We are on day 4 of our cross-country adventure. A few lessons have been learned, a few adventures had and thankfully no more bad luck!
I started my week with a bit of bad luck. Sunday afternoon I got a ticket on Hinds Blvd It is one of those places in town that you have to slow down, but has a beautiful 4-lane road. 40 mph just feels slow! So you have to make yourself slow down… I guess I am really a citizen in Raymond now because I believe I was the only person I knew that had never been pulled over!
Day 1: We told our kids that the first day was just meant to get as far as possible. We drove to Wichita Falls which is a little over 8 hours. That is definitely the limit to push these two. They were really ready to get out and run so we found a park (good road stop tip – Wichita Falls, TX has an excellent park system with nice playgrounds and even potties!) That night we slept at Wal-mart which cracked the kids up. Dan already wrote about that. The only thing we were lacking on the first leg was movies for the kids. I couldn’t find the Disney movies before I left (all together of course) so I was going to walk around Wal-mart and see if they had anything cheap the kids would like. Aha! There was a Redbox so I grabbed Minions. They have seen it, but watched it twice more and giggled the whole way through the next day.
Day 2: Our plan was to meet Diana for lunch and make it to Albuquerque. Only a 5.5 hour drive so no big deal right? We did meet Diana for lunch, but neglected to get a picture! Great lunch and it was nice catching up with her.
After getting a haircut for Will we went by Cadillac Ranch. Diana had reminded us to grab a can of spray paint so we were prepared. It was, however, a little stressful. Lots of people, lots of mud, 2 very excited kids. We got out of there with only 1 casualty, a little paint in Will’s new haircut. Maggie stayed remarkably paint free.
Driving on, we thought we might try to stop in Tucumcari. Just before we got there we saw a sign for the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. Will talked a bit about this in his post. This museum was awesome. It wasn’t a huge museum, but the students of Mesalands Community College supplied most of the labor to find the artifacts. You can get an associates degree in paleontology there! It makes you want to go back and get another degree huh? Wouldn’t that be fun? Apparently I am not the only one because the age of their students skews a bit older than the average freshman. 🙂
We finally stopped in Edgewood on Dan’s family land for the evening. It was dark by the time we got in, but we set up the generator and went straight to sleep. We woke up with the sun and set off for another day.
Day 3: We didn’t need to be at Mesa Verde until the evening and it was only about a 4-hour drive. So to spread out the day, we decided to do something in Albuquerque. After driving there, checking out the old Fuller electronics store, we were at a bit of a loss what to do. I asked Dan how far away the petroglyphs were, since I had never seen them. Apparently they are practically inside Albuquerque now. The city is growing right up the edge of the national park. Will and Maggie took this opportunity to collect their first Junior Ranger badge! They were very excited, but it was a little difficult to convince them to concentrate on an activity that seemed “educational” in the middle of the summer. The ‘glyphs were super cool. Since the rocks are all volcanic they are black and the people living in the hills could scrape away the surface and draw. Because of the geology the pictures are still visible today. Will took his camera and clicked away.
We arrived at Mesa Verde in the evening. We took a short jaunt through Durango and made a loop through town, but we didn’t stay long.
Day 4: We woke up early at Mesa Verde but didn’t get moving very quickly. At first we were a bit disappointed because most of the dwellings required tickets and we didn’t get there early enough. It was a bit rainy, so we drove the loop, did the Junior Ranger booklet, and then found out that you could go and do a self guided tour at Step House. After lunch, we drove out to Step House, which ended up being about an hour away due to the curvy roads. It is really, really cool to see these houses that were built and finally abandoned almost 1,000 years ago! About halfway through our 1.6 mile hike, the bottom fell out of the sky and it rained for real.
All in all it was a good visit. Regardless of our wet clothes, we enjoyed it. I also learned something new. I am not personally scared of heights. I mean, there is a healthy fear of being safe, but I will climb ladders, walk up to the edge, etc. However, if my children get within a foot, no, 2 feet of an edge it drives me crazy. Part of it is their need to bounce all over the path while they walk. I know that this is payback for being a bouncy child myself. At the end of each walk, my nerves were shot. The Grand Canyon wasn’t much better. Now that we are safely back on flat ground, I am much happier.