Colorado and New Mexico: July 19, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


After dropping the kids off last night, we were a little surprised at how quiet the house was-no fans, no music, no one calling out for Mom-it was a wonder we were able to get any sleep.  But we did sleep well and woke up around 4:30 to get ready for our early morning flight.  We picked up James and were on our way to the airport.  The security line at the airport was fairly long but without our 4 kiddos, the security line was a breeze. 


Our first flight to Dallas was quick.  The only problem I had during the flight was keeping Robby awake so he wouldn’t snore-and I wasn’t too successful at that.  Our next flight to Albuquerque was delayed by 20 minutes but that gave us enough time to go to the bathroom and eat a cinnamon roll.  Once we landed, we were quickly on our way to pick up our rental car.  We can’t even remember when we last took a trip in the states by ourselves-it was before Reagan.  And that was probably the last time that I rode a rental car shuttle-usually I wait with the kids and stuff. 


The rental car had less than 300 miles on it-and today we have added another 400 to that total.  A sign right outside of Albuquerque captured my attention: buy 1 get 1 Dairy Queen Blizzards.  Well, we just had to stop since it was a sale.  It took Robby about 10 minutes to figure out how to get in the parking lot but it was well worth the work. 


So by 10:30, we had eaten cinnamon rolls, homemade chex mix and a blizzard.  Robby had seen a recipe for cheeseburger chex mix and I made it for him.  I am not to crazy about it and think that it might just be a man type food: honey mustard pretzels, potato sticks, french fried onions, beef jerkey and it should have sun dried tomatoes but I couldn’t find any. 


As we drove along the historic Route 66, we saw many things that the kids would have loved to see.  Since we are ziplining they couldn’t come on this trip.  It is sure a lot easier without them, but we would have brought them in a heartbeat-but we hear they are having a great time (more on that later).


In Gallup, New Mexico we ate at Earls.  It was Mexican food and very good.  We split chicken enchiladas and the salsa was very hot.  My book had said that during the meal, Native Americans would come to your table trying to sell you their jewelry.  And if one person came to our table, at least 20 people came.  They quickly left when we said “no thanks” but it grew comical. 


The next town we drove through was Naschitti.  It has no real significance and was probably very small but I just wanted to type it so you would have to try to pronounce it.  Anyway, the landscape was pretty…Naschitti!  It is just dessert land out here and the houses are tiny but they all have tall chain link fences with barbed wire around them.  


We had planned to go to Four Corners but it was closed which turned out to be a good thing because we snagged the very last tour at Mesa Verde National Park.  Once we turned off for the park, we were surprised to find out that there was still 20 more miles to go…and most of those miles were under construction.  We waited through road block but at the next one, we were getting quite tired.  We sat there long enough for Robby to put the car in park and recline his seat…and since I was getting tired too, I shut my eyes.  I figured that the people behind us would honk when it was time to go.  I did open my eyes just as the cars started moving and quickly woke Robby up.  After our little power naps, we were feeling much better. 


At the visitor’s center, Robby asked about the last tour and bought tickets before I could object.  We toured Balcony House but they billed it as an “Adventurous Tour” with a 32 foot ladder, a 12 foot long and 18 inch wide tunnel, 2 ten foot ladders and climbing an open cliff face for 60 feet.  As we were sitting in the car, waiting for the tour, we read that you must take water with you.  All we had was our empty water bottles from the plane that I hadn’t refilled and our ice chest with cokes in it.  So we stuffed our bottles full of ice for the hike. 


When the guide started, the sun was blaring down on us and it was hot.  I was getting worried about the trek since I am not good at just standing around.  But before long we were on the other side of the cliff and in the shade.  The first event was the 32 foot ladder and 32 foot is a tall ladder-the park ranger didn’t even stay down below to catch you.  As soon as I got to the top, I stood as close to the wall of the cliff as I could.  The Native Americans had build these elaborate cliff dwelling in the side of the mountains and it was something to see.  We had already crawled through a few tunnels but the 18 inch one was pretty snug.  Robby had our water bottles in his pockets and he said that they almost got him stuck! 


The hour long tour lasted an hour and a half but it was enjoyable and I am glad we did it.  Next we drove back down the mountain and made it to Durango around 8.  We drove by the train station and saw their exciting downtown area before checking into the hotel.  After we unpacked, we walked back to downtown to look in the shops and grab a bite to eat.  We found huge slices of pizza and sat outside and listened to music while eating.  The evening was pleasant and lots of people were out.  Now we are back at the hotel getting everything ready for tomorrow. 


Dennie Kid Update: Night one at Grannymom’s house was successful.  Reagan and Anderson went to bed without a problem even though Graham fussed a little bit.  Campbell started off in Grandpa’s closet but after a little bit the motion activated light turned on-her little feet were kicking and she turned the light on!  So she was moved to the bathroom.  They all slept all night with Reagan waking up first.  The played at Rock Creek this morning and made it back for lunch before talking to us on the phone.


I asked Anderson about his present from today and he said "I didn’t want a puzzle”  Reagan was a little more diplomatic when I asked if she like hers.  She said “well, not really.”  But then she added “Maybe the next present will be more exciting.”  Poor thing, it won’t be any more exciting because it is just a pair of SOCKS!  Robby said I should have just given them candy!


They played outside today some and 3 big kids even got to go to aerobics with Grannymom.  They packed a picnic supper and Reagan helped give the boys their food while Grannymom did her aerobics.  They always show me where the stairs are to the aerobics room and want to go up there.  Reagan said that they finished in time to do the cool down with Grannymom-now that would have been a sight to see!


School is tomorrow for them so they wrapped up the day with baths and bed…and hopefully, they are not dreaming about Wednesday’s present from Mom and Dad!

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