The Great Winter Vancation: The Itinerary

It’s been a couple of weeks since the conclusion of the Great Winter Vancation and the Creaky Sausage Boat is now resting quietly at her dock. Weather and responsibility may keep here there for the month, though we keep tossing out ideas to get away again.

For those who may be interested, below is a rough map and itinerary of our trip. I really enjoyed the magic of some of the places we visited and for anyone travelling to these areas, perhaps you will also want to pay them a visit. It would be a terribly long post to discuss them all, however, over the coming weeks, I expect I’ll be able to say a piece about each.


Day 1
We visited family in Big Bear, headed south in the afternoon for a windy night south of Joshua Tree National Park, where there is BLM land that can be camped on for free. This is a really great option for when the park fills up — just north of the park, or just south, locations are noted on the NPS Website.

Day 2
A semi-early morning, we drove all day to Tucson, where we camped at Molino Basin Campground, the only campground open on Mt. Lemmon this time of year.

Day 3
We climbed at Mt. Lemmon, spending a second night in the same camping spot.

Day 4
The drive from Tuscon to White Sands National Monument was not long, but with the dramatic weather, was quite beautiful. We camped that night on BLM land nestled between Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands NM.

Day 5
And here begins the massive amount of sight-seeing.
We drove into Alamogordo to spend the morning at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed north to Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.
We ended that night showing up to Villanueva State Park 20 minutes after the gates were locked, and camped on the side of the road.

Day 6
We went for a cold, snowy, windy, morning hike on the Viewpoint Loop Trail before heading out. On the way to Santa Fe, we stopped at Pecos National Historic Park, and Santa Fe Climbing Center before heading off to our Christmas vacation rental in Tesuque Village, The Folk House.

Day 7
Christmas Eve. We visit Bandelier National Monument, take a walk through downtown Los Alamos, with a stop at the Fuller Lodge Art Center.
We end our night with cocktails at Radish & Rye in downtown Sante Fe and dinner at the house.

Day 8
Christmas day. We did not leave the house. We did, however, make amazing goat cheese enchiladas, inspired by a recipe from The Santa Fe School of Cooking, watched Meru for the umpteenth time, and … well, then there was Robinson Crusoe on Mars …

Day 9
Our last morning at the house, we packed up and headed south toward Albuquerque. We browsed through Old Town, having lunch at Backstreet Grill, and picking up a few bottles of wine at St. Clair Winery. We continued on to El Malpais National Monument where we checked out the La Ventana Natural Arch and camped at Joe Skeen Campground (technically part of the El Malpais National Conservation Area, rather than the NM).

Day 10
We drove the long way through El Malpais, stopping for a hike through El Morro National Monument, and then heading back to the I-40 for a quick sunset photo hike through the Crystal Forest at Petrified Forest National Park.
We picked up burritos to go at Tacos Los Altos in Flagstaff, AZ, the drove all the way through to the border, where we boondocked off the highway before heading to our favorite crag for our last days of vacation.

Details to follow!


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