Driving into and through New Mexico, we were ecstatic to see the snow all over the ground and in the mountains.
We were able to enjoy the snow for a few days…
…and hiked to Church Rock in it!
We enjoyed some authentic Mexican Food in Gallup.
And, learned about the Navajo Code Talkers while in town.
Snow is fun to play in and look at, it’s not a favorite of ours to drive in. So we (once again) changed our plans and decided to leave beautiful New Mexico a couple days early. We drove all the way across Arizona in one day to run from a major storm.
That didn’t prevent us from visiting a few spots though.
We stopped by the Petrified Forest National Park, and while we couldn’t get in, it was on the way, so we took a chance.
Still couldn’t get in!
Visited Wigwam Hotel, inspiration for the movie “Cars.”
Stopped at a couple Harley Dealerships.
After a longer than normal driving day, we got to our campground for the next couple days, got some laundry done, and let the kids play in the little area behind our site!
Did you know that northern New Mexico is at a higher latitude line than where we’re from in N. Georgia? We were pleasantly surprised with all of the snowy weather, the landscape, and topography of this beautiful state.
Here’s some of what we’ve seen!
…and magnificent sunsets!
And the snow; it’s everywhere!!
Even got some good shots of us on the road by ourselves!
We’ve been through this state twice but have never explored it like this before. It’s absolutely stunning.
We started school for the year with the usual excitement (we’re sure it’s going to be short lived).
But for now, everyone is excited, especially about the scenery and the weather.
Texas is huge and we’ve finally made it into New Mexico!
We were unable to go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe National Park due to the government shutdown but we were able to do some great hiking in Lincoln National Forest at Sitting Bull Falls!
Just down this road are the two National Parks that we’re missing. I guess we have an excuse to come back!
It’s amazing how many friends we have in the state of Texas. Sadly, we aren’t able to see all of them, yet we were fortunate to have a meal and visit with two families in the Dallas area.
William grew up with Ebony in Massillon, Ohio and hadn’t seen each other in about 16 years. It was great to meet them for breakfast, meet her husband for the first time, and for them to meet our children (Ebony met Madison when she was a newborn).
Somehow, though none of us are really sure how, we connected with a family on Facebook a couple years ago, Dan and Emily Crutchfield. We have really enjoyed our social media relationship with them. They were welcoming enough to have us come over to their home and they cooked a fantastic Greek meal for us as we visited with them for a few hours.
(In all of our fun, though, we forgot to take a picture!)
The rain seems like it’s been following us since we left. We’ve driven in it and many of our campsites have had some big puddles around it. At least our sites have been private, spacious, and beautiful, including this latest one.
We got a little reprieve from the rain to explore downtown Dallas…
Inside the JFK Memorial Plaza
30 ft Giant Eyeball
…as well as picking up two additional Harley Davidson poker chips…
…and making our daily grocery trip.
The weather report is looking sunny and warmer over the next few days and we’re looking forward to it!
Right on the border of Arkansas and Texas is the second most photographed Federal building (we’ll let you find out the first), the Texarkana Post Office. The post office is separated right down the middle: one side is in Arkansas and the other is in Texas.
The clerk there provided us with some great information and history of the building and we even mailed some of William’s client packages from there with a special stamp (only Post Office that has two states on its stamp)
To this point, we’ve had less than stellar weather, but the sun decided to come out for a bit while we were in Sulphur Springs. They have a quaint downtown area, but are known for their Glass Public Bathrooms. You can see out but can’t see in!
Heading west to California will keep us in Texas for about a week. We’ll finally start hiking in the coming days and weeks and we’re super stoked about that.
Normally we try to take a big summer trip. In 2015, we took a trip across the country (#48statesover48dates). In 2016, we went west to Galveston and Houston through New Orleans, and then to cooler weather in the Upper Peninsula to Mackinac Island in Michigan. In 2017, we went back up to Michigan and Ohio to escape the heat.
But, this year, we have a teenager, who started working a “real job” at Chick-fil-A, so now we are grounded more than we like. However, we were able to sneak away for a two-week vacation to Ohio at the end of the summer break.
We kicked off the trip with a hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (last blog post-https://thomas6travels.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/our-8th-national-park-cuyahoga-valley-np/) and headed down to Massillon, Ohio for William’s grandfather’s family reunion.
It was a good time, between the food, kickball game, fellowship, and meeting some family and seeing some that William had not seen in 20 yrs.
Though it was supposed to rain, we were glad it didn’t.
From there, we headed to Westerville, Ohio for the duration of our vacation.
As usual, we had to make a trip to Easton Mall for Red Robin and See’s Candies. Plus, the kids like to walk around and ask for things that they know they’re not gonna get.
While we always have fun on our vacations, we like to make sure our kids are learning something. And, if you can add free ice cream along with that learning, we are certainly down for it. We took a tour at Velvet Ice Cream Factory in Utica, Ohio. We learned the history of the company, which once was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The town of Westerville had their 4th Friday celebration with vendors, food, sweets, and some of everything else, so we spent an evening enjoying the activities.
Of all times we have been to the city of Columbus, we’ve never visited downtown, so we made sure to this time. Our first stop was to the Harley where Dad bought his bike and picked up another poker chip to add to our collection.
Then we walked around, enjoyed the German Village, the sights, sounds, food, and architecture of downtown.
Before heading back home to get ready for school to start, we spent the day at the Ohio State Fair. Grandma Shonen spoiled the kids with unlimited rides and money to buy whatever they wanted! They took full advantage of it and loaded up on cotton candy, candy apples, slushies, lemonade, and funnel cakes.
This was our 2nd year going to the Ohio State Fair and we look forward to going back again next year! Until next time…