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On the Road to Albuquerque and Carlsbad: The Geology of Central and Southern New Mexico

Program Number: 14382RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/14/2014 - 9/21/2014; 10/19/2014 - 10/26/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Price starting at: $1,499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Natural History
Meals: 20; 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Journey from Albuquerque to Carlsbad and back during this seven-night program to explore six of the seven life zones identified on earth and to experience a natural spectacle ranging from low desert plains and volcanic lava fields to caves, forests, high mountain ranges and much more.




Highlights

• Experience parts of the northern Chihuahua Desert, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Tularosa Basin, Valley of Fires and more.
• Get to know animal and plant species representing a range like no other on the planet.
• Hear from a geologist and historian about the relationships between geology, climate and cultural ecology.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles over uneven terrain, climb a few flights of stairs, stand for up to 1.5 hours. Elevations up to 5,000 feet.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Albuquerque, 2 nights; coach to Alamogordo, 1 night; coach to Carlsbad, 3 nights; coach to Albuquerque, 1 night; departure.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Alamogordo

Alamogordo is a small desert city bordered by the rugged Sacramento Mountains. Humans have inhabited this area for more than 11,000 years, but the current Alamogordo is a planned community built in 1898 to support the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad. In 1944, the Atomic Age began in the desert near here with the Trinity nuclear weapon test.



Carlsbad

Located in the Chihuahuan Desert and Pecos River Valley, Carlsbad’s semi-arid climate and mineral springs led the city to be named after the famous European spa, Karlsbad. It is home to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a magnificent cave system that features the third-largest cave chamber in North America.



Albuquerque

New Mexico's vast history, diversity, creativity, cuisine, beauty and art unite in this vibrant city, founded as a Spanish colonial outpost in 1706 and built in a traditional Spanish village configuration in which civic buildings surround a central plaza. “Old Town” is just one of New Mexico’s largest city’s many gems.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotels and motels.
Meals and Lodgings
   MCM Elegante
  Albuquerque 2 nights
   Best Western Desert Aire Hotel
  Alamogordo, New Mexico 1 night
   Best Western Stevens Inn
  Carlsbad, New Mexico 3 nights
   MCM Elegante
  Albuquerque 1 night
 MCM Elegante
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Large hotel with mid-town location and free parking
  Contact info: 2020 Menaul NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107 USA
phone: 505-884-2511
web: www.mcmelegantealbuquerque.com
  Room amenities: Data ports, irons, ironing boards, hairdryers, refrigerators upon request
  Facility amenities: Heated pool, spa and exercise room, restaurant and lounge on premises
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Hotel's best seasonal rate. Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Hotel's best seasonal rate. Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 Best Western Desert Aire Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 1021 S. White Sands Boulevard
Alamogordo, NM 88310 USA
phone: 505-437-2110
web: travel.yahoo.com/p-hotel-323133-bestwesterndesertairehotel-i
  Room amenities: Cable TV, telephones, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards, coffee makers.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor swimming pool, restaurant in hotel, easy access, Southwestern decor.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Stevens Inn
Type: Motel
  Contact info: 1829 S. Canal Street
Carlsbad, NM 88220 USA
phone: 505-887-2851
web: www.expedia.com/pub/agent.dll?qscr=dspv&&itid=*itdx+itty+from+f
  Room amenities: Cable TV, coffee makers, hair dryers
  Facility amenities: Restaurant on premises, lounge, exercise facility, outdoor pool, hot tub, Jacuzzi, guest laundry, complimentary newspaper, meeting facilities, photocopy services, high speed internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
You may check into the hotel anytime after 3:00 PM. Register with your group leader between 4:00 and 5:30 PM. You will be staying at MCM Elegante that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast on the last program date. Hotel check-out is no later than 12:00 PM. You will be staying at MCM Elegante the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. None
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at Albuquerque hotel. Participants take coach from Albuquerque to other sites; vehicles may remain at Albuquerque hotel during this time.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Albuquerque
  Nearest highway: I-25 and I-40
  Nearest airport:  Albuquerque International Sunport
  From End of Program
  Location: Albuquerque
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Albuquerque

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Transportation is Free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Call hotel upon arrival and picking up luggage from the courtesy phone at the baggage claim kiosk that dials directly to the hotel at 884-2511 to let them know that you need to be picked up for transport to the hotel.

 

Albuquerque

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Shuttle is Free
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Request shuttle transport back to airport at the front desk the day before your departure. If service is required prior to 7:00 AM, you may be requested to take a taxi. Hotel staff can phone for a taxi for you.

 
Driving Directions
  From Albuquerque International Airport The airport is located on the south end of Albuquerque. Exit the airport west onto Sunport Boulevard, which will take you to Interstate 25. Take the entry ramp onto Interstate 25 and travel north to Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north on the frontage road to Menaul Blvd. where you'll make a right turn. You'll see the hotel on the right-hand side of Menaul, just past the first intersection (at University.)
  From Interstate 25 Interstate 25 runs north and south through the middle of Albuquerque, where it crosses Interstate 40. From the north, take Exit 227 (Comanche, Candelaria, Menaul). Drive south along the frontage road until you reach Menaul (the third major intersection). Turn left on Menaul. Just after the first major intersection, with University Blvd., you'll see the hotel on the right. From the south, take Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north along the frontage road until you reach Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and, just after the first major intersection (University), you'll see the hotel on the right.
  From Interstate 40 Interstate 40 runs east and west through the middle of Albuquerque. Near the center of town, it crosses Interstate 25. From the east, take Exit 159-D (University Blvd.) to the first light, which is Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection. From the west, take Exit 159-A (University Blvd.). Continue east along the frontage road until you reach University; turn left on University. Take a right at the second light, on Menaul, and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection.
Elevation Note: We will be above 3,000' the entire trip. Moderate physical activity at all sites.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Orientation
(Sunday, September 14)
   
 Afternoon: Hotel check-in between 3:00 and 5:30 PM. Registration with the Road Scholar group leader in hotel lobby between 4:00 and 5:30 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00-7:00 PM
 Evening: Program orientation and introductions in hotel meeting room from 7:00-8:30 PM.
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: City Exploration/Sandia Tram
(Monday, September 15)

Note: Standing for up to 30 minutes while on the tram



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00-8:00 AM
 Morning: The morning will be devoted to classes about the geology in the Albuquerque area (mountains and surrounding high desert areas), how plant and animal life have developed and adapted within geological regions, and how human life, from early Native Americans to present day occupants in and around the city have adapted to the geology and climate.

Breaks every hour.

 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel
 Afternoon: Bus exploration of the city of Albuquerque and a ride on the Sandia Tram to the top of Sandia Peak, where we will be able to see for miles and miles.

Our view will show us the incredibly diverse variety of geology in the immediate area. We'll ascend 4,000 feet in about 15 minutes, gliding along the western face of the rugged granite-faced Sandia Mountains, eroded into spires, cliffs and pinnacles. The hardy pines, fir and spruce growing there are home to many different birds and other animals. Tram riders may see an eagle, a mule deer or perhaps a black bear as they look out the glass walls of the cable car into the deep canyons. From the top, we can see 11,000 square miles of the Land of Enchantment. To the west is a volcano field, to the north are other volcanic necks and plugs, to the northwest, Redondo Peak in the Jemez Mountains rises from a caldera known as Valle Grande, a volcanic crater reported to be the largest in the world. To the east lies the heavily wooded back side of the Sandias, and on the far horizon, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the capital city of Santa Fe. Farther to the south, the Estancia Valley and the Manzano Mountains frame the view. The summit is 10,378 feet in elevation and will give us an overview of an incredible amount of geology.

 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Albuquerque Departure/Petroglyph National Monument at Boca Negra/Valley of Fires/Arrival In Alamogordo
(Tuesday, September 16)

Note: Walking up to two miles over hilly uneven terrain



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Bus departs for Petroglyph National Monument at Boca Negra at 8:00 AM. Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources, including volcanos, archeological sites and an estimated 20,000 carved images. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses, others are more complex. These images are inseparable from the cultural landscape, the spirits of the people who created, and who appreciate them. Afterwards, bus continues to Valley of Fires Recreation Area with a stop in Socorro, NM to pick up boxed lunches at El Camino Restaurant. Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States. From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock, but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan Desert. Animals living there include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards. It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, buzzards, hawks, and gnat catchers.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch at Valley of Fires recreation area
 Afternoon: Bus travels from Valley of Fires to Alamogordo, New Mexico with several site visits in between. Bus will depart around 2:30 pm for Alamogordo. Check in at Best Western Desert Aire Hotel in Alamogordo.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: Optional video or evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: Best Western Desert Aire Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: White Sands National Monument
(Wednesday, September 17)

Note: Walking up to two miles over hilly uneven terrain



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel and check out
 Morning: Check out of the hotel and board bus by 8:30 AM. Pick up boxed lunches at Our Country Kitchen. You'll have a discussion of the area on borad the bus as it travels about the geologic history of the Alamogordo area. At 9:15 AM, you'll arrive at White Sands National Monument to explore the area. Lying at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert is a mountain-ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is White Sands, one of the world's great natural wonders. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The brilliant white dunes are ever-changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by the moving dunes. Several types of small animals have evolved with a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch at the monument
 Afternoon: Board the bus at 12:30 PM and travel on to Carlsbad. The bus will make several stops, and your study guide will point out various geological features of the landscape. Check in at hotel around 4:15 PM.
 Dinner: Bus departs to take you to dinner at 5:00 PM. Dinner at the No Whiner Diner. You'll be able to select from a large number of menu options. After dinner, there will be a geology lecture at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Stevens Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Carlsbad Caverns Visit
(Thursday, September 18)

Note: Walking up to two miles over hilly uneven terrain



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area
 Morning: Bus will depart for Carlsbad Caverns with arrival at 8:30 AM. There will be a brief orientation followed by a walk through the Caverns. The Caverns, as well as numerous other caves, exist within a Permian-age fossil reef. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures in the park, and today, the caverns, with their incredible formations of limestone, are highly accessible to tourists. Participants will walk through the Caverns with a Park Ranger.
 Lunch: Lunch Caverns cafeteria. You'll take the elevator up from the Big Room, have lunch, then go back down into the Caverns on the elevator to continue your visit.
 Afternoon: After the walk through the Caverns, the group will return to ground level via elevator, and will explore the lovely Visitors' Center. Bus returns to the hotel at 3:30 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner at Red Chimney Pit Barbecue
 Evening: Free evening
   
Accommodations: Best Western Stevens Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
(Friday, September 19)

Note: Walking up to two miles over hilly uneven terrain



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area from 7:00-8:00 AM. Box lunches will be picked up or delivered around 8:15 AM.
 Morning: The bus leaves for Guadalupe Mountains National Park at 8:30 AM. This park contains the southern end of the Guadalupe Mountains, an isolated range surrounded in all directions by desert. The mountains are part of an ancient fossilized reef which also includes the Carlsbad Caverns - a huge limestone formation. The high country has much exposed rock with fossils, and a climate typical of lands much further north, with pine, fir and aspen trees and animals such as elk, mountain lions, and even black bears. You'll enjoy some trail walks and a ranger program in and around the Visitors' Center.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch at the Park
 Afternoon: Continue exploring Guadalupe Mountains National Park. At 3:00 PM, bus will return to the hotel. Rest period at the hotel from 4:00-5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Board bus at 5:00 PM for a trip to the No Whiner Diner where you'll have dinner from 5:30-7:00 PM. This restaurant is fun and the food is good - it's one of Carlsbad residents' favorite restaurants. You'll have an extensive number of options from which to choose.
 Evening: Free evening for rest and relaxation
   
Accommodations: Best Western Stevens Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Carlsbad, NM to Albuquerque, NM/Golden Corral in Roswell, NM
(Saturday, September 20)

Note: Standing at the museum



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area from 7:00-8:00 AM and hotel check-out.

Be prepared to have your luggage at the bus no later than 8:15 AM for an 8:30 AM departure.

 Morning: After breakfast and hotel check-out, bus departs for Albuquerque at 8:30 AM.

With several stops on the way, you'll travel to Roswell and visit the Roswell Museum and Art Center from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM.

At 11:30, bus travels to lunch destination.

 Lunch: Lunch from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM at Roswell's Golden Corral
 Afternoon: Bus continues on to Albuquerque at 12:45 PM. Total travel time is approximately 4 hours.

There will be videos shown on the bus. Arrive at MCM Elegante Hotel at approximately 5:00 pm for check-in.

 Dinner: Dinner from 6:30-8:00 PM in the hotel dining room.

Closing comments from participants, study guide, and group leader end the evening.

   
Accommodations: MCM Elegante
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Buffet-style breakfast in hotel dining area and departure. Hotel check-out is no later than 12:00 pm.
(Sunday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet reakfast in the hotel dining room any time between 7:00-9:00 AM
 Morning: Departure after breakfast. Check-out time is 12:00 noon.

Hotel provides free shuttle service to Albuquerque Sunport and Amtrak Station with advance reservations.

   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Geology of Southern New Mexico


Author: Mack, Greg H.


Geomorphic Surfaces and Surficial Deposits in Southern New Mexico


Author: Ruhe, Robert V.


Albuquerque, A Guide to Its Geology and Culture


Author: Paul W. Bauer, Richard P. Lozinsky, Caroll J. Condie and L. Greer Price


Basin and Range


Author: John McPhee


Caprock Canyonlands: Journeys into the Heart of the Southern Plains (Twentieth Anniversary Edition)


Author: Flores, Dan L.; Dunlap, Thomas R.; Proulx, Annie


Geology


Author: Frank H. T. Rhodes


Geology - Teach Yourself


Author: David A. Rothery


New Mexico Geologic Highway Map


Author: New Mexico Geological Society


Roadside Geology of New Mexico


Author: Halka Chronic


Tent Rocks National Monument: Trail Map and Geology


Author: Kirt Kempter and Dick Huelster


The Field Guide to Geology


Author: David Lambert & the Diagram Group


The Mountains of New Mexico


Author: Robert Julyan




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