Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Truth or Consequences!

If you're like me, you probably thought that Truth or Consequences, New Mexico was named by some intrepid band of pioneers facing the mountains heading west who decided it was time to face the truth of their arduous journey or face the consequences. Not so, my friend, not so. The original name of the town was Hot Springs and the name was changed to Truth or Consequences in 1950 as answer to a challenge from Ralph Edwards, host of the popular television show Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards offered to host his show from the first town that would change its name and Hot Springs rose to the challenge, voting in favor of the name in a public referendum 1294 to 258. A bond was formed between the town and Ralph Edwards and he returned every year for the town fiesta for the rest of his life. There's even a nice little park at the end of Main Street named Ralph Edwards Park. Truth or Consequences is a cool little laid-back town with a Main Street full of shops and galleries and a plethora of hot springs places where you can take a nice soak in hot and natural mineral water. The people are super friendly and the Astrals really dig it here.

Here's a small slice of Main Street.

There's lots of artists here and where there are artists,
there are sure to be murals.

The Rio Grande river curves through the end of town. Man,
that river gets around.

The first hot spring spa we visited was the Blackstone Hotsprings
located on Austin Street. This spa has lodging and a real nice wet room 
as well as some additional rooms with antique tubs. We went there because, 
after my son posted our blog address on reddit, I got a 
message from a reddit user (Chantal) inviting us
to stop in for a soak and some local tourist tips. 

Talk about rustic charm, I bet these soda crates were around when
good 'ol Ralph Edwards first stopped by.

Here's Chantal, awesome redditor and a very sweet young woman. 
We gave her a paltry return on her hospitality 
by treating her to the nickel tour of the Eurovan.

She even drew us a little sketch featuring Otis Reddit Rabbit and 
the reddit alien. This was so nice it brought tears to our eyes. Thanks Chantal!

The wet room at Blackstone had a huge pool of hot spring water,
a wet sauna, and a cold shower. This pose demanded by modesty.

Here's Astral Wendy poking her head around the shower. The water cure
is clearly having a salubrious effect.

Not sure what this building is, but's it's not atypical of the Southwest. Dig the colors.

We stopped in a used books store named Xochi's and it was run by a guy 
originally from the Catskills. They had a pretty sweet collection of antique
books but we just snagged a couple of paperbacks.

If you would like a guitar made out of US coins, I know where you can find one.

We stopped in a hippie boutique to stock up on some tie-dye for Coachella. 
Astral Wendy scored a cool dress which shall not be revealed 
until she is ready to twirl.

For lunch, based on Chantal's recommendation,
we stopped at the Happy Belly Deli,
which is run by a couple originally from Michigan. 
Great sandwiches!
I had a nice tuna on a croissant but Astral Wendy scored the homerun with theChilli Philli, a philly-style cheesesteak with green New Mexican chile peppers.
It totally rocked! I know 'cause I had to steal some.Take that South Street!

Ralph Edwards Park features a little fishing pond and,
curiously enough, free public WiFi.

Not sure what's going on with this cactus. I'm no botanist but
this doesn't look healthy despite the beauty of the colors.

There's a small outcropping of rocks in the park and apparently the Apaches
used to camp nearby while they were availing themselves of the healing
powers of the hot spring. Here's the beautiful Astral Wendy soaking up
some healing rays of the sun.

Sure is pretty here.

Truth or Consequences is justifiably proud of its water tower.
It's the largest one around. And, man, water really matters here.

The Geronimo Springs Museum is a definite must-see.

Here's a nice sample of some of New Mexico's mineral 

And there's only one meadow's way to go
And you say "Geronimo"
And there's only one meadow's way to go
And you say "Geronimo"*

You just know that was on the iPod on the way
into town. The context is a little weird but the
connection is solid. I didn't know that much about
Geronimo but it appears he was a pretty tough warrior.
After he surrendered/was captured I guess he was
somewhat pacified because there was a photograph of
him riding a horse in the 1905 Inaugural Parade in
Washington DC. I wonder what he was thinking then.

This museum had an extensive collection of Native American
pottery and arrowheads. They had more arrowheads than I've
ever seen in one place.

They also had a miner's cabin that was taken apart piece by piece
up in the mountain north of here and re-assembled at the museum.
This guy looks a little parched. I think he needs another beer.

Anyone for a sarsaparilla?

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

If there are rabbits involved, you just know Astral Wendy is
ready for posing.

We dug the Hot Springs experience so much, we headed
back for more. The Riverbend Hot Springs is right on the 
Rio Grande river and features open air soaking pools.

We booked this private bath for an hour so we could
soak au naturale.

The hot spring water pours out of this small waterfall. Ya let
it splash on your head and it's heaven.

Back to Main Street relaxed to rubber and time for lunch.

We grabbed some sandwiches at the Little Sprout,
a combination market and eatery. (Another of Chantal's
recommendations.)  I had a turkey and green chilli
pannini while Astral Wendy went for the classic
Ham and Cheese. Nice.

Spring is in the air here and we're hoping to see the desert bloom
somewhere along the way.

We're leaving T or C (see, I said that just like a local) day after tomorrow and heading south down towards Deming NM and then a spot of camping at City of Rocks State Park before crossing into Arizona, heading inevitably towards Southern California. May not be a blog post for 4 or 5 days. Or there maybe. Who knows? The plan is to have no plan. Ha!

*Fair Play, Van Morrison


  1. LOVE New Mexico! Actually my favorite place is in Northern New Mexico, north of Taos, in the El Rita/ Latir Wilderness near the Colorado border about 7000 feet up. The air is like the finest champagne.

  2. @sandra: New Mexico is beautiful and the people are incredible! The sunsets are indescribably lovely and the landscapes make your jaw drop. Except for the dust, I'd call it heaven.

  3. I loved watching Truth or Consequences on TV when I was a kid, but by then it was Bob Barker who was the host. Neat story about the origin of the town's name!

  4. Costa Rica has hot springs....move there and let us visit!

  5. that open air hot spring was so cool. reminded me of Greece and I've never ever been there.

  6. @erica: we shall take the matter under advisement.

    @colin: it was delightful. perhaps I shall construct an ode.

  7. Hope you stop at White Sands. It is beautiful, especially at sunset!

  8. @Snonymous: It's on the rough plan but may have to wait for the loop back.

  9. Great blog and great photos! It was nice meeting you all and we're glad you enjoyed your soak. Come see us again, sometime!

  10. Some more wonderful photos!! Thank you so much for the 'travel' among these beautiful places...

  11. @Riverbend: Thanks. We sure enjoyed our soak!

    @Danielle: Glad to have you along for the ride!

  12. Geronimo looks really good for his age.

  13. I don't know about the wax, but Stacy sez it's probably the Botox.

  14. I'm so glad you guys enjoyed Truth or Consequences. It's an awesome little town and you two definitely deserved some awesome hot spring relaxation :) If you're ever in town again, stop by the Blackstone and say hi!

    Safe travels, always.

  15. @Chantal: Thanks. Meeting you and seeing T or C is a cherished memory for us. If you're ever traveling east, give us a ping. Cheers.

  16. Calligrapher Painter Designer Emad AL-Sharqawi