3rd annual road trip out west - The Dainty Squid

3rd annual road trip out west

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hotel Encanto, New Mexico, travel, orange sky
sunrise from our hotel in Las Cruces.

I've barely finished rambling about my last little road trip (I actually still have one more post to share from that one!) and already I have a whole new trip to begin writing about! At the beginning of the year Jeff got a new full time job which I was pretty sure would make travel this summer impossible yet we managed to squeeze in two vacations that were basically back to back. I'm feeling a little bit like the luckiest girl ever, and a lot like I need to make this my every day life. I love traveling so much. It doesn't matter where, I just enjoy seeing new things. The desert certainly holds a special place in my heart though. This is actually our third annual trip out west. It was never supposed to become a trip we'd repeat but we just can't seem to stay away from the desert.

The first Saturday in September we boarded a plane and flew to Phoenix, Arizona. We were hoping to fly in somewhere else, simply because PHX is where we landed last year but for the weekend we needed to travel, it was the cheapest. After landing we immediately grabbed our rental car, which was a complete piece of crap, and started the five and a half hour drive to Las Cruces.

Our first trip out west we didn't book any hotel rooms ahead of time. We slept in the car most nights, and booked two hotels when we were absolutely exhausted and filthy. The second year we did the same thing, booking the day of when we needed it. This year, for the first time, we booked everything before we left which had it's ups and downs. Anyway, that's why we drove late into the night to Las Cruces. We stayed at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. It was beautiful. I'm actually a little bummed we didn't have more time to poke around the property (+swim!) before we headed out bright and early the next morning. I did find a tiny bit of time while Jeff was on the phone with the rental car company to take some photos of their lovely cactus! Seeing real, live cactus in the wild never gets old to me. I came home with so many random cactus photos.

cactus, new mexico
cactus, prickly pear

It wasn't long after leaving the hotel that we stumbled upon some good old desert abandonment. We passed right by this and had to turn around to get some photos. There's something special about abandoned buildings in the desert. They're just so much different from what we have around here. I've even talked about this in the past. It was a short stop but good one!

sandwitches, cafe, abandoned building,
sandwitches, you guys. SAND WITCHES!

view from a rest area on the way to White Sands.

The big stop of our first full day of on the road was White Sands National Monument. Can I be real here? Yeah? Okay, well, I didn't have fun at White Sands. I actually cried at White Sands. Let me back up a little bit though... So, I mentioned earlier in this post that our rental car was crappy aaaand it was. About twenty minutes after leaving the rental place we hear this noise. It sounded just like a flat tire. We pulled over on the highway, I hopped out to look at the front right tire only to find there was nothing wrong at all. I got back in, told Jeff, he got out to look at his side and we end up coming to the conclusion that it must have just been the wind. Sometimes my car makes funny noises if the wind hits it just right, so that what this must have been too.  No big deal. We take off again, no noise at all. Maybe forty five minutes later we stop to grab coffee and when we turn the car just makes this AWFUL noise. After investigation we realize that a piece of plastic from the wheel well has fallen and is scraping. The noise continues every time we turn or slow down so in the morning, from our hotel parking lot, he calls Hertz who offer no real solution. Ya know, aside from drive to Texas to exchange it. Hmmm. Nope. So we pressed on with our crappy loud car, taking turns at each stop to push the piece back into place.

When we pulled into White Sands the car was probably at peak loudness which in a parking lot full of people is really quite embarrassing. I asked what we were doing pulling into the welcome center, as opposed to simply driving straight into the park. Hey, I didn't want to be around people with our noisy car! I apparently asked "what are we doing?!" one too many times and Jeff finally snapped at me "we always go to the welcome center!" I managed to hold it together until we got into the park itself before the torrential downpour of tears came. Probably the most water the desert has seen in a while... Looking back, it easy to say we were both just overly tired, and embarrassed about being looked at by strangers. It's almost kind of funny now. Almost...

So, White Sands was absolutely beautiful but it certainly wasn't the experience I was hoping for. Before the trip I was thinking about all the photos I would have when I got back and how they'd probably break down into blog posts. White Sands, I'd definitely have tons of photos from there, and it'd get a whole post to itself but when it came right down to it I only managed to squeeze in a few photos. Travel isn't always fun. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there are stupid arguments, and sometimes there are crappy rental cars but you just gotta go with the flow. White Sands, Jeff and I will come back someday in the future and enjoy you properly. No tears next time, I promise!

new mexico, white sands
children's sand rake = cute little cactus!

I'll be back later this week with more desert goodness from our trip! I have instant photos to share as well as my favorite abandoned spot, and one heck of an awesome cemetery.

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12 thoughts

  1. Road trips are so much fun! I love that first photo.

  2. Oh my gosh those pictures from White Sands are stunning.

    And, you know, it's like you said- every trip has its good and bad and it's really all just a piece of the puzzle. You just take each experience as it comes and press on from there.

    1. Thanks! I so wish I would have taken more. It's incredible there!

  3. So jealous!! I've wanted to go forever!

  4. Oh no we just rented a Hertz car for our roadtrip in october....hope it Will be beter...

  5. Loooove the close up of the cactus!

  6. Oh wow those photos are stunning! White Sands is so beautiful. x

    Erin | beingerin.com

  7. I came back and re-read this post after going to White Sands, and I thought of you while we were there - especially because those roads are so bumpy and I can't imagine having something rattling on your car, what a nightmare! Also, there comes a point in every trip where I get hangry or tired or over it and have a mini breakdown, so you're definitely not alone in that!


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