From Pennsylvania to New Mexico (via Texas), and back again (on four planes)! A.K.A. The Story of Erik the Kid

YAY! We got our computer back and I was able to write about out trip to New Mexico. So…this has nothing to do with books (although I did read 6 while we were away 😉 )…

Once upon a time…

There was a kid named Erik who had never been on a plane. He was glad when his family told him he was going on a big adventure! They took off from Philadelphia and landed in this strange land called El Paso, Texas. They borrowed a brave, gallant, and (95% of the time) trustful steed named Chevy Equinox and set off to the land of U.F.O.s – Roswell, New Mexico. They liked it here, but fled because they were scared of being abducted by U.W.B. (Unidentified Weird Beings).

They went to see the Very Large Array radio telescope and got messages from high out-of-reach places.

The family learned of worlds and galaxies far, far away but ran away because there were rattle snakes crossing the walking path (no, really, we saw a HUGE rattle snake **shiver**).

They escaped to the underground world called “The Caverns of Carlsbad”.

They went down…deep down…really deep down to almost the center of the Earth (OK maybe not that far down, but it felt like it).

The family saw wondrous sights and then were whisked to the surface by an elevator (that they were happy to see so they didn’t have to walk all the way back up). At dusk the family watched in awe as 200,000 Mexican Freetail Bats flew out of the cave, over their heads to feast on bugs!  What an awesome thing to see! As they headed north, the family ran into all sorts of dangers like the land of free range cattle (be careful driving around corners – you don’t know if cows are standing in the road) and the notorious royal “CATTLE GUARD”!

**My mom took this picture and we were all laughing. I thought this would be a great picture for Catherine Johnson’s Metaphor Monday  blog post!**

The family bounced around New Mexico where they saw volcanoes and ancient lava flows at El Malpais, and the homes of the famous Smokey Bear in the Capitan Mountains, and the infamous Billy the Kid in Lincoln. The town of Lincoln remains pretty much the same as it was in the “Old West” times. There, the family learned of Lincoln’s history. They saw the courthouse where Billy the Kid escaped from in 1881 and the room where he was held. They learned of the brave lawman Pat Garrett who finally brought him to justice and the Lincoln County War and the Regulators.

*Just a quick shout out to National Park Ranger Bennie Long of the Lincoln State Monument who took a lot of time and explained the history of Lincoln and the Lincoln County War to our family. She also gave Josie and I a cool book about all the New Mexico state and national Monuments and a bunch of cool information about Lincoln County. Thanks  Ranger Long! *.

The adventurous family next visited the Bandelier National Monument in the Frijoles Canyon of New Mexico, and saw where the Ancestral Pueblo People lived 10,000 years ago! The family dared to climb  14o feet up, up, UP on rickety ladders (seriously rickety with no guard rails) and steps! When at the top, they were amazed at the view and to see where some of these ancient people made their home. Here at Bandelier, the children were knighted as Junior Park Rangers, sworn to uphold and take care of the land’s treasures and natural wonders.

Once they badges were bestowed upon them, the family quickly made way to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santé Fe, but alas it was closed for the day (**sigh**). The family did see the beautiful country that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe to paint and understood why she wanted to paint the skies she saw so BIG!

One the next part of the trip, the family drove through ghost towns, but didn’t see any ghosts (thank goodness).

Finally in Albuquerque (I got to learn how to spell Albuquerque, by the way). They wandered through a field of over 500 hot air balloons lifting up in the air. There were balloons from 16 different countries and it took about 2 hours for them all to float away! Creatures of all shapes and sizes drifted up silently, except for the cheers from the crowds.

Some, sadly, didn’t make it, like this little penguin. He inflated but couldn’t fly, the winds were too strong for him.

A flightless penguin (pretty ironic if you think about it)…

The family rode in their trusty (95% of the time, yes, we did have car trouble at one point) steed back to Texas  and headed for home (on a plane). Erik, Junior Ranger, Inter-state traveler, had a great time and couldn’t wait to tell you all the tale!  🙂

The End

Tomorrow I’ll be back to reviewing books but today, I liked “reliving” my vacation with you!

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52 replies

  1. Your journey sounds like one that would make for a great series of picture books or a wonderful chapter book. I love the pictures and so glad you had a great time, Junior Deputy Ranger 🙂

  2. Wow Erik it sounds like an an amazing trip. Can’t wait to hear more about it 💜

  3. Wow! What an adventure you had!! I’m sorry that you missed the Georgia O’Keefe museum. I’m thinking that you were looking forward to that. I agree with Ms Brown above — you could turn this into a great book! Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  4. I’ve been to some of the places you described here, Erik, and I enjoyed reading about your experiences. (Your writing just keeps getting better and better.) I’m glad you and your family had such a wonderful vacation.

  5. Wow, Erik what an amazing trip! You did everything! And thanks for the shout out, that bull pic will be great 🙂

  6. Erik, what a fabulous journey! Your pictures reminded me of some of the adventures my brother, sister and I had when we lived in Arizona. My parents took us to some of those same places. Thanks to you for letting me relive those fun times.

  7. What a fun and exciting trip, Erik. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure in story and photos. I love the cattle guard. He certainly does justice to his job. I love spelunking, and Carlsbad Caverns is a great one. If you ever get to Ruby Falls out in Chattanooga, let us know.

  8. What a wonderful adventure! And congratulations on your “knighting”.

  9. This has to be the best trip-report I’ve ever read — enjoyed it thoroughly, and I love the way you wrote it. I, too, am sorry you didn’t get to see the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, but it sounds as though you had plenty of fabulous experiences to fill your days, and you’ll see the museum next time! Thanks, Erik!

  10. So much fun! I have never been on a plane either, because Mom is afraid I will be scared or get lost in the underbelly of the plane. I would have been hiding under a rock at the hot air balloon show. ever since a blimp flew over my house I have sky-phobia!

    Love and licks,

  11. Excellent report, Junior Ranger. M-man loved the swearing in pic; my kids did the same in the Smokeys this spring. What a wonderful family vacation!!!!!!

  12. Erik, this is excellent! I love how you tell a story. This could be the first of many series books for kids.
    I’m glad you and your family had such a great time. 🙂 And I’m glad you’re back.

  13. Erik,
    Thanks for sharing your fun-filled family vacation out west. It sounds like you really enjoyed all the sights. We traveled with our family to New Mexico, Texas and Arizona a few years ago–BIG open SKY and unsettled land for miles and miles really amazed us. And, I enjoyed seeing Bison-reminded me of the song, Home on The Range. 🙂

  14. So glad you had a great vacation! I’m totally jealous: I’ve never seen any of those places, and I especially want to go to Roswell someday. Albuquerque would be lovely too (and yes, that is a hard word to spell!). I laughed at the name of your trusty steed. You have a future as a travel writer, my man.

  15. You wrote a great story, now what about your trip, how did it really go out there? Erik your writing is on such a high level for your age. You must have a wonderfully gifted teacher (who has a wonderfully gifted student). Glad you had a great time. What did you think of your first airplane ride? Any turbulence? Great job, welcome back, what’s next?

  16. Wow! that was a really cool trip! you saw a Rattle snake Yikes! I am so glad we don’t have them here. I loved the Big blue sky pic and also the ones of the Balloons. We have a balloon festival every April. It’s really neat watching them go up. Never been in one yet….lol. Fantastic write up Erik, glad you and your family had a great trip away.

  17. Excellent narration of your trip Erik – sounds like you had a blast. I love your alien picture too. I have one just like it in my book that is on your list to review. Well done!

  18. Lovely, well-written post, You really do write so well. It sounds like you had a great and significant adventure visiting all those wonderful and inspiring places.

  19. Wow, you guys covered a lot of ground on your trip — all places I’ve never been! Fabulous report, and as others have said, so well written. (Are you sure you aren’t a 24-year-old man disguised as a kid?) Love the big skies and balloons — and sorry you missed the Georgia museum.

  20. Ah,Looks like good times!

  21. Wow, it sounds like you all had a wonderful vacation. I love all the pictures of you and Josie (and Mom and Dad too!) and the places that you visited, and I loved your narration of the trip. I’ve never been out west but I’ve got a friend in Arizona and she came to Virginia to visit me this year so I’m hoping to make it out to visit her next year. Glad ya’ll had a good trip and made it back home safe and sound!

  22. I loved hearing about your adventures. I think Amanda would ahve enjoyed visiting New mexico and seeing all those marvellous sights! So glad you ahd a great time. And you read 6 books. Amazing!!

  23. Thanks for sharing some of the highlights of your trip! Sounds like a great time. Those balloons are incredible. That really would have been something to see. I remember being about your age travelling through North and South Dakota exploring ghost towns – those are really neat. Welcome back! 🙂

  24. What a wonderful trip, Erik! So many amazing sights and places. You know, I think I’ve been to Carlsbad Caverns… I’ll have to ask my mom 🙂 Love the photos of the hot air balloons, and Georgia O’Keefe’s sky, and the snake warning sign, and the ghost town… Glad you had fun!!!

  25. What a fantastic tale, Erik, and the great thing about it is that it’s all true! So many wonderful photos, I’m sure you had a blast. And you read six books during your trip!!! Wow! Exactly how long have you been gone??? Haha. Thanks for sharing this lovely experience with us, dear Erik.

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