Because this is a new space, I feel the need to explain to any *readers* about my annual road trip with my long time bff. Since graduating high school, we have made it a point to travel the US for as long as we can get away from work each summer (Typically a week). This year we returned to the part of the country that we explored on our first roadtrip, the American South west. This time we broadened our area, revisiting places we loved the first time around and exploring places we never got to see.
The desert can be hot and flat. Roads can wind through the mountains and the red rocks. Sometimes roads can stretch straight and flat for miles and miles and your car is hot and you need to wear a towel across your lap so you don't get weird tan-lines from the trip. Sometimes on these road trips, days are spent in the car, driving and driving until you make it far enough away from where you live so you can get to the places you dream of when you're stuck at work, stuck doing homework all year. The first year, we explored Albuquerque, NM and we fell in love with the houses and the scenery. Remote, but not too remote. We were still able to find a Dunkin Donuts to stay awake, but also to feel like we weren't so far from everything that we knew. We left with fond memories of the state, so we returned this year to explore the northern part, though not quite Santa Fe.
This year we drove across Kansas on day one, in the rain. Running from the rain, really. The first day is always fueled by excitement that translates into several hours of non-stop talking. About everything. About anything. We made it to that familiar landscape and hunted for the hot springs in Taos- this was our second stop on the trip. We overslept and had to skip the first. GPS took us down a beat up, muddy road. We decided getting stuck on day 1 wasn't worth a warm soak so we turned the car around. We passed so many people in cars, all smiling at us. We met a dog that was raised to be weary of strangers, but none-the-less still approached the car and sat a few feet away. These road trips always increase our interest in pets. Usually after a few days, when we have spent time rapidly moving and not petting dogs and cats. Seeing a dog on the road feels a little bit like home. Which is important when you're spending days upon days traveling further from home. These trips always seem to broaden our idea of what "home" looks like. We act like kids ooing and aahing at the different places we see in Taos that people call home. They are so different from what we are used to. No green lawn, no CVS down the street. The homes varied in fanciness, some very nice and kept, and others slightly run down and seemingly empty. They were all so unique and surrounded by different DIY fences made from the landscape.
We finally found the springs- the actual hot springs and not the invisible and completely incorrect springs the GPS was sending us to. But the lot was full and we decided wading through the freezing river was enough for us to experience the area. New Mexico is so beautiful. The mountains around us looked to be made up of giant boulders somehow balancing on top of each other to create these giant monuments. We saw beautiful flowering cacti in the wild that made the cacti with the fake-hot-glued-flowers from our local home depot look like cartoons of the real thing.
Photographer on the road