Our New Mexico Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 1582 miles, and drove for 25 hours and 43 minutes during our week and a half in New Mexico.


Due to a rapidly approaching cold front while in Colorado, on December 20, 2017 we were forced to embark on an unplanned drive though New Mexico while enroute to warmer weather in El Paso, TX. Once the cold front passed, we did another unplanned drive across Southern New Mexico to explore our 25th state; Arizona, and then officially entered New Mexico, our 26th state! There are two maps of New Mexico, because we actually drove through the state twice!

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in New Mexico over the past week.

Famous Person: Diane Granito; founder of Heart Gallery of America

Famous Food: Blue Corn Pancakes

Roadside Attraction: Tumbleweed Snowman

State Capitol/Museum: Santa Fe

National Park: Chaco Culture National Park, White Sands National Monument

Historic Location: San Miguel Chapel, Oldest Church in the US

Can't miss attraction: The International UFO Museum and Research Center

Made in the USA tour: Heart of the Desert Pistachio Farm & Winery

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in New Mexico.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $259.00

$ 1.97 gal. in Albuquerque, NM was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.55 gal. in Farmington, NM was highest price paid.


We burned a lot of gas in New Mexico because we drove through it twice!

Groceries: $184.00

Walmart $118.00

Costco $66.00


We bought a lot of food for some unknown reason!

Dining out $157.00

Starbucks $6.00 (Tea x3 in exchange for free WIFI)

Monroe's $34.00 (The best Mexican food ever)

Cecilia’s Café $17.00 (Disgusting blue corn pancakes)

Love Yourself Café $25.00 (Average vegetarian breakfast)

Costco Café $8.00 (3 slices of pizza on the go)

Costco Café $6.00 (3 slices of pizza on the go)

Chili’s $30.00 (2 huge veggie fajitas)

Golden Corral $19.00 (Nasty food, but we were starving)

Pistachio Farm $12.00 (Pistachio nuts and gelato)


We ate out way too much in New Mexico.

Entertainment: $10.00

Redbox $10.00 (Movies x5)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $5.00

Parking $5.00


Of course, we did great in this category

New Mexico Expenses Grand Total: $615.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is New Mexico Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 3

“Gas and oil production, tourism and government jobs, are pillars of the New Mexico economy. This is not very diversified!”

Lori: 4

“With an average median household income of $44,400, New Mexico ranks 46th in the nation. OUCH! This is not surprising! We saw a lot of poverty all throughout the state.”

Economy score: 3.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 9

“With a 4.90% income tax, 7.35% sales tax after local surcharges, and the 12th lowest property tax in the nation, New Mexico fares better than others when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam his due!

Lori: 8

When comparing New Mexico against the national average, the cost of a gallon of gas was 10% cheaper, the cost of an apartment was 33% cheaper, and cost of food on par! Very Nice!

Cost of living score: 8.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 3

“New Mexico has a high desert climate with warm days and cold nights! Drought, fire and flooding with the occasional tornado sprinkled in are the primary natural disasters plaguing the New Mexicans.”

Lori: 3

“Drunk driving is a huge problem in New Mexico! We drove through dozens of sobriety check points, and countless parking lots displaying totaled cars that were involved in drunk driving accidents. If all that wasn’t scary enough the violent crime rate in New Mexico is double the national average”

Quality of life score: 3


Nate: 5

“New Mexico ranks 6th in the nation for solar energy, and generates 11% of their energy from wind turbines! I drove through New Mexico twice and did not see any wind turbines or solar panels. I wonder where New Mexico is hiding their renewable energy?”

Lori: 5

“New Mexicans like to go out to eat, and enjoy outdoor activities such as stargazing, sand sledding and snow shovel racing. They love to be rained on because is happen so infrequently in the state.

Culture Score: 5


Nate: 2

“If you don’t live near the major cities of Las Cruces, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque, you will have a very long drive to access goods and services. For example, we had to tow Rosie 120 miles to get to a Dodge Dealership”

Lori: 3

“The state clearly had a poverty epidemic, and you could actually sense the New Mexicans sadness and despair. The result of the economic depression was unsafe neighborhoods, rundown towns, and businesses which have long since closed up shop”

Environment Score: 2.5

The verdict is in:

The final score for New Mexico was 4.5, and it will NOT be our new home state! Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Colorado 9.2

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Arizona 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

California 5.9

Nevada 5.8

Nebraska 5.7

Utah 5.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

New Mexico 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9