A Canyon Caravan Part 4

Alamogordo and Tent Night #1

“This is a six person tent! So, scoot your boot!” one girl says to another. We had spent the first night night one of our trip driving all night, and we were ready to sleep. It wasn’t quite as cool as I was hoping, but we weren’t at a high elevation yet.

After having a nice, long meal, we followed directions to the Roadrunner Campground in Alamogordo, New Mexico. We rolled in with our large group and bombarded the man at the check-in desk. We were surprised by the fees for the tent camping. It wasn’t a great deal, but we could see that most folks staying there had RV’s or camper trailers. Finding the tent spots was easy as there weren’t many. It was a grassy area with a few trees. The downside was that it was right by a fence with a somewhat busy street beside it. Knowing that the next day we would be in the mountains, we made the best of it. The showers were clean and much needed at this point. Now, I love camping, and I like sleeping in tents. But showering is often my least favorite thing about camping. I’m not big on complaining, but I’ll try to give you a picture.

It’s not the cleanliness that is an issue; I can deal with dirty. The good thing about these showers was that they are not timed. The showers at the Grand Canyon are timed…eight minutes only, but that’s for later in the story. The hard part for me is that all the kids (all girls) have to come in with me. There are drippy towels, soap dropped, and girls fighting as a result. I just get through it without yelling, and I’m still glad at the end we are all clean. Sometimes I imagine my husband having solitude in his shower, but this doesn’t do anything for my attitude. So we washed up, and then headed to the ole tent. I was happy to lie down on my down sleeping bag with a Thermarest pad underneath. I didn’t need the covers, but the padding felt great. After some usual bickering and goodnighting, we all settled in for the night. I smiled as I fell asleep loving this vacation already.

I don’t remember much about the sleeping part of this night. It must have been fine in that case! I think our tent slept the latest because as I stumbled out of the tent in the morning, the other families were already taking down their tents. Let me just say that no matter who sleeps great in a tent, everyone looks pretty rough in the morning when they come out. Another general note about camping is that I like the sound of the zipper on the tent. I don’t know why. It just makes me feel outdoorsy and adventurous. I’m feeling it now as I imagine the sound.

We had brought our favorite cereals, and we all sat at the picnic table and had a quick breakfast. It is quite fun to share your cereal. Other people’s cereals are always more attractive to kids than the ones they brought. Also, plastic bowls and spoons spill a lot when you are camping with little ones. You have to just accept the many milk spills and move on. Milk looks weird in dirt if you were wondering.

After clean-up, we broke camp and left. It was more involved and took a lot longer than one little sentence, but I’ll let you imagine. It didn’t take us long to arrive at White Sands National Park. The car was filled with ooo’s and ahh’s as we entered the white landscape. I felt like I was heading into a weird science/military/alien movie because the roads are sand, and it is a bit isolated out there. Also, at times the park is closed for missile testing. Hmm. Thankfully, they were open that day, and we had beautiful weather. We had brought some sleds with us (the round kind) since some of us had been here before. The kids were running up and down hills, and I had to warn my oldest girl to stop exploring so far from us. The sands go on and on, and it is a beautiful, strange sight.

We let the sledding begin, and we all took turns. It was quite fun, and I would recommend it to anyone. The little ones complained a bit about the brightness of the sun reflecting off the sand, so it would have been good to have sunglasses for them. The highlight for the kids was seeing their Nana and Papa sled down together. Many sandcastles were built and destroyed that morning, and we had sand in all of our clothes by the time we decided to go. We grabbed some sandwiches and drinks at the park store, and some of the kids got souvenirs.

We got on the road excited about our next destination. Drum roll…..Canyon De Chelly! It was going to be a long drive for we were leaving New Mexico and heading to Arizona.

I’ll try not to take so long writing the next bit because it is quite entertaining because of where we stayed. Also it begins our excellent (no joke) campfire cooking.

To be continued…

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