Day THIRTY & THIRTY ONE

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Our day in Albuquerque started the right way. With huevos rancheros and green chiles from the Frontier Restaurant downtown.

2016-8-28 - Road Trip - Albuquerque - 0088This place is an institution in Albuquerque. The restaurant extends down the entire block to the left and it was completely mobbed when we got there.

After breakfast Kara’s cousin Joe & his girlfriend Petra took us on a whirlwind tour of Albuquerque including tons of history, architecture and even some Breaking Bad locations.

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Our first stop after breakfast was the UNM campus. The school is beautiful and each facility has this modern look while retaining the adobe style that’s so prevalent in the area.

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Great view of the Sandias from the plaza.

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Turtles chilling out by the koi pond.

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I had to get a cool cactus pic in here since I missed them in Arizona.

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Once the library opened we headed inside to check it out.

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The detail that goes into every beam, trim and metalwork is staggering. Even the exit signs are adorned with ornamentation.

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This is another really cool building on campus that has this honeycomb of stained glass all along the side of the building.

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Tell me that doesn’t look like aneyeball in the glass!

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Albuquerque used to be a major stop for the railroads and this facility was used to break down all the engines and cars, strip em and clean em and fix em. Now its not a major stop for trains, instead it’s a destination for shopping.

2016-8-28 - Road Trip - Albuquerque - 01152016-8-28 - Road Trip - Albuquerque - 0118It’s like a giant farmer’s market filled with vendors of all types. On our afternoon cruise we drove by this gem.

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Joe also drove us by many Breaking Bad locations likeJesse’s house, apartment, the downtown hotel and a number of restaurants they filmed. I didn’t stop to take any shots of those, it was cool just to see them around town.

In the afternoon we headed to see a pueblo Feast Day. We went to the Isleta Pueblo to watch the ceremonies and dances. These are annual holidays that are open to the public but no photos or phones are allowed. It was a really cool event to experience.

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In the afternoon we headed to Old Town where some lowriders were on display.

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We checked out some shops and galleries before heading to a nearby rooftop bar for afternoon cocktails.

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Late afternoon light from the rooftop.

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After that we headed back to the house for a home cooked meal. Petra made a delicious tofu & broth dish complete with cooked squash & an enormous salad.

Joe and Petra could not have been better hosts or tour guides for our time in Albuquerque. Thank you so much for taking an entire day off and showing us all there is to see in a single day. You guys are the best.

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After Albuquerque we headed off for Fort Worth. This was really the first time I didn’t take any pictures. Plenty from Fort Worth though.

Day TWENTY EIGHT & TWENTY NINE

Here’s a quick photo from my phone on Mission Beach in San Diego. The waves were stellar and I forgot to add this to my San Diego post the other day.

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And now on to Arizona!

 

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The drive from San Diego to Arizona was a beautiful one. I’ve never driven through so many different environments in such a short time. First we got to see across the border and into Mexico. Now we’ve seen into both of our neighboring continents on this trip! (Niagara Falls was when we got a sneak peek into Canada)

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Beyond the wall is Mexico. Yup, we already have a wall Mr Trump. Also, we went through two security checkpoints to determine our citizenship. We are citizens so we got to move along. On to the crazy landscape changes.

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Seemingly endless canyons of rocks.

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Followed by what looks like the Sahara.

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And then green lush fields complete with a rainbow. You would think this was Ireland. I’m kicking myself today because I drove most of the afternoon through gorgeous red sandstone canyons complete with giant cacti. Kara was snoozing beside me and rather than waking her up to take pictures I figured we would see more before the end of the day… we did not.

 

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We got up at 3:30 in the morning to go see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Here it is!

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It was cloudy and raining the entire morning on the way to the canyons but I was still holding out hope that we might get lucky. Instead, the canyons were completely filled with clouds and fog at dawn. So I didn’t get the dramatic sunrise photos of my dreams but the weather did start to clear up as the morning wore on.

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Pretty cool even with the clouds and fog.

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That canyon goes down a long way. I’m sure you already knew that.

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On the way out of the park there was this massive stag elk snacking on a nearby tree.

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On the way out of the park we found the National Park sign that Tom & Joni posed in front of so many years ago. We did our best to recreate the pose. Unfortunately I don’t have an image of the original to share, that will be a project for another day.

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Our next stop for the day was going to be Monument Valley but we weren’t going to have enough time. So we skipped over that stop and moved on to Four Corners. This didn’t really need to be a stop on our journey in retrospect but what can you do?

The rest of our journey to Albuquerque was fairly uneventful, it took longer than we anticipated. The views were pretty but it was still pretty cloudy and rainy. Once we got near Albuquerque we passed the Sandias which were stunning. I did get photos of those but I just haven’t edited them yet.

We met up with Kara’s cousin Joe Senechal and his girlfriend Petra in their home in Albuquerque and we had a fabulous dinner in town. After dinner we took off to the desert to take some night photos of away from the light pollution of the cities.

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Yup, that’s the milky way in the middle of the photo shooting up from the city lights in the distance.

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I don’t have all of my editing tools loaded onto Kara’s laptop so there’s a little bit more noise than I’d like but I couldn’t keep myself from sharing these shots.

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Last but not least is this awesome sand snake sculpture in the middle of the road.

Today was a great day in Albuquerque. I’ve got lots more photos to work through on the road tomorrow for my next post!

Day TWENTY SIX & TWENTY SEVEN

So I lied the other day when I said I didn’t take any pictures on our day from Morro Bay to San Diego, I took some shots in the morning.

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Morro Rock & a kid trying to fish his water bottle out of the sea without having to dive in after it.

I am going to keep the San Diego outline very brief. We did way too much to cover in one blog post. We had a blast, Cheri & Bill are amazing hosts. We enjoyed lovely breakfasts, visiting the Midway museum, Coronado Island and then had a fantastic dinner with the Barker family.

Day Two we went to Torrey Pines Gliderport to check out the view. Quick cruise around La Jolla and then some quality time at USD for Kara to rediscover her college self. Then we were off to Mission Beach to body-surf along the huge waves and finally dinner with our friends Rafa & Silvia.

It was a wonderful visit to one of our favorite places and we still didn’t do everything we wanted to. I guess we’ll have to make a return trip!

Tomorrow we are getting up at 4:00am to watch the sun rise over the Grand Canyon so I’m just putting up photos now. Maybe I’ll write some more later.

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Day TWENTY FOUR & TWENTY FIVE

We are in sunny San Diego! Last night I didn’t have access to wi-fi so I postponed my blog post from our day cruising the PCH. So here goes:

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Two days ago we drove from Yosemite to Modesto to meet with another of Kara’s cousins for breakfast, Letitia Senechal and her son Russell. We had a fabulous time getting to know Russell and playing some improv games with the kids menu at the restaurant. Unicorn for the win!

Once we drove around the Soberanes Forest Fires it was about 4:30pm and we finally made it back to the coast. We figured we still had enough time to cruise up the coastline to the Big Sur area and that was one of the things I was most excited about when we started planning this road trip many months ago. Along the way, this photo is how the skies looked to the right side of the car.

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Looking off the left side of the highway you wouldn’t know anything was happening at all.

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Once we got a little further up the coast we saw a number of base camps for the forest fire fighting crews and huge scores of fire trucks flying up the highway.

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We also got to see a score of firefighting helicopters flying overhead, refilling their water buckets along the coastline and soaring back into the wilderness to drop their payloads.

The latest news we’ve heard about the fires is they don’t expect to have it all contained until about September 30th.

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Once we were clear of the fire crews the light was perfect for some vista shots along the coastline. Kara took over the driving duties for the entire drive from Yosemite to Big Sur heading north. I got to take over driving heading south and it’s definitely an adventurous drive to take once, let alone back to back.

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So now the sun had completely set and we still had about an hour and a half of driving left to do. Little did we know that when the light is gone on the PCH, the driving goes from adventurous to dangerous. In about 20 minutes it was completely pitch black and all you could see was the yellow reflectors in the middle of the road about 20 yards in front of the vehicle at a time.

So if you look to your left, blackness. Look to your right, blackness. And we still had at least an hour of technical driving to do with windy, cliffside roads. The speed ranges from 45 mph down to 20 mph around every bend. Sometimes down to 15 mph around particularly sharp curves. The kinds of turns you need to judge out the driver side window rather than the windshield. Kara was a trooper. There was only one instance where she let out an involuntary moan/yell when we got quite close to the guard rail. It was such a strange noise that it made me laugh for a good 30 seconds. It came from somewhere deep inside her and it wanted out.

We survived. It was an adventure for sure. One that we didn’t intend to take and one that I’m sure we won’t do again anytime soon!

Yesterday was a whole lot more mundane. We drove from Morro Bay down through Los Angeles traffic and some San Diego traffic too. I didn’t even take out my camera for the first time this trip.

Don’t worry, I got plenty of shots here in San Diego today, I will try to post something tomorrow morning.