Breathtaking natural beauty and enchanting sunsets. Iconic landscapes and rich Native American history. Welcome to New Mexico, also known as The Land of Enchantment. No state better captures the true essence of the American Southwest than New Mexico -- and the best way to experience this is to go off the beaten path in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Certain Ruidoso spots are obligatory visitor destinations, such as Ruidoso Downs and the Lincoln National Forest. However make sure not to miss out on these unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso:

Ziplining at 11,489 feet up!

Ziplining gets exponentially more fun as the elevation increases, it's a scientific fact*
* may not be "scientific" or a "fact" but it is the truth

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Like any good ski company, Ski Apache offers plenty of adrenaline-pumping outdoor summer activities as well. These include mountain biking, hiking, a 9-hole disc golf course, and of course the star of it all, their impressive ziplines.

Ziplining at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Ziplining at Ski Apache is an unforgettable experience. Located over 11,000 feet above sea level (3,500 metres), this three-part zipline tours covers nearly two miles in distance (over 2.7 kilometres), offers "the most spectacular view in Southern New Mexico" and hits speeds of up to 65 MPH! (105km/hr!) Now tell you me that you don't want to experience this ;)

Best of all, ziplining is open year-round!

Gallop over to the Museum of the Horse

I have an unhealthy fixation with strange, unique and one-of-a-kind museums. No museum is too small or too quirky. Few museums are worth a second visit but every museum is worth one.

Spiderman says everybody gets one -- first on Family Guy, and then two years later he said it for the first time in the comics
"Everybody gets one" according to Spiderman in Family Guy S06E03. Little known fact: Two years later Spiderman said those same words in the comicbook for the first time.

The Museum Of The Horse in Ruidoso changed its name to Hubbard's Museum of the American West but the museum is no less interesting, especially to anyone fascinated by horses or the history of the American West.

The Museum Of The Horse is one of the many unique and offbeat things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico
"Free Spirits at Noisy Waters" by Dave McGary is a collection of eight giant horse scupltures located on the grounds of the Museum of the American West. Photo via pamwood707

The Hubbards were a racing family, which explains why the museum is located next to the race track, Ruidoso Downs. It focuses on a wide variety of regional history, from wild horses and horse racing to Native Americans, pioneers and frontier life.

Although small, a lot is packed into the museum. Scultpures, horse carriages, weapons, art and a plethora of antiques, all of which have detailed descriptions. There are also seasonal exhibits as well.

  Entrance to the grounds is free, but the museum costs $7.

Don't forget to stop by Ruidoso Downs located next door!

Horse racing at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico
Ruidoso Downs

Try Something You've Never Done Before

When it comes to outdoor activities, that is where Ruidoso really shines, regardless of whether it is summer or winter.

Horseback riding around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path summer activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Summer Activities

During summer there is horseback riding, disc golf, hiking, mountain biking, cycling tours (on the road), fishing, ziplining, horse racing, camping and more. Pick one (or more) of these that you have never done before and give it a go. What better way to create some unforgettable memories in Ruidoso?

Snowboarding at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat winter activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Winter Activities

Cold weather means skiing, snowboarding, winter ziplining, tubing, sledding, and all sorts of other snow-filled activities. Decide on one that you've never done and make sure put it on your Ruidoso to-do list.

Go Mountain Biking Around Grindstone Lake

Ruidoso has nearly a dozen lakes, parks and recreation areas -- one for every 700 residents -- so outdoor activities abound. However the hiking trails around Grindstone Lake are some of the most relaxing, beautiful and enjoyable of all these activities.

Mountain biking around Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and offbeat outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

There are 18-miles of multiple use trails around Grindstone Lake and on into the neighboring Lincoln National Forest designed by the International Mountain Biking Association. In other words, sure they are suitable for hiking, but they were designed for mountain biking. ;)

Map of the 18 miles of hiking and biking trails around Grindstone Lake in Ruidoso, New Mexico
screenshot from discoverruidoso.com

Grindstone Lake also offers fishing and has a 27-hole disc golf course.

Disc golf at Grindstone Lake is one of the many unique and off the beaten path outdoor activities in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Unlesh the Beast at Pillow's Funtrackers

Go karts, bumper boats and miniature golf, oh my! Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique theme park that is fun for kids of all ages -- including our inner kid. (When was the last time you released that guy?) ;)

Open all year round, Pillow's Funtrackers attracts thrill-seeking guests from all of New Mexico, not just visitors to Ruidoso.

Pillow's Funtrackers is a unique and offbeat theme park in Ruidoso, New Mexico

All three go kart tracks, the bumper cars, miniature golf course and mountain maze are open year-round, however the bumper boats and gemstone panning are seasonal activities.

  Orlando's Most Offbeat Theme Parks

  Prices are suprisingly affordable as well. For $100 you can get 20 tickets, each good for one admission on any of the 20 rides.

Want More?     Offbeat Travel Guides   New Mexico Travel Guides   USA Travel Guides

  This article was sponsored in part by Discover Ruidoso, however it should go without saying that all experiences are my own opinion and were not influenced in any way.

  Know of any other unique and offbeat Ruidoso activities?

Published in United States

These days, more and more people are realizing that taking a bike tour is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with friends, and travel. If you've recently decided that you want to take a bike tour, now is the time to learn how you can make the event absolutely incredible. Use some or all of the information found in this quick reference guide to ensure that your bike tour will be absolutely amazing:

1. Get In Shape.

If you're serious about making your next bike tour a blast, make sure that you get in shape. Huffing and puffing your way through your bike travels can be embarrassing, and it will also prevent you from enjoying the scenery and the organic group conversations that tend to surface during such events. With all of this in mind, make sure that you are getting in all of the exercises necessary to ensure that your body can handle a long-distance ride.

Vietnamese man exercising in the street early one morning
Vietnamese man exercising in the street early one morning. One can only assume he was working those quads so eloquently to get ready for some intense hiking and mountain biking.

The best way to get in shape so you can enjoy your bike trip to the fullest is by doing a combination of cardio, weight-lifting, and stretching. You can typically complete each of these forms of exercise within the gym setting. You may even want to work with a personal trainer as you prepare for the bike travel event. Fitness experts will generally be able to devise a dynamic, customized exercise routine that enables you to build strength and increase cardiovascular endurance.

Bicycling Central Park in New York City
Bicycling around Central Park one day...

2. Find The Perfect Bike Rental Company.

In addition to getting in shape, make sure that you take time to find the perfect bike rental company. This strategy will empower you to ensure that you have the best bike equipment on the block. There are several attributes that you'll want to look for in a rental company. Some of them include:

  • positive online reviews
  • a great Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating
  • industry experience (preferably five years or longer)
  • perks and benefits (discounts, referral programs, etc.)

When you start looking for the ideal company, be sure to keep the professionals of Bike Rental Central Park in mind. These industry experts provide clients with equipment they can use for Central Park bike tours.

Bike tours are great, especially when in beautiful destinations like Hawaii
Bicycling in Hawaii

3. Book Your Flight And Hotel In Advance.

One final technique that can help you enjoy your bike trip to the fullest is booking your flight and hotel in advance. This strategy will empower you to attain competitive rates on your room and plane. Also consider the value of doing a group booking to attain even deeper discounts.

Don't Delay: Start Preparing For Your Bike Tour Today!

If you're ready to go on a bike tour, don't procrastinate. Instead, start preparing now to ensure that you can have an absolutely amazing time. Three preparation strategies that can help you make the most of your event include getting in shape, finding the right bike rental company, and booking your flight and hotel in advance. Implement these strategies now to ensure that your bike tour is incredible!

Published in Travel Inspiration

Have you ever thought something was a really good idea then half way through thought may be not!!

Today I had one of thoughs days except now sitting here nursing a sore behind and sun stroke it was a pretty amazing day even if it didn't feel it at the time!

Let me explain!

Saffy and I woke up at 5am and decided to leave the children fend for themselves and take a bike ride round the West Bank in here in Luxor.

As we mounted up on our trusty steeds the morning air still cool, we set off heading from our lovely little village and cycled our way to Luxor bridge, turning on to the main road and on ward for  the West Bank Monuments.

It really is amazing how much you miss when in a car. As we rode along we saw the farmers in their fields tending to their crops some hard at it while others sat in the shade drinking there morning tea and gossiping like old woman!!  Over in the distance we could see the morning balloon flights 8 in total taking off they looked so far away. When I pointed this out to Saffy he laughed and reminded me that was where we where going!! I should have realised then that this was going to feel like the impossible journey!

On we went deciding not to take the usual road to the West Bank but to go cross country to see more of the real life and real people.

We passed the children going to school laughing and playing around and the woman hanging out washing there seemed to be so much going on and it was only 6am!!

Saffy at the beginning to the Ancient Sites!

As we got closer to Malqata we cycled through the gates marking the beginning of the Ancient sites and to my surprise just past the gate over on the left hand side was a small temple.

As we approached the temple guardian came over and started given us information on the building.

Later I discovered that about 50% of this information was correct! but it all added to the magic of the day.

I have since discovered that this temple as dedicated to Isis and called Deir El Shlwit never missing an opportunity out came the camera!

The entrance to the Temple of Isis

A sample of the inscriptions

We said a fond fair well to our guide and mounted up and started to make our way towards Medinet Habu.

As we rode off Saffy asked me what the mound in the distance was and pointed towards Birket Habu or the canal of Amenhotep III, so instead of taking the obvious route to Medinet Habu we decided to investigate further!

Amenhotep III Canal

From this vantage point we really did have the best view in the house! It was truly amazing and for a second took my mind off the start of my sore parts!

We decided to ride the lengh of the canal at which point Saffy said that if he died now he would truly be proud of being Egyptian. Even with the bits of rubbish strewened all about it can not take the magic away from this place.

The sand was hard going and the fact that at one point we had to ride past a pack of wild dogs who where not best pleased to see us it truly was worth the effort.

As we rode out of the canal we past what I only know as the French house and on to Medinet Habu by now the heat is starting to come in to the sun and the plate of honey and yogurt seemed hours ago it was time to stop and have a coffee and some cake to recharge the batteries and I really need to get off and give my poor behind a break!!

On the path leading down next to Habu we managed to pick up a passenger

Green Bee Eater

This little fellow followed us all the way from the French house to our coffee shop out side the temple in Habu he must have smelt my breakfast!!

Temple Medinet Habu

Out Side Medinet Habu Temple

We sat out side my most favourite place in the whole of Egypt ( So Far!!) watching the world go by drinking coffee and eating cake! It is the simple things that make life worth while.

Stealing ourselves for the second leg of our journey we mounted up again and headed for the ticket office up until this point we had not been approached by any one but as soon as we arrived to buy our tickets the fun began!!

Purchasing our tickets I managed to fend off an old man wanting to buy me for 10 camels and rode off at speed it was only when we had made it half way up the rode I realize the mistake I had made as I couldn't breath from the effort!! Not wanting to loss face I peddled on while trying to wipe the sweat from my eyes and taking deep breaths plus trying to peddle good job i'm a woman other wise I may not of managed it! As we rounded the corner on the last push up to Deir El Madineh I had to stop much to Saffy's amazement! Ignoring his attempt at wit I pushed on until we reached our destination.

Saffy At Deir El Medineh

Deir El Medineh gives you such a different taste of the Ancient world it is like stepping back in time just a snippet of the real life from the past with out the grandeur but with no less charm.

We descended the steps in to the first of our tombs the tomb of Inherka dating back to the 20th dynasty this tomb known as the 'Vice Master Of The Double Land In The Place Of Truth'  decorated beautifully in some cases better than any of the tombs in the valley of the kings!

Scene from The Tomb Of Inherka from Wiki!

The paintings on the walls just take your breath away and have a look of only being done yesterday!

Scene From The Tomb Of Sennedjem From Wiki

Next we went in to see the Tomb of Sennedjem.

Sennedjem had the title, "Servant in the Place of Truth", and lived during the reigns of  Seti I and  Ramesses II of Egypt's  19th Dynasty. In here you can see scenes from the book of the dead and the book of gates all beautifully painted.

The one thing I will say about going in and out of tombs is if you are short you are at an advantage this I find certainly is the case for me! How ever on the flip side why oh why do they make the stairs so high!! going down is fine but coming back out feels like a work out on a stair master! and after the journey I had had so far it wasn't helping!

Back out in to the light of day we made our way across to the small temple at the back of the workers village. This really is a treat even though relatively new in ancient terms the scenes and hieroglyphics are amazing.

The temple is Ptolemic and dedicated to Hathor and Maat even though only small it really is worth the walk around.

The Entrance To The Temple

Just Some Of The Amazing Scenes

Once we had finished in the temple we decided to collect our bikes and walk from Deir El Medineh to the main road just in front of the Ramesseum this was one of my better ideas as now not only was my behind hurting to the point where I couldn't even lift my leg to get on the bike but my hands where killing me too!

The Back Of Deir El Medineh

Taking a deep breath and mounting up again we headed out for the last stop on our tour Carter house.

Biking past the temples and tombs made easier to see now most of the houses have gone from Gurna which in some ways is sad but also just as mind blowing as you really couldn't imagine before the magnitude of monuments and tombs hidden among the houses! Peddling on past the alabaster factories with the patrons out side trying to intise you in! Needless to say we managed to resist. I think one of the many highlights of the day happened as we approached the turning for Hatshepsut.

Saffy was stopped by a taxi driver and asked if we wanted a taxi. this was all done in English as the driver thought he was a tourist! even when he spoke back to him in Arabic he wouldn't believe he was an Egyptian. I said it must have been because no right minded Egyptian would be out on a bike in the heat of the day! At least now he has had a taste of what I have to go through most days!!

Carter house is situated just off the turning for the Valley Of The Kings with a lovely plush green lawn out side the house was wonderfully cool. If only the walls could talk what stories would they tell! It was incredible walking around the house of the man who brought us Tutankhamen! I was amazed by the dark room he had for developing his pictures. You could go and see his writing desk and some of the correspondences truly amazing.

Back out side I took a seat as I had to contemplate my next move. We had made it this far but could I make it back? My face started to tingle which could only mean one thing sun burn!

Saffy In Howard Carters House

Out Side Howard Carters House

Saffy Me And our Bikes!!!

As you can see a rather strained smile for the camera!! But in good old British fashion I rode on!

The first bit was easy as it was all down hill but then it really did go down hill as we started going up hill!!

In my defence I made it back to the Ramesseum before I started giving up! Saffy could see that if we tried to make it all the way home there was a possibility of death (mine not his!!) so we admitted defeat and called a taxi. Crushed by my own weakness I shed a tear then quickly got over it as Saffy promised an ice cream if I could make it as far as the Colossi of Memnon. So on we went the car was waiting for us when we limped in or should I say I limped in Saffy sickeningly looked like he could have done it all again!!

So as I climbed in to the back of my pickup/ taxi I waved good bye to my biking adventure and sat back to enjoy the delights of my pretend magnum!

The Road Home!!

So here I sit now typing this little adventure with my ice pack feeling proud of what I achieve not only have I got sun stroke but also the pride in biking 10 miles and seeing some of the beautifulest places on earth.

What are you going to do today???

Published in Egypt

Having spent the last 2 years working with no break, we decided it was high time for a bit of R'n'R! So we packed up a suit case and headed for Hurghada, a lovely town situated on the Red Sea just a 4-hour drive from Luxor.

You can fly there but I find it more fun to take a car as the roads along the way are something special :)

We left Luxor at sunrise bleary-eyed with two very excited children in tow! As we made our way out of Luxor we saw the hot air balloons taking off from their launch site on the West Bank. It is amazing how many balloons there are now...I remember the days when we only had one or two!

As we headed down towards Qena it amazed me how much the landscape changed from the stretches of Lush green running along the River Nile to the desert wastelands that we found ourselves heading towards.

Red Sea adventures in Luxor, Egypt
Mountains 10 miles outside of Luxor

We passed through the city of Qena, home to Dendara Temple and was stunded at the difference between Luxor and Qena.

Here the street seemed cleaner with roads just for the public cars. Once outside Qena we continued are journey on towards Hurghada.

Half way through our journey the landscape changed again with the mountains closing in around us the rock faces all jaggered with an almost menacing look about them it was like being in a different world completely with what I can only describe as desolate beauty.

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

The feeling as you travel through here is the sense that there is still so much to be discovered hidden in the mountainous rock that surrounds you as you drive through.

It amazed me to see the Bedouin people still living within these mountains people walking along the roads seemingly on the road to no ware! We passed a Bedouin woman carrying water on her head while leading her donkey, with her thick black clothing and a long head scarf made of the same material. I couldn't understand it as there I was sweating in a light cotton shirt and trousers in an air conditioned car, while outside it must have been 42°C and she was dressed like it was winter!! I guess there is method in this madness.

What was just as amazing about her was when the wind got up you could make out the amazing colours of another dress beneath the black very different in deed from the woman of Luxor.

As we came out of the desert we sighted our first glims of the beautiful Red Sea in Safaga we knew then we only had 45 minutes before we reached our destination!

As we entered in to Hurghada you can see all round the amazing hotel complexes lining the beaches, it was only then we realized we had no idea where are hotel was or how to get there!!

After asking 6 taxi drivers and made 20 wrong turns the pyramid entrance of our hotel came in to view and at last our holiday (even if only for 4 days!) could begin.

Are hotel was the Sonesta Pharaohs Hotel 5* All Inclusive and from the onset it looking impressive.

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
Reception area of our hotel

Once we checked in we made our way to our chalet and as we walked wondered why they had golf carts taking people around it was only once we found are chalet that we realised why!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
Ok I'm Lost!!

When we booked the hotel they describe them selves has having everything within walking distance which is true to a point. You have to not mind a 10 minute walk from the main building to your room bearing in mind that the main building houses all the restaurants and entertainment! The beach was another 5 minute walk from our room but if you where staying in the main building you would defiantly need the golf cart!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
The pool area

Not to be deflated as lets face it we are still on holiday we quickly changed and headed to the beach.

One of the many things I love about Egypt is the Red Sea it is stunning and you don't have to go on the trips to see the wild life, all you need is a good pair of goggles!

Unfortunately to get in the Sea you needed to walk down a pier so the children couldn't go in the water by themselves, but we didn't mind as the sea was amazing with roped off coral areas that if you had your google you could see the amazing aquatic life swimming about.

In all the years I have lived in Egypt I have never caught the sun so decided on a low factor as didn't see the point in anything higher!

Never ever EVER underestimate the power of the Egyptian sun yes you have guessed it I was just a little sun burnt after only 2 hours in the sun!! Be warned all you sun worshipers out there if you are intending to come and stay on the Red Sea make sure you pack SPF-50!!!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
Remember the SPF50 or you may look like this!!!!

Yes that is lotion to stop the burning!!

In the evening time we saw to my injuries!! and headed up to dinner. This was lovely plenty of choice for all. The house wine is not bad either and it is great that the children can go and help themselves. We didn't get to watch the show that night as after the travelling we decided on bed.

The next day we stayed half the day by the pool and the rest down on the beach. Now for an all inclusive hotel they sure do like to try and sell you something which started to get on my nerves.

There was no fresh juice unless you paid for it and in the afternoon went around with trays of ice cream for the children which when we said oh yes please ended up saying no thank you as it wasn't for free!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

The cleaning staff did an amazing job and left this on our bed which of course Saffy found wonderful! ;)

The worst came that night, it was advertised Mexcian night and the cocktail of the evening was mohito I love them so thought we would have one after dinner. The barman told me to sit down and he would bring the drinks over, on their arrival the drinks looked nothing like what I ordered plus he put down the bill!!! it was at this point i spat the dummy! and called for the manager.

Please if any hotel owners are reading this remember if you are going to advertise all inclusive make sure your hotel is all inclusive as for the rest of our stay I was so stressed out I didn't know what to ask for and what not to just in case in cost something!!

The animation team worked very hard and my two loved the Micheal Jackson night they put on I can't remember to much as was taking red wine for medicinal purposes !

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
My two before the show!

On the last day we spent it by the sea me covered from head to toe to keep the sun off! with camera at the ready below are just some of the amazing bits of wild life that we found on our trip.

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
Butterfly fish

Red Sea adventures in Egypt
This guy followed us around for the whole holiday!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

Until I went to Hurghada I never really appreciated the phrase swimming with the jellies! but these guys are every where it is a little disturbing at first as being taught from a young age that jelly fish sting I was amazed that these didn't I am sure they do have a sting but was touched by loads of them and came out fine!

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

The fish amazed me he/she was swimming close to surface of the water making it a great picture moment ! I have no idea what it is but it is beautiful.

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

We found lots of star fish to under the pier.

On our way home we came across a shopping mall with a proper supermarket!! I know amazing !! you have to live in Luxor to understand the importance of a real super market! lol

We stocked up on provisions and made our way home.

Even though our hotel choice was all wrong and they need to take it from a 5* to (at the most 4*) we had an amazing time in Hurghada and will be back again next time I going to go swimming with the dolphins!

It is so totally different from the hustle and bustle of Luxor all you have is the sea and sun you can go out if you wish or stay in your resort the choice is yours.

On our return journey home we watched the sun go down over the Theban Mountains making me appreciate how wonderful my home really is.

Red Sea adventures in Egypt

Published in Egypt

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