This week we continue our Road Trippin’ Across the USA! series with a tour through the Southwest. Our Southwest region includes Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Although a variety of agricultural products are raised in this area, it is most known for its beef cattle and cotton.
Texas raises more sheep, cotton and cabbage than any other state. Yuma, Arizona, is known as the winter lettuce capital of the world, but beef cattle and dairy goods are Arizona’s most valuable farm products. Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in rye production, and second for canola production and beef cows. New Mexico has some of the largest dairy herds in the nation and ranks in the top three pecan-producing states.
The first stop on our tour of the Southwest is in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. In the small community in Irving, Texas, you will find The Mustangs of Las Colinas. The nine realistic-looking bronze statues of wild mustangs galloping across a granite stream are visited by tourists from around the world. This larger-than-life work of art is a great reason to stop and walk around for a while.
If you prefer live horses, take a short trip over to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. Organized rodeos sprang from the friendly competitions among cowboys during free time on the long cattle drives from the range to the railroad. You can join hundreds of fans in the arena to watch saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
On the way from Dallas toward New Mexico, be sure to stop at the Cadillac Ranch. This is a Stonehenge-like collection of old cars out in the middle of nowhere. Not only are these cars arranged in interesting positions, but there are cans of spray paint available for you to add your own decorative touch to the display.
If you like offbeat destinations, try the UFO-themed city of Roswell, New Mexico. They have embraced their UFO reputation and have everything from a UFO Museum to a flying saucer-shaped McDonalds. Nothing is close together in the Southwest, so you will have to plan this detour ahead of time.
In northwest New Mexico you will find the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. There you can explore the remains of the ceremonial structures and living quarters of the ancient dwellers of Chaco Canyon. Kids love exploring the trails and cliff dwellings.
(Photos, from top: (1) The Saguaro cactus can be found all across the Southwest. (2) The cliff dwellings in the Chaco Canyon area are fascinating to explore. (3) The Cadillac Ranch on I-40 outside of Amarillo is an interesting stop. (4) The twists and turns of the Grand Canyon seem to go on forever.)
Let’s head to Tucson, Arizona, to the Pima Air and Space Museum. This museum houses over 350 historical aircraft, including a Wright Flyer, a B-24 Liberator, a 787 Dreamliner, and a B-36 Peacemaker. From the museum, you can take a bus tour through the largest airplane boneyard in the world.
Just down the road is the Saguaro National Park. The Saguaro Cactus Bloom is the Arizona State Flower, and there are plenty to be seen in this park. This is a relaxing, peaceful stop on our journey through the Southwest.
Our last stop is the Grand Canyon. It is hard to comprehend the vastness of this natural wonder until you see it in person. The colors of the canyon change as the sun moves across the sky, and the twists and turns of the canyon walls seem to go on forever. It is definitely worth the trip to see.
There is much more to do and see in the Southwest. You can watch our Road Trippin’ Across the USA! – The Southwest! Video on the Dade County 4-H Facebook page or on our Dade County GA 4-H YouTube channel. A new video is posted each Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern.