Hitting the road from Moriarty we are not all that far away from Roswell. We love these short rides and relish in the stopping when needed. However this time we are off the beaten path to get down to Roswell and there’s not much on this lil’ highway that we’re on. We vere off of the main highway (40) onto 285S to get there, and we are so pleased to finally see a rest stop in Miso and Pecos Valley. There doesn’t seem to be anything but this rest stop, but that was what we were all aching for ; ) I run into the bathroom and and when I come out K is all in a stir b/c he sees some military trucks. He knows we are less than a half hour from Roswell at this point and he’s just certain that these trucks are headed to Area 51. It becomes quite a story in the car b/c we are headed in the same direction of these trucks. Even S gets involved and is instructing me not to drive too close to them b/c they could get us : )
We are seeing lots of sheep farms and plateaus at this point. The terrain is just stunning. You have dessert leading up to these deep reds and browns of plateaus that are breathtaking. I love driving through all of these dinky little freighter towns were the excitement of the day seems to be the trains rolling through. There is tumbleweed blowing past us and across the road and it seems the businesses only open if a customer walks in. Otherwise, not much is going on. What it must be like to live in these tiny places. Us big-city folk have a hard time picturing it with all of the luxuries outside our front door! It isn’t long before we see the Roswell city limit sign and we are joking about how we don’t even need any signs to tell us exactly where we are at this point.
Businesses have aliens standing at their front doors, and the street lamps have alien head covers. It’s pretty trippy this little town. McD’s is built like a space ship, and of course, the highlight being the UFO Museum and Research Center! Where…. I might add…. S is quite certain that we met the real-live aliens! The statues that you see behind K in one of these photos started moving around and and glowing and then the UFO was lit with lights and spinning motions. He would not rationalize with me that these were pretend aliens, and a conversation with SBJ that evening on the phone was the full description of how we met the aliens in Roswell! To this day he remarks at the photos as “those are the ones!” To freaking cute.
Well, I forced my kiddos to eat at the spaceship McD’s and I have to say that they had officially sworn off that food for life after that visit. They even told me later that I “forced them to eat that crap”…. lol. I just thought that some fries at the spaceship would be cool. Their hungry bellies had different opinions of that! ; ) Once we were fueled up and headed out it was pretty quickly decided that having accomplished their “wanna’s” on this trip they were over-ready to head home. They were really missing daddy at that point, and while we could have done an adventure to a cave or cavern as we had discussed, they were really eager to just be home at this point. So we map out a journey plan and head north.
If we can make it to OK that same night, we could make it home the next day. That was sort of the game plan but we had to see how everyone fared that ambition. We passed a few more small towns on the way back to route 40, but by far my favorite was that of Portales. When you entered city limits there was this enormous sign welcoming you…. “Welcome to Portales! 17,000 really friendly people (only 3-4 old grouchy ones).” What’s not to love? We made awesome time, till we hit TX. Texas just felt a little more treacherous. Such a tiny little land mass to cross over, so insanely smelly!!!, and M just needed to nurse more than usual. This was her first and only rough spot in the entire journey! She was just such a trooper, and this night I needed to stop 3 consecutive times to nurse. And on that 3rd time I told the kids that if she was just not happy, we were stopping and trying again tomorrow. That I was not going to push this further than needed.
It was during that 3rd attempt that I pulled into one of these road-side hotels and the kids were pleading with me to keep going. They (my trusty city kids) told me that if we had to stop could we at least stop at a nice place that was clean?! ; ) Oh my I nearly lost it on that on. It was just too funny. But they absolutely hate being teased about being the city kids. I obliged, but said that if we are looking for another place, then M gets to nurse one more time. I pulled off on some really dark side ramp leading back to 40 and this seemed to be the key to getting her to sleep. She passed out, I was able to get her into her seat, and we were happily back on the road headed to OK. That night we made it till about midnight and just outside of OK City in Yukon, OK. Found a great little place and got some zzz’s.
Hitting the road the next day I realized just how few trees we had been seeing as there now seemed to be so many. It was beautiful, and a smooth ride through the rest of OK. I noted several cool places that we’d check out when we’d pass through town again. We found dug up some old CD’s we had not listened to in quite some time and had a really fun sing along, and saw so many horse farms it was such a beautiful sight! We’d never seen that many horses running free out in the wilderness as the surely intended to be. It was super cool for especially D, the horse lover. Part of our trip was even entertained by K with his awesome (super powered) magnet balls that he picked up at the crater in AZ. These things are insanely powerful that they hold to each other through his cheek skin! So he was being a little clown in the back seat entertaining us with his new toy. Quite funny!
It was a relief to enter into MO, and that was where we pulled off for a Subway stop. Sarcoxie, MO had a little place to pull off and we grabbed a bite to eat. A nice break from the car, and prepped them for some sleep time in the car. We set up some movies and got everyone set for the trek across MO. Saw lots of signs for caverns which I’d love to do with the kids some day soon, and even say a bald eagle in flight right over our car on the highway! The scenery was lovely and made me wonder why MO tends to get a bad rap? There was this amazing lit-up mountain/hilltop with trees totally a glow in xmas lights and it was labeled Santa’s Magical Kingdom. If the kids were not so determined to get to their own bed that night we would have stopped there for sure. But even they seemed to look at it and not blink and eye that evening : ) They wanted home. MO felt super-duper long to me and I was eager to reach St. Louis. Once we did (finally) get there we stopped for gas and some ice cream. The ran around some McD’s tunnels before our one-last-leg-of this trip.
Once I figured that I was on the right highway home, it was smooth sailing and went really quite quickly. We pulled into Chicago about 1am that evening/morning with 3 asleep and K entertaining me with the movie he was watching. We decided to stop in on SBJ at his work just to say “hi” and we’re finally home. We joked about how excited we are to drink Chicago water again, and of course to lay head to bed in our own home. I just love pulling into Chicago after being away. That skyline is breath-taking and it’s just such a warm feeling of returning “home.” We needed to cruise up LSD, so that was an added bonus in my book. To have the lake on one side, and the city on the other. It’s nice to have Chicago as your home. It felt like we had been gone for months. Even now, being home and catching up on things I still feel like were gone for months. I have not quite adjusted to the fact that we are returning to our regularly-scheduled and still revelling in the glory of this journey. There is the overwhelming sense of accomplishment I feel, a higher step of wisdom, a bite from the travel bug now that I know that my kids super-dig being on the road, and a serious eagerness to do this again sooner vs later!
Upon return, it just so happens that Santa had visited while were away, and so when SBJ returned home from work that morning, the kids got yet another round of openings and it was just a perfect round up to the holiday season for all of us!