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Destination: Lake Flato

There is always some portion of my brain that is constantly spinning, trying to find opportunities for a good road trip. So after I accepted the job at Lake|Flato, my first thought was, which route are we going to drive?  set1 We did the first few hours of the drive on I-5 through California. But after hooking off around Bakersfield, we were not going to see another interstate until I-10 in Texas. I've always loved this drive through the Mojave Desert, nothing for miles. set2 Meet my travel companion, Anya, a friend from SF who I convinced to tag along for the drive (she flew back when we got to Texas). First stop: Vegas! We walked the length of the strip, passing by Venice, Rome, New York, Eygpt... set3 Drinks at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan (a quiet bar, by Vegas standards). And obviously, we had to do a little gambling. We lost all the money we bet, thankfully we stuck to the penny slots. set4 day two: We spend the day bumping back and forth across the Arizona-Utah border. First stop, Zion National Park. We hopped onto the shuttle bus through the park and found a nice spot to eat lunch staring 3,000 ft up to the top of the sandstone canyon walls. The drive east out of the park was especially spectacular. set5 Venturing further along the edge of the Colorado Plateau, officially known as the Grand Staircase, we stopped at Antelope Canyon. We arrived just in time for the last tour, so we had the normally tourist-filled canyon to ourselves. set6 Day two ended with a sunset drive through Monument Valley. After a day of glaring sun, we appreciated the clear sky and changing light. The stars that night were incredible! set7 Day Three: Making our way through New Mexico we transitioned out of the red rocks and into the mountains. We stopped for a few hours in the Jemez Mountains to hike up to the McCauley Warm Springs for a much need stretch and swim. set8 We arrived at Bandelier National Monument as the sun and the crowds were waning, allowing us to explore this amazing site with only a few other visitors. set9 Native Americans made their home in these natural caves for hundreds of years. Most of the caves are high above the ground, accessible only by ladder. set10 Day three ended in Santa Fe. We settled in for our first Tex-Mex experience and some great live music. We spent the next morning wandering around Santa Fe. We were pleasantly surprised by the collection at Georgia O'Keefe museum, which focused on her work done in her years living in New Mexico. set11 After the morning in Santa Fe, we arrived at White Sands National Monument. We had fun running around through the dunes and writing messages for my newly engaged best friend to send back to New York. set12 We joined up with the ranger guided sunset walk. Highly recommended! We came across lots of animal tracks, a white lizard, and this amazing desert jack rabbit. set14 We woke up at 5:30 am in Las Cruces NM in order to make it to our 10:30 am tour at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa. set13 Having finished our driving for the day before noon, we took full advantage of the Thunderbird's amenities, especially the pool. set15 day six: At last, we arrived in San Antonio and to my new home! I am living at Ashley and Ryan's house in King Williams, in that room off to the side with the light on.
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