Spring Break 2018 - The Drive

Posted in Family with tags vacation , travel -

“Are we going to the hotel tonight?” This is the question repeated at least nightly for the last two weeks by our youngest, Mireille. For some reason she just loves hotels! I think it has something to do with the swimming pools. Perhaps she just likes to travel! At any rate, it had been a constant anthem for the last several weeks - “are we going to the hotel?”

The day before we left, we dropped the “Flex-car” off at Rack Attack to get rails and a luggage rack installed. We also purchased a travel box so we could finally travel in style. While the car had it’s new rack put on, Jenny, Ethan, and I visited the University of Denver, a local private school, to see if Ethan had any interested. Thankfully, he didn’t. It’s a pricey school!

School got out at 3:00 on Wednesday, March 28 for Mireille and Quin. Ethan was already celebrating his third day of Spring Break by then. After a quick stop at home to change clothes, we loaded up in the newly topped Flex-car and hit the road around 3:55 PM, 5 minutes early! Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to have our first vacation argument. Quinton forgot to download movies to his iPad, and he is a pain in the butt if he doesn’t have something to occupy his time! So around we turned to utilize the home WiFi to get some movies onto his iPad, THEN away we went!!!

Nice Rack!

Customary Pre-Vacation Selfie

The weather was just about perfect to start with. About 45 degrees, slightly cloud-covered so I didn’t have to deal with sun glare, and little to no wind. That changed almost immediately to rain, and the temperature plummeted 10 degrees by the time we got to the freeway. Buy the time we merged onto 25 South, the rain had turned to snow and we were off to a great start! It almost felt like that scene in The Truman Show when Truman was sailing to find the end of the world and Ed Harris was throwing all the storms at his disposal at him in hopes of keeping him in the dark. We persevered, and the snow abated in a few miles turning into nothing more than some annoying rain.

We stopped for some dinner at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Pueblo, CO, which was generally uneventful. Our big decision was whether we would follow I25 all the way to Santa Fe or if we would take the “quicker route” through Taos. We were destined for a hotel north of Santa Fe, so going through Taos was theoretically faster. By the time we got to Wallensburg where we would have had to turn off, we could see clouds and the perfect conditions for snow off to the west, so we decided to stay the course and continue south.

Unfortunately, we did not get lucky. It snowed pretty steadily from Trinidad on, and really dumped on us once we got up onto Raton pass. It probably took us 45 minutes to get over Raton Pass since we averaged about 30 miles per hour for most of it. I no longer like Raton Pass! It was there last Spring Break where we were barraged by snow and added 4 hours to our already 12 hour drive! Luckily, on this night, we were only delayed around 45 minutes because by the time we got just south of Raton, NM, the snow had turned to rain, then just south of there we had dry roads for the rest of the drive, where we were finally able to travel at the speed limit for the first time in this 6 hour trip.

Welcome to the Buffalo Thunder Resort

So it was nearly midnight when we rolled up at the Hilton at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino about 15 miles north of Santa Fe, NM. It was pretty quiet, though there were some stalwart gamblers still active at that late hour. After a quick check-in we unloaded our new luggage carrier and walked through the hallways to 2217, the “junior suite.” The nice thing about getting rooms at casinos is that you can typically get a much nicer room for a lower price, and this was no exception. Our room requirements have been growing as our family has, and this is probably the largest room we’ve had to date. Two queen beds and a pull-out couch. Of course, none of my kids will sleep with the other, so we also had to order a rollaway bed, but the room was able to handle all of that and still have room for a nice breakfast table and a television!

The kids were totally wound up, but by 1:00 AM we were all finally settled down and sleeping, storing up energy for whatever adventures awaited the next day.

View of our room

Rollaway and Pullout Couch

Breakfast Table

Spacious Bathroom

Written by Brandon Grady
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