Sue Bacharach » The Accidental Tourist

In 1929, Sue visited the Southwest for the first time, driven by a keen interest in geology and passion for rock hounding. From her first visit, Sue was captivated by the cultures and crafts of its Native peoples, and for the next thirty years, she and her traveling companions explored the region during summer vacations. Sue’s early trips were made in the company of her sister and brother-in-law and together they visited the Rio Grande Pueblos and their environs. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Sue began traveling with friend LaVaun Mowers and her husband, with whom she added the Hopi Mesas to her list of destinations.

The 1926 commissioning of Route 66 (the "Mother Road" from Chicago, through New Mexico, to Sue's hometown of Los Angeles) opened the Southwest to automobile tourism. The Road was the path travelers took to the Southwest in the late 1920s. Sue and her in-laws traveled in a flatbed truck with a camper on the back. "There were no paved roads, it was very primitive and, of course, we learned not to park the camper in a wash." They also made trips in Bacharach's car, staying in motels. "The bathtubs and kitchen sinks were usually an inch thick in sand," she recalled, "and they would sweep a lot of grasshoppers off the porch when they showed us a place for rent. . . But we saved our money to buy souvenirs and so didn't spend it on food and lodging."