Well folks, this is the last installment of the cross-country road trip posts. I combined all my wild west memories together to create one epic blog post! 🙂
So the last time we talked about this trip we had just left New Orleans, great spot, very hot but colorful and incredibly eclectic. After New Orleans we went to Houston to stay with a friend from camp who, believe it or not, Elysia and I haven’t seen in 10 years! That is the beauty of camp, you are bound to be soul sistahs forever! So when Kim offered to host us in her Houston house, we jumped on it. After Houston, we were on our way to Carlsbad, New Mexico where we were going to camp for the night…
So originally we decided to do this to save money… and originally we were going to camp in the Grand Canyon but it was completely booked, yup, every camp site in and around the Grand Canyon had been reserved! Months in advance actually! So because we couldn’t camp at the Grand Canyon we decided to camp in Carlsbad! It seemed perfect, we signed up for the tent village which had its own picnic table, fire pit and grill for us to use. It also had barriers from the other tent areas to provide some privacy. It wasn’t until after we booked the tent village that we realized what we had signed up for… late July… New Mexico heat… camping outdoors… This lead us to check the weather and yes, as expected the average temperature at night in Carlsbad, New Mexico was a whopping… 98 degrees… at night. But what are you going to do but roll with it? So we did! And it turned out great! We got to Carlsbad and immediately went to Wal-Mart to grab some necessities, fire starters, pokers for our hot dogs, a pillow for me since I forgot mine… a flashlight and of course… smore materials. 🙂
As we rolled out of Wal-Mart we checked the weather just to see what we were up against. Oddly enough the temperature had gone way down! But… we were looking at 100% chance of thunderstorms until 3am… Our immediate reaction? But… what about smores?!!
Fast forward, we get to the tent village and miraculously enough, it didn’t rain, it also stayed cool! I was in a fleece and pj pants! It was perfect. We set up our tent, made hot dogs and smores, got into the tent to go to sleep and then… the paranoia set in. It was in that moment that I realized that I had never been camping in the desert or in a tent village/ camp site in the dark… There could be animals that come up or worse… strangers.
My good friends from college will tell you that I am the biggest scaredy cat and can be extremely paranoid. I’m pretty notorious for calling the police to check out a scene, in fear that someone was lurking about… or because Lady GaGa was playing downstairs at 6am in the morning, but that is another story that deserves its own blog post. Yeah I’m the girl who hates to sleep alone in a house, locks all the doors, creates jimmy rigs with rope so that the doors can’t even be open and! sleeps with a large cooking pot and steak knife next to her bed… just in case. So now picture me in the middle of no where desert at a camping site and realizing that there are no locks on this tent!!! How did we manage? Well… we got up and turned the tent around to face the exit so we could see oncoming strangers. Then we put the pepper spray at the top of the tent so we’d have easy access and we also put the keys to the car at the top of the tent so we could hit the alarm button to maybe scare them off. I told you I was paranoid!
Needless to say, we survived. We definitely made some videos to our friends that included a few words of “if you don’t hear from us by 7am we are located at…” but we made it out alive. A little damp since it rained but alive and pretty well rested all things considered.
After camping we went to the Carlsbad Caverns which were amazing. Going to the caverns was one of my favorite parts of the trips and I highly recommend it to everyone! I actually enjoyed it more than the Grand Canyon! Seriously, it was awesome! The downside is that I got basically no pictures of it that I was happy with because when you travel 750ft down into the pitch black… the image quality begins to lack… at least for me, since I didn’t pack a flash and didn’t bring down my tripod. Before we got to the caverns though we got to see Pray Mantis that were literally hanging out all over this one plant! As a science nerd, I found it especially cool.
After Carlsbad we hopped over to Roswell where we went to the UFO Museum and then were on our way to Farmington where we spent the night before heading the Four Corners. Now we were warned before the Four Corners that it was kind of touristy, there would be a line and it actually wasn’t the real geographical four corners. However, even though we had to wait in line and it was pretty touristy, it was cool. Not because we stood there on a spot that said we were standing in four places at once but because of what surrounded it! You see the Four Corners Monument sits on Native American land so all around the actual monument are Native American vendors! They sell all these amazing hand-made souvenirs that are gorgeous! Jewelry, pottery, arrows, paintings, it was all beautiful! I love to talk to people so it was neat to get to walk around and ask them how they made their goods and about their lives. Note to others though, you have to ask the vendors if they mind you taking their picture or pictures of the goods, some vendors do not want pictures taken and you have to get permission from those that don’t mind!
Once we finished up at the Four Corners we were off to Monument Valley! This spot was incredible and different because it’s actually a driving tour. Once you are into the park you can take your car down with your map and drive to each of the locations to see the different landscapes and take pictures. It was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen before!
From there, we went on to the Grand Canyon! Last time I went on the trip we did a river boat tour of the Canyon which was an amazing perspective of the canyon. This time around we went to the National Park which was neat because it kind of feels like Disney World. There are trams and buses that take you around to different spots and there is a ton you can do. They have guides that tell you which hikes are best for your fitness ability and how long each hike will take etc. etc. The best part of our trip to the Grand Canyon in my opinion was meeting these two sassy older ladies while in line for the bus. They were a hoot! They were standing behind us in line making sure nobody cut. Picture this cute little old lady bossing people back to the end of the line! I loved it! The two women were part of a big tour group that were taking a 14 day road trip all of the country! They started in, I believe Ohio, went all the way to California and were looping back around with plenty of stops! They told us all about Vegas and what to expect and we just chatted away for a good while. This is the best part about traveling is getting to meet people from all over the place and hearing their stories. I love it!
I seriously could go on and on about this trip but the best part of this blog post is the pictures so I’m going to cut to the chase. As a wrap up of the whole trip though, if you ever get a chance to drive across the country, do it! As you drive through the country you’ll see so much diversity in the people and the landscape and it’s worth it. The lands of the United States really hold a lot of amazing beauty and its worth seeing. So grab some good friends, books on tape, snacks and hit the road jack because you won’t regret it!
Our Camp Site in Carlsbad!
Please excuse the Iphone images from the camping experience! Ps. I love using the selfy stick! It was the best way for us to get pictures of both of us!
The next morning we were a little delirious after the paranoia set aside. And yes.. I’m broadcasting my bed head.
The morning light outside our camp site was gorgeous!
So New Mexico is a little obsessed with aliens… We saw them everywhere! (not real ones, just things like this)
Off to the Caverns! This is the largest open cave in North America!
All of these things are hand made and they were all gorgeous! The pottery with the black lines in it is actually horse hair that is infused into the clay.
Last ones are from the Iphone again using the selfy stick!