Calling Mother Earthship: New Mexico

by Beth Whitman (January 21st, 2009)

Earthship

Earthships in New Mexico

In December, Jon and I took off for a little belated birthday getaway weekend for me. We went to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs about an hour north of Santa Fe. We luxuriated in the mineral pools, got a massage and generally just unplugged. Having very little Internet access was a blessing so we also toodled around the area by car.

Not having been to Taos in about 10 years, I really wanted to stop in and visit this smaller version of Santa Fe.

Along the desolate highway from Ojo to Taos, I spotted a group of structures just off into the desert brush. Jon and I drove into this community to discover Earthships! Not exactly from outer space, but they might as well have been.

Earthship

These eco-friendly, sustainable homes are completely off the grid. Harnessing solar power and water catchments, they are fully livable units where people are able to grow their own food in greenhouses.

The foundations are made from tires. Glass bottles and cement are used to fill in the cracks – more for the purpose of reusing materials than for the fact that these items are perfect fillers.

Earthship tires

Old tires and bottles are reused to create the Earthship’s foundation

I really love New Mexico (I think it was a past life thing) and Jon and I fantasize about living off the grid. BUT I think this area might be a little too desolate for me. There is a community feel to it, for sure, because nobody else is around. But ya gotta really like your neighbors…

In addition to this Earthship community, there’s one other community in New Mexico and the talented folks who specialize in building these actually travel around the world to build homes.

To see these Earthships, stop in at the visitor’s center first to get a tour.

Driving directions:
* From the South: (Albuquerque) (175 miles). Interstate 25 north to Santa Fe, NM. US Highway 84/285 north (exit 282) to Espanola. State Highway 68 north to Taos.
* From the East: US Highway 287 west to Amarillo. Interstate 40 west to Albuquerque, NM. Interstate 25 north to Santa Fe, NM. US Highway 84/285 north to Espanola. State Highway 68 north to Taos.
* From the West: (Phoenix) (600 miles). Interstate 17 north to Interstate 40 east to Albuquerque. Interstate 25 north to Santa Fe, NM. US Highway 84/285 north to Espanola. State Highway 68 north to Taos.
* From the North: (Denver/Colorado Springs) (300/240 miles). Interstate 25 south. Take the US-64 W exit, exit number 446, towards CIMARRON/TAOS.
* Go through Taos North through El Prado. You will come to a major intersection with a Conoco gas station. You can go North on HWY 522, right to the Ski Valley or left on HWY 64 to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. GO LEFT ON HWY 64 to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Earthship World Headquarters is about 1.5 miles past the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on the right.

Travel Well!

Beth

Related links:
Photo of the Day: New Mexican Ristras
Santa Fe Foodie
Santa Fe Here I Come

Read my travel blog on at the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

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