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!