Scenic Southwest and Texas

Trip Start Mar 17, 1996
Trip End May 23, 1996

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, April 9, 1996

March 27 we left L.A. and drove east to Las Vegas. There was even a Thousand Trails campground in Vegas, so we set up camp there...or tried. It was windy so the tent wouldn't stay up in the sand pit meant for tents. We had to use the nearby grass. We pretty much just wandered and checked out the various casinos as Josh wasn't into the whole gambling thing. We compared the various buffets and think we found the cheapest at Circus Circus. Not to sure if it was really worth it as it was all heavy foods so you really only can handle about one plateful.

On to the Grand Canyon. That is really impressive. Photos really don't do it justice. It's one of those things you have to see for yourself. It was a clear, starry night when we went to bed so we didn't put up the rain cover. During the night the lightning, thunder and rain started. That soon changed to snow. We were so frozen.
Woke up to a few inches of snow. Of course, we didn't think to bring gloves or cold weather clothes. Taking down the tent and clearing off the car were interesting with no gloves. Drove through the Canyonlands north into Utah and its national parks. Josh wasn't too interested in the parks at the time so we only did brief stops at both Zion and Bryce. Enough time for a quick view and some pictures, but that was about it. Then we drove all the way across the state to Moab and slept in a teepee. That was a long day of driving (8:30am-10pm).
The next day we went to Arches National Park (right next to Moab) and hiked around a bit. This is where the Roadrunner / Wile E. Coyote cartoons are filmed. Continued on to Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado. These are the ruins of the Anasazi Indians (homes built into the cliffs). We made it to Gallup, New Mexico, and stayed at an Economy Inn for the night.

Into New Mexico with a stop in Albuquerque for lunch. We headed north to Santa Fe and looked around there. It was quaint with its adobe buildings, shops and galleries. I originally meant to stay here for the night, but we continued on all the way to the southern part of the state to White Sands Missile Base to stay with a distant cousin of Josh's. The base security didn't even check our ID's or anything...just asked us if we knew where we were going. Josh's cousin and wife were about our age and nice. Especially nice for not really knowing us but still giving us a place to crash.
We were headed to another distant relative of Josh's in the middle of southern New Mexico when we passed by White Sands National Park. It was there, so we went. It was kind of cool - sand dunes for miles. Made for some good pictures. Josh's relative was about the same age as his mom and lived on a ranch with her husband as its caretakers. It was very remote with no town nearby. They did have satellite tv and plenty of food for us though.
Did a daytrip to Carlsbad Caverns. Those were pretty cool. Some huge caverns in there and they do some cool lighting. Spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the ranch.

It was up to me to say it was time for us to move on (I can only take so much of sitting around a house doing nothing). We drove through the wasteland known as western Texas to a Thousand Trails campground outside of San Antonio. We washed the car and enjoyed the hot tub the campground had. At a mini-mart there we were picking out beer. I saw a poster with hot chicks advertising "Lone Star" so I jokingly suggested if the ladies like it, it must be we got some Lone Star. It was crappy beer.
Drove into the city the next day and went to the Alamo. We couldn't find the basement though... The riverfront area was cute and we wandered around there. We had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. It looked like a cool place to go at night but Josh just wanted to go back to the campground (he's didn't want to spend the money for going out).

April 5 we headed up to the Dallas / Fort Worth area to see a buddy of Josh's. We just sat around his house for a while and he and Josh played guitar. Had some drinks then went to a party. This guy was around 25 but his friends were like 14. The older ones, like Josh's friend, were losers. I had a bit of a bad impression of him from the beginning then I commented that it was creepy of him to be hitting on 14 year old girls and his reply was "don't knock it 'til you try it". Oh ya, definately a creepy loser...and an asshole. I wouldn't imagine Josh being friends with a guy like this.
The next day we had breakfast then headed into Dallas and checked out the Deep Ellum area for a festival that was going on. That area was kinda cool. We also went by the grassy knoll area where JFK was assassinated. Later, we drove down near Houston and camped for the night.

No freakin' Easter basket in the morning. He must not have known where to find me camping near Houston. Finished the drive to Houston and just kind of drove around aimlessly before going to our friend Kellie's place. Had Easter brunch with her and her friends. We visited another friend of Josh's and he took us by his work and to a park that had a battleship. Had Chinese buffet for dinner with him and his family. Back to Kellie's and she asked us if we'd like to go out and have a beer. !?! Kellie is a friend of both Josh and I and was always very religious and never drank so we were quite shocked. Took her up on the offer and went out to a bar and shared a pitcher of beer. Something I never expected to be doing with Kellie.

Drove the little bit to Galveston island to stay with Josh's cousin, Laura. I had met her before at UW. She's kinda cute. She took us around to see the island. Went to the beach for a bit then to lunch. In the evening we had dinner and watched "Dead Man Walking".

The national parks of the southwest were beautiful. I'd definately like to get back to that area someday. Especially to have more time to hike around and really see them.
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