During the first full day in New Mexico we drove up into the mountains to visit Silver City. Aliciana’s ancestors all come from this area and there are still many family members left in the cute little city. We had a nice brunch with Aliciana’s Tia Pancha and her family, her Grandpa Raul, and her Tia Cynthia.

After leaving Silver City we drove to City Of Rocks State Park on the way back to Las Cruces. The rocks were lots of fun to hike around on and it was amazing how far you could see down into the valley. This area of New Mexico was some of the prettiest land I’ve ever visited. From up on the rocks you could see rain storms roll across the grass plains below. I can see why New Mexico’s state nickname is “The Land of Enchantment”.


The second full day in New Mexico we visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park. My camera couldn’t capture the beauty we witnessed on the 1.25 mile hike down from the natural entrance into the Big Room. Of course, it is pitch black once you get into the caverns and the little bit of artificial lighting made it very difficult for my photos to come out sharp.

The Big Room tour was also an additional 1.25 miles loop among all the amazing rock formations. So, there was a lot of walking done but my boys were troopers. Luckily, we took the elevator back up to the surface, so we didn’t need to climb out from 750 feet below.


During our third day in New Mexico we visited White Sands National Monument. The giant dunes of gypsum sand were lots of fun to hike up and slide down. Even with sun glasses, the light was amazingly bright off of all the white sand.

After leaving White Sands, we drove through the center of New Mexico to make our way to Albuquerque, where we spent the night.


We spent the last day in New Mexico walking around downtown Santa Fe. We ate at a great little place named Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery where I had the best green chili stew and a few good microbrews. We also checked out the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Palace of the Governors.

After leaving Santa Fe we drove up to Taos and around the beautiful land in that area of the state. We stopped along the way to walk on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to view the Rio Grande down below.


To make our way back to California, we spent this day driving from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, AZ. Along the way we visited the Petrified Forest National Park.

The Painted Desert portion of the park was very pretty but the petrified forests were disappointing. The petrified logs remaining were much smaller than I expected. I imagine all the impressive specimens have long ago been taken, either into personal collections or museums. The badlands of the park, where the fossilized trees existed, was incredibly hot and had a creepy feeling of death hanging over it.

The Native American ruins existing in another part of the park were interesting but it was tough to keep my boys interested in some old walls when it was so hot outside. Overall, I don’t think the Petrified Forest National Park is worth the trip unless you happen to be passing through the area and need to kill an afternoon, like we did.


Gavin started 2nd grade in Mrs. Hiel’s class. Connor gets to spend 3 days a week in Mrs Patwa’s preschool class. Both boys were very excited to start school at Turtleback Elementary.