Southwestern Road Trip

When February rolled around this year, my best friend posed a question to me, “What are you going to do with your daughter for spring break?” I hadn’t really thought about it. Typically, we put her in a local camp so she can swim and take field trips while mommy and daddy work. Then my BFF posed another question, “What if we took all the girls on a road trip?”

Anyone who knows us knows that my BFF and I love road trips – they’re kind of our thing. We’ve been from Ft. Myers, Florida, to Denver, Colorado. We’ve driven Washington, D.C., to Denver. We’ve also done several mini road trips in and around the D.C. area when we both lived there. What we hadn’t done, however, was take a trip with all of our daughters. My daughter is 7 years old, and my best friend’s daughters are 5 and 4. They’ve spent lots of time together growing up, but we’ve never traveled together. So, what better time than spring break to plan our very first girls trip?

Road in road trip
The road to Arizona

First Stop: Four Corners National Monument

The end of March it was chilly, but there were still quite a few people waiting in line for their picture on the only spot in the U.S. where four states meet. We took our group picture, looked around a bit and it was time to get back on the road! But not before we had a some Navajo fry bread at one of booths there. One of the best things about road trips is you get to try new food along the way!

The grand canyon
The Grandest Canyon of all

Second Stop: The Grand Canyon

From Four Corners we spent a nice, long, beautiful drive through Navajo and Hopi lands as we headed towards the Grand Canyon. We didn’t make it all the way there the first day, but instead stopped and stayed in Tuba City, Arizona, so we could start fresh the next morning. The next day we had a chance to check out the dinosaur tracks nearby before we headed to the Grand Canyon. We took several short stops at several different viewpoints while on our way. Both my daughter and I loved it! One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and there are already plans in the works to go back.

Third Stop: Phoenix, AZ

From the Grand Canyon it was down to Phoenix where we were lucky enough to stay with friends for three days and relax. The fun sights did not end – we saw a herd of wild donkeys near their house!

Fourth Stop: Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone is famous for it’s rough history and the fight at the OK Corral. Because I grew up in an authentic Western town and am a history buff, Tombstone has been on my bucket list for years. As a rough town, it also has a famous cemetery, as well. So before we got to town, we stopped at the Boot Hill Memorial. It was interesting to see the famous (some infamous) grave sites and give the girls a little history lesson before we headed into town. Once in Tombstone, we partook of the stagecoach and had a tour through town. We visited the museum which still houses the gallows. We had some ice cream on Main Street and some BBQ before we headed out.

Fifth Stop: Hatch, NM

After a night’s sleep in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, we headed north. Our first stop was Hatch, the Chile capital of the world! There we learned how chiles are grown and packaged for sale. We also got to see the world (?) famous Hatch Giants.

Sixth Stop: Truth or Consequences, NM

Truth or Consequences is famous literally in name only! For the record, the town changed its name to have a game show of the same name film there. There is not much there, but it’s worth a picture with the sign.

Picture of the VLA
Windy at the VLA

Stop Seven: The New Mexico VLA

From Truth or Consequences, we took a science detour to see the VLA. “VLA” stands for “Very Large Array” and is a fascinating place to visit if you are at all interested in space and how we monitor and learn about it. The VLA consists of 27 satellite dishes that we use to listen to and explore space.

Stop Eight: Albuquerque, NM

My BFF lived in Albuquerque for several years, so she had several places for us to visit for culinary treats! This late in the trip we were all tired and snacks were a motivator. After a taste of yummy tamales, we went to dinner at Frontier restaurant. We knew we had a long haul home the next day so we went to bed early.

 Stop Nine: Colorado Gators Reptile Park

How could we not stop at this treasure? The Colorado Gators Park has become a sanctuary for discarded exotic pets and they are knowledgeable about all their animals. The girls got to hold an alligator! We loved walking the grounds and seeing all the animals they had in their sanctuary.

Home Again!

It was only eight days on the road, but we covered 2,118 miles! We learned a lot about friendship, love and patience. I hope that the girls will cherish the memory of this trip for the rest of their lives. Mostly I hope there will be many, many more road trips to come!

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