Happy Hannukah and Merry Christmas!

It has been quite a crazy time for us since our last entry. We began our road trip in earnest, leaving Fort Collins behind until we return for our belongings.

Let’s start with Las Vegas, New Mexico. This will be quick, as there isn’t much there. We stayed there because it was the closest KOA to Santa Fe (the one in Santa Fe is closed after October), and looked pretty. I think the owners photographed the campgrounds under the only tree for miles around. It was so late when we arrived, we decided to spend the first night in a cabin. When we woke up, everything was covered in snow, so we stayed in the cabin for four nights. The dogs each had their own bunk, and had a blast. They ran around in the snow trying to bury things – Emma mostly her head. Remember, she’s blond. Jeffrey just rolls his eyes and keeps his distance from his crazy baby sis.

Santa Fe has really grown. Gone are the days of quaint galleries, restaurants and spas along dirt roads. Now, they even have Cold Stone right along side a GAP. It is still worth going for the beautiful jewelry and clothes. Also, the people watching is great. I would definitely recommend a trip there if nothing else for Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa & Resort. They pamper you like no where else I’ve ever been.

Our next stop was Carlsbad, New Mexico. This place made Las Vegas look like a forest. There were about 100 campers there, and we were the only ones in a teardrop. Some of those campers are bigger than homes. They have all the comforts of home – satellite dishes, microwaves, double ovens – you name it. I was a bit intimidated with our teardrop (Peregrine) and porto-potty. When the winds hit 85 mph, it was scary. The tent room was fighting becoming airborne, and Peregrine rocked violently. After it was all over, we had three broken poles, and a torn tent. Stewart was able to make new poles that are stronger than the old ones, but we still need to locate a tent maker to sew up the torn bits. We have an entirely new respect for the pioneers who settled the west. And they did it without a heater and refrigerator!

If you are wondering why Carlsbad, I’ll tell you. Carlsbad Caverns is awesome! I have wanted to go there all my life, and it did not disappoint. It takes over an hour to get to the bottom, and it is 56 F degrees all year. It is also pitch black, but there are lights strategically placed so you don’t fall 754 ft and kill yourself. There was hardly anyone there this time of year, so it was doubly magical having the place practically all to ourselves. You have to whisper because voices carry up to half a mile. That was especially difficult for Stewart who doesn’t hear quite as well as he used to. Too many rock concerts. These pictures don’t do the place justice. Go to the National Park Service website or better yet, go to Carlsbad yourself. We recommend Lucy’s Mexicali Restaurant & Entertainment. The green chili queso was delicious.

The next day, our last in New Mexico, we ventured north to Roswell, home of the most thoroughly documented (and covered up) sighting in the United States. The UFO Museum and Research Center is one of the cheesiest places we have ever been. It is worth going just for the laughs. For all intents and purposes, the museum is a bunch of photocopied sheets wrapped in Saran Wrap! There are plastic aliens, and aluminum foil space ships. No kidding! Oh, and the crowning glory is the alien autopsy (see picture). The folks who work there take it really seriously, so if you go, laugh behind your hand. The dogs were allowed in, which was nice, so they added to our enjoyment because they believed everything they saw. In fact, Jeffrey is still sleeping with his pet alien.

We are now in Dallas, TX, my home town. No sooner did we get here than we left for Gordon, TX (no relation) to spend the weekend with my good friend, Steven Herzog and his partner, Shawn. They have a gorgeous 50 acre ranch where you can pet their longhorn cattle. No joke! They are so sweet. Of course, we stayed on the other side of the fence just in case. After introducing us to their neighbors, we were taken on a tour of this 6000 acre heaven. If you are looking for a little bit of heaven right outside the city, this is it. 7R Ranch is beautiful. It felt a bit like it was designed and built by Ralph Lauren. If we were thinking about settling back in Texas, this would be a great place to retire.

Sunday night, back in Big D, we all had dinner with Michael Allison and his partner, Andrew. It was so wonderful being back on my old familiar stomping grounds. We ate at Gloria’s over in Oakcliff, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Don’t ask me why, but I just love it. Salvarorian food is delicious, plus there are many things that are not red meat for me to eat. Stewart didn’t speak, once again, because he was busy eating! Going by my old house where I grew up on Lavendale was a bit traumatic. In the place of my families beautiful white brick home with the ivy covered columns was this modern monstrosity. Of course, that is par for the course for Dallas. Anything over ten years old gets torn down! The bones of the neighborhood were the same, but everything was different. No more Lester Melnick or Wall’s Delicatessen (my first job). Instead, Borders Books and Music is where the old Safeway used to be, and White House/Black Market used to be a gas station. All in all, it is good to be home. We are going to a movie over at Northpark tonight – an old Christmas day tradition, and tomorrow I am getting my hair cut by Lawrence Bonano, who has cut my hair for over 20 years followed by lunch at Lucky’s with John Hitt, my old college buddy. We’re going to one of the judges whose campaign I ran back in 1992, John Creuzot’s re-swearing in New Year’s Day, and lunch at UNT with my old professor, Dr. Sahliyeh on the 5th…Who said you can’t go home?

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