After living it up in Ada for two days, we headed out early to our next stop: Albuquerque! (I do have to mention here that the morning we left we had scrambled eggs straight from Lori's chickens. Which I do believe wins the award for Freshest Breakfast I have Ever Eaten.)
Kurt and Lori's son, Mike, lives in Albuquerque with his wife and three kids and for some reason they agreed to put us up for a night. We have actually gone through ABQ a few times on our road trips, but never really knew anyone there that we could stay with. And to be honest, my opinion of that city was not particularly very high. Maybe it's the utter brown-ness of things, maybe it's the adobe houses, or maybe it's the fact that a gas station there in 2009 double charged my debit card causing a HUGE chain of events that cost me a ton of money and at least 17 hours in phone calls, but I digress. My point is, we were looking forward to hopefully seeing the "real" (aka "non-lame") side of Albuquerque.
But first, Amarillo! Why? Because Braum's. And I ain't talking about classical music. I am talking about burgers, fries and ice cream. Amarillo Braum's is kind of a ritual for us. BEHOLD!
Sweet and adorable
Getting a little wild
Tone it down, weirdo
This Lotaburger in Farmington New Mexico wins the award for Best restaurant that actually doesn't want to make any money because they can only make one hamburger an hour, apparently. I am not sure what was going on in there, but it took an eternity to get our food. Maybe it was because we weren't Native Americans. Oh wait, YES WE ARE. Okay, I am a pale face, but Jacob and the kids really should have gotten better service.
|If looks could kill, we would all be dead|
However, I will say that it had just rained and therefore it was a little breezy while we ate outside, which was fantastic. Until Luke uttered the immortal words "I'm cold" when the mercury was at about 74. Aye carumba! After we escaped Bizarro World, we were on our way to Albuquerque. Good thing I bought 10GB of data on my phone for this trip so we could watch Euro 2016 on all the boring drives. And good thing AT&T has one tower in all of New Mexico conveniently located ANYWHERE WE WERE NOT. Sorry, Jacob. I have learned my lesson. As soon as my phone dies, it's back to Verizon.
We had a close call on one particularly long, particularly desolate stretch of road. Our gas tank was running dangerously low and after trusting Waze that there was in fact a tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere, NM, we exited, looking for any signs of life in the desert.
Yes, it was open, yes, it did have gas and no, it was not $32/gallon even though they could easily have charged it. Best Gas Station Trapped in Time. You had to prepay for your gas, cash only and then you got to watch the little plastic numbers flip over.
|Here is Luke reading the "at lass" I bought him for the trip|
After getting into Albuquerque, getting settled at Mike and Chrissy's house and then having some outstanding green chile pepperoni pizza (seriously, New Mexicans love their green chiles), we headed to a place called Fallout, which is a local trampoline park. So us adults chewed the fat while the kiddos ran around like maniacs. Brilliant!
|American Ninja Warrior in the making|
When we got out of there, it was 73 degrees and no humidity!!! (But not 11:04. Our clock was still on FL time. I think we finally changed it somewhere in Utah...) We put the sunroof up and cruised all the way back to the house :)
And it just so happened that Mike was celebrating a birthday that day. Well, looky what we have here. What is this called, cake? Guess we win the award for Best ability to plan a three week vacation entirely around a birthday cake. But seriously, that cake was stupid good. I feel honored that they even thought about sharing it with us.
|Selfie stick for the win!!!|
Jacob and I got up the next morning to go for a run and burn off the pizza and cake before we began sitting and driving for 9 more hours. As we set out down the street, there in the sky was a Wells Fargo hot air balloon, even shaped like a stage coach! Albuquerque is not messing around with this whole hot air balloon thing. Mike and Chrissy told us all about the festival and I fo sho want to come back and see it.
And here is proof that Albuquerque has at least 10 square feet of grass. And adorable bunnies.
Well, this was the day we were to make our triumphant arrival into Salt Lake. And I'm happy to report that my opinion of Albuquerque has officially changed. It's actually really nice! Especially Rio Rancho. In fact, I think I even said the words, "I could probably live here." WHAAAAA?
Mike, Chrissy and family were absolutely awesome for having us. It was fun to hear Jacob and Mike reminisce about their teenage years, family vacations, and old music. We like those guys. I would love to go back :)
We left Albuquerque and made our way to our next stop, which was just for Cindy. She wanted to go to the Four Corners Monument so. bad. I thought it was the perfect side adventure so we headed out and on our way!
When we arrived at the monument, I didn't really know what to expect, but I definitely did not expect a gigantic LINE!
I was totally panicked at that point because we had driven all that way, but we absolutely did not have an extra two hours to wait in line for pictures. Jacob went ahead to scout out the rest of the area and was happy to return and report that we could easily walk around and get the experience, no problem.
(The line was for people to get their pictures taken on the exact intersection of the four states. This was a big deal. People had props- everything from pillows and blankets to lacrosse sticks. It was a little weird. Thanks, Facebook.)
|Take your three pictures and move it, buddy!|
|In your face, monument line!|
At one point, each person in my family was in a different state. I am proud we had that moment. Great idea, Cindy :)
As we finally made our way up to Salt Lake, I was secretly gunning to make one more pit stop at Wilson Arch, which was a photo op/mini hike right off the road. Thankfully I was driving at the time we passed it and I totally made it happen!
|It was hikeriffic!|
|Seen it a million times, finally got out and saw it|
Seriously, that afterthought selfie stick I bought was totally worth it! We got back in the car after our mini adventure and did not stop til we hit our final destination. We drove fast because there was a certain little lady we wanted to meet....
|WE MADE IT TO UTAH!|