January 22, 2018

From the Road: Texas to New Mexico (Week Two)


We arrived in California yesterday, but since it’s been more than a few days since I’ve had reliable wi-fi, I’m just now sharing the second week of our cross-country road trip.

We’ve had the usual bickering, crying and world-class parenting moments, but overall it was a pretty good week. We drove a lot, we saw a lot, and we’re still moving and on schedule. We watched thousands of bats fly out of a cave, went sledding on sand dunes and learned about petroglyphs, even UFOs.

Day 8: San Antonio, TX

We were thrilled to roll in to San Antonio if only to escape the huge mosquitoes that chased after us as we came off the beach in Galveston. We made a beeline for Rio San Antonio Cruises to take a short sightseeing cruise along the Riverwalk. Plan to eat after the cruise. There are loads of delicious smelling Mexican restaurants along the Riverwalk.

riverwalk boat cruise

The Alamo was next. Just a few minutes by foot from the Riverwalk, I couldn’t imagine visiting San Antonio without visiting the Alamo. Unfortunately, this was a miss with my kids. They were hot and tired, and sadly, there was nothing especially kid-friendly about the Alamo. Oh well.

Day 9: San Antonio, TX

We spent our second day in San Antonio at SeaWorld. My kids loved the Pets Ahoy and Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High shows, as well as all the kids rides in the Sesame Street play zone. We also loved talking with the trainers and watching the orcas play and exercise as part of Dine with Shamu.

We finished up they day at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark. Thank goodness, because it was so warm that day and we all needed to cool off in the lazy river and on the water slides. My son also couldn’t get enough of the dumping bucket. Plus, the huge wave pool was a hit with the kids.

Day 10: Carlsbad, NM

It was a long drive across west Texas to Carlsbad, NM. A tip to anyone who plans to make this drive: get gas. No matter how much gas is in your tank, when you see a gas station, fill up. You may not see another gas station for 100 miles or more.

KOA Cabin-Carlsbad NM

We arrived at the KOA in Carlsbad (okay, more like 20 miles outside town in the middle of New Mexico desert) and were immediately welcomed by aliens. Then we were off to settle in to our deluxe lodge and explore the campground before a thunderstorm rolled in.

aliens at koa

Day 11: Carlsbad, NM 

I hadn’t planned to stop in Roswell, but I was curious. We started our visit with lunch at McDonald’s. Naturally, the McDonald’s in Roswell was shaped like a UFO and the play area had all kinds of outer space and alien decorations.

ufo mcdonalds

In the evening, we went to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. I’d been wanting to visit this national park for months and the bat flight at sunset did not disappoint. We sat and watched 200,000 Mexican free-tailed bats flight out of a cave. Definitely not something you see every day.

Day 12: Alamogordo, NM

The main reason for going to Alamogordo was to visit White Sands National Monument so the kids could sled down the sand dunes on sand saucers. But first, laundry, pool time and catching up on emails when the wi-fi was good at the Holiday Inn Express.

white sands sledding2

White Sands was just a 15-minute drive from the hotel. As a bonus, the hotel had four sleds that we could borrow for sledding down the dunes. It took a little while to find really good sledding dunes, but once we did, the kids went down again and again.

I timed our visit for sunset and I was more than happy to relax and lay on the dunes while watching the sun dip below the horizon. As a bonus, there was a full moon that we watched rise up into the sky.

white sands sunset

Day 13: Albuquerque, NM 

We had to get on the road early this day to pick my husband up at the airport in Albuquerque. He’ll be with us for two weeks and the kids were excited to see him for sure after 12 days with just me.

After lunch, we visit the ABQ BioPark to get inside at the aquarium. There’s a lot to see at the BioPark, including a botanical garden and a zoo, but honestly, my kids were just melting. It was way too hot – in the 90s – and getting indoors was key.


Day 14: Albuquerque, NM

I started the day with my 10 y.o. daughter at Petroglyph National Monument. We hiked around Boca Negra Canyon looking for ancient petroglyphs before heading back into town to check out the Albuquerque Museum with the rest of the family.

national petroglyph sign

To get to know Old Town, we took a one-hour walking tour before being awed by snakes at the American International Rattlesnake Museum. Before the day was over, I headed over to the Sandia Peak Tramway to take the tram to the top of Sandia Peak (over 10,300 feet in elevation). The views were amazing.

sandia peak

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