On Monday morning we checked out of our Santa Fe hotel. I only had two requests: a visit to Trader Joe’s and a visit to the State Capitol. Am I the only one with a love of state capitols?! Those two locations were pretty close together, so it was easy. Doug then wanted to go to Taos and check out the area. Since I knew Julia Roberts has a house there, I was all for it! I also consulted our little Paul Roberts Santa Fe guide and noticed that he mentioned the Bradbury Science museum. We entered it into the GPS and saw that it didn’t put us too far out of our way. Monday was a free day, so we decided to head to Los Alamos.
I have to say that I loved Los Alamos. It’s like you actually get smarter as you drive up the mountain! I couldn’t help feeling though, like we entered an episode of Lost. In New Mexico a lot of the houses are adobe style, but Los Alamos looks pretty Main Street, USA. Clearly it was built by people who weren’t local to the area! I loved the museum. They had all these stories of people who had worked in Los ALamos and what they did. Doug loved the technical things, and the kids loved all the Legos. It was very impressive for a free museum!
Taos however, was less than impressive. I was expecting a Park City/ Vail type of town, but instead it was pretty unremarkable. I think the problem was that we didn’t drive all the way to the ski resort. Maybe it’s totally deluxe 20 miles up the hill.
The rest of Monday was spent driving to Denver. It was a pretty long drive, but we saw lots of beautiful scenery and the kids were great. We got into Denver late Monday night and met up with Mike and Ingrid and their family for a couple of fun filled days in Denver.
Day 2 was so much more relaxed than day 1. Although, I have to say, that even with going to the gym every day, I was not prepared for the toll that the caves exacted on my calves. I could hardly walk on Sunday morning!
We knew we were going to take it easy on Sunday. We went to church at 11:00am, which was pretty much perfect. The people were super friendly. After church we headed to El Parasol for lunch. This was a place recommended by Doug’s cousin Paul who used to live in Santa Fe. Paul told us that El Parasol had the best tacos in the world. That’s a bold claim to make considering the best tacos in America are available right here at Taco Taco! The tacos at El Parasol were very yummy, and the whole experience was helped by the fact that there was no wait!
After lunch we went for a drive through Santa Fe. I don’t know if I could live there all the time, but Santa Fe seems like a great place to spend a week-end. Another place recommended to us by Paul was the Tesuque Market. The food here was amazing and the ambiance was great. We also took a little walk through an outdoor sculpture gallery. The kids thought it was great to pick out their favorite pieces and to see if they could identify certain things. Some times it’s a little nerve-wracking to have them running around $10,000 pieces of art, but they didn’t destroy anything!
It really was a perfect travel Sunday.
So, now that we’re officially done with Summer travel, I can write about some of it with an air of nostalgia! I thought about writing in the moment, but some of the moments weren’t that pretty! Now, everything has blurred into a fuzzy happy memory! There were no children screaming in the car, There was no peeing on the side of the road,and there was certainly no yelling on my part!
Enough preamble. It’s time for day 1. Keep in mind that this is the first road trip of the Summer. I’ll get to the other road trip when I’m done with this one.
This was the family reunion roadie. It involved three days in Estes Park for the reunion, two days in Santa Fe and three days in Denver. Day one was supposed to get us to Santa Fe with a stop at Carlsbad Caverns along the way. It was 6 hours to Carlsbad and then another 6 to Santa Fe. Twelve hours is a lot of driving for one day, but we figured if we left at 5:00am we could do it. What we failed to calculate was the time it would take us to actually hike the caves! That whole adventure added about 6 hours to the trip!
We actually got on the road on time. Unfortunately we got a little waylaid by my need to get an egg mcmuffin! We also forgot to set the house alarm, but thankfully Dixie helped us out there! Because we left so early, we made really good time to Fort Stockton. Doug got a little annoyed because I wanted to take a picture in front of the Road Runner statue (the world’s largest, btw!), but he calmed down once we got out of the car and Miss Fort Stockton was there taking publicity photos! It’s not every day you get your picture taken with a beauty queen and a road runner! We then had lunch at Dairy Queen and packed everyone up again.
We got to Carlsbad Caverns early in the afternoon. If you’ve never been there I highly recommend it. I would however also recommend going when all of the elevators are working! We had to wait an hour to get out of the caves. The kids all did a great job of walking down the cave, but there was no way they were going to be able to walk out.Here’s another fun fact: you can’t take your stroller into the cave! So, I had Charles on my back, and Afton was a trooper and walked by herself.
After hiking the cave and the Big Room it was time to go. Ben used some of his spending money for a miner’s hat (turned out to be a good investment because the same hat was $2 more in Denver!), and then we waited in line to exit. By the time we got out it was just a half an hour until the bats so of course we stayed. Little did we know that it was a half an hour until Ranger Randy started his presentation on the bats! The bats exited the cave at about 8:00pm. Ranger Randy said this was the most bats he’d seen … ever! Another helpful hint: don’t bother lugging your big camera to the bat exit, because you can’t take pictures. Bats are very sensitive to electricity. If you don’t believe me, try and use your phone at the bat amphitheater. You’ll get a nice visit from the law enforcement ranger. He carries a real gun and a tranquilizer gun!
Now we had a dilemma. It was 8:30pm and we were still 5 hours from Santa Fe, and that was before stopping to feed the baby. We foolishly soldiered on and made it to Santa Fe at about 2:00am. Next time I would just stay at the Travelodge in White City. They have waterslides! We did make a quick stop in Roswell to feed the baby. If you’re ever in Roswell, you should probably check out the coolest McDonald’s.
So, that was day 1. Stay tuned for a relatively laid back day 2!