Category Archives: NM

California: The Ride Out (White Sands, Dory Visit, Santa Barbara)

While preparing to leave Austin was a bit of a bummer we were super pumped about the fun ride out west that we had planned.

The excitement of an adventure certainly helps when you get that unavoidable twang of anxiety that comes with picking up and leaving a place you just got acclimated to.

We headed Northwest out of Austin on a Thursday afternoon toward Ft. Stockton, TX which would be our first overnight stop.

White Sands National Monument:

Ft. Stockton put us a few hours from WSNM (New Mexico) which was our first planed detour on our ride out.


As soon as we arrived we knew that the 110 mile round trip detour off of I-10 was worth it – as you can see from above.


After scoping out the scene for a minute at the visitor center, we decided to rent a cheap sled so that we could slide down the dunes while exploring this amazing place.


Me and Chica getting ready to go down the hill.

This park is unbelievable.  On the approach to the Monument, you would never guess there would be snow white sand dunes situated in the middle of nowhere.  The whole surrounding scenery was intense.


Every time one of us would slide down the hill, Chica would come barreling down as well.  Needless to say, she had a blast and was well exercised for the second leg of our drive.


We had already driven about five hours on our way to White Sands and goal was to drive another 440 miles to Phoenix that same day to stay on schedule for our visit  with Dory in Orange County.


So 440 miles to Phoenix equated to about another 9 hours on the road.  A 14 hour driving day with a stop at White Sands was a lot, but it just doesn’t seem as bad when driving through the endless Southwestern beauty of New Mexico and Arizona.

General Patton Memorial Museum:

Our drive from Phoenix to SoCal was beautiful!  After crossing into CA we stopped off randomly for gas and wound up at the museum.


In another random on that stop, we ran into a veteran from PA and he schooled us a bit.  The gentleman informed us that Patton’s troops would simulate desert warfare in this particular locale  while training for battle in North Africa during WWII – hence the location of the memorial.


So glad we got to pay tribute!


We arrived at Dory’s mid-day Saturday; it was so good to see him! Stuffing our faces with amazing food was on the agenda; Dory and Katie didn’t disappoint!


One of the nicest surprises, for me at least, was the Boba (Taiwanese bubble tea) at Class 302.  Never really got into it before, but this place was bomb.


And we had one unexpected, but not surprising event happen: Amy shaved the back of her head!


One day into being a Californian and Amy goes grunge!  This was inspired by Katie, who had this bad ass design of her own and Amy wanted it…personally, I kind of like it 🙂

While the weather was uncharacteristically rainy during our stay in SoCal, we had an amazing time with Dory and Katie.  Looking forward to the next visit!

Drive to Paso Robles:

We left SoCal early Monday morning and got a taste of the terrible traffic these poor people deal with on a daily basis.  Once we past Santa Monica on the 1, the traffic opened up and we were on our way to Santa Barbara for a quick bite.


This place is simply stunning!  No wonder when looking into staying here it was crazy expensive.


All good though, as you can see the rest of the ride up wasn’t so bad.


It was great to arrive at our home in Paso and looking forward to seeing all this beautiful place has to offer!

Santa Fe, NM

Packing up our gear on Sunday morning and saying goodbye to the amazing people we met on the Western Slope was really sad.  It started to kick in that this was “it”.  “It” not being the last time in Palisade and definitely not the end of the friendships we made, but “it” being the end of one of the most incredible, amazing, fantastic (you get the point) chapters in our lives.

BUT on to the next one!

To break up the ride to Austin we decided to stop half way through, and oh look, Santa Fe happens to be right about half way.  Driving from UT to NM was especially awesome with the Lunar Eclipse unfolding in the mountains north of Santa Fe.


No we’re not staying at Motel 6!  We booked a sweet little Casita a few miles outside of Santa Fe, NM.


This place was awesome and Chica was able to expand her horizons.


As for Santa Fe, we are so glad we made the stop.  Great food, beautiful town and culture with the abundance of art.

The first night we took a quick walk around the Plaza area and saw some beautiful, old (1600’s) buildings while waiting for our 8:30 reservations at Cafe Pasquals, but never actually got there!


(Cathedral Basilica of St Francis)

We should have known that starting on cocktails at the Secreto Lounge (worth it!) hours before our reservation  would likely alter our dinner plans – and this isn’t hindsight being 20/20, just common sense.


Still thinking we were going to make it to Pasqual’s we stopped at the Coyote Cafe Rooftop Cantina for a drink and some chips & salsa to hold us over – and then came a waiter, Justin.  This guy was born for sales and quite frankly we were hungry.  He ensured we were served well, and out of nowhere appeared lightly fried cheese and bacon stuffed  Jalapeno shooters.  Umm, not hungry anymore!


On our second day the cell service was not great at the Casita, so we cut out of work early to explore Santa Fe.  What the hell, right?  We only live once.

We started our excursion by grabbing lunch at The Shed and we knew it would be a good day.  If it’s not obvious, this place is MONEY!

With full bellies we took a walk to Canyon Road to explore the art galleries Santa Fe has to offer.



We learned that Alexei Butirskiy is the freaking man and that we need to make WAY more money to afford ill art.

The combination of the early wake up call from the roosters and the heavy Spanish food made us sleepy and we rolled into Cafe Greco for some coffee, and to our delight, live music.


We still had time to kill and appetites to gain before our dinner reservation at 7 – we were not missing this one! – so why not stop for a beer at the Draft Station overlooking the Plaza?



Beers were excellent.

And for the finale – tapas at El Meson.


Go there!

Thanks for a great time Santa Fe!