Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Southwest Road Trip: The Long, Long Drive

Day 4: Springdale, Utah to Santa Fe, N.M. 
553 miles 

The fourth day of our trip was our longest driving day -- and also Johnny's 30th birthday! Before leaving on the trip my parents tried to convince us to stop for the night somewhere on the way to Santa Fe, telling us that 10+ hours in the car was just crazy. Well, it might have been somewhat crazy but we totally pulled it off!

After leaving at 3 p.m. on Day 1 and 1 p.m. on Day 2, we knew we needed to make a big effort to actually get an early start if we wanted to make it to Santa Fe before it was pitch dark. Thanks to going to sleep early and the wind waking us up, we got up around 6:30 a.m. After breaking down camp and reloading everything in the car, we said goodbye to Watchman Campground around 8:15 a.m. We were so proud of ourselves! I'm pretty sure we high-fived.

We grabbed some yummy coffee and the best bagel ever at the Mean Bean Coffee House in Springdale and then hit the road.

The views leaving the park were just stunning.

Unfortunately the views came with windy roads

And while taking these photos I started to feel carsick. Yuck!

I don't think Abbie was feeling so hot either

We stopped at a gas station next to this random restaurant (I like that birdie!) for some Dramamine and water to save the day!

The Dramamine put me to sleep and after my nap I felt much better. Abbie snoozed too.

I loved driving through Utah. Every part of the state we drove through was so beautiful! I hope to come back soon to visit Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park.

I think we're near Lake Powell here, crossing over into Arizona

We decided to stop for lunch in Kayenta, Arizona, which is part of the Navajo Nation. Kayenta was teeny, tiny and there weren't a lot of dining options.

And so, to celebrate John's 30th birthday we marked the occasion with a gourmet lunch that consisted of splitting a veggie foot-long sub, a bag of baked BBQ chips and a soda. Oh, and we also ate it in the car. Classy!

When we got out of the car to look for lunch options we noticed this sign at the little movie theater. So hilarious! See what I mean by teeny tiny?! While John bought our sandwich I waited outside and met the sweetest little Native American girls who wanted to say hi to Abbie.  


When we saw a sign that said the Four Corners monument (the only spot in the U.S. shared by four states: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah) was only five miles away we decided to take a little detour. We were SO close to taking one of those classic pictures where you're touching all of the states with your hands/feet when we had to turn around because we didn't have cash for the $3/person entrance fee. Bummer. Maybe that will teach us to carry at least $6 cash on us.

Well, at least we used the opportunity to take a picture in front of the New Mexico sign! (for free!)

One of my favorite parts of the road trip was just listening to music with Johnny. As part of his birthday present I gave him the latest albums from The Strokes & My Morning Jacket. Although we brought a bunch of CDs on the trip, we listened to these over and over again along with albums by Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Ray LaMontagne. I truly think driving is the best time to let new music really soak in. I love associating certain albums with specific trips.

And now it's time for another road trip confession: we also spent hours and hours listening to "Breaking Dawn" on tape. A few years ago I read the first Twilight book to see what all the fuss was about but I thought it was just awful for a variety of reasons. John and I saw the first film as more of a joke since it was at the $3 movie theater ... but I'll admit that it was pretty entertaining and that we went on to see the second and third films after that. Although I made fun of John for checking out "Breaking Dawn" from the library, we got really into it! I think we got through maybe seven of the 16 discs -- and I kind of wish we had another road trip to go on so we could finish them!

I stopped taking pictures on the road when we had a few hours to go because the rest of the trip looked pretty much like this:

Earlier that day I had talked to my dad on the phone and he had warned me about this giant wildfire in Arizona -- and the possibility of the wildfire smoke drifting over to Santa Fe. At the time I just brushed his warning away as my dad being overly cautious. As we got closer and closer to Santa Fe I realized my dad knew exactly what he was talking about. Santa Fe's beautiful blue skies were completely covered in smoke.

The sun looked so creepy! After driving for over 10 hours to get to Santa Fe, we were really bummed out by the smoke and worried that our entire stay might look like this. I began to even question why I had wanted to go to Santa Fe!

The good news was that our room at our bed & breakfast was adorable (more on this later!) and we had made it to Santa Fe in time to catch dinner. Before dinner we took showers, which was pretty much the best thing ever after two days of camping and 10+ hours in the car.

We decided to try out Tomasita's based on a few recommendations and we were happy to find out that it was located close enough to our B&B that we could walk there. So fun!

Me & the birthday boy

Our food:  tamales + enchiladas + rice + beans + sopapillas. It was interesting to see the differences between Mexican food and New Mexican food. I love spicy food but Tomasita's took spicy to a whole other level with their red & green chile and salsa. Not to sound like a total tourist, but it was HOT! 

If their chile was strong, their margaritas were even stronger! 


We had a really great day together that we'll never forget. I'm thinking that we may have to do another road trip for my 30th birthday!


Sarah S said...

I love your recaps - makes me long to take a road trip with E, it's been too long! I'm so jealous Abbie will sleep in the car. Spike, not so much :(

Johnny said...

YESS! Great post, perfectly captures the feel of he day! Best birthday ever!! Odd, since it was mostly spent in a car.

Being in a car with you and Abbie is better than being at Disney Land with anyone else. ;)

librarymoth said...

I've always thought that you and John are two of the most photogenic subjects ever, but I've decided that Abby has you both beat. Smiles, frowns, stink-eye... this dog is destined to be a star. Better take a road trip down this way and get her an agent!
Love these pictures and the story... I feel like because you blogged it a bit after, it makes the adventure feel longer? Maybe because I'm living it vicariously?

steph anne said...

Now I'm itching for a roadtrip like yours! :) My parents totally would've tried to convince us to stop too, haha. Gotta love parents who worry.

Sarah said...

I am loving these recaps lady, keep 'em up!
But uh ....twilight....really? I'm giving you side eye for that one hehe