Howling, Yipping & Road Dancing at Valles Caldera

I danced in the middle of the road at Valles Caldera National Preserve. And when I say, “I danced,” I mean I fucking danced. 

I don’t even know why I did it, not really, just that I needed to do it.

Maybe I was overtaken by the beauty of the place, by the trees and the air and the grass and the streams and the brilliant blue birds that kept jetting in front of my bright red Ford Focus and especially by the perfect loneliness of that road. I’d passed one car by that point, about two hours prior, and had spent the morning bumping over and around potholes in complete solitude. Maybe I didn’t want to leave without expressing how happy I was to be there. Maybe I just needed a middle of the road dance-a-thon to express to nature, the world and myself the incredible joy those battered roads and that beautiful place gave me.

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Learning New Mexico at Pecos National Historical Park

One of the things that attracted me to New Mexico, aside from the sunsets, the National Parks, the mountains, the food and a Buzzfeed quiz, was the opportunity to learn more about the history of the southwestern part of the United States. I can rattle off all sorts of history about Virginia. I can still name the original 13 colonies, know all about the native inhabitants of my home state and the states that surround it and can give a pretty solid account of the colonization of the entire eastern side of the United States. When it comes to the rest of the country though, I don’t know much, or at least not much detail.

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Why I Solo Adventured to New Mexico

In my line of work, summers tend to be pretty much off limits for personal travel. It’s our busy season, so while everyone else goes to the beach or jets off to faraway lands, I’m in Virginia, working more weekends than not and dreaming of fall-time travel adventures.

By the end of August I was tired but itchy for a new adventure. I hadn’t traveled anywhere since Italy, back in the spring, and my wanderlusting bones were aching. Bored and alone on a Sunday night, I poked around on Buzzfeed and found this quiz. After more than 20 years of using the internet I still can’t pass up a good internet quiz. Especially when it promises to tell me where to go for fall travel if I only plan my perfect day.

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Road Trip Pit Stops: Chattanooga National Military Park

When you’re on a multi-day drive in a big stupid truck hauling home some furniture that belonged to your dead grandmother, it’s best to include some adventures along the way. In fact, it’s probably mandatory.

I’d never done the drive from Texas to Virginia, although it’s one my grandmother managed a few times in her 89 years of life. She was born in Loop, Texas, between Lubbock and Midland, and then moved to Virginia and, much later, returned to Texas, to Houston, for her remaining years.

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Queens, NY: Where the Tacos Live

If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be tacos. I wouldn’t even hesitate. There are a lot of foods I love, like cheese, especially cheese, but there is no one food thing I love more.

When I read this Buzzfeed article about tacos in the Queens, New York-neighborhood of Jackson Heights, it seemed like a legitimate adventure and, finding myself in Queens one Sunday, I figured, what the hell. Let’s get some damn tacos.

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