I've long known that most if not all of the U.S. outside the Four Corners and Texas Panhandle regions have little to no idea about what's really out here in New Mexico.
In the past I have been asked if there are still Native American tribes along the rivers and if we still ride stagecoaches.
Though one can understand considering our own diverse history alone is enough to confuse a lot of those who call this state home.
One has but to open a history book and you'll find a reference to New Mexico. In fact, one could spend hours Googling interesting historical data about New Mexico.
Take the following topics for example: Billy the Kid, The Trinity Site, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, The Roswell Incident, Buddy Holly and, one of my personal favorites, the mysterious disappearance of the Anasazi.
There is a wealth of history beyond those topics, not to mention numerous attractions such as history, art and dinosaur museums, Pow Wow's, national and state parks and the food. Take it from me, anyone that has been to Virginia or Oregon knows that when you order chile rellenos, your in for quite a surprise.
Which brings me back to the topic at hand. Many are ill informed about New Mexico which in effect has led to misconceptions about our state's history, residents and caused us to be overlooked by tourists.
Which is an issue I'm proud to say is being addressed by the state's Tourism Department. They have launched a new tourism campaign aimed at informing people about New Mexico and encouraging them to make us a destination, rather than just a pit stop along the way.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said it best "We don't have to change anything. We just need to let people know what we have."
Now, admittedly we are in the midst of the worst drought in history, which can make our landscape appear hostile. Of course our native winds don't exactly help the situation when they are blowing sand to-and-fro.
All that aside, I assure those travelers passing through our state, the wind eventually will subside and the rains do come, albeit not as often as we like, though they do grace us with some moisture.
So, I hope I sparked your interest and next time you're passing through you might stop, take some time to look around and discover something new.
Maybe I've even inspired some of our own residents to do a little research encouraging them to get out and see what treasures our state holds.
Thomas Garcia is a senior writer for the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org