Vacation 2015: Days 11 and 12

Day 11: The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Today we drove through the Petrified Forest National Park.

[caption id="attachment_2006" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Petrified Wood Petrified Wood[/caption]

While much smaller than the parks we'd been to already, there were still some neat things to see.

[caption id="attachment_2008" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Chrystal Forest Trail Chrystal Forest Trail[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2013" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Petrified Tree Petrified Tree[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2012" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Ruins Ruins[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2010" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Petroglyphs Petroglyphs[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2007" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Blue Mesa Blue Mesa[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2009" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mesa in the Painted Desert Mesa in the Painted Desert[/caption]

The Petrified Forest lies within the Painted Desert.

[caption id="attachment_2011" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Route 66 Old Route 66[/caption]

Route 66 used to run through here. You can see a faint road through the sagebrush.

There were limited trails, but we walked a couple and just enjoyed the desert landscape and all the beautiful petrified wood.  The boys earned their 3rd Jr. Ranger badge.

After the park, we ate dinner at a 50's dinner called "Wow." We pressed on and were able to make it to Albuquerque at a good time. Ben and the boys swam in the pool for a bit and then we were able to get to bed early.

Day 12: Alpaca Ranch

We spent the first part of the day exploring old Albuquerque. We mainly saw gift shops, but there was a neat church, and we ate in an old hacienda that had a large tree growing out of it!

[caption id="attachment_2023" align="aligncenter" width="300"]San Felipe de Neri. A 300 year old church. San Felipe de Neri. A 300 year old church.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2024" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Cross in the courtyard of San Felipe. Cross in the courtyard of San Felipe.[/caption]

One of my personal rules of being able to claim I've been to a state is to have actually done something in that state. No "we drove through at midnight one time 20 years ago" nonsense allowed. With that in mind, I started looking for something to do in Albuquerque that fit the bill, but also wouldn't take us way off the road, or take up the entire day. I came across an alpaca ranch that does tours and I emailed the couple to reserve a day and time. It's a small ranch run by a couple and they told me to call again a couple days out so I knew this wasn't something set in stone. I just kept hoping it would work out.

We found the place right off and I was immediately hesitant. What we could see over the wall looked like someone's house. And all the houses were pretty close together. The gate was still closed so we sat and waited. I checked my email and the tour was scheduled for 1pm, but we were a few minutes early. We drove down the road and came back. Gate was still closed. I called and left a message and then sent an email. Right as I was about to give up hope, the gate opened. Turns out the wife had scheduled the appt for 1, but then told her husband 1:30. Oops. He let us in anyway.

[caption id="attachment_2016" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Alpaca Ranch Alpaca Ranch[/caption]

Once we got inside, I could see that each home had a long, rectangular lot. While the houses looked close together, each homeowner actually had a couple acres.

The owner, Skip, was super friendly and welcoming. He taught us alllll about the alpacas and brought several out to meet us.

[caption id="attachment_2015" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Hanging Out Hanging Out[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2014" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Alpaca Alpaca[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2017" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Ben and Bella Ben and Bella[/caption]

Bella is one of his show alpacas so she was very sociable and good with people. Karen, Ben, and the boys got to lead her around the ring just like you would at a show.

[caption id="attachment_2018" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Taking a walk Taking a walk[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2019" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Gabe feeding Romeo Gabe feeding Romeo[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2020" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Karen walking Bella Karen walking Bella[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2021" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Luke's turn! Luke's turn![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2022" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Proud of Gabe for walking Bella! Proud of Gabe for walking Bella![/caption]

The tour was really informative and would be a great resource for anyone who's considering getting alpacas. Just really in-depth. After spending time with the alpacas, we went into a small building where classes are held and we learned about their pelts and fiber count, and how they can be used in various crafts. Then we went to their little gift shop. So. Many. Cute. Things. I bought a little alpaca figure and Ben purchased some dress socks with alpacas on them.

I spent the rest of the day daydreaming about an alpaca ranch of my own.



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