Road Trip USA – Day Fourteen “Land of Enchantment”

en-chant-ment noun – the state of being under a spell, magic.

One of my favorite words is enchantment – the magic...

In life, I try to sprinkle pixie dust to the mundane to helps us remember that at every moment we have the opportunity to make the ordinary extraordinary! So it is no surprise that I had lived in a state with a tag line boasting “the land of enchantment” for many years!

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Has it really been over a year since I started the journaling of our Road Trip USA? What in the world?!  Seriously? Time is moving at warp-speed.  So without further ado, I offer our final day, the closure to our Road Trip, our visit to New Mexico!

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We concluded our Southwest trip with a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We snuggled with our former neighbors, visited friends and favorite places. We consumed as much green chili and breakfast burritos from the Frontier Restaurant as humanly possible! This was an awesome way to wind down from our trip, reminisce and connect. Home.

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I loved our life in New Mexico. I clearly remember the day we arrived in Albuquerque for the first time. The manner we arrived echoed the feel of our new “home” – simple and expansive.

Before moving to New Mexico in 1997, Quinn and I had owned a home in Virginia Beach. Once we decided to take a leap of faith and move out west, we downsized and sold it all! Now that I am reflecting, it seems a pattern or habit of ours…hmmm.

We packed up everything we owned in our two cars, cats riding gunshot and drove for a week across country. What a simple time.  To basically carry everything you own in two cars.

I will never forget our approach to Albuquerque. The song “Great Pets” by Jane’s Addiction came on the radio and all of a sudden the flat, open endless terrain became interrupted by the enormity of the east side of the Sandia Mountains. For a girl that was raised in Ohio, this mountain looked enormous!

With excitement and anticipation we began our drive through the more lush, rural side of the Sandia Mountain to the urban west side of the mountain – Albuquerque. The enormity, expanse and simplicity of the town is incredible. After our almost 11 years of life in this town I am convinced one either falls under the enchantment spell of the west or doesn’t. It is isn’t a place for everyone, and honestly, the natives and inhabitants of the town like it that way.

“When you turn around, you’ll see something I bet you’ve never seen before. If it takes your breath away, then you’ll fit in nicely. If you don’t feel anything, then maybe you don’t belong here.”  Veronica Randolph Batterson

We were moving so Quinn could attend The International Institute of Chinese Medicine (IICM) to study Chinese medicine.  I had interviewed and accepted a position at the best hospital in the world, (I’m a little biased, but I am pretty sure it is!) Presbyterian Healthcare Services in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. I made some of my closest friendships at that hospital. Many of my friendships in the unit began in our early twenties and we shared an intimate lens into our ‘growing up.’ We partnered each other as we entered adulthood with one another- growing our families, marriages, divorces, careers, celebrations, buying homes and holding each other close through some of our friends and families untimely deaths. Special people. Special bonds.

We were living in a sketchy part of town, in our rented apartment and life was good.

Neighbors 

After a few years, and being the victim of several crimes in our apartment complex, we decided to rent a home in a better area of town.  We rented a sandy-brown flat roofed stucco home that would hold some our most special memories –  Quinn’s completion of studies, my completion of a Master’s degree in Science and Nursing and the arrival of our first two daughters. It was also the home where we met Sherry and Tom, or as our family calls them, “Sherrytom.”  Sherrytom – a perfect compound word.

 

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Sunday Dinner with Sherrytom.

 

After a few weeks in our new home, Quinn was out back playing horse-shoes by himself. Tom came up to our fence (think Mr. Wilson) and said, “howdy neighbor.” Quinn invited him over, the two drank some beer and played shoes and this began a friendship that we believe was inevitable.  From that day forward, we spent every Sunday together having “Sunday dinner.” Tom even built little wooden steps between our two homes called the “neighbor’s steps” so we could visit each other more easily. They became our best friends. When we moved, they gifted us a pendulum clock with a plaque engraved “neighbors by chance; friends by destiny.”  

Good Buddies

Sean and Liz are our Good Buddies.  We met Sean and Liz through Quinn’s school of Chinese medicine. Sean and Liz are the type of friends that you can enjoy a bottle of wine and then sing and act out the entire score to the musical Rent. (yes, this did happen!)

Inside jokes, intimate memories and shared life.  Good Buddies. Circling back through Albuquerque, visiting and spending time with Neighbors, Good Buddies and all our friends was the perfect ending, like a cherry on top of a big old sundae on our road trip adventure.

 

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Breakfast at Frontier with Good Buddies.

 

 

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Lunch at Garduno’s with some of the CCU gang! (best margaritas, ever.)

 

This trip was a trip of a lifetime. I know for sure our family is at its best when we are doing life – having adventure – and we are committed to continuing to make changes and adaptions in our everyday life to allow for more!

If you have never visited any of the National Parks in the USA – GO! Experience them! They are treasures, truly, and a gift for you and I.

I conclude with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt…

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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