New Mexico

I could move to New Mexico. It has scuba diving! It has skiing! Really. Medical marijuana is legal, although decriminalisation of recreational use recently failed to get approved by the New Mexico Legislature despite widespread support, but you can always nip over to Colorado to stock up.

Shiprock NM Although the Pilgrim Fathers did not arrive in Plymouth until 1620, the Spanish had a settlement in Santa Fe by 1608, and Spanish settlements had been established as early as the mid 16th Century. Indeed the oldest building in the USA is in wonderful Santa Fe - which was on the original Route 66 alignment before the road was re-routed via Albuquerque in 1937. However New Mexico is also the penultimate of the lower forty-eight states to be incorporate into the USA (Arizona was admitted a month later), which happened in 1912. It also has some of the most well established communities of native Americans, from the Navajo, Apache, and Ute nations.

Route 66

Tucumcari

Paradise Motel Tucumcari New Mexico

The arrival of Interstate 40 hit the towns along Route 66 through New Mexico hard, and nowhere harder than the wonderfully-named Tucumcari, named after a nearby peak. It used to be a go-to resort and now has some wonderful, derelict Route 66 buildings. Blue Swallow Motel Tucumcari  NM It also has some businesses that still survive despite the bypass, not least the Blue Swallow motel with its famous neon signage. The town has been the location for a number of scenes in TV programs and films, notably Rawhide, For a Few Dollars More and Two-Lane Blacktop.

Santa Rosa

Restaurant R66 Santa Rosa NM Santa Rosa features a Blue Hole, popular with scuba divers. Blue Hole Road also happens to be part of the original Route 66, before the 1937 alignment. There are various sections of the original Route 66 around, some of which would require an off-road vehicle to negotiate and some of which you can't drive at all as they have been absorbed into the local airport.

Albuquerque

Bar Route 66 Diner Albuquerque NM I love Albuquerque. As well as being one of the best cities for preserved Route 66 buildings, it is a lively town in the middle of a stark beautiful countryside. Interestingly enough, there is a cable car from the outskirts of the city that take you to a ski resort. Swiss Winter Sports may have to open a New Mexico chapter.

Skiing Taos

Taos is not a big resort, but it has a big reputation for some serious steeps and plenty of off-piste. As recently as last year you needed to walk up from the lifts to access this stuff, and this probably contributed to the mystique of the resort. However as of this season, there is a lift that gets you there. Some people object and feel it reduces the mystical quality of skiing in this highly other-worldly corner of the planet. The Taos Messa is extra-ordinary and there is a spiritual sensibility that pervades it.