Blue was the drive there. Red was the drive home.
There being Gateway, Colorado, where we stayed for two nights to celebrate Mike's cousin getting married. All about the resort and what we did while there for another post. But, today, THE ROADTRIP!
We stopped in Amarillo for lunch (we got burgers to-go from Coyote Bluff), made a quick stop at Cadillac Ranch and then got to Santa Fe around 6 pm or so. Each time we'd stop for gas or a bathroom break or at a rest stop to let Molly stretch her legs, Kyle would clap his hands and say, "WE MADE IT! WE'RE HERE!" Oh, sweet sweet boy, if we ever take you on vacation to a Texaco in far West Texas, go ahead and retract our Parents of the Year award.
Also, upon spotting mountains in New Mexico, Kyle said, "What IS that, Mommy?" with wide eyes. "Oh nothing, just beautiful landscape you'll rarely get to see because we're raising you a Texan, but our housing costs are really reasonable!"
We got an early start (and a lot of coffee) and drove up through Colorado. Durango was beautiful, the mountains were spectacular, and the roads ... curvy. We all got a little queasy. Kyle got a lot queasy and puked all over himself and then needed a quick cuddle in the back seat before we continued on.
We got to Gateway about 4 pm, after driving up through the beautiful canyons of Western Colorado.
After breakfast in Gateway, we drove up and into Utah where there were no public bathrooms for many, many miles. MANY MILES IN ALL CAPS EVEN. I was reaching the point of having to either pee my own pants or pee on the side of the road. The GPS/Smart Phone wasn't being very helpful, either, to tell us where the next restroom might be, so it was getting pretty bad. (And I have an impressive bladder, you should know! I can hold it for Olympic-like times.) Finally, I made Mike pull over and I pulled my pants down on the side of the highway (on the other side of the car, of course), ass out for all of Utah to see. Desperate times and all. I got back in the car and Kyle said, "Daddy saw your butt, Mommy." Not the first time, son. Not even the first time in public.
We spent most of the afternoon in Arches National Park and, wow, if you ever doubt America is spectacularly beautiful country, go there immediately. It'll leave you speechless. Mike and I talked about one day returning to camp overnight, when Kyle's older. It was my favorite part of the trip, I think. Just looking out on this vast world, where everywhere you turn is another postcard view. I loved it.
We left and drove through Moab and into New Mexico, to try and make it to the Four Corners before sunset. A storm and curvy roads slowed us down, so we missed it by five minutes and hadn't planned anywhere to stay. (Yeah. That caused the first and only fight of the trip, I can't lie.)
We ended up in Farmington, N.M., at a random Best Western. I fell asleep within five minutes of laying down.
We got up and backtracked to the Four Corners where I kept yelling, "KYLE'S IN UTAH! WE'RE IN COLORADO! OH NO!" He looked at me, at one point, and said, "Mommy, no yelling." Oh, he's in for a world of disappointment if that's how he prefers it.
We then drove to Shiprock ... Rock? I don't even know what it's called! It was a sight Mike really wanted to see, and it was pretty cool, admittedly, this jutting rock in an otherwise flat land. Molly got to run around as far as she wanted, and she was fairly pleased. See:
From there we drove to Albuquerque through Gallup and then drove and drove and drove to Roswell, convinced it would be a funky little town with quirky people and places. No offense to anyone who lives or loves Roswell, but it was the most ordinary town I've ever set foot in. A local suggested we eat at Golden Corral when I asked where a tourist should stop to eat. Yelp! suggested Denny's.
We left, skipping dinner and not looking back, and we drove and drove and drove some more. The drive out of dodge (Roswell) and into Texas was actually kind of wonderful. Just today I read a piece in Grantland, an oral history of Friday Night Lights (and you know how much I love this show by now), and in it Sarah Aubrey, an executive producer of the show, spoke about one of the final scenes they filmed: "The sky is that only-in-Texas pink sky as the sun is starting to set." I choked up because, well, yes. I know that sky. It sounds funny, to say the sky is different in Texas, but it's just about my favorite part of the entire state. The sky alone has kept me here, at times, I think, and it welcomed us back home after days away. We grumble about the weather and a million other things but when we crossed that state line, we both smiled, we couldn't hide it.
We got home, late late late, and I thought Kyle would refuse his bed, pitch a fit and demand to sleep with us, after so many nights of sharing a room in multiple hotels. But, I laid him down, he looked at me and said, "Turn off the lights, Mommy."
So, I did.
One family vacation behind us. Many more ahead, I hope.