October 5, 2021-Balloon Fiesta

(click for today's pictures)

Once again sleep is good in this camper. I am not too sure that Graham sleeps really well since he ended up on the floor once again. I am not too sure why he enjoys being on the floor-guess his dad always liked sleeping on the floor when he was young too.

Robby and I woke up first and started working on putting this place in travel mode. It didn't take too long at all for us to put things kind of back in order. Robby worked on the outside while I worked on the inside things. We did have to hook the car back up which didn't take too long-surprisingly we have gotten pretty good at it (at least today.)

I was able to walk Bentley for a minute as some of the kids started to slowly wake up. I then put in the slides, and we pulled out. The kids, especially Whitman, have been counting down the days for us to make it to White Sands National Park. 

It took us about three and a half hours to get there. We had to go up and over some mountains so that did take a while. We have been this route before-a few times, well at least twice. I vividly remembered the ski slope on the left side. And I also remembered the Apple Barn that we have stopped at each time on the left side as we were about to start coming down the mountain.

I had told Robby a few times that we would not be able to stop at the Apple Barn this time. We have to have plenty of room to turn around if we are going to stop anywhere, and I knew that parking was on the side of the hill along with street. Sure enough though I was wrong-the restaurant was closed today so they had plenty of parking there. We were almost on the street, but we were able to squeeze the camper and car in enough.

All of the kids were still in their pjs, so Robby and I ran in to the store. It was just as I remembered it-and we bought the same thing that we had the last time-apple cider along with an apple pie. We did buy 2 hot apple ciders and one frozen apple cider. It was all delicious-we had the apple pie tonight after supper.

When we did make it to White Sands, we drove and drove and drove until we found the perfect spot. Then we put the slides out, put the awning out, the kids put on their clothes and we made our sandwiches. After all of that was done, we grabbed the sleds from the back of the car and started climbing.

The weather was pretty perfect today. The last time we were here Whitman was a baby and spent the entire time in the car. Keaton went down once with Robby, and then cried when Robby tried to take her again. Campbell went down twice and then headed back to the car herself. It was so incredibly hot that time.

Today however, it was about 85 degrees. The sun was blaring-as you can tell by our sunburns that will show up tomorrow. Well, Whitman's sunburn has already shown up! It was super bright though because all of the kids found some type of sunglasses to wear most of the time. Bentley even tolerated a pair of glasses when she was sitting in Reagan's lap for a bit.

Even though the weather was nice, climbing to the top of a sand dune is not nice. You would think that it would be easy. It looks easy enough. Oh, no! By the time we would get to the top, you would practically have to sit down to catch your breath. Even the kids did some struggling climbing to the top.

We knew that they rented sleds at the gift shop, but we thought that this time we would come prepared and brought our own sleds to use. Robby had bought the same kind, he thought, and had gotten a good deal on them. Well, they weren't the same kind-the first 30 minutes of our sand duneing experience was a bit stressful. 

Robby finally decided that maybe we should go to the gift shop and pick up a few of their sleds. Keaton and Reagan went with us-first we had to unhook the car and then we had to settle the other kids who stayed back at the dunes. Now, don't worry about them-they had phones (but no cell service), they had an air conditioned camper, all the food and water they could need plus miles and miles of dunes to explore.

We hurried as much as we could-but we were probably 10 miles from the gift shop so it did take us a while to get there. When we returned Anderson was quick to mention that it took us a while-though he was in the exact same spot as when we left.

At the gift shop, Robby bought 2 sleds along with a sticker for the camper. Reagan bought a bracelet. I stamped all of our National Park passport books and Keaton was sworn in as a Jr. Ranger. We were moving pretty quick in that gift shop. Then we hopped back in the car and rushed back to the kids.

When we drove up, Anderson was in the same spot as we left him while Graham, Campbell and Whitman and even Bentley were way up on the top of a nearby dune watching for us. These new sleds were the same shape but they were a little bit thicker and that did the trick. 

From that point on, we were sledding down the dunes and dragging ourselves and the sleds back up. We were there for 5 hours-up and down, up and down. The kids dug, ran, made trails and bumps-we all just had the best time. We even all sat on the top of a dune and ate popsicles at one point.

The sun would get warm, but the sand felt cool so it was really pretty perfect. By the time that we left, we were getting a bit warm. It did take us a while to put everything up-we had drug out Bentley's bed, a lawn chair, sleds, a door mat. Robby hosed off most of the kids' legs, but the camper was so so sandy-it is still sandy even after I cleaned some tonight.

We had about an hour to drive to got to our Las Cruces KOA. Now, on the way I went to the back since I was judging a minecraft house building competition. I had already spent a good deal of time fussing at people encouraging them to not get into any beds until we had taken showers. After sitting on the couch for a while, I soon got up to go back to my front seat-and I had left a pile of sand when I did wake up. I guess I was doing as much rolling around in the sand today as the kids.

The campground tonight is nice despite the sites that I right on top of each other (I feel like I have to whisper when I am outside)-it does have a beautiful view overlooking the city. There is also a really nice pool along with laundry and showers that Reagan has deemed some of the best. Now I will say that I did not take a shower there-I am about to take mine tonight in my shower. It was easier tonight having all the kids and Robby shower at the same time and probably it might have helped get a bit of sand out of here.

While folks were showering, I worked on heating up some lasagna and boiling some ravioli noodles. Plus we even toasted some leftover hot dogs with cheese on them to make some cheese bread. It was a pretty good meal! We ended our meal with the apple pie from earlier today. 

Robby and Campbell got the laundry out of the dryer so we folded it before doing a little bit of work on our dinette-it is just a bit wobbly and we are trying to fix it before it breaks and we have to completely rebuild it. We had done a good job yesterday, but did even better tonight so hopefully it will last a few more trips or really just a few more days!

The kids all laid down tonight at ten so that is about 2 hours earlier than usual. Robby told them they could stay up until 11, and then it would be lights out. I am about finished with this blog, and then I am planning on washing my hair. Robby said he is going to do some organizing.

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