Road Trip 2014 — Part II: Family

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The primary reason for the tour is to visit with family. First stop, our granddaughter in Santa Fe. We also planned to bicycle the excellent bike trails in Santa Fe, but the weather was very cold (minus 12 C overnight), so we got in more visiting time. We delivered a quilt for our newest great-grandson, and got a request for woven scarves from our great-granddaughters. Another great-grandson we hadn’t met (our last visit was just before he was born) was already walking and talking. The two older boys are talking about careers in public service. Grandson-in-law Paul teaches history and coaches basketball at a middle school, so we saw him briefly after long day of teaching and back-to-back games after school.

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After a final stop to pick up baby clothing for exchange with another granddaughter, we headed south through Madrid, NM, an arts and crafts community east of the Sandia Mountains. The traffic was more pleasant this way than along the busy I-25 corridor between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. But, soon we were on I-25 headed south. A brief lunch stop (picnic on the plaza) in Socorro, a fuel stop in Truth or Consequences, and a snack stop in Hatch brought us to Las Cruces, where we checked in at the Lundeen Inn of the Arts, a downtown B&B that also serves as an art gallery and architect’s studio.

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January is a big birthday month in our family. We took another granddaughter to dinner for her 25th birthday and attended a first-birthday party for a great-grandson. While we did have a much-abbreviated family potluck, we also visited with most family members individually: lunch with a son, dinner with a daughter, and a trip to El Paso for lunch with the birthday girl and to see her new apartment.

Meanwhile, we did find time to bicycle, a trip through the huge Saturday Market stretching the length of the downtown business district on Main, and a Sunday loop ride on the bike trail along I-25, in the middle of a half-marathon with over 2,000 participants. Fortunately, the runner’s route turned soon, and we continued on to the NMSU campus, then back through town.

Las Cruces – NMSU from Larye Parkins on Vimeo.

The B&B provide interesting breakfast conversation, including a couple from northern Alberta whose sport was curling. And, as always, hosts Jerry and Linda provided good conversation. A final family stop at our oldest daughter’s, and, all too soon, we found ourselves packed and headed west, enduring the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 that makes Las Cruces seem like a foreign destination.

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All roads leading north, east, and west out of Las Cruces have Border Patrol checkpoints. Always scary, and a bit surreal, but then, so are the random DUI dragnets the state conducts, possible in a place where there are few roads.

A lunch stop in Wilcox, Arizona and a detour around a traffic jam in Tucson got us to Casa Grande for the night, just after sunset.
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In the morning, the GPS routed us around Phoenix on rural highways, which was most pleasant, but by afternoon we were in the thick of Los Angeles traffic. After a series of “Keep left, then bear right” directions from the GPS, we got the dreaded equivalent of “Oh, no, you did what I told you [–recalculating],” and ended up the last few miles on Anaheim city streets, which suited us fine.

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Judy and Ben pore over family photo albums and scrapbooks.

A couple days visiting with relatives in Anaheim, Judy’s brother-in-law and nephew, plus a side trip to Thousand Oaks to visit a niece (during which we did a drive-by of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, on the way), and we prepared for a leisurely trip north toward home. Fortunately, a light rain during our stay cleared out the smog so we could breathe easier.

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Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: we didn’t go it, as we hadn’t time.