Sunday, August 24, 2014

There and back again

"I want this to be an adventure," said my oldest child.
Indeed, I had had mixed emotions about this whole ordeal. Not about my daughter leaving home or going to college out of state. She is a young woman ready to go out into the world.
Ready for the world
 We got the finances locked down. Renting a vehicle, gas, food, lodging was relegated to the 'not worry about it' column. Again I would like to publicly thank my Mom and Stepdad for helping out with the time share. Discovering that location in Northern New Mexico was an adventure in itself and I wish to do it justice. Not only that, it saved me a few hundred bucks... so hats off to you guys.

At first I thought of past road trips. Those times I had friends and family to keep me company. Relief drivers are always a plus in my book. Plus, there would be sounds. Radio, iPods, conversations to pass the time. Well, for the first half of the trip, that would be true.
This wasn't an ordeal, or a task. If anything, this was a labor of love. So I approached it in the way my child described: this was a mini-adventure. A father and daughter road trip.
On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again

On the first leg of our journey, I watched my child's face with pride as she saw the southwest first hand. For years she has heard me describe it in detail, now the mountains spread out for her in glorious detail. She'd been to the mountains in Alaska while visiting her grandparents, but these seemed different to her. I'm not sure if it was the proximity or the landscape of cactus and yucca.
We kept each other company, having heart to heart conversations that will be in my memory forever. We shared details and secrets of our lives and outlooks. We felt totally comfortable with each other that later in the journey I pointed out a cloud and asked, "What does that look like?" to which she replied, "A penis."
It totally does
To tell the truth, that was my first reaction as well. A huge set of male genitalia. It also helped the imagery that it was scattering rain all over the place.

We made it to El Paso and stayed at a friend's house. The two of us went to bed early with the intention of hitting the road early.
Wanting to see as much as possible had to be balanced with time to see all the things the southwest has to offer.
I purposely didn't make specific plans in order to be flexible.  
First, she wanted to see White Sands National Monument, which we did, after a fashion.
There are no words
 Having my daughter navigate freed up my hands to drive. She didn't pick the way I would have gone, but hey, loose plans.
From there we made our way up through Alamogordo to Ruidoso. The towns have changed in twenty years. It was much of a sight seeing tour for me as much as her.
An old gondola for Ski Apache

We left early afternoon for Red River. It was at that time I discovered my navigator didn't know the difference between county, state, and interstate roads. There are two routes leading into Red River, one on each side of the valley of this tiny hamlet. The first road is a state road that is fairly straight forward connecting town to town. The other is a winding path through the hills and across several fields where cattle graze. We have the video to prove it.

If I can say one thing about Red Rock, it's cold. Take into consideration that the town is located at about 10,000 feet.
Doesn't rate a one stop light town

Mayberry, eat your heart out
Also take into account that the mountains surrounding the town block a lot of the sun. We awoke that morning to 38 degree weather... in August! It warmed up to 68 degrees later in the day, but come on!
Taking the proper road out of town enabled us to head out to Alamosa, Colorado in decent time. We admired the horses, and the alpacas being raised on the ranches. The mountains rose very abruptly, not a gentle hill leading to a sloping rise, but a sheer neck craning cliff.
Alamosa is what I would call a small town. A quick look at the census figure put it at a population of 8,000. That's about right. We were too busy unpacking the daughter and getting her set up in her dorm at Adam's state.
Where she'll be for the coming year

Lot of bikes... Go figure
 Well, she's going to start classes tomorrow, and I'm alright with that.
I have to focus on my other two daughters who are also starting school. This is the beginning of that empty nest syndrome I heard about. Up till now it was an abstract concept. I'm guessing it will hit again in two years and once more when my youngest is ready to fly.

Needless to say, I took the interstate back. I actually made good time for the distance. I got to spend a little time in Las Cruces. The drive back to San Antonio was quiet, my battery recharger quit on me. Well, the cord is the problem. Right now the car is running in the driveway charging up the batteries. A phone call will be placed tomorrow, never fear.
Say it aloud, I dare you

So now you know

Always thought that was a nicely designed church

The Double Eagle will always have a special
place in my mind

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