After arriving in Roswell around 1am, we crashed at the Holiday Inn Express (thanks for the recommendation, Dad) for some good sleep and free breakfast. We hit the road to Los Alamos by 8:30 the next morning.
Of course, we drove past Camel Rock just outside Santa Fe. I told Scott stories of us as little kids stopping at Camel Rock, the sign that it meant we were close to Marmie & Puntie’s house. Scott was not overwhelmed with enthusiasm when he actually got to SEE Camel Rock for himself. I still think it’s awesome.
spectacular camel rock
We also made a stop at the Nambé shop to look at the pretty pieces of art. We even bought a small piece to remember the trip. On the way up the hill, I told Scott about some of Mom’s stories as a kid living in Los Alamos. My favorites are when they would drive down the hill and harass kids from a rival high school and haul back up the hill into their locked city. Below is a view just before you come into the town. It was a very warm, but beautiful day.
view point just up the hill into los alamos
We drove into town, immediately hitting up Sonic for a Green Chile Cheeseburger and a Route 44 drink to take to Ashley Pond for a picnic. One of Puntie’s favorite activities was to take us to the pond to feed the ducks. We would always stop by Sonic on the way for a brown bag #2 and a Route 44. Such great memories.
We also crossed the street to go to the Mesa Library to find Marmie’s bench. She was a gem to the community of Los Alamos. It’s wonderful to see her memory honored. I’m sitting on her bench and looking back at some neat statues of children playing under the trees. Just on the other side of Scott is a skateboarding park. It was very busy on that hot summer day.
marmie's bench @ mesa library
So, the below is not a great picture. Shar, Mel, Dad, and Mom will get it, but it’s Urban Park; the park where we would go play every night before bed. We sledded down these hills into the street, Shar and I carved our names into one of the trees, I had my first crush on a boy here, and we had SO MUCH FUN in this park as kids. Strangely enough, Rudy’s BBQ (yes, of Leon Springs) was catering a big ole party in Urban Park. You can kind of see their travel smoker.
quick snap of urban park from the street
We also swung by Marmie & Puntie’s house. It’s quite different, the yard doesn’t look like the place where I played for hours on end and the porch doesn’t have Marmie’s comfy furniture where you felt like you could sit there forever. But it’s still their house. I can still smell the inside.
marmie & puntie's house in los alamos
On our way out of town, we were on the phone with Mom & Dad and they encouraged us to take the scenic route on Highway 4 through the Jemez Mountains to Cuba. It was spectacular. The first half of the mountain was a lot of matchstick trees and new aspens as a result of the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. The other half of the mountain was untouched and is lush green. The contrast is shocking and beautiful in it’s own way. On the backside of the mountain, we passed Valle Grande, a beautiful meadow in the Valles Caldera (a collapsed volcanic caldera) area of the Jemez Mountains.
From there, we took New Mexico Highway 126. It’s a state highway. That’s a good decision, right? Right? Well, it was a great decision. Until it turned to a dirt road. New car, dirt road for 30 miles, fear the dirt road will never connect to where we are actually going…slightly stressful…a lot funny. We were pretty delirious. It was a beautiful road though.
state highway...dirt road...same diff
Even when these cows just stared at us as we passed by 2 feet from them. Billy would have had a conniption about the free range cattle on this road for sure.
After the dirt road finally did connect with the US highway we were looking for, we hit Bloomfield, New Mexico. Where we stumbled upon……
best gccb ever
Yes. That’s me. Running into Blake’s Lotaburger before my husband even knew what hit him. Who cares if I had a Green Chile Cheeseburger for lunch?! It’s BLAKES! Lotaburger, Lotaburger, the best treat that you can eat, Lotaburger can’t be beat!
After all that excitement, we settled in for an evening drive into Durango. Ah, beautiful Colorado. Where state highways can be trusted to not be dirt roads.
hasta la vista new mexico, welcome to colorado
This is kind of a random picture, but it was a beautiful evening and there seems to be so much going on here.
outside durango, co
And then of course, there is Mesa Verde. We had a good time laughing about the buffalo being run off the cliffs. Maybe that isn’t supposed to be funny. Hmm. We quickly ran out of steam for the day and stopped off in Cortez (another HI Express, thanks Dad) for the evening. We got a good geocache and dinner in before hitting the hay.
Next up: Utah, Idaho, and Oregon…yeah, a big day…better get your rest!