new mexico

If I didn’t write about our post-Juarez New Mexico road trip, despite its misordered timing, I wouldn’t have any record of it and I’d have a bunch of lost and lonely photos with no story, no closure. We can’t have that, now can we? So . . .

Why would I start with a picture of our Carlsbad motel-room door? Um, would you believe it’s the first one I took after waving farewell to the team in El Paso? 

We had a short, beautiful drive to Carlsbad, but somehow missed the turnoff to the caverns 20 miles earlier. It’s a national park, for crying out loud! How could we miss that? Oh well, at least we found our motel, exorbitantly priced given its proximity to Carlsbad Caverns. So we stayed put.

But after a good night of sleep and a tasty breakfast we decided to skip the caverns in favor attending worship at Oasis Church.

The worship singing portion and pastor’s intro to communion lasted a full hour, so at a shift in the service we made a discrete exit. 

A pretty exciting road trip so far, eh? Well, here we are at our Airbnb in Roswell. Isn’t it cute? We had the whole Cosy Adobe to ourselves.

It was a good thing, too, because Mauri was coming down with a doozy of a c.o.l.d. and needed to stretch out and snooze to the comforting sounds of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. [This article on The Gospel Coalition affirms our assessment of this movie.]

While “road trip” is synonymous with “adventures in restaurant exploration,” We were committed to maintaining a balanced diet, enough to haul all the necessary gear and ingredients for daily replacement meals.

Just outside of Roswell we found Bitter Lake National Wildlife Reserve with a five-mile road that circles the property, giving broad overviews . . .

. . . and somewhat close-up views of wildlife. In this case thousands of snow geese that migrate from as far away as Siberia.

Mauri has an eye for birds and uses an app on his phone to identify them. At one of the overviews he spotted a loggerhead shrike.

The app emailed this to me at his request. Technology!

He spotted a coyote! See it? Well, then maybe you can see the visitor center in the distance.

Since Roswell is known for a UFO sighting back in the decade of our birth, Mauri obliged my need for this photo op.

Wait! Before you think this is our remarkable wildlife shot—truth is we didn’t get a single picture of the multiple small herds of pronghorn antelope on the way from Roswell to Santa Fe. Mauri spotted one herd after another from the passenger side of the car, but our cruising speed offered little opportunity to capture their beauty on his phone. But aren’t they beautiful?

We arrived at our next Airbnb well past dark. As spacious as our Roswell Airbnb was, this one was, well, the opposite. Mauri barely found room for his knees in the only chair provided. But we gave it high marks in the review because of the creative ways our host fit extra amenities in this tiny room. 

If you’re wondering what has Mauri’s interest on his phone: It was Tuesday night when Newberg Brass gathers to rehearse in his recording studio. So he checked in with them through the security camera, even talked to them.

After breakfast we ventured out as actual tourists, visiting the New Mexico State Capitol

Clearly, crowds were not a problem. Where is everybody?

We were told not to miss Loretto Chapel. It was beautiful, as you can see, but the main attraction was the circular staircase on the far right.

Apparently it is an architectural wonder as it has no visual means of support. Mauri had his doubts as we stood, staring, studying. I’m of the gullible ilk, but now that I have better access to Google, I will concede to THIS Snopes finding. And we paid $5 each to see this miracle. Hrumph.

Don’t let that brilliant blue sky fool you. Our teeth chattered as we walked the town in our too-thin jackets. No wonder we had all the sights to ourselves! All other humans were smart enough to stay inside.

So we went back to our Airbnb, packed up, and headed toward Flagstaff. 

Saguaro cacti signaled our return to Arizona.

Since scenery and food are the two elements that make a road trip successful (to us), you might imagine the challenge to keep from including every dining establishment we visited. If I were to choose a favorite, it would be Fat Olives. If life ever takes you to Flagstaff, don’t miss it!

Our New Mexico road adventure ended with the superior accommodations offered by the Andersons in Queen Creek. We’ve come to prefer travel via small airports, one located 10 minutes from their house. We fly Allegiant Airlines from Phoenix Gateway into Eugene, where friends Craig and Pam meet our flight with our car, which they’ve graciously housed in our absence, saving us airport parking fees! How wonderful is that?

The two-hour drive home through beautiful Oregon landscape extends the road trip with reminders of our blessing to live in such a place — though not a single antelope was in sight!

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