Tag Archives: NM

Brewery Reviews: The Wellhead & Franconia

While staying in Artesia, NM and escaping some wicked high winds we discovered a brewery. As some of our geology/science inclined folks know, an artesian well is a geologic formation that causes the well to have pressure of its own and water rises with out the need for pumping. Artesia New Mexico likely got its name from another type of well, the oil well. It’s a town based on petroleum extraction, so the towns only brewery has an oil theme. We had a decent lunch with some respectable freshly brewed beers.Sampler at the Wellhead

Sampler at the Wellhead

The crude oil stout was our favorite and is thus pictured in our growler below.  We’ve been disappointed that most breweries do not do growler fills, so we were stoked to finally get ours filled up.

The Wellhead

The Wellhead Brewery in Artesia, NM

The next brewery has a name as German as its brewmaster, Franconia, named after the region of Germany that the brewmaster hails from. Many German immigrants have settled in Texas, and it would not have good bbq or beer without their worthy contributions. Franconia was suggested to us as a tour while attending the Wimmer-Osborne wedding in McKinney Texas.

Franconia Brewmaster

the Brew Master for Franconia brewing

brewery tour Franconia brewing

Brew master standing next to the mash ton explaining the brew process.

The brew master Dennis Wehrmann studied beer and food science for seven years in Germany and is the 4th generation of a family of brewers. All the Franconia beers are done in the German tradition with only four ingredients, malts, hops, water, and yeast. It was remarkable how much flavor the beers we sampled have given that all the great taste comes only four ingredients.

Jay at Franconia Brewing

Jay enjoying the Wheat beer at Franconia

The wheat turned out to be everyone’s favorite with a huge flavor and smooth drinkability, the dunkel and lager were also good. But that wheat was in a league of its own.

The Saturday we toured the brewery turned out to be an event for a greyhound adoption league.

greyhounds at Brewery

Greyhounds at the Brewery

Even a dog track does not have as many greyhounds in one place!  They really were remarkably calm and quiet dogs.

Photo Review – New Mexico -> Texas

Gran Quivira Ruins

Gran Quivira Ruins north of Carrizozo, NM

lizard at Gran Quivira Ruins

Lizard blending in at Gran Quivira Ruins, NM

bird in flight at Gran Quivira Ruins

Bird in flight at Gran Quivira Ruins

malpais lava flow

Malpais lava flow at Valley of Fire Recreation Area near Carrizozo, NM

horses in New Mexico

Horses walking themselves home in southern New Mexico

bronze statue in Artesia

Bronze statue in Artesia NM

Brantley Lake State Park

view near the tent at Brantley Lake State Park near Carlsbad, NM


Dragonfly at Living Desert Museum in Carlsbad, NM

carlsbad living desert zoo

Carlsbad Living Desert Zoo & Garden

natural entrance Carlsbad Caverns

Natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

morning light Abilene State Park

morning light in Abilene State Park, TX

Abilene State Park

Abilene State Park, Texas

Some Recent MTB Action

Potter Creek

Potter Creek below Scotts Tank

I am sure you all have been wondering, when is Jay going to post more ride locations and more mountain biking? The answer is now. In the last week of travel I was fortunate enough to ride in two great areas.

White Mountains Trail System, Pinetop, Arizona

The first was on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, very near Pine Top AZ in the scenic White Mountains. I was able to start riding in the morning from our camp site off of the 187 Forest Service Road near Trailhead #1.  Here I picked up the  Blue Ridge Trail and immediately started climbing.  It’s a tough climb due to the elevation but its not horrifically steep, loose or rocky. The trail then proceeds to roll up and down and then head down to the connector for Scott Reservoir.

Scotts Tank

Scotts Tank

The descent to the connector for the reservoir is very nice. Some of it is smooth, fast and flowing and other parts are somewhat rocky, with a few large rock gardens. This is really the highlight of the ride. I was certainly grinning. After picking up the connector I followed the “Ice Cave Trail”. The ice cave is not actually icy at all, its really a lava tube.

Ice Cave (lave tube)

The lava tube shot close up from inside the gate

The trail to the cave was a little bit more technical. From the cave trail I ended up on another trail that led out to a trailhead by the Blue Ridge High School.  From here I wasn’t really certain about where to go to make a loop or pick up a different set of trails back to trailhead #1, so I just rode back the same way. It was on the way back that I finally spotted the cave.

View of white sands from Rim Trail

View of White Sands from Rim Trail

Rim Trail, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Cloudcroft, New Mexico is a well kept secret.  A small mountain town in the heart of the Lincoln National Forest with lots to offer. Previously on our trip we drove over the pass and went through Cloudcroft on the way to Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument. The whole drive I was exclaiming, “We have to come back so I can ride that!” every time the car rounded a corner. Did it live up to this?  I say, YES.

We arrived in Cloudcroft late in the afternoon and we were checking out the town, when Sharon spotted a lady loading a bike back into her car who had clearly just finished up a ride. We began chatting, and discovered that she had just pre ridden the race course in Cloudcroft, but recommended a different trail nearby. Her name was Liz and she filled us in on the Rim Trail. Soon we were heading down the Sunspot Scenic Byway in search of a campsite near the Rim Trail trailhead. We made camp on the 64B road just past the trailhead at a very nice spot amongst the Aspen and Spruce trees.

Our camp site in Cloudcroft, NM near the Sunspot scenic byway

Camp near Sunspot scenic byway

The next morning, after having breakfast and breaking down camp we hit the trail. The Rim Trail offered up outstanding scenery and views as it snaked its way up and down along the ridge line. Some of it was rocky and root covered and some of it was smooth with rolling grade dips that made for big air when heading down. The views of the White Sands National Monument in the valley below were great. It was also nice that the aspen trees were just starting to get little green leafs in most places. Much to my surprise, I didn’t see another soul on my ride.  The rim trail alone is probably worth the trip up the mountain pass to Cloudcroft. I hope to return soon to tackle some of the dozens of other trails in the area.

Photo Review: Arizona -> New Mexico

The drive through central Arizona and central New Mexico is remarkably scenic.  We have taken dozens of pictures along the road and I want to share a few of the best with you here:

beeline highway

View from the car, Beeline Highway

Sitgreaves National Forest

Morning light in Sitgreaves National Forest near Pinetop

Highway 60 into New Mexico, mountains drop off into ranch lands as you near the Continental Divide

Still investigating what exactly these are...

view from Highway 60 near Mountainair NM

View from Highway 60 near Mountainair NM ... major train line cuts through central NM

scenery in Mountainair NM

A mix of cactus and mountain views in Mountainair NM

Photo Review: Camping in New Mexico

After leaving McKinney Texas last Sunday, Jay and I headed into New Mexico and spent two nights camping in New Mexico State Parks, Brantley Lake and Leasburg Dam.  The weather was warm and the camping was excellent.  Here’s a sampling of the views from our campsites.

Brantley Lake Sunset

leasburg dam state park