When we last left the story.....
Isn't that how they do it on TV?
We were packing up and heading to Santa Fe. This was a first time experience for all of us and ended up being the best thing we have done in a long time.
Our van was full. OK, when I wrote that I realized how much of a Mom I have become having a van for this long. I still see myself with my red Volkswagen convertible, I think.
But a van is a good thing when you have 2 adults and 4 kids with plenty of room to spread out and a built in DVD player. That was probably the BEST reason to take my car!
When you viewed the pile of things that needed to fit into the car, it did not seem possible that it would ever fit, but we made it without having to resort to tying it on the top.
When facing a 10 hour drive, the first few hours seem interesting, but after that, it is just mind numbing! The doctor had told me I had to stop at least every 2 hours and stretch my legs. Even though it has been 4 weeks since my surgery, I am still at risk of developing a blood clot and certainly did not want that to happen. Besides, 2 hours driving is plenty of time to deserve a break.
One problem with our breaks is they all required everyone to get out, decide if they needed to use the bathroom, and then get back in! I seriously do not know how Dad ever tolerated all of the long road trips we made when we were younger. I would have driven me crazy!!
Mom and Dad could not understand us wanting to take this trip, but they instilled the need for a vacation from an early age. I'm not sure if the trip to Colorado was the first long trip, but it produced a slew of memories. And that is what we wanted for this trip.
I think we made them.
Lisa, who pretended that she would help drive, ended up being the navigator and learned quickly that a GPS is a great thing to have. She loved looking up addresses on her Iphone and then punching them into the GPS for all sorts of adventures.
Times have really changed from depending on a variety of maps and then going by the seat of your pants as to the best route! Now you can pick the shortest or the fastest! Lisa wasn't sure there could be a difference in the shortest and the fastest. One of our many interesting conversations somewhere in the very flat area of west Texas!
We made it as far as Amarillo for the first night but not at the Holiday Inn where I had made reservations. I'm not sure if all cities have this rule, but Amarillo will only allow 4 people to a room, even if 4 of them are children. So we had to have 2 rooms or smuggle a couple of kids in. The Holiday Inn Express could not take my "coupon" I found under the Amarillo Travelers' Guide, so we had to keep going. By that point in the trip, if the other Holiday Inn had been much further, we would have had to sleep in the car. We were just too tired to go on.
Plus, and I hate to tell it, but when Lisa gets tired, she starts getting silly and it becomes contagious, especially to kids. So being the only one left with any sanity, we pushed on to the other Holiday Inn.
If you are going to Amarillo any time soon, just go to the Holiday Inn Express and don't try to save money with the coupon by going to the more traditional Holiday Inn. YUCK! But if you are tired enough, any bed will do. The kids and Lisa swam for just a little while to work off their excess energy and I drank coffee trying to stay awake until bed time!
The plan was to drive through McDonalds for breakfast, but for whatever reason we decided to eat there. Good thing when you saw the mess we left around the table!
Our last leg of the Texas trip seemed like forever, but it was only to be forever through the flat section of New Mexico.
Somewhere in there Lisa saw an Allsups gas station and was familiar with one of their better known products, a fried burrito.
For those of us with GERD, the very thought of this burrito can make you cringe.
But in some small west Texas towns, the only service station is an Allsups, so Lisa got her burrito! She even took a picture of it for her Facebook! It smelled delicious. If my stomach ever straightens out, I am headed to the closest Allsups for one!
We were getting close to our turn off for the casita and still needed to buy groceries and everyone was ready for lunch.
I had learned early on to trust Lisa on finding good places to eat, in spite of their outward appearance, and this was no different.
The Sopapilla Factory sounded heavenly, thinking about the wonderful sopapillas at El Fenix. Only in New Mexico, they are served instead of bread. Still good, believe me!
We made our way to the Rancho de Jacona and easily found the Frog House, which was ours for the week.
This place was even better than it appeared on the internet! The rooms were huge and there was plenty of space, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, with a nice living room, kitchen, and dining room. Plus we had 2 patios! The girls got the room with 2 queen beds and 2 trundle beds, which also gave them this gigantic bathroom! The bathroom was wheelchair accessible, so it had a seat in the shower, along with a HUGE jacuzzi!
Somehow Lisa and I ended up with more of a closet bathroom, but enjoyed having our own rooms to retreat to.
The girls loved exploring the property and quickly found the rabbits, donkeys, sheep, goats, peacocks, and chickens. BUT the most important thing was the pool! For them we could have vacationed in Arlington, as long as the place had a pool!
Lisa cooked out the biggest, most delicious burgers I have ever had and we all ate too much.
It was impossible to get phone service, but every now and then we could send an email, so I was glad to let Mom and Dad know we had made it safely. It is hard to travel that far and not worry about everyone at home.
Lisa had an agenda for us each day and persevered until we saw Abiqui, the Ghost Ranch, Taos, Santa Fe, and the Bandolier Monument. Not all in one day, of course!
Each day brought new adventures and unexpected pleasures!
I will add more about the trip when I download our pictures.
The most amazing part was how well everyone got along! I don't think I heard a cross word the whole time!
Everyone chipped in on the jobs of folding clothes, setting the table, and cleaning up.
We decided to try to make it home by driving straight through on Friday.
Thankfully we made a stop in Wichita Falls and met our cousins and their families for dinner. It was a nice treat as we had not seen them in at least 2 years, maybe longer.
Somewhere around Fort Worth I decided I could not make it any further. I really wanted to pull over and just stay there. I called and begged Mom and Dad to come rescue me! About that time Gillian began rapping and changed her name to G Kittee and we all laughed so hard that the time flew and we were finally home!
Today is Mom and Dad's anniversary. 59 years today! Wow! The best part is, I think if they had to do it over again they would!