Friday, August 4, 2017

Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House

We just returned from our summer trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  We have mostly had a "stay-cation" this summer, but we had an opportunity to meet up with an aunt and cousin that Brian hasn't seen in years, so we loaded up the trailer and headed west to New Mexico.

First stop, Lake Arrowhead State Park.  In short, this was a campground I could definitely pass on next time.  The lake was swampy and gross, the bathrooms were scary, but there were prairie dogs. Freaky, in your face prairie dogs.

Next, we headed on to Ute Lake in Logan, New Mexico.  Something you might not know about New Mexico, there is only 1 tree for every million people.  And none of them are at Ute Lake State Park. It was HOT!  But there is a sweet cabin and a great lake for swimming and boating.  Plus, lots of relatives to play with. Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Cathy and Uncle Craig (the best playmates and jet ski drivers in the land), Great Aunt Jackie (the hippest Auntie you ever met), and the adorable Cousins Terri and Don.  The ladies painted every finger and toenail in the cabin, and the gentleman set up ninja courses and kiddie pools.  They altogether gave my kiddos one of their best vacations ever!

And then we started the long drive home.  We stopped for the night back at Grandma's house to do laundry and stock up on return trip provisions. Then we headed out on a sort of sentimental trip back in time for Brian and me.  We drove south and did a quick trip around our alma mater, Eastern New Mexico University. The campus looks really beautiful and things have definitely changed in 20+ years.  I only managed to take this one super lame photo.  For those of you that recognize it, it is the back of Bernalillo Hall, which they have turned into the Golden Library.  I was so excited looking at everything that I forgot to take photos!

Then after a long crazy drive down a barely paved road (beware the routes your phone map chooses for you) we arrived in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.  Many years ago, Brian and I fell in love with this tiny little village in the mountains.  So much so that we bought a plot of land in hopes of someday building a home.  But dreams change.  We moved far away from New Mexico, filled out house with kids, and tried like crazy to sell our land.  Any takers?

We haven't been able to sell it, so we decided to visit our little piece of mountain. It was definitely bitter sweet.  The land is still an amazing spot on the side of a mountain.  Quiet, serene, secluded. Gloriously cool, about 65 degrees the day we stayed.  But the community would be a terrible fit for our family.  First off, everyone there is white. Noticeably white, uncomfortably white.  We went to dinner (hoping to get some really good New Mexican food) and walked in the door to a crowded cafe.  People almost always stop and stare when we walk into any restaurant because of the sheer number of us, but these people did that sort of stare that you really feel. The kind of stare where when you make eye contact and smile, they don't smile back. Everyone there is also on the downhill side of old.  It has the feel of a retirement community. So I guess we will have to daydream about something else, because Cloudcroft, New Mexico has been crossed off our list.

After one night in Cloudcroft, we headed back to Texas. And I failed to take any more pictures. Oops!  We stayed one night at Balmorhea State Park.  It was so cool.  It is in the middle of nowhere, in the hottest, loneliest part of I-10. The campground is great and the park has a gigantic natural spring fed swimming pool.  It is 20 feet deep in some spots and filled with fish! So many fish that one swam right into Haven's mouth.

Our last night on the road was at South Llano River State Park. Not as bad as Lake Arrowhead, but not worth a return trip.  It is supposed to be a popular river floating park, but we like Pedernales Falls State Park way better. It took us an unreasonable amount of time down a poorly marked trail to finally reach water that was sort of warm and murky.  But we skipped a lot of rocks and watched Sing in the trailer before bed (thanks Aunt Cathy), so all in all, not a bad day.

And then we got home.  We did laundry for about 72 hours straight, took several naps and the whole household is suffering from a bit of post trip depression.  I have it the worst.  Summer is on the downhill slide.  I'm running out of days for sleeping in and staying up late. For movie nights and snuggling on the couch. For staying in my pj's and sewing all day long.  For one more camp out.  So sad to see summer go.

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