My mother re-located to the southwest and I had yet to visit her new home. Rachael thought we should take advantage of the opportunity, and instead of the standard few hour flight, turn it into an asphalt adventure and cure some of our geographical ignorance.
When it comes to geographical considerations, I am, simply put, a moron. My third-grade memorization of the states and their capitals has grown thick with cobwebs, and sadly was never supplemented with additional knowledge. A few years back I started upon the Shelby Foote's brilliant civil war narrative, and was forced to consult a map tirelessly due to my ignorance.
We rolled away from Saint Paul on a cool and crisp (how else to describe a MN morning?) on October 3rd. Our first day was designed to ease into the trip, with a pause in Des Moines to visit a friend, and then only a few hours more to bring us into Lincoln, Nebraska, birthplace of Rachael. Why there isn't a statue there to commemorate the event is puzzling to me! The college town has a plethora of bars and dinner spots to choose from, but our weariness prevented much exploration.
Next day had us in Denver exploring the mythical Red Rocks Amphitheater. The rocks there are simply gorgeous. I am not a photo journalist, as these photos will attest:
After Denver, we rolled into Albuquerque and woke up to the news that just a miles away from our hotel, hundreds of hot air balloons were being launched. This has got to be the lamest photo ever, but here was our view:
The next few days in NM went by too quickly. A few highlights:
My wife and I in White Sands
A wooden railroad trestle in Cloudcroft NM
What trip would be complete without visiting the world's largest pistachio?
The desert mountains possesses a raw beauty that's easy to appreciate. It's fascinating to see the terrain change from a dusty scrub land into a lush coniferous forest simply by increasing the elevation a couple thousand feet, which can be done in 20 miles of travel.
We took three days to get down there, and decided to do the trip back in two. Nine hours of driving got us to Oklahoma City, and we were surprised by the greenery OK had on display. Day two consisted of 12 merciless hours of interstate 35, and for the record, Kansas, your $7.00 of tolls was not very cool.
Even the most cynical corners of my mind can at least recognize the advantages of travel, if nothing else, to appreciate and long for the comforts of home. Overall, I enjoyed the trip and welcomed the tiny bit of knowledge I garnered about this giant land mass that is the United States and its various forms of beauty.
How about you? Done any traveling recently?