Hello Tijeras, New Mexico

Our Adventures in these Beautiful Mountains

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A journal entry from our early days on the trip… Tijeras is a small town just east of Albuquerque. Exhausted, we arrived, set up camp, ate dinner and went to bed. No stopping, no passing go. We were done. We had spent over six hours on the road from Lubbock. The trip was only 4-1/2 hours, but we stopped to see Billy the Kids’ grave in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and then ate a late lunch.

Billy the Kid's Grave
Lyric & Elliana playing outside Billy the Kid’s grave.

Driving in the Rain to Tijeras

I experienced another first on our year-long adventure—driving in the rain while pulling the RV.

We hit a smattering of rain starting once we hit I-40 and lasting until we pulled into the RV park in Tijeras. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but with the mountains, it was definitely a new experience. The speed limit was 75 mph, but I felt more comfortable keeping the speed around 65. The mountains caused the truck to labor as it pulled the trailer up the mountains and surge its way down the other side. Then there were the gentle twists and turns of the road. Again, not horrible but definitely something to consider with slick roads.

I wasn’t the only one either. Scattered along the road, 18-wheelers and other RVs struggled to keep their speeds constant. I tried not to be the irritating driver who passed at difficult stretches only to slow them down on the descent. I’ve come to think of these kind of considerations as the Code of the Road. All big trucks, rigs and RVs belong.

I also experienced my first driver racing past me only to cut right in front of me and slow to 50 mph. This person proceeded to put on her blinker for the next two exits before I finally passed. Oh the joys of practicing patience, kindness and silence in front of my kids, as opposed to teaching them to yell at drivers for their stupidity.

Thankfully, we finally arrived.

Elliana and Leila
Elliana and Leila exploring the mountains around Tijjeras.

A Dog’s Life

This morning I took our dog Leila for a walk. The weather is in the low 70s. As I stepped outside, the first thing I noticed was the smell. I noticed the scent last night, but it’s stronger this morning. Last night’s scent was of the grasses and plants around our trailer, some kind of wild sage, I think. This morning’s scent is juniper. Juniper trees cover the park. I’ve paid to have this scent in my home with expensive candles, but this was simply there. The temperature and the scent made me want to explore, so that’s what Leila and I did.

Leila is a mix: Rat Terrier (just look at those adorable, oversized ears) and Shiba Inu. The Shiba Inu breed originated from the mountains of Japan and was bred to hunt small animals. With the cool temps, mountains and rugged nature trails of the park, Leila was in her element. Her ears shot up, she tugged at her leash and she sniffed the air constantly.

What information must she be gathering? I once listened to an audiobook called The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. The author had studied domesticated dogs, not in a laboratory but in their natural environments. She discovered that in one whiff dogs could gather an abundance of information. When they smell another dog’s urine (i.e. mailboxes, ground or rocks), they can determine the size and sex of the dog as well as whether the dog is aggressive or not. The author also talked about how dogs can travel miles and then several hours later retrace their steps to find their way home all by the smell. So as Leila sniffed the ground and tried to pull me up the hill, down the path and over the rocky ground, What must she be smelling?, I wondered.

When she caught site of a wild rabbit on the path, she took off. I’m glad she’s not any larger than she is or I would have been kissing the ground. Thankfully, her leash held, and I wrangled her in another direction.

Once we returned to the trailer, she laid down for her mid-morning nap, but I had no doubt that we’d be taking another hike that afternoon.

A snake
Look closely… We found this snake sunning itself outside our RV.

Finding Internet in Tijeras

Receiving a good internet connection with the ability to download large files or stream live video has been an obstacle. I forget that living in Dallas-Fort Worth we have access to conveniences that aren’t always typical in other parts of the country. High speed internet is one of those conveniences. Chris is working it out, and I know he plans to share about his solutions. For the time being, I needed a connection.

I drove into the city in search of either a Starbucks or a McDonalds. Both have great connectivity… or so I thought. Again, I’ve been spoiled by the conveniences. Starbucks, which appears regularly in DFW (and offers a mean gluten free breakfast sandwich), is not as plentiful elsewhere. In Lubbock and now in Tijeras, I had typed Starbucks into my GPS only to be directed to a grocery store with a Starbucks counter inside. Most of the time that still worked. They’re usually situated in a quiet corner of the stores with plenty of good seating, but as I sat down in the middle of the grocery store at the scarred and wobbly table with my English Breakfast tea and packet of almonds (The GF breakfast sandwich hadn’t made it here yet, I guess.), I discovered there was no internet available. Thankfully, I had LTE on my T-Mobile phone, so I was able to set up a hotspot. Next time, I’ll head over to McDonalds.

A Little Country, A Little Rock & Roll

Driving back, I slowed down and enjoyed the scenery. Tijeras and the surrounding areas reminds me of that old Donnie and Marie Osmond song, “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll.” It strikes me as a mixture of different things. It’s a little desert (Hello, cactus) and a little bit coniferous forest (Hello, CC moms). Its mountains are every shade of brown dotted with evergreen trees. Horse farms appear along the highway, just down the road from the city center. It’s a little bit of everything.

We’ll only be here for a few more days, but I’m thankful for the visit. Initially, this wasn’t on our list of places to visit, but we had some items to give to Chris’ mom and this was a good mid-point between our two houses. I’m happy we made the trip, and I look forward to exploring the city more with the kids.

1 Comment
  1. Melanie Hemry says

    So fun to think of you and your family visiting Fort Sumner, New Mexico. That’s where my grandparents lived and where my dad grew up. My older sister was born there. I remember many vacations there. The Spanish-speaking kids in the neighborhood had trouble saying my name, Melanie. Finally someone explained that it was like watermelon. From then on they yelled, “Watermelonie! Want to play?” Happy days. Happy travels to you. Melanie Hemry

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