Winter Cross Country Adventure 2017/2018

New Mexico Or Bust

We arrived to our Air BnB in Santa Fe around 3am, weary after a full day in the car. We had rented a 1 bedroom casita within walking distance to the Plaza area and downtown. After sleeping for a few hours we decided to find a laundromat and drive around and get a feel for the town. We found a food truck right in town where the boys were able to get out and run around in the parking lot before we headed back home for early naps. Following our naps, we found a playground that had a walking trail along a dried up riverbed – an arroyo.

We were surprised by the lack of water, in Santa Fe and in other parts of New Mexico…a noticeable missing element in the landscape. All the rivers and riverbeds we crossed were dry as a bone. It seemed that the bridges were there to simply remind everyone that once there was water. A historical element really. This was juxtaposed with the reason that so many choose to visit the Southwest, as water IS the reason the Grand Canyon and in general the desirable landscape of the area was formed. We’ve traveled to the Southwest before but never to New Mexico and were really struck by this. Not a trickle to be found.

After the park and playground we realized that Reed was sick. His cough that had developed outside Memphis had developed into full-fledged hacking. Near the cemetery outside of Santa Fe, we had to pull over because the poor kid threw up from coughing so hard. I felt terrible for him.

We cleaned him up and headed into the Plaza where we grabbed ice cream and spent time in the square area. It was decorated for the holidays and two Native American gentlemen were playing drums. See the video below. The music was wonderful and the kids were able to keep running.

Reed’s cough continued so we took him to the nearest Urgent Care – Railyard Urgent Care – staffed with the nicest people ever. I was able to meet a number of locals who shared their favorite reasons for living and working in Santa Fe. The nurse practitioner had just finished a round of continuing education at MUSC in Charleston, it was a great experience. After picking up dinner at the staff’s favorite place, La Choza, we headed home.

My musings on Santa Fe – it’s a great place for food, art and spirituality. The shops and restaurants in the Plaza area were impeccable. If I had to do it all over again, I would have skipped the Air BnB and stayed at one of the beautiful hotels in town. That may have allowed us more room to walk and experience many of the streets right outside the Plaza.

The next morning, we packed up to head to the Four Corners, where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado all come together. Our plan was another day of “road-warriors” with plans to get to Salt Lake City or further, so that we could get into Boise on Thusday afternoon. On the drive to Four Corners, when we were headed south towards Albuquerque to pick up the road, Reed proceeded to cough so hard that he projectile vomited everywhere. Like everywhere. All over himself, the seat, the back of my seat. Then Hale threw up. He was probably so grossed out 🙂 Smack in between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Dimaria family truckster was covered in vomit. Ironically, right before we shot this video here.

Have you ever pulled off on the side of the interstate in 40 degree weather to strip your baby naked? No? You’re really missing out. To give credit, it was Joe that took lead on getting Reed settled while I cared for Hale.

What happened next is what I simply love. It’s time like these where…while I don’t believe much in “soulmates”…I do know that Joe and I are a perfect pair in life and on the same page.

The puking took place just north of Albuquerque – what do we love about Albuquerque? Breaking Bad. So we headed south to the city to clean up the kids, our car and to do yet another load of laundry – attempting to escape the puke smell of the carseat and car.

Like any good Breaking Bad fan, I immediately found the laundromat where Jesse did a drug deal in season one. After we cleaned up the car, stripped the car seats and loaded in the wash, we visited Walter White’s house where the poor owners have put a fence around the property to prevent people from throwing pizzas on the roof (FYI, it’s a Breaking Bad thing if you’re not following) and a sign in the yard asking for privacy and to take photos across the street. We parked and took a selfie and ran into another guy from Colorado who had stopped by to do the same. We then found Jesse’s house (after he made his money) in a beautiful neighborhood near downtown. The homes were immaculate and each neighborhood had a distinct historic name. Most of the homes displayed inclusive signage (see photo of Jesse’s home). Very cool vibe that led me to think I would like to spend more time in Albuquerque. A nice surprise. When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade.

After Albuquerque, when we were heading to Four Corners and thinking we would continue onto Salt Lake City, Joe and I had a discussion. We had driven ¾ of the way across the country in less than four days, Reed was sick and we were looking at two full days in the car (minimum) to try to get to Boise by Thursday night. It was a haul and was going to exhaust us and the kids. Furthermore, after the game on Friday, we would turn around on Saturday morning and get to Ojai, Ca by Christmas Eve. No room for error and we had experienced a huge delay with the kiddos getting sick. Plus, there was a winter storm warning for Utah.

So we decided it best to skip Boise and head straight for Ojai and take our time. Farmington, New Mexico would be our next stop, then Four Corners, then the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and into Vegas for a few days.

Farmington was a blast for the family, although to tell you the truth, we never left the hotel and could have been anywhere in the country. As a huge oil and gas town, there had been an influx of newly built hotels, so we booked a two bedroom suite online and got there at a decent hour. We took the kids to the pool for two hours and let them hang in their own rooms and watch TV. Much needed space.

The following morning we visited the Four Corners National Monument where you can stand on the borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah all at the same time. Fun fact if you’re ever interested in visiting, this place is in the middle of nowhere on Native American Tribal Land. Like nowhere. Closest towns that you may have heard of are Farmington (probably from this blog) and Durango, Colorado. We may be the only people you ever know that go there 🙂

Passing through the Four Corners area from Farmington, you are on the Navajo Nation tribal land. Joe and I had a robust discussion on perceptions of Native American Reservations where we both came to the realization that we very often expect other cultures to act and behave in ways that WE would act and behave. Interesting shift in perspective when you think about the value of spiritually, land and ancestry all rolled together. This deserves more time and thought from Joe and me – so more on that later (maybe).

Four Corners was a cool experience and Graydon definitely “got it” which I loved. When we were leaving, there was a trailer that advertised Indian Fry Bread so I decided to get some. The young man, Ivan, was working the stand and told me that his grandmother had opened up the Fry Bread food truck on that location in the 1960’s! Ivan’s family had been working the site since.

I totally dug Ivan’s spirit and connected with him immediately. He was just that type of person. The trailer had American flags hanging everywhere so I asked about those and he informed me that almost every man on both sides of his family from his great-grandparents to grandparents, uncles and cousins had served in the military, many of them career military. I asked about the dynamic of full-blooded Native American’s serving in the military and his feelings on the history of the government and Native American land. He shared his perspective with me and also on the leadership of the Tribal Government for the Navajo Nation. I enjoyed listening to him.

Ivan had grown up on and off the Navajo Nation Reservation right there in the four corners area but had recently moved to Scottsdale Arizona with a friend to experience living in the city. They didn’t like it, so they came home for the holidays and will be moving to Durango, Colorado in a few months. They both enjoyed snowboarding and really like the small-town feel of Durango – he shared that most businesses in Durango are local with a limited amount of chain restaurants – something he really appreciated. Ivan loved to travel and had visited 38 states with his favorite place being Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I couldn’t disagree 🙂 I took my Indian Fry Bread and promised him I would link my blog to his facebook page – here you go.

While I’m bummed we are missing the Bowl Game – where our schools are playing each other – which will more than likely never happen again, I’m glad we made a good decision for the sanity and health of our family 🙂 Trips like this often require audibles and Joe and I are a great team to make that happen.

Off to the Grand Canyon we go!

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Off to the Grand Canyon we go!

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