When we first crossed the border into New Mexico, Colter turned and looked at me and said, “This is what I imagined when I think of New Mexico.  Red dirt, desert, and mountains that are flat on top with cliffs at face.”

The morning after we had toured four corners (the place where four state lines meet up) consisted of leaving our pull-out camping spot right outside of Four Corners and heading towards Albuquerque.  After we had been driving for a couple of hours, fuel for the RV, lunch and a meeting forced us to stop in a little town called Cuba.  A gas station was the perfect place to at least knock off fuel and lunch.  While we were stopped, we decided to shower and get ready for the day.

As we were just finishing up getting ready, we hear a high-pitched beeping noise from the kitchen in the RV.  It sounded like a smoke detector.  What?  We asked the girls who touched the button.  Eventually Colter and I came to the conclusion that there was actually carbon monoxide being detected in the RV.  Colter told me and the girls to go get lunch while he figured out what could be the cause of the detector going off.

Fortunately or unfortunately, he never found any source for a gas leak.  We opened the windows and aired the RV out for a while.  I was still plenty nervous and was really happy Colter had a meeting right after lunch.  Cell service was good in Cuba and this was an important meeting for Colter.   Me and the girls played at a nearby, run-down park while Colter made his call.  We haven’t had any other issues with the sensor going off since that day.


Playing with new friends

Our week in Albuquerque was actually quite relaxing.  We stayed outside a friends house and spent a lot of time in their house.  The girls played and played with toys and me and Elise were able to chat.  One of the best things was being able to use a full-sized kitchen again!  Ahhh!  I actually made some home-made rolls.

The second best thing was getting my make-up done!  Yes, Elise is a make-up artist for a company called Mascara.  She did all this contouring and coloring for me.  It was great to be pampered.  Now you may think that just the adults got pampered but we didn’t leave out the girls.  Nail wraps for their fingers and hair cuts made them feel like they were all dolled up!

Colter was even able to get a little man time with Mitch and they went on a dirt-bike ride while we were in New Mexico.  Needless to say he said riding in sand was a lot different than riding in the mountains of Wyoming where he grew up riding.  His smile upon his return from the ride said everything he was feeling.  I never thought how hard it may be for him being around a bunch of girls all the time!

When we weren’t relaxing, cooking or working, we actually we able to go and see some sights such as the International Hot Air Balloon Museum, a park above, and a hiking trail in the more mountainous area of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

International Hot Air Balloon Museum

The first place we discovered in the museum was a big atrium filled with 30 or so toddler.  It was music time!  The museum provides free reading time, and music time for toddlers.  My three girls were in heaven when they saw we were going to be playing with instruments, singing and dancing.

After all the hoopla of singing and dancing, there were supplies to make a craft.  We used paper plates, some buttons and tape to make our own maracas.  When the girls maracas were complete with stickers decorating the outside, we cleaned up, had some lunch (PB&J) then it was finally time to tour the museum.

The most interesting thing to me in the museum was that there are multiple styles of balloons.  When I think of hot air balloons, I think of the big, colorful fabric on top and the round basket underneath.  There are a lot of different designs for the fabric that holds the air and for the containers/baskets where the people ride.

The second most interesting thing to me at the museum was that not all balloons just use hot air.  Some, probably most balloons these days, use different gases to be able to fly longer and farther.  Just outside of where we stayed, hot air balloons are launched for sport on a regular basis.

I would love to go back and see the International Balloon Fiesta.  There are probably three football-sized fields by the museum where the balloons are all launched for the festivities.  I hear it is amazing to watch.  According to the museums website, there are now over 600 balloons and 1000 pilots that gather the first week in October for the fiesta.

A Park Above

This children’s park is quite fascinating and entertaining for adults and children alike.  There is so much to do and a variety of activities for everyone. They have multiple swing sets, a music section, a climbing wall, huge slides, a splash park, plastic logs to climb on, spinney eggs and more!

My girls loved running place to place and trying out new play structures they have never seen before.  One of their favorite places was the hill by the slide.  Yes, not the actual slide but the hill.  Blakely would slide down the turf to the bottom on her tush and repeat multiple times in a row.

Tessa’s favorite thing at the park was the water frog.  The frog was actually part of the splash pad portion of the park.   The water to the whole park was turned off due to the winter season.  It didn’t matter to Tessa though whether the frog was squirting water or not.  The frog was her friend and apparently pretty entertaining.

Headed out of town

As we were headed out of Albuquerque, Colter had an old high school friend call him up and we decided to swing by their house before we left New Mexico.  Their family was just getting ready to eat dinner with some friends when we arrived.  Our friends wife is originally from Brazil and had made some authentic Brazilian food.  Colter was excited to eat some authentic Brazilian food since he had spent two years there before we were married.

As things usually go with old friends, we stayed up talking late into the night catching up and we ended up staying the night in a YMCA parking lot.  The YMCA even gave us free passes to workout in the morning.  The next morning we put the girls in the childcare and went to work out.  While we were working out, the manager came to inform us we needed to move our RV because it was taking too many parking spaces.  Ughh, now we needed to either leave or find a different parking place.

We must have said our prayers that morning, or really good ones the night before because a gentleman just beginning to workout overheard our conversation and offered to help.  He lived a couple miles down the road and graciously offered a parking place outside his house.  He had a sweet wife a beautiful children.  They even let us fill our water tank up from their house water and sent us on our travels with red and green chile and some biscochitos (a traditional New Mexico cookie).

So instead of heading straight out of New Mexico from the YMCA, we were able to spend the day with the Bargers.  The little girls played together and had a blast dressing up and then we went for a hike together that afternoon.  Meeting new friends and getting reacquainted with old friends has been a highlight of this trip!

New Mexico Bucket List items 

Staying in Albuquerque for our week was great for our family but we never made it down south to the Carlsbad Caverns, south-east to the cave dwellings or to see Meow Wolf (an immersive art experience) just north of Albuquerque in Santa Fe.  I guess that gives us all the more reason to go back!

Red dirt and all, we had a great time in New Mexico.