July 7, 2013

Weddings, graffiti, aliens, and ancient ruins

The hugest happening of our vacation went down this week. Because I can't contain the excitement, I have to get it out of the way very first in this post. 

My sister got married! I'll post more details later, but here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. 

At the post-wedding block party in West Adams.

Sisters laughing

Daughter and mom.

Even though now everything in this post is going to seem like boring drivel compared to that announcement, I'll carry on with the next segment of our road trip adventures, Part 2: Texas Finally Ends.

Our last worthwhile stop in Texas was Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. If you're like me, you have no idea what this is. Quick overview: it's an art installation on some private land out in the middle of the dustiness of west Texas. The Cadillacs are all buried nose first in the ground, and spray painting them is highly encouraged. 

We didn't know about the spray painting beforehand, but there were lots of almost empty cans of spray paint littering the ground around the cars. Plus when we walked up, some people who were leaving generously offered their cans to us. Graffiti time!

The down side of Texas, dirty dust lines instead of tan lines.

The up side, trunk picnics at the gas stations.

Next stop on our trip was Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the surrounding amazingness. I really, really loved Santa Fe and added it to my I-could-move-here list.

Part of the reason I loved it was Bandelier National Monument, a huge chunk of land in the mountains near Santa Fe where they have preserved some ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings. On the day we went, it was completely empty, maybe because of some light sprinkles of rain or maybe because we missed the last shuttle and drove up on our own instead. We literally did not see another person after we headed out on the path to the ruins. The emptiness of the park made it feel kind of eerie and like we had just discovered these ruins on our own. We loved it!

The deer here were also not afraid of people. Creepy?

The preservationists (is there a better word for this?) built ladders for you to climb up and around the homes that the Pueblo people built into the side of the mountain.

Here I am yelling commands to walk slowly. It was a slippery descent in flip flops.

This pic of us all staring in the same direction isn't posed. We were totally entranced by the art on the side of the cliff walls.

The family photo below took about twenty tries because our self-timer was set for six measly seconds. It sounds long enough, until you start trying to sprint across rough ancient ruin terrain to get back to your spot on the bench. 

Can you see the alien face in the one below? It's to the right of the dark opening in the rock.

I had aliens on the brain because we had just seen this space alien radar (my official road trip analysis of the radar) on our drive into the park. See the giant (even though it looks tiny in this far-away pic) white satellite-type dish in the distance. Kind of freaky if you're into aliens, which I am.

Here's one last reason I am no in love with Santa Fe: gorgeous sunsets. This place was so much more beautiful than I expected.

Have you ever visited Santa Fe or Bandelier? If you could move to one city in the southwestern United States, which would it be? I'd pick Austin or Santa Fe. And maybe Phoenix because we have family there. 

Aliens: real or just in movies? This is serious business, y'all. 

What kind of celebration did you have (or do you want to have) after your wedding? My sister got married on July 4th, and the block party was the perfect way to celebrate. Fireworks, bounce house, street dance battles, music jam in the front yard. All perfect!


  1. Oh my your pictures are gorgeous. That one of you and your kids looking up is amazing. I'm loving these posts!

    1. Thank you! It's been great having my husband as photographer on this trip. He's much better than me!

  2. What a fantastic post! I LOVE the shot of you and your sister laughing as well as the one of you and your kids all looking up. After our wedding, I wanted to spend the night dancing so we made sure our DJ was good. The dance floor was packed all night, just the way it should be, he he.

  3. The boys with their mohawks...so cute! Your sister looks like such a happy and fun person, congratulations to her! I used to LOVE aliens when I was little, but I'm not sure I believe in them anymore. If they exist, I think they're nice, curious aliens and not mean ones like the movies sometimes show.

    I went to a BBQ for the 4th and then got a concussion...so that was fun ;)

  4. Great photos! Congrats to your sister on her wedding! I've never been to Santa Fe but it looks awesome.

  5. Sounds like a great trip. I have been to Santa Fe before and stopped to tour the capitol. As for cities out west, I really like Denver. Enjoyed LA as well but would not want to live there. Never been to San Diego but I hear it's a "runner's paradise." How many states have you visited? I'm at 48 with only Alaska and Hawaii to go.

  6. Congrats to your sister - beautiful pictures!!! I LOVE the belt she has with her dress!

    I would pick Austin all the way!!!

  7. Congrats to your sister!! We are moving to Austin soon... so that would be my choice! :)

    I love those pictures from Cadillac Ranch! So awesome.

    ~ Lora at Crazy Running Girl

  8. Congratulations to your sister and her new husband - she looks AMAZING, that belt is spectacular!!!! Great pics from your trip, looks like you're having a blast!! Love those caves!

  9. Congratulations to your sister! I love the family self-timer and pictures and the one of you all looking up. We live an hour from Santa Fe, in Albuquerque, and my husband worked at Bandelier when he was in high school. The sunsets are pretty amazing around here. Next time come through Albuquerque and take the family up the Sandia Peak Tramway. It is a beautiful ride and there are fun hiking trails at the top of the mountain.

  10. What a fabulous vacation! I love your pictures and your sister looks so very happy and just beautiful. You are a stunning pair!

    That Cadillac Ranch is very cool and I love the adobe village, too. I have never been to Texas, YET.

  11. Looks like a great trip! Congrats to your sister! She looks amazing!

  12. Congratulations to your sister. You two look just alike. I thought it was you! Looks like some great family time. Great pictures!

  13. Congrats to your sister - her whole face smile still makes me smile! I have been to Santa Fe, I have seen the Cadillac's buried in Amarillo (I lived in ABQ, NM for a year). I'm not sure what my take on aliens is. I love the picture of you and the kids all looking in the same direction. Awesome!

  14. Great photo's. And congratulations to your sister. Many blessings!

  15. Congrats to your sister!

    This is the type of trip I like taking! You really have no idea what the day will bring!

    I got married in Vegas, totally planned, 21 family/friends + us. After, we hotel hopped up the Strip, it was a blast!

  16. Congrats to your sister!! So funny that you were going through TX just as we were leaving. :) And I love Austin, too. If we had to be in TX for the long term, I could be happy there!


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