if you’re listening on headphones, be wary at the end.
Up and on the road at 5AM.
Kids fuss, then fall asleep.
We crawl up and over the Rockies through the Wolf Creek Pass. Damn, CO is amazing.
We see a semi-truck that almost jack-knifed over a concrete barrier and down the mountain-side. Not very encouraging whilst traveling through the Rockies.
Yet we make it over and back down without a problem.
The temperature is 39 degrees.
And before long the mountains are behind us and we’re driving along two-lane CO highways and through small towns up to Hwy 40 and the more familiar western KS (which, by the way, is much easier on the eyes than the OK panhandle and northern tip of TX).
We pass again through the beautiful Flint Hills, this time outside of Manhattan, and we chug on through to Topeka and roll into the welcome neighborhoods of WyCo and up to Preutopia Manor about 7PM.
A great success for our first family road trip vacation.
Max Speed=88.9 mph
Avg Speed=66 mph
Carbon Footprint=.6 ton
Ahhhhh…..this is vacation: spending the day with your family and friends soaking in mineral-loaded, 90+-degree spring-fed pools. Surprisingly, the kids liked it (overall). They weren’t too keen on the hotter pools but that’s expected. I couldn’t hang in the hottest pool (111 – The Lobster Pot), but I did manage to take a dip in the San Juan River (60) before jumping back into a toasty 105-degree pool.
As we were leaving to get some lunch for the kiddos, and they were fussing about getting back into the car, their screams and agitations couldn’t wind up the core of warm relaxation that I found myself in…this is vacation.
I think everyone took naps that afternoon.
Then we played outside where I saw numerous fairy rings on the manicured lawn.
That evening we packed everything up as we planned to drive straight through to KC in the morning. We put the kids to bed and talked with our hosts until 11 or so, then crawled into bed.
We wake up and pack up and make the drive through northern NM into southern CO. Beautiful, beautiful drive. The kids are restless and Ro has finally begun with the “I want to go home.” We’d been expecting this – so plan to stay the night in CO then get up in the AM to head back.
Then we get to our destination (not where we stayed but why we came to visit) and we say, forget it. Pagosa Springs is gorgeous. The condo our hosts generously share with us is fully-furnished with washer/dryer/kitchen. Pimpin’.
We hit some rain on the way in so we pass on the hot springs that night and instead Sarah makes a loaded baked potato soup which we devour, then put the kids to bed.
To cap off the evening, it’s some Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA and a soak in the condo’s hot tub, which was quite comforting at the time, but a pale shadow of the hot springs joy awaiting us.
Up early in the AM (always), the kids are still on CST. We throw together some cereal and sit on the back porch watching the early morning sun hit the Sandias.
Vacating (though still being hit up on the work Blackberry and trying to ignore it).
We visit Explora, the Albuquerque Kids Science Museum, and its highly entertaining for the youngsters. Bebe’s fascinated by the gravity exhibit.
Then we have some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had in my life, holy carnitas and avocado tortas.
I like ABQ a lot. I think the mixture of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Old West/New West culture is interesting and the surrounds seem rip for adventure. I could easily live here. 300 sunny days a year? Yes, thanks. Bike lanes everywhere? Oh, yes. The downside is that I believe the population is growing insanely and the city is doing everything it can to keep up and still maintain a sense of itself. I wish them luck.
That night, our hosts take us for a tour up to the foothills for a view of the city at night: stellar. Then we drink a bottle of fine, New Mexican Syrah.
Kids mostly slept through the night, Bebe found a sweet spot close to my thigh that kept her cozy and satisfied.
Up and on the road about 8AM. We have about 6.5 hours of driving time, but likely much more due to kid-necessitated stops.
So begins the drive west through OK. Not that interesting.
We pass into TX. The geological features are neat for about an hour. Then it’s flat like western KS. Then we get to Amarillo, aka Restaurant Row. Amarillo springs up out of the flatland and you find yourself on the highway, bombarded by raised signage for this eatery or that – maybe 5/7 miles of this – then it just stops. And the flatland returns. Not slow sprawl out back to ranchland. Just city then ranch. Amarillo didn’t seem too impressive. Anyone ever visited there? Anything going for it? We did see ads for visiting the U.S.’s second largest canyon and that looked cool…
More screaming Bebe. She hates, hates, hates the car.
Then we hit NM and its beautiful landscape. We pull over for lunch and are greeted by signs warning of rattlesnakes. Awesome.
Lunch is yum and fast and then it’s back on the road.
A couple hours later: we drive up and over the Sandia Mountains and make our descent into Albuquerque. We exit the highway almost immediately and head to our hosts’ home, which sports a swell view of the mountains and the city proper below. Ahhh…relief.
The kids get to playing. We’re served some fantastic enchiladas and green-chili-chicken casserole. We’re tired and enjoying the scenery, the weather, the company. Vacation…