It took us two days to get from Corpus Christi to Albuquerque. 7 hours one day, 7 hours the next.
After a late start on Friday, we arrived in Fort Stockton, Texas at 1 AM. The choice of hotels in Northwest Texas was slim, but my $80 hotel turned out to be an outside entrance room no better than any “cheap” place I’d been in before. The dogs were tired, but bored and stir crazy. Meeko got into a bark-fest as soon as we settled into the room. The drive itself was incredibly boring, and the speed limit was always fluctuating as we passed through various small towns. I would not recommend it to anyone!
When I signed the receipt for the room, I noticed it said there would be a $100 charge for unregistered pets. I couldn’t remember what their pet policy was or if I was supposed to pay them something else so I just didn’t mention the doggies. At 9 in the morning, when I realized the housekeeping lady was coming, I still wasn’t sure if I needed to be careful with the dogs. As I was leaning out of my doorway checking to see if I could take the dogs out to go potty, the lady caught my eye and saw Meeko’s furry face poking out of the door. The look on her face was all I needed. Within 30 minutes I snuck the dogs out, packed up the car, and at an off-brand bowl of fruit loops cereal. Really, they couldn’t spring for the real thing at an $80 a night hotel.
3 hours later we hit the New Mexico border, welcoming us to the Land of Enchantment. “Are you feeling enchanted back there?” I asked the doggies. Meeko jingled her collar in response. Another sign informed us that we were now in Mountain time. Only a 1 hour difference from California now! The landscape was definitely Southwest. Everywhere there was sand, oil rigs, and scraggly cactus plants. It was so remote that for a while my phone could not connect to any data plan, so no GPS. Luckily it still let me make calls, so my sister confirmed which highways I needed to stay on.
We drove through several towns, many which seemed abandoned. Pueblos where the wooden skeleton was completely exposed, or motel signs that were rusted to the point of being illegible. The dogs were bored and hot, so we stopped at a state park with the word “lake” in it’s name. When I got the entrance I confirmed, “So, there is an actual lake in here?” We walked around for about an hour, Meeko swam and Snickers crashed a family’s camping picnic looking for treats. I had to walk underneath their tent to get her! So embarrassing. Meanwhile Meeko was off playing in the water by herself.
The town of Roswell was interesting, but pretty clear that the whole Alien thing is a tourist trap. I’d like to meet the Mayor who proposed that to boost their economy. “You guys. What if Aliens landed here. No, no, I know they didn’t, but we could say they did! And then we’d put all these corny alien statues and flying saucer models up along the highway. Maybe even an Aliens history museum?? People would totally stop you guys, just trust me.”As much as I love Scifi, I was so exhausted all I could think about was getting to our next hotel and going to sleep for a long, long time.
As we got closer to Albuquerque the landscape began to change. Some sand was red, and the 2 lane highway had turns and hills. In the distance, I could see some of the Rocky Mountains. Then I started noticing the clouds. They were all around me in a wide circle, seeming to float just above the horizon. These were not wispy two dimensional clouds– these were large and in charge clouds, so thick that the bottom of them looked flat and darker grey. It was only once I got to the outskirts of Albuquerque that I finally caught up to those clouds and found myself looking straight up at them.
Though we made the 7 hour drive in 8 hours (not bad considering the doggies), I still managed to run into more frustrations. My phone gps works most of the time in the city of Albuquerque, but in finding my Super 8 hotel in midtown, it was pointing me to the middle of an intersection. Naturally I assumed the hotel must be one of the corners of said intersection. I spent 15 minutes driving down every direction of that intersection. Finally I gave up and called the Super 8. Turns out it was several blocks from that intersection, and up on a hill. Nice going google maps.
By the time I unpacked and got the dogs settled, it was 8:30pm Mountain time and I had not eaten dinner yet. Determined to have a decent dinner, I was delighted to find a Panera nearby. Or so I thought. 1. It was not a Panera but some weird Southwest offshoot called Paradise Bakery 2. My phone gps took me to a Macy’s, which may be in the same mall complex as this bakery 3. By the time I realized both things it was 9:05pm and the place closed at 9pm as did every other nearby restaurant except for Applebees. Not surprisingly it was not very good.
I’m not sure if I am just having a string of bad luck, or if the stress of my housing situation is leaching into the rest of my life. As of right now, I (meaning my boyfriend and I) have still not been able to tie down a lease for a dog friendly apartment in San Francisco and will likely be homeless when I arrive there. He is still actively going to open houses and emailing landlords both in the city and out, but at this point it’s looking more and more likely that I will be continuing to live out of a hotel (and my suitcase) during July.
Meanwhile, I am in Albuquerque for 3 nights, so I will do my best to explore and have fun! I really wish my Super 8 room had a fridge, but the dogs are enjoying all of the ice cube treats.
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico