Most of you have heard about the crazy weather hitting Colorado right now. We were back and forth all week on whether or when we should leave for our planned Spring Break drive to see some of the national parks to our south. After a fortunate break that allowed us to put Laika in the kennel a day early, we decided to hit the road Friday night to get out ahead of the weather.
We still ran into some freezing rain and decent snow in southern Colorado. Thank goodness it was never slick, but the drive up Raton pass did come with some poor visibility. We made it over and into New Mexico without a ton of drama.
Now, we tend to be planners when it comes to our vacations. Lara and I have in fact never left town without a reservation at our intended destination, until now. We figured that it should be no problem to find a room for a Friday night during Covid in locations like Santa Fe, or Albuquerque. Wrong.
We first tried the Doubletree in Santa Fe. They had one double room left – perfect! Until we got to the room and found that it was latched from the inside. After about 30 minutes watching the manager stare blankly at the computer at the front desk, we finally asked if we needed to find a room somewhere else. She was relieved. I think she had been spending that time trying to figure out how to tell us they didn’t actually have a room, and that she had no idea why there was someone already there.
No problem. Let’s make our way down the road to Albuquerque, but this time, let’s check availability before we get back into the car. We looked at 15 hotels. 15! All were booked. Yikes! Our last hope was the Hilton in downtown Santa Fe. More than twice the price, but hey, it’s a room… So, again we booked a room via the Hilton app and drove over to the hotel. When I tried to check in, the manager told me that a water pipe had burst in an area that had taken out all of their double rooms. They would happily upgrade us to a suite, but there was a catch. The room had one bed. No pullout. No rollaways. Two of us would have to sleep on the floor. Um… Time to get back on the phone.
After standing out in the parking lot fruitlessly checking several other area hotels, the Hilton manager walked out to say that he had just called one of their late arrivals with a reservation for a double room, and they had cancelled. Finally, beds!
In the morning, we drove to White Sands national park. This was not originally on our itinerary. Partly because it was not identified as a national park in Evan’s passport book (it was just made a national park in 2019), and partly because we didn’t think we’d have time. Now that we were several hours ahead of plan, we figured we’d add a stop.
We drove for a bit around the site seeing loop before picking a location for a picnic lunch. The place had picnic tables with wind shelters, which we came to find out were no where near robust enough! The wind was blowing 20+ mph, with gusts up to 40+. Not the best conditions to be eating outdoors in a park based on sand. We quickly gobbled down our lunches, and then went for a stroll on the dunes.
It’s a pretty park, and the dunes normally provide a fun opportunity for sledding in the sand. Unfortunately the wind had kicked up so much sand that essentially everything around us looked white. Check out the little video clip for evidence.
It was worth the side trip, but we definitely did not see White Sands at it’s best. Oh well. We had several hours of driving in front of us anyway. So, back to the road. We finished the drive to Alpine, TX where we’ll spend the night before heading into Big Bend in the morning. More to come!
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Martens15 Mar 2021
Wow! Talk about an adventure!! That was quite a start to your vacation. Was glad to see the post to know you had safely escaped that Colorado storm. Can’t wait to hear about the next chapter of your adventure. Stay safe and enjoy!! Love, Mom/Grandma Judy