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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Antonito, CO to Chama, NM Scenic Route

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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 10/17/21 07:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the few times that it was just the sign. There’s usually a tourist or two standing next to it. [emoticon]

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And welcome to Antonito, CO (pop. 647) where……..

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While it’s a small, quiet town, there’s actually plenty to do in Antonito if you like old trains. The town is at one end of the nation’s highest and longest narrow-gauge railroads, the Cumbres and Toltec. We’ve taken the train ride in the past, and it’s worth the trip. This time we chose to drive the scenic route from Antonito to Chama, NM.

I think most of the pictures are self-explanatory, so I’ll keep the narrative to a minimum.

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Are you done yet?!?! Can we go now?!?!

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Well OK then, let’s hit the road……

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We made it to Chama and found a place to spend the night. The girls insisted I unload them first.

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Selina keeping an eye on our neighbor’s dog, and our neighbor’s dog keeping an eye on Selina.

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This was a private park, as most of the forest service campgrounds had already closed for the season and there wasn’t a convenient BLM nearby. We prefer the FS and BLM campgrounds, but I was kinda glad we stayed here because I got to meet this guy.

I’ve always liked these, and he was very proud of it. He told me that the basic platform was originally intended for the USPS, but due to its Cadillac front-wheel drive and poor weight distribution, it failed the hill climbing tests. Rather than write off all the R&D they invested, they developed the only purpose-built motor home from a US automobile manufacturer.

He told me he drives it a lot, and had put over 20K miles on it this year alone. His engine had been upgraded to something over 500 CID, and the transaxle upgraded with a limited-slip differential. He said it performed much better on unpaved hill roads, but but still had its limits. The tires and wheels had been changed to 16” from the original 16.5’s. Having owned an old truck from that era myself, I know 16.5’s are really hard to find nowadays (if not impossible).

He didn’t mention the headlights, but I don’t think those are original either! [emoticon]

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[emoticon][emoticon]

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 10/17/21 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like a great drive. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.


Cal


Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 10/17/21 10:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing NRA. I see Cumbres Pass is as beautiful as ever.
One of my favorite snowmobiling spots is up on Cumbres. Miss that area.


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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 10/17/21 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of my relatives had one of those GMCs years ago. He bought it new though.

Nice pictures.


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BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 10/17/21 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rode the train Antonito to Chama and the bus back. Beautiful trip both ways. Over ten years ago so time to do it again.

Desert Captain

Payson

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Posted: 10/17/21 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of folks pass through that area without any clue what a spectacular adventure the train ride offers. We rode my Indian from our site in Pagosa Springs to Chama, about an hour, then took the motor coach up to Antonito for the train ride back to Chama.

Make your reservations as early as possible and I suggest opting for the middle priced ticket. The low end ticket is mostly a cattle car experience and the upper end is {IMHO} over priced. Know that it is a full day event but the vintage railroad experience combined with the views make for one phenomenal adventure.

Here is a shot from our adventure:

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[emoticon]





JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/18/21 06:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That drive on the highway 17 is one of or our favorites. The trip by rail is even more spectacular. We've seen mountain goats and sheep...elk by the dozens and even a mountain lion running up a ravine as the train went over a high trestle.
This time of year sometimes 17 in places is full of cattle being trailed down out of the mountains to lower pastures. Oh yeah and if you come up on a loaded semi trailer full of cattle ...don't tail gate.

Great pictures and can't wait to get back up to one of our favorite mountain areas in southern CO and northern NM.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

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phleeb

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Posted: 10/18/21 08:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We went that way at probably the same time you did. Wonderful fall color!

By chance were you the truck camper we saw on La Manga Pass?

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 10/18/21 09:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Could very well have been. That is the route we took from Antonito to Chama.

I tried to flash my lights at every truck camper I saw coming at us, but a few snuck up on me.

Sure was a nice time to be in that part of the country. The weather was beautiful most of the time.

I’ve got a few more segments from that trip I’m going to post some pictures from when I have a chance.. White Sands NP, Trinity Site, Los Alamos, a few others.

We had such a great time, I can’t wait to get out again. I’d also like to encourage other TC members to consider sharing pictures from their trips with the group. We NEED to live vicariously through others!

I know a lot of people find posting photos here difficult, but if you’ll use the Photo posting Is Great website, that’s about as easy as it’s going to get. If I can post a topic like this using my phone, which I did, it can be done.

It would be great to see the Truck Camper forum be the place for all the best trip reports again. [emoticon]

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TxGearhead

Texas

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Posted: 10/27/21 08:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's great country. I have elk hunted around there. We used to take family vacations there as well. Used to eat at Vera's Mexican cafe on the highway. She moved into a new building in Chama and then seemed to disappear. We are overdue to visit.


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