MTTS: Day Six – Lubbock, TX

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Today was our first actual day with MINI Takes the States. We woke up really bright and early to meet up with the other MINIs at the dealership. There were a lot of bleary eyed MINIs in the parking lot this morning…. I don’t think MINIs are naturally morning-types. Their human counterparts roamed around and foraged for coffee and breakfast. MINI provided breakfast burritos, but Brian and I passed, choosing to stick with our Cliff bars. We had a very long drive ahead of us today and we didn’t want to risk tummy upset. (They appeared to be McDonalds burritos and I’m not positive they would have been gluten-friendly even without to flour tortilla.)

Everyone roamed around and talked… Lots of photos were taken and introductions made. Many of us have been following/planning with this group on Facebook for months… It has been exciting to finally meet (in the real world) some of the people that we’ve been talking to for so long. Brian and I met another couple that started their trip almost a month ago. We’ve been following their adventure online. They are going all the way across the county with MINI and throwing in a bunch of extra stops before and after MTTS for a total of TWO months travel! IN A MINI!! Maybe that’ll be me and Brian some day! (I have a photo of the four of us, but my computer won’t connect right now, so I’m blogging on my phone… Love my iPhone!)

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We’ve been interviewed twice about our MINI… It’s so cool! I hope I can find the video!

As we left MINI Sandia (ABQ) this morning we drove through a crowd of people and out onto the highway where the police had blocked the roads. Superstar treatment!

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MINIs streamed out onto the highway and zoomed into the hills of Albuquerque.

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It was all very exciting at first… The sight of hundreds of MINIs caused a stir among the other cars… First looks of confusion then smiles as we passed. But as Albuquerque disappeared behind us the open roads of the plains stretched out before us boredom set in. The speed limit is 75… So that makes things more fun for the drivers… for a while…. I napped for a while… Played on my phone… When I had signal (which wasn’t very often) and quizzed Brian on his thoughts on alien life. Then Brian suggested I take another nap. Hmmm …

We finally arrived in Roswell, New Mexico shortly after noon. MINI had made arrangement for us to visit the International UFO Museum & Research Center. Brian and I breezed through fairly quickly. Most of the displays are news articles and documents relating to the Roswell UFO crash. I’ve been there before with Dad and I enjoyed reading the papers and looking at all the photos… Brian had been in the car too long and was in no mood for reading.

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We found a quiet spot for our picnic lunch and had just begun to eat when another lady sat down at a table near us…. And started ranting and yelling…. Not at us…. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t on a phone either…. One too many alien encounters, maybe? I dunno. We stuffed our lunch in our mouths and got out of there pretty quick.

After a quick stop at Target to restock our picnic supplies (and get me a bit of chocolate) we were on our way to Lubbock, TX.

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At the Texas-New Mexico State Line Metroplex MINI of Dallas was there to welcome us to Texas.

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MINI didn’t have anything planned for our evening in Lubbock, but a group of MINI enthusiasts had organized a meet up at a drive in theater. I’ve been wanting to go to a drive in forever…. Especially since we got the Roadster,so I pretty much whined and begged until Brian gave in and said we could go. The movie doesn’t start until nearly his bedtime… I promised to only stay through the first movie…Rise of the Planet of the Apes!!!

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MTTS: Day Four – Albuquerque, NM

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Day four!  We’ve spent so long planning this trip, it hardly seems like we could already be up to day four!  Brian are I are having a wonderful time seeing parts of the country that we’ve never seen before.  We continue to be amazed by how different the geography is in each state.  Texas was prettier than I would have ever expected.

IMG_7658This morning we had planned to go to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park (see, STATE park… makes all the difference!)  The forecast was calling for rain all day, but I really had my heart set on seeing the canyon.  The day before had been so bright/overcast that photos had been difficult.  I figured the storm clouds would atIMG_7568 least give me a break in that department.  As it turned out, we managed to beat the storm almost the entire day.  It caught up with us for a bit in New Mexico, but by then we were in the car and didn’t really care.

I’m so glad we decided to visit the canyon.  It was beautiful!  I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and I would have to say that I enjoyed this much more.  I was on an airplane/bus tour from Las Vegas, so I didn’t get to see much beyond the rim, and it was pretty and all….. but I dunno…. I’ve also visited the Waimea Canyon in Kauai and it was cool too….. but I just really enjoyed the Palo Duro Canyon more.  Maybe it was because Brian and I got to go down into the Palo Duro Canyon IMG_7541and explore more.  There are all these walking trails and picnic areas.  We really had a wonderful time.  If you are ever in the area, this is a “must-see.”

I wish we would have had more time to walk the trails, but the clouds were pressing in and the temperature kept dropping (76° in Texas!).  The park ranger had warned us on our way in to head back if it started to rain because where we were headed was beyond two roads that often flooded.  We also had a 6 hour drive to reach Albuquerque, NM.

We had a couple of Route 66 stops semi-planned along the way to Albuquerque to break up the long drive.IMG_7703 Our first stop was at the Cadillac Ranch.  I guess I never really read up on it too much…. I’d seen photos and heard about it, but never bothered to research it.  I just had it in my head that it was some kind of weird “art” along Route 66.  Which is mostly true…. but less “art” and more graffiti/trash heap.  I hadn’t realized that people were encouraged to vandalize/deface the Cadillacs even more than they already were….. I have to say, I was totally disappointed.  It was just a bunch
IMG_7708of old cars with their noses buried in a mud pit that had been spray painted over so many times that the paint had bubbled and peeled.  Piles of discarded spray paint cans littered the ground and the stink of dirt and paint filled the air.  It was sad.  Just really, really sad.

I napped for a while in the car and I think we missed a couple of the other Route 66 stops, but honestly, after the Cadillac Ranch I think we were both feeling less interested in Route 66 attractions.  By staying on the main highway we could do 75mph and Albuquerque was calling.

We found the Historic District of Albuquerque and had dinner at the Church Street Cafe.  It had gotten really good reviews on Google for authentic mexican cuisine.  Maybe I don’t like authentic Mexican food?  I don’t know, I was a bit disappointed.  The place was really cute, but the staff was very disinterested and inattentive.  The food was much spicier than I enjoyed and very thin on the protein.  Brian enjoyed his tacos though.

After dinner we roamed around Old Town and checked out the art galleries and other little shops.  The store owners/artists were vary chatty and friendly.  Brian IMG_9083and I got caught up by one artist in particular and spent nearly 45 minutes “hostage”…. I finally bought a little greeting card reprint and we made our escape.  I liked a number of his other paintings, but I’m not much of an art buyer….. The card I bought was a print of the painting that had been on display outside and had drawn me to the store to begin with.  I just liked the bright colors and happy expression on the bird.  Not sure what I will do with the card…. maybe frame it?  Or just give it it’s very own page in the scrapbook perhaps.

After that, Brian didn’t want me to talk to anyone else for fear we’d get caught up for another 45 minutes.  We headed back to the hotel since we needed to do laundry anyway.  I caught up on my post card and blogging while the laundry ran…. and now it is once again time for bed…. Where do the days go!?