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Roadtrip through New Mexico and Arizona

I returned home early last Thursday morning after finishing up a week-and-a-half road-trip through New Mexico and Arizona. The total mileage was approximately 2700 miles, and was shorter in both distance and duration than than previous roadtrip last year.

One of the primary goals of the trip was to visit my parents and see their new home (in Vail, AZ) for the first time. I also got to visit long-time distributed.net buddies (cdy and bang), and a former coworker (Jon Woodring) from Jet Propulsion Lab who now works at Los Alamos National Lab.






(click to embiggen)


Sunday, Aug 9:
  • Leave Austin around 9am.
  • Arrive Carlsbad Caverns just as the visitors center was closing
  • Drive back across Texas border to nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park for camping

Monday, Aug 10:
  • Drive from campsite back to New Mexico and visit Carlsbad Caverns. Very good cave sight-seeing opportunity, especially with the self-guided option.
  • Drive to Guadalupe Mountains "Frijoles Ranch" for exploration and hiking
  • Drive back to Guadalupe Mountains National Park campsite

Tuesday, Aug 11:
  • Pack up campsite.
  • Hike at Guadalupe Mountains "Devil's Hallway" trail.
  • Drive through Carlsbad city, Lincoln National Forest, and Cloudcroft to White Sands National Monument. Walk along the sand dunes--one of the few national parks that encourage you to walk anywhere and avoid trails.
  • Drive to White Sands Airforce Base and visit their free outdoor Museum of historical aircraft and missiles.
  • Drive to Las Cruces, NM and stay in hotel for the night.

Wednesday, Aug 12:
  • Drive to parents house in Vail, AZ (just outside of Tucson)
  • Lunch and dinner with parents. Drive around Tucson. Stay night in their guest room.

Thursday, Aug 13:
  • Visit nearby Colossal Cave with parents. It was a little disapponting, because of the amount of human damage to the rock formations that had occurred over the time. Lunch at the Colossal Cave picnic area.
  • Stay night in parents' guest room.

Friday, Aug 14:
  • Shopping at Costco with mom.
  • Visit nearby Saguaro National Park with my parents.
  • Dinner at Texas Roadhouse
  • Stay night in parents' guest room.

Saturday, Aug 15:
  • Leave parents house
  • Drive to BioSphere 2, take tour and explore site. Very cool, but unfortunate that it couldn't have been even more successful. Its age is showing, with rusting supports and a few broken windows.
  • Drive to Scottsdale, AZ and have dinner and beer with cdy & bang at Four Peaks Brewery (picture)
  • Watch District 9 movie with cdy & bang. Very cool movie--obviously set up for a sequel.
  • Drive to Sedona, stay in hotel for night.

Sunday, Aug 16:
  • Drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon south rim.
  • Walk part of south rim trail and stop at various scenic views, hoping to see President Obama's motorcade (unsuccessful).
  • Drive to Meteor Crater, visit their museum and the crater.
  • Drive to Holbrook, NM and stay in hotel for night.

Monday, Aug 17:
  • Drive to Petrified Forest National Park (AZ). See petrified artifacts and painted desert scenes
  • Drive to Santa Fe Square to meet with Jon Woodring (and old JPL coworker) and his wife. Enjoy outdoor music, dinner, and ice cream.
  • Drive to nearby Santa Fe National Forest. Set up camp at "Black Canyon" campground.

Tuesday, Aug 18:
  • Exploration and hiking around the "Borrego" and "Grizzly's Grotto" trails.
  • Observe movie filming truck driving around mountain roads, apparently taking footage for a future Jason Bateman film, according to the police escort. No movie stars present. (picture)
  • Camping and campfire.

Wednesday, Aug 19:
  • Pack up camp.
  • Drive to Roswell, NM. Visit International UFO museum and research center. It was a little below expectations, and was obviously built in an old movie theater; it will be interesting to re-visit once their new museum is constructed in ~3 years. Walk around neighboring streets and visit some of the gift shops.
  • Drive to nearby Bottomless Lakes State park. Decide not to camp here due to heat and disappointing lakes. Distinction between "pond" and "lake" is ambiguous there.
  • Drive back to Austin. Arrive around 3am.

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