NM /\ TX R o a d t r i p

This blog will be a little different. I wanted to share some logs from my journal I wrote while on our road trip. So here it goes...

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5.7.18
Taos
So i’m sitting on the wooden deck of a big metal trailer on the mesa west of Taos, NM. About 4 miles from the massive Rio Grande gorge, which we happened to check out for sunrise this morning. It’s mid-afternoon now and all I hear are the faint sounds of people doing construction and the nearby highway 64. The views are astounding. To the east is the stretch of mountains that make Taos what it is. There’s still a little bit of snow on the shadowy tip of the highest peak, holding on for dear life as the summer heat inevitably creeps in above the tree line. Where we are at 7,500 feet it feels like we’re in the mountains, but it still has a slight desert vibe to it. There’s a deserty sage-filled plain all across the mesa on either side of the river, and it’s beautiful. It must get nasty here in the winter. I wonder what it must have been like to be a pioneer crossing these plains for the first time on the way to the west coast, trying to find a route, a pathway across the massive expanse that is the american west.

 On the road into Taos.

On the road into Taos.

 Christopher, our glorious trailer @ Hotel Luna Mystica.

Christopher, our glorious trailer @ Hotel Luna Mystica.

 The Rio Grande Gorge, taken from the Gorge Bridge.

The Rio Grande Gorge, taken from the Gorge Bridge.

 Manby Hot Springs

Manby Hot Springs

5.8.18
Nowhere, NM
I’m excited to be here. It’s now our fourth day on the road trip that started in Albuquerque where we flew in, then to Santa Fe (and of course the random surrounding areas: Los Alamos, Bandelier state park, tent rocks, georgia o’keefe’s home, the white place, to name a few), and then Taos. We're heading to Roswell, NM, for a short peek at the alien madness ~ then onto Marfa, Texas for a few days.

 

5.10.18
Marfa, TX
This has been a creative trip for sure--but it’s also been a historical one, a trip of learning and growing in curiosity. We left Taos on Tuesday to drive all the way down to Marfa, Texas. I’ll get to what this town is like, that’s for sure, but on our way, we passed through another little town in New Mexico called Roswell. It’s made famous from the “Roswell incident” in July of 1947 where allegedly an alien craft crashed onto a rancher’s land 20 miles outside of town. The military was quick to say it was an Air Force weather balloon, but the whole thing seemed fishy for a lot of reasons. I won’t get into that now, but you need to check out the Roswell museum and read the affidavits residents made later in life long after all the happenings were over telling their honest recollections. I can’t say more, but you will form your own opinion when you go...

We also saw Los Alamos, NM. The military took over an all-boys boarding school in early 1943 to bring in a bunch of civilian scientists and develop the atom bomb. This history was also crazy for a number of reasons. First, unlike many people casually think, the bomb wasn’t actually detonated there, it was detonated in the white sands desert about 120 miles south of Los Alamos. Second, some of the scientists were wary of making such a colossal device of destruction and even met often in the project to consider stopping their work. I still have a lot to learn, but for good reason, it seems their worries came true the moment the Enoly Gay dropped the first bomb, dubbed “little boy” - a uranium device on Hiroshima, and then the second, “fat man”, a plutonium implosion device on Nagasaki. It’s a hard history to swallow. But it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like during the war and considering the options for ending it. What would have happened had we not dropped the bomb?

After a week deep into this trip, I realize how curious I get about the world around me. I open my eyes to it. Rather than thinking about my life and the stresses that overtake it, I’ve been learning about the towns I pass through and finding myself thinking about how they came to be, or how the areas around it were formed.

Ok, Marfa. I'm getting there. Marfa: the legendary art community in the middle of the west Texas desert. It really is a gem. Something I’ve never experienced before. Even before we got here, coming from the north you  drive through this incredible corridor of desert peaks and mesas, even skirting Guadeloupe National Park, before diving down thousands of feet to the valley floor on the way through ranch lands. Situated almost two hours from anything, like a town or a highway or another person, is Marfa. It’s a little town like the town in Oklahoma I grew up in, in a lot of ways. Mostly agriculture and trades industries, old brick buildings and a big, beautiful courthouse in the center of town. Only one red blinking light divides the town up into quartiles. Mostly neighborhoods lie all around the town center.

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Marfa is our last stop before making our way back to New Mexico, the airport, and our normal lives. As they say, all good things must come to an end. But we'll be back...

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M e x i c o .

It seems I'm on a yearly cadence writing blogs, coinciding with my annual anniversary trip. I guess it's the travel that inspires me to write, or the time away from the stresses of everyday life. I'm not sure the exact reason, but here it goes...

We just returned from an amazing, adventurous, and unpredictable two week trip throughout Mexico. We had planned to stay in five cities and six Airbnbs along the way. As soon as we got to the airport on a Wednesday night, we discovered flooding in Mexico City from a recent tropical storm would prevent us from even flying there. So, after hours in the airport we went home with our tails between our legs. Fast forward 24 hours, we were on our flight and headed to Puerto Escondido! Home to two famous surf breaks, first things first was to head to the beach...

Z i c a t e l a

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Only a month prior, they held a big wave surfing contest about a mile up the coast at what the locals call "the Pipeline of Mexico". Needless to say this break isn't for the casual swimmer or beginner surfer. 

We were lucky enough to partner with Airbnb on this trip, who supported us by giving us some really rad places to stay in. Our favorite by far, had to be a place simply called casa tiny.

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This place was a dream. Secluded in the thick jungly desert dunes near the water, it feels like you're a world away from anything else. And we kind of were. Just concrete and wood. Simply designed but so beautiful. Cándida and I had the most fun there because it was just us two, no one else, no wifi, nothing to distract us or keep us connected to anything but the present around us. It was inspiring to live that simply, so much so that we wrote down a (pretty long) list of things we planned to get rid of, donate, or sell when we got home (something that I promise we're working on now that we're home).

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M e x i c o   C i t y

Our next stop on the trip was Mexico City, or what some refer to as simply el d'effe or Mexico. What a change from remote isolation and ocean to one of the biggest cities in the world in one hour-long flight! Mexico City was full of surprises. Nestled at 7,000 feet, this city feels more like Denver in the spring than Miami. It was cool, even cold, and cloudy and rainy. We stayed in Condesa, a neighborhood characterized by a mixture between Brooklyn and New Orleans. Lined with old three story brownstone homes behind thick greenery and tropical trees, the winding streets could be wandered for days. It was next to another amazing neighborhood called Roma Norte, full of hip restaurants, shops, and most importantly Churros.

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We had the opportunity to do a cooking experience at Casa Jacaranda, where we learned about the traditional ways of making Maize for tamales, sopes, and other delicious Mexican foods. And fish tacos. And salsas. We came away from the day stuffed, but inspired to cook more at home. 

 Frida Kahlo's residence in Mexico City.

Frida Kahlo's residence in Mexico City.

 Cándida's favorite: San Cristobal horse stables.

Cándida's favorite: San Cristobal horse stables.

 Teotihuacan with the local pup.

Teotihuacan with the local pup.

To see all the places we went on this trip, check out my wife's beautiful Instagram @candida. Till next time, Mexico!

Travel.

This is my first blog! You're catching me on my trip to Colombia + Cuba, where I have learned some tips for making your trip easier, so I thought I'd share with you folks. Some of these things are obvious, some are not. So bear with me...

1. If you're going somewhere warm and coastal, bring some bug spray. Get the little travel bottles, and fill them with with stuff that's at least 20% deet. Wipes are super mobile, but they leave your hands nasty and you can only apply it to your skin. I learned this after I got bit a few times while asleep, then tried to wipe my sheets with... wipes. Didn't work too well.

2. Plastic bags: ziplocs are clutch for liquids, snacks, etc. Bring some plastic bags for dirty clothes, and to keep cameras or phones dry in your bag when a downpour catches you. Because it will.

3. Bring a little med kit with good stretchy band aids and antibiotic cream.

4. Always keep toilet paper with you- that means your day pack. Public restrooms usually don't have it and it sucks to hold it when you gotta go.

5. Having a water resistant or waterproof backpack is ideal. It rains in places outside California. A good size is 22-25L. You don't want bigger. Just pack less.

6. Bring a little fan, or get one at a touristy shop. They're nice.

7. A good hat goes a long way. You just need one. Unless you're my wife.

8. Now to the nitty gritty - you probably don't need a phone plan. Most restaurants and hotels have wifi, even in third world countries. If you think you need it more often than that, rethink how much you need to be plugged in. Also, next point...

9. Before you leave, download offline maps with Google Maps or maps.me for the cities you plan to visit. It is a lifesaver! You can do navigation through those little streets that normally would have you lost for hours. But sometimes that's nice.

10. Sunscreen: a couple 3-4oz tubes should last you a couple weeks. Leave the huge bottle at home.

11. Light jacket: great for repelling bugs, to throw on for cool evenings, or to wear over your super classy tank top when you're out for dinner.

12. Nano puff- it's your wearable, packable sleeping bag for long flights. I never go on a trip without it, regardless of hot or cold destinations.

13. Negotiate, and negotiate some more. But stay happy, smile, and make jokes if you can. For taxis, you can say "what's the special price for the day??" or "I know it doesn't take that long to get there, can you do this price?". It's good to research how long it takes to get places beforehand- like the airport to your Airbnb, or wherever it is you're cruising.

14. Headlamps. They're tiny and pack a good punch if power goes out or you stay at a remote beach too long and the hike gets dark dark dark.

15. A lens cloth. The only proper way to keep your camera lens and sunglasses clean. Life is better when these two things are clear.

16. Check Instagram for the places you're going. You can find out about cool off the beaten path spots and inspiration for that epic shot.

17. Pack your favorite bars: 2-3 per day to keep the hunger away. Our favorites are blueberry and white chocolate macadamia Clif Bars or Fig Bars. Stay away from Larabars and similar date bars if it's hot. They get oily. That's gross.