Route 66 was in its heyday, epitomized by the Blue Swallow Motel.

We spend a few days there, dreaming of how things used to be, then head out on Route 40 West through Albuquerque, then a couple of nights in Gallup, NM, also on old Route 66. To get to the Bisti Wilderness and to try to keep your tow vehicle from bouncing apart,  we go North to Farmington, first passing the famous Ship Rock formation then southwest about 35 miles to the gravel road that leads to the wilderness area.

Tiny Bisti sign

There is one small sign on the highway, so you have to be alert if you don’t have GPS coordinates. If conditions are dry, the road will be passable if not rutted, potholed and very dusty. In about two miles, we spot a signpost and a small area where a few trucks and RVs are parked, but we drove further to a small, unoccupied pullover.

We backed the Airstream in as far as it would go, then stepped out into the dust and wind on the edge of the Bisti De Na Zin Wilderness.

To be continued…

— John G.

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