Monday, December 18, 2006

Vacation Part 1 - New Mexico and the Saga of the Jeep

Mark and I went on a driving trip!!! It was my first true vacation this year, if you don't count a couple of visits to Atlanta. And it's the first trip that Mark and I have taken together in about 2 1/2 years.

The plan was to go to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Moab, UT, and Durango, CO. We were taking the Jeep so that Mark could go off-road in Moab where there are some excellent (so he tells me!) runs. The Jeep had other plans.

We drove all day on Friday, December 8, to get to Clovis, NM. We had reservations at the Holiday Inn - Mark had a bunch of rewards points so we weren't going to have to pay for hotels - that was the plan, anyway! Weather was good, the drive was fairly uneventful although we went the route plotted out by my new GPS/map software. It took us straight through downtown Ft. Worth - not fun! And the Jeep was getting lousy gas mileage going straight into the wind - we were having to stop every couple of hours for gas.

Saturday morning we set out for Williams, AZ where we are going to spend the night before going to the Grand Canyon on Sunday. About 30 miles outside of Santa Rosa, NM, the check engine light came on. Since we were in the middle of nowhere, Mark drove on to Santa Rosa. We stop to get gas and call the dealership in Albuquerque to see if they are open. The Jeep won't start!!! So we call Roadside Assistance - the tow truck shows up pretty quickly and tows us to Las Vegas, NM (I can now say I've been to Las Vegas - just not THE Las Vegas). It's 12:30 and the dealership closes at 1:00. They diagnose the problem and say they can't order the part until Monday, get it on Tuesday and install it. Fine! Is there a car rental place? It's only open Monday - Friday. So, the service guy drives us to Santa Fe - about 50 miles away so that we can rent the car. We cancel our reservation in Williams and get a room in Santa Fe.

We decide to tour the area around Santa Fe while we wait on the car. Sunday we drive down to Albuquerque and tour the Plaza area of Old Town Albuquerque. We do a little shopping while there. We decide to drive back to Santa Fe via the Turquoise Trail - one of the scenic trails around Santa Fe. It goes past Sandia mountain and we drive up to the crest - boy, was it cold up there!!! It was about 22 degrees and the wind was blowing 20-30 mph.

But the drive up the mountain was worth it - the views were spectacular!

The rest of the drive was pretty good. We stopped several times along the way so that I could take photos. I don't know if I would ever tire of the views!!!

We finished up the day driving through the old part of Santa Fe, but Mark didn't want to stop.

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