Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bug-maggedon on wheels

Phase 2 of our vacation has begun.  Phase 1 happened when I drove my husband and two sons to the big summer math meetings (yay! what teenage boys don't want to go to math meetings with their mother?!?).  Phase 2 involved driving even further west, all the way to New Mexico.

We left the little old Prius (with its original cassette deck and homemade crunchy dents) at home, and rented a van. The smallest van we could rent is this 15-passenger behemoth.  

What this van lacks in economy and efficiency, it makes up for in several other ways, most notably lots and lots of space for luggage, including a pair of bikes, plus plenty of space for people to spread out.  Photo bomb!

On the way back home from New Mexico, we'll have 5 people, and three of them will be able to stretch out on the benches and sleep while the others drive and ride shotgun.  That's just amazing luxury right there.

It's also (marginally?) cheaper than buying multiple plane tickets, renting bikes, and paying for multiple airport shuttles.  Well, at least I hope so.  We'll see, once we tally up tolls and gas.

A dubious feature of this amazing van is that it comes equipped with a windshield outfitted for perfect bug-meggedon.  Ewwwww.  There is just way too much scrambled anatomy happening in the front of this vehicle.  Yuckers.

So, we left the math meetings in Columbus around 3 p.m. and barreled our way west.  My husband and I traded off driving, with him taking late night and me taking early morning, our van passing the St. Louis Arch as twilight fell, passing Garth Brooks Boulevard in the middle of the night (jeepers!), and seeing the sun rise on the windmill farms that begin at Clarendon, Texas and that continue for dozens and dozens of miles.   We stopped only to refill the tank a bunch of times, scraping off as many sticky bug intestines as we could.

We arrived in Santa Fe just in time for lunch.  We found wind sculptures of a different form, but just as mesmerizing.

We have left behind us the realm of expensive restaurant dining, re-entering the frugal land of home-cooked meals that is a well-honed tradition among my extended family.    We've pushed tables together to make a long, long table that can hold all sixteen of us,  . . .

. . . and we've claimed cooking nights.  I'm cooking on Tuesday -- I'll have to think of something fun to make.

In the meantime, it's good to be back with family again.  The best parts of vacation, for me, are always the people I get to share experiences and food with, even more that the experiences and food themselves.  It's great to be here!

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