On the Road Again…

It is so refreshing to be on the road again, headed east for a family gathering in Iowa for Thanksgiving, then back to Ohio for a few days before returning home to New Mexico. Jakob, Anna and I will be gone for almost three weeks, visiting family and friends, enjoying the scenery across much of this great country of ours, and stopping at various National Parks for Anna to earn more Junior Ranger Badges.

We left Saturday morning bright and early, after packing most of our things in the truck the night before. I’m not certain, but I think I felt the earth wobble on its axis when I was in bed before 11pm on the night before a trip. And in the morning, I’m pretty sure there were a few earth tremors when we were driving out the driveway a full 10 minutes before our target departure time. Such things have never happened before in my family’s history of traveling!!

New Mexico Scenery

Beautiful New Mexico "mountains and valleys" -- 1921 painting by William Victor Higgins, 1884-1949

We chose to take the shortest route across northern New Mexico rather than the quickest route (according to MapQuest.com). It took us 30 extra minutes, saved us 100 miles of driving, and gave us wonderful scenic views. We drove through a Pueblo with women outside cooking bread in their hornos. We followed twisty, turny roads through mountain passes, following streams and enjoying tall ponderosa pines surrounding us. We drove through a few familiar places (from when we traveled a similar route in our RV a few years ago) and found new sights to enjoy as well.

We took time at Capulin Volcano National Monument, near the Colorado and Oklahoma borders. There was something magical (and eerie) about hiking down into the crater to the plugged vent. A little girl walking in with her family when we came out summed up our feelings quite well when she asked her mom, “But what if it is NOT stinked? [extinct] What if it EXPLODES while we are in there?” Anna got the first Jr. Ranger badge of this trip—#43 to add to her collection.

Volcano Crater

Hiking INTO Capulin Volcano's Ancient Crater

And we enjoyed talking, and playing, and eating with Randy’s brother and sister-in-law Saturday evening and all day Sunday. We got to spend time with our nephew and his wife as well. Ahhh…what a great way to start our trip: this is the same place and the same wonderful family members who welcomed us as we started 8 months of wandering in our RV a few years ago. Maybe THAT’s why this road trip is so exciting…it brings memories of enjoyable moments in the midst of a painful, grieving year.

I’m glad to be a “gypsy” again for a few weeks. And I know we will all be happy to get back home when that time comes. Sometimes being “on the road again” is the perfect place to be!

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