California to New Mexico
Sometimes talk is cheap. Sometimes, it takes you places.
Just a few short weeks after relocating to my hometown, heart broken and licking my wounds, I sat in a small town diner and drew a map.
It started with small talk. Day dreaming really, with my 14 year old niece and my parents when the word showed up: Road trip.
We all threw our destinations on the table, perhaps half jokingly, but then at some point began negotiating in earnest: Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Four corners, Navajo and Apache lands, Monument Valley, Chimayo, Santa Fe... Sedona.
Since I was old enough to drive, hitting the road has always been my remedy for something (anything) ailing my young adult life. Chasing the spotted orange dividers along the asphalt delivered solace, clarity of mind, and an outlet when I was looking for one. On good days it provided a small sense of wonder and adventure as I’d try to purposefully get lost in the back country roads beyond my town.
Perhaps it was my inner gypsy, some 20 years later that simply longed to soothe my broken heart with the melodic movement of driving down endless stretches of road in God’s country. I was in.
One week later, a yellow highlighter outlined our path on a paper map. Our pit stops and over night spots were dotted in black ink, and the duration of time it would take us to get there and back was decided. Sedona was off the list. 4 weeks later, we set out.
Our play list on repeat, the inside jokes and perpetual laughs rolled in. It was exhausting, an exhilarating, to just keep rolling through what felt like foreign terrain to my Californian world.
We crossed our third state line into dust storms, lightening, rain that mingled with earth to some how drop mud from the sky onto our humming vehicle. A phenomenon that seemed to only happen in my driving rotation. Yet we journeyed on, past the sparsely scattered mobiles homes and box houses often accompanied by stacked tires, swing sets and the occasional shipwrecked cars. How beautiful this land was.
There was one apparent things to me: How disparate our local worlds may be from one another, yet how they fit together, like pieces of a landscaped puzzle that covered thousands of miles of paved and unpaved roads. One world, one human race, many realities and unfolding stories coexisting concurrently. But it was evident that we belong. To this earth. To each other.
We arrived in Santa Fe 6 days later. The air was fresh and it was different. Life was a different shade with a distinctly different history that somehow evaded the present. The church bells called and the sense of belonging conveyed, that really, it was all home. All of it.
Follow our 7 day road trip route, or allow it to inspire your own.
Day 1 ~ Sacramento, California through Reno, Nevada, to Lone Pine, California. Stopping at Manzanar and Mono Lake. Staying the night in Lone Pine, California.
Day 2 ~ Lone Pine, California through Death Valley National Park. Staying the night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Day 3 ~ Las Vegas, Nevada to the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Stopping at Hoover damn. Staying the night at the Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Day 4 ~ Grand Canyon, Arizona to Farmington New Mexico. Stopping at Navajo National Monument, 4 Corners, and Monument Valley, Utah. Staying the night in Farmington, New Mexico.
Day 5 ~ Farmington, New Mexico to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Stopping in Dulce, Chimayo and Taos, New Mexico. Staying the night in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Day 6 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Day 7 ~ Las Vegas, Nevada to Sacramento, California.
Listen to our New Mexico road trip playlist on Spotify.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
From my heart center to yours, Noemi