With 30 carefully selected scenic drives, this book offers myriad ways to explore the Land of Enchantment. Pass through the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, stop in the ghost town of Madrid, or gaze at the immense caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Great descriptions and photos, crude maps Jul 28, 2006 (14 of 15 found this helpful)
Laurence Parent is a well-known photographer--his photos illustrating this book are superb (wish there were more) and his descriptions of these drives in New Mexico are great...the maps are crude but serviceable. They are better than the very rough ones in his Hiking New Mexico, though...I've driven almost all the routes described and got my money's worth many times over--the book is well-used and always with me on my New Mexico trips.
The description above is of the second edition, whereas I read the first edition. Even though the title and cover are different, I think we're talking about the same book. Judging by the descriptions, it hasn't changed much.
In terms of readability, it's like a typical travel guide. You're supposed to browse it, not read it straight through the way I did. It's reasonably well-written but unavoidably full of less-than-scintillating driving directions.
To me the ideal is one of the Eyewitness Travel Guides. It's heavy on colorful graphics and bite-size bits of information, which makes it something like USA Today or People magazine. I probably could read one of those straight through without get bored. If New Mexico Scenic Drives had been produced recently rather than in 1994, the publisher could've done it in that style.
That said, this book would be highly useful on a New Mexico driving tour, and I'd definitely take it along. Although I've been to New Mexico and visited Gallup, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos...all 19 Pueblo tribes...and Chaco Canyon, there's still a lot to see. I could see going on, say, a honeymoon and spending 2-3 weeks enjoying these leisurely drives.
Of course, I could also see going to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, the South Seas, or somewhere else. I'm not too particular. But it'll be a long time before I have to worry about where to go on a honeymoon. <g>
Anyway, give New Mexico Scenic Drives a 5.0 for readability and a 9.0 for usability. On the combined readability/usability scale, it gets a 7.0. For a travel guide, that's not bad.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.
Below: The enhanced cover of the second edition.