John and I started off our day at the crack of dawn, as we wanted to pack up the car, shower, and eat breakfast early enough to be able to do the Turquoise trail from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. The trail was really neat, it was about an hour long without stopping, but we made several stops along the way.

One of our first stops on the trail was Cerrillos, which was pretty much a ghost town. It is a Native American “village” I guess you could call it, but even though people clearly inhabit the area, there was no one in sight, all the stores were closed, and if we had waited a few minutes I’m pretty sure we would have seen a tumbleweed blowing down the main street!

Our next stop was Madrid, which although still resembled a road-side shanty town, it was a bit more built up and there were people in the shops and walking about. It is very interesting to image how the people in these tiny little towns live. I imagine that most of them rely on the tourists that pass through, eating at the few food options or buying souvenirs at the very overpriced shops.

Next we drove up to Sandia Crest, which had an elevation of almost 11,000 feet. From the top, you could see one hundred miles in every direction. There was lots of snow at the peak and extremely strong winds! John and I were freezing wearing our shorts that we had been so comfortable in just twenty minutes prior at the base of the mountain- and my eyes would not stop tearing from the strong winds! But the view was unbelievable, the pictures don’t do it the littlest bit of justice.

Once we finished admiring the view, we drove back down the mountain, and finished the drive to Albuquerque where we had lunch at a place called Golden Pride. I had fried chicken and John had a chicken sandwich and burrito. Everything was delicious, another great Reddit find.

After lunch we began the drive to Phoenix, which we thought was only five hours but didn’t realize that part of Arizona doesn’t participate in daylight savings time. Huge bummer, since the drive was actually six hours after the morning of driving, but oh well! The drive from Albuquerque to Phoenix was pretty interesting. New Mexico was very picturesque, beautiful pretty much everywhere you looked, but as we made our way into Arizona, the land became much more dry and desert-like. We saw many a tumbleweed and several little dust cyclones. Going through Native American country was very interesting, too. As we drove, every few miles there would be a little trailer home alone in the middle of the desert, with seemingly no electrical lines powering their home and we were speculating that maybe they don’t even have running water. It was very bizarre, especially since we saw hundreds of these lonely little houses during the journey. One of the most interesting experiences of today’s drive was an Indian radio station where they spoke Navajo and had traditional Native American folk songs complete with the huy-yuy-yuy-yuy and drum beat. After the desert land, trees started to become more prominent and before we knew it we were in the middle of a very dense mountainous forest, Tonto National Forest. We were even able stop on the highway and watch the sunset as it sunk beneath the wooded mountain peaks.

We arrived in Phoenix safely and were greeted by our friend Jake!  We’re so pumped to be visiting him in his town so he can show us around!  Not sure what the plans are for tonight, but we’re going to have fun regardless!

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