I’m almost all caught up on my Touristy Tuesday posts! Before Thanksgiving break (or FRANKSgiving as we say in the hot dog world) Abe and I made the drive from Tucson, Arizona to Lubbock, Texas. It was one of the longest drives we’ve had yet, but it was a blast. New Mexico is absolutely stunning and somehow we didn’t run out of things to talk about on the all day trip.
Midway through the journey we took a slight detour (actually it was right along the road) and stopped at the White Sands National Monument. Abe and I were both excited for this roadside attraction.
Unlike most of our National Parks (or any place I can score another NP Passport Stamp) this was Abe’s adventure. Last month he finished reading “Dog Days, A Year in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile” by Dave Ihlendfeld, a former Hotdogger from the 90’s. You might remember that we met Dave back in Hollywood this summer and my Grandma had sent both Abe and I copies of the book. The book is next on my reading list, but Abe has read it cover to cover.
In the book Dave said White Sands was absolutely incredible and there is no question he was right about that! White Sands is the largest Gypsum sand dune in the world and it is located in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The geology nerd in me ate up every bit of it!
From there we headed through Las Cruces, NM. I can’t speak highly enough of New Mexico scenery – it’s absolutely gorgeous! I enjoyed the drive so much I immediately looked up the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon to see just where in New Mexico it is held. LAS CRUCES!! Even though I already checked New Mexico off the list (with the Doggie Dash) I am definitely committed to coming back for that race. Not only is the history behind the Bataan Memorial Death March compelling, but I know it would be an incredible race.
The trip also took us through Roswell, NM. By this time the sun had set in one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen, and we were driving in the dark. Driving the Wienermobile in the dark can be kind of a spooky experience, and Abe didn’t help the situation by telling me UFO stories and talking about ghosts. Jerk!
The next day Abe took off for Dallas to see his family and left me to explore Lubbock on my own. I had all sorts of grand plans – museums and nerdy things galore! Instead, I just ate a bunch of frozen yogurt and wandered around Target. I would still consider that a success because Abe deplores doing both of those things, so I was still taking advantage of him being gone.
I did have one exceptional discovery – Buffalo Springs Lake Park. This is clearly a secret gem for Lubbock. It was a beautiful lake that had a beach, a golf area, an RV park, off road trails, and an entire residential community.
I bet this place is packed over the summer, but when I was out there running I barely saw two people the entire time!
Talk about some great runs too! There were some serious hills around there. Since I do a lot of bike path running, hills aren’t as common as I’d like – or rather, I need, since I don’t exactly like hill work! Check out the elevation profile for my 19 miler!
Talk about some climbs. I can proudly say I ran every single hill and didn’t have to walk any of them!
Buffalo Springs Lake was so gorgeous I looked a little more into it online and was impressed to discover that it will be home to a Half Ironman next summer. Ooh! And there are still spots open! I had to refrain from registering instantly since I don’t know what the first semester of grad school will hold for me.
After two lonely days without Abe, he finally returned, with family in tow! His siblings Jordan and Rueben came in from Dallas to spend the night on Saturday. They picked a good night to come because we were going to see Holidaze – the Christmas Cirque du Soleil show.
If you’ve followed my blog, you know how much I’ve been dying to see a Cirque show since starting this job. Talk about the PERFECT opportunity. Not only do I adore Christmas, so this show was right up my alley, but the tickets were dirt cheap. In LA tickets started at $80 and in Vegas tickets were all $100+, but in Lubbock we scored decent seats for $35!
The show was incredible. Those stunts were mesmerizing. It really was all that I had heard it would be! I wasn’t sure if Cirque du Soleil was something you just needed to see one of, but after seeing it I definitely want to see the other shows!
The next day I had quite the small-world moment at work. Here we are, on our last day before break, and I look up to see Arielle – a girl I went to college with! I knew she was from Texas and had gone back to finish school, but I had no idea she was in Lubbock! I couldn’t believe it. We didn’t plan it at all, so it was a pleasant surprise for both of us.
Sunday was the last night together for Abe and I before going our separate ways for break. Not sure if we were drinking our sorrows of separation away or just celebrating vacation, but Sunday night we went out on the town. By that, I mean we walked to this pool hall and bar down the street from our hotel. It was an eventful evening – we watched one guy who was clearly far beyond his limit play air guitar by himself for TWO HOURS and also placed bets on a bar fight. We made a few friends (Abe was really just trying to convince someone to take us to Whataburger down the road) but called it a night once the smoke got to be too much. Come on Texas, catch up with the rest of the country and ban smoking in public establishments!
The next day we took off for Albuquerque, where the Wienermobile would get some much needed rest and TLC while we were home. My one regret for Lubbock: not going to see Prairie Dog Town. I wanted so badly to check out this free attraction that sounded so kitschy that it had to be fun. Abe vetoed it every day! Can you believe that? For shame! Guess that means I have to come back to Lubbock some day… maybe once the bars are smoke free!