The spaceport isn’t quite ready yet and commercial flights are still ___ months/years away, but that’s not stopping New Mexico from using Spaceport America to promote tourism — with feet firmly planted on the ground:
The Spaceport America Preview Tour leads visitors through the history and evolution of transportation and trade in the American continent, from the Spanish and Native American pioneers of the past to the rail, air and space pioneers of the future. Touring around the region and ending up at Spaceport America, the tour gives guests a taste of New Mexicoâ€™s scenic beauty and rugged ranges.
Starting with a look into the regionâ€™s history, visitors travel from Truth or Consequences past the Elephant Butte Dam, built in 1916 to control the then-wild Rio Grande River. The route then coincides with the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro trail â€“ the Spanish â€˜Royal Roadâ€™ â€“ which connected the region to Mexico City during much of the colonial period. From 1598 to 1680, Spanish Conquistadores used this trail along with Native Americans and later in the 1800s, the first US explorers and militias used the same passageway to navigate the southwest. The route served as one of the central corridors for US-Mexican trade after the 1820s.
Tour guests will learn fascinating stories about some of areaâ€™s more colourful characters like Spanish explorer Don Juan de OÃ±ate, American frontiersman Kit Carson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Billy The Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett, all of whom are linked to the El Camino Real Trail. They will also pass near media mogul Ted Turnerâ€™s vast and historic Armendaris Ranch, which was established in 1819.
Following passage through the ghost town of Engle, guests will embark on the Jornada del Muerto or the â€˜Journey of the Deadmanâ€™ on their way to the 18,000-acre site of Spaceport America. The tour will venture inside the spaceport perimeter where guests will witness history in the making: the future home of the personal and commercial spaceflight industry.
Spaceport America Preview Tour
Tour Length: 3-4 hours
Cost: $59 — two or more participants (introductory rate); $99 (standard rate); $30 supplemental fee for single registrants
Reservations: Visit Follow the Sun Tours, www.ftstours.com; or Spaceport America www.spaceportamerica.com