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New Mexico: White Sands National Park

  From February 2022 On one of our first days in Las Cruces, we drove out to White Sands National Park.   East of the city,  I noted the turn off for Aguirre Springs Campground where I stayed in 2018 .  As we approached the national park, we rose in elevation to the point that we were in the snow again.   There are a variety of "trails" at the national park.  We took the longest one at the end of the road, Alkali Flats, which was about 5 miles.   Basically, you walk through the sand using line of sight to the next visible marker.  The semi-frozen condition of the sand actually made it easier to walk uphill.  Where the sand thawed in the sun, it was one step forward, 1/2 step slide back.   In the middle of it all, Julia had to sit down and take in all of the wonder.   We hiked some some sand dunes a few years ago at a Jockey Ridge State Park in North Carolina, but White Sands was on an entirely different scale for size and beauty.   

Wisconsin Winter: Let's Get Out of Here

 From late January 2022

With Justin safely moved back into his dorm room in mid-January, we started looking for ways to escape the Wisconsin winter.  

January 2022

Typical Wisconsin getaways are to Florida or the Phoenix area, but we weren't interested in either of those locations.  I wanted to do some hiking in the mountains, but didn't want to deal with a lot of snow.  We were seeking warmer temperatures but not necessarily the warmest temperatures.  Spring-like during Wisconsin's January would suffice.

We ended up making Airbnb reservations for two locations in New Mexico (Albuquerque and Las Cruces) and one location in Arizona (Bisbee).  Las Cruces has long been on our list of "retire-to" cities, and we wanted a week to explore it.  We chose Albuquerque and Bisbee because I knew they would be good bases to explore trails.  We would make adjustments and additions along the way.

We got up early on the morning of January 31st and drove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a lunchtime stop at my parents' condo.  It was good to talk to them in person and see how they were surviving the pandemic.  My dad is turning 90 next month.

My parents spent their early retirement years with an ocean view condo in San Diego.  They eventually returned to my dad's hometown in Cedar Rapids and seem content with the Iowa lifestyle, lower cost of living, and down-to-earth people.  

After lunch, Julia and I drove to a small town just north of Kansas City, Missouri, where we had reservations at our favorite dog-friendly (no added fee) Red Roof Inn.

Red Roof fangirl


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