There are many things we know we will see in our travels. Despite our efforts not to plan, we still have several waypoints, as well as a destination (for now). Hour after hour of pavement has passed under us, our scenery changing from sea, to mountain, to sea again during our first weeks of travel . This was land we were familiar with, the beautiful, wet, Pacific coast.
We took a turn at San Diego and launched into the unknown; territory of which we were entirely unfamiliar. We cannot proclaim that we loved the desert; the terrain is cruel, the miles at times seemed endless. We ended up in Tombstone, a town with a story many of us are familiar with; the desert is not glamorous, nor is the true story of Tombstone. The dusty old town was not quite our flavor, so we headed south in Sheila (our 1997 Subaru Outback) to explore historic Bisbee, AZ. Bisbee was founded as a mining town, and once the mine left, so did much of the local economy. The town is extremely compact; in spite of being built into a hill we were able to traverse the entirety of Old Bisbee by bike in about half-an-hour. The town was youthful, and oozed a cooperative feel. We knew immediately we had done the town an injustice by only visiting for a few hours, and we will likely return in the future.
We traversed north, passing through Tucson, spending three spectacular days in the Grand Canyon, and continued through the desert to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Neither of us had any expectations of New Mexico- we knew too little of the state and probably would have passed through without a message from Ian’s cousin, Kate. Stop in Santa Fe, go snowboarding, and explore the area, while catching up with a family member- an opportunity we could not pass up!
Santa Fe has a large art community, which we didn’t even scratch the surface of. Our time was focused on recreation, then history. We enjoyed many of the Santa Fe area’s offerings during our short time in the city. We spent five hours at Ski Santa Fe, enjoying spring conditions, sunshine, and fabulous views. After a day on the mountain, we enjoyed a New Mexican dinner at a brewery, where we enjoyed the margaritas just as much as (Ian probably more than) the beer.
An hour northwest of Santa Fe is Los Alamos, home of the atomic bomb. Such a small, unassuming town once held an immense power. We ate lunch in a park, at approximately the same location of the labs where they built the atomic bomb. It is impossible to fathom the significance of the atomic bombs, we can only look at pictures of the destruction and see that those were a turning point in modern warfare, and we hope that we never see the world enter such a great conflict where using this power is deemed necessary.
We toured a few museums, as well as one-third of the Manhattan Project National Park. Honestly, I believe Ian could have spent several more hours touring the museums. I was impressed with how many women were involved in the project, and not just as secretaries as many people may assume. I read profiles of woman after woman who worked as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, testers, reactor operators, and more. The Manhattan Project has an interesting history, one that we could stand to learn much more about. After our time at the museums, we headed over to Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op, named for the houses in that area during the Manhattan Project days, which were the only homes to have bathtubs. We enjoyed a few delicious beers before heading back to Santa Fe.
We came into the desert with no expectations, and we were pleased to find places such as Bisbee and Santa Fe. As we continue our Coddiwomple, we hope to find more of these such places, being that neither of us know much about the country to come, apart from our hometowns. Already we find ourselves extending our stay in San Marcos, TX at Pecan Park Riverside RV from five days to eight. We look forward to more of these pleasant surprises throughout our travels.