Internet helps planning trips

By Tom DiFrancesca

I hope that everyone had a “fantabulous” Memorial Day weekend.
I hear that it was a wet one in eastern New Mexico. Miss Susie Q and I hopped into the “Country Cadillac” (pickup truck) and headed to the western side of the state to do some exploring, so, unfortunately, we missed out on the highly welcomed showers. It was cool, clear and beautiful near the Arizona border.
Prior to leaving Clovis, I jumped over to the Mapquest Web site at and used the service to determine the best driving directions and to check on the mileage between each destination. I also used the Google search engine at to check out Web sites that had information about the locations we planned on visiting.
The first Web site was at, which is the homepage for the community of Silver City in Grant County. The Web site is laid out beautifully and provides all the information that anyone would need to learn about the town.
I used the “Dining and Lodging” link to find a place to stay, which ended up being out of town and farther north into the wilderness.
Miss Susie Q and I stayed at the Spirit Canyon Lodge in Lake Roberts. You can visit its Web site by going to — the lodge is very “homey” and sits right in the middle of what I think is the prettiest part of the entire state of New Mexico.
You can learn more about the Lake Roberts community by going to — there’s lots of information on the site, some very nice pictures also. By the way, the drive between Silver City and Lake Roberts — if you take the “scenic” route on Highway 15, is quite a doozy — plan on taking your time and making lots of stops at the available overlooks.
I got to speak with Frances Land, the owner of the Spirit Canyon Lodge and Cafe, and I asked her about the impact of the Internet on her business.
To say the least, she was enthusiastic about the Web. Frances told me that 85 percent of her business comes from the Internet. People from all over the world visit the lodge Web site every month and book reservations.
Ms. Land, a former college professor who retired just a few years ago, pulled up stakes from Chicago and headed west to start her own business. She says she spends maybe $700 a year for a Web site and Internet advertising and yet reaps tremendous exposure and is able to reach a worldwide market.
“A lot cheaper than print advertising and a lot more effective,” she said.
After leaving Lake Roberts, we drove farther north and “discovered” Whitewater Canyon at Glenwood.
Let’s just say, the Missus and I were impressed. We hiked along a trail that predominately is made up of catwalks that follow along the canyon wall. The main trail is about a mile in length (one way) and is one of the most beautiful paths I’ve ever been on. Susie Q and I both took lots of pictures and plan on going back to that location again some day.
You can learn more about the canyon by going to the Google Web site and typing in “Whitewater Canyon.”
You can also learn about the beautiful little community of Glenwood by going to — it’ll make you want to go visit the area in person.
Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance writer and a resident of Clovis. He can be reached at or