A Road Trip in Ruins

Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t posted in a while. Well, it’s because we’ve been on the road. Now that we’re home, we look forward to sharing our latest adventures with you, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a short synopsis of some of what we encountered on our latest winter road trip.

New Mexico

This is what the central part of eastern New Mexico looks like. The only wildlife you might see when traveling this road is a pronghorn or two and possibly a hawk. Mainly it’s wild grasses and cactus for what seems like endless miles and hours. We were glad to finally see mountains (and even a little snow) when we got to central New Mexico.

Our trek covered some fun cities and national parks in central and southwestern New Mexico and southern Arizona. The trip was fun and uneventful except for some weather issues. On day two we were met with 70 mile per hour winds near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Not only were we plagued with zero visibility in the blowing dust, but a tractor-trailer rig blew over in front of us and blocked the interstate. Fortunately, the driver was only slightly injured but had to be pulled out of the cab through the broken windshield. We didn’t get any photos because it was just too terrifying trying to help the driver and worrying if drivers behind us were going to see that traffic was stopped.

Blowing dust on I-25 near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Our planned hike in the mountains at Las Cruces was out of the question, so we spent a couple of hours eating lunch in a Subway sandwich shop and watching the awnings over their windows blow away. Luckily, our hotel let us check in early enabling us a place to get out of the wind.


Day three was perfectly gorgeous: a bit chilly but with just a slight breeze. As we drove toward our first stop of the day in Arizona, we began to see some snow-capped peaks. But when we crossed the border, Arizona greeted us with gorgeous desert peaks, all topped with glistening snow. It was a scene that we would see throughout our trip, but it got even better.

Snowcapped mountains in southern Arizona.

Our first destination of the day was in those mountains, but not at a high elevation, so the weather was perfect for hiking and perusing the park site. We were blessed with perfect hiking and sightseeing weather for the next few days until we woke up to the scene below on day six. Our itinerary called for a morning of hiking in a national park, so we went prepared to be cold and muddy.

View from our hotel room on Day Six. It was amusing to see palm trees and snow in the same shot.

As luck would have it, the skies cleared, and we were able to enjoy the park as planned. While driving northward toward our next stop, we saw even more frosted peaks with fresh snow. 

Then we saw this:

There were nine of them, but we couldn’t get them all in one shot.

One day we went from this cold and wet mountainous landscape…

We have high praises for snowplow operators!

…to this dry and windy desert landscape, all in the matter of a few hours.


In all, we traveled through three desert ecosystems with each one being unique in its climate, flora, and fauna. We also saw some breathtaking mountain scenery along with a few lonely backroads. Where Arizona meets Mexico, we saw the border wall and talked to a park ranger who regularly shares her lunches with hungry immigrants who have crossed said wall.

This is a spectacular cloud rainbow that we saw while we were on a backroad in Arizona. It’s fuzzy because we took it with a fully zoomed cell phone through the windshield while looking directly into the sun and driving down the highway!

It was an amazing road trip covering just under 2,400 miles. With that said, you might be wondering about the title of this post. No, it wasn’t a ruined road trip at all, even though we had to change the itinerary a couple of times due to snow. For now, let’s just say we learned a lot of history, visited some nice towns and cities, and did a lot of walking, hiking, and eating. We’re excited to be back in the blogosphere and cannot wait to share our latest destinations with you!

Mike and Kellye





69 thoughts on “A Road Trip in Ruins

  1. Can’t wait for your coming posts Kellye. Always good to see new territory, as long as you can stay safe doing it. The winds in NM sound horrendous. We have friends who spent the last month in Tucson. At times, our weather was better than theirs. Glad you got home safe and sound. Allan

  2. Welcome back! Oh my, you have had some adventures! I am glad you were able to stay safe and to enjoy much of the trip. I look forward to reading your future posts!

  3. These are lovely adventures! I had similar experiences in Japan, where dunes meet snowy mountains. I would love to visit New Mexico one day and see this contrast, too✌️

  4. An example of just how large and wide-open a country this is where you can go from a desert dust storm to a Winter wonderland in a relatively short period of time. Mrs. Chess and I have always wondered about what it would be like traveling from Phoenix to Flagstaff and back in the Winter. Maybe some day! Looking forward to future posts – welcome back!

  5. Ooh exciting – New Mexico was one of our favourite US road trips and I can’t wait to compare experiences and see it in this very different season! I’m so pleased your title was a ‘tease’ 🤣

  6. The weather in the winter can always be a bit of a gamble. That’s wild about the tractor-trailer. Glad to hear that no one was injured. That’s quite the drastic change of landscape in Arizona from those snow-capped peaks and snow along the roads, to a dry and warmer area. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. We’ve never been to New Mexico and always enjoy a good road trip!

  7. How scary to be the first responders to such an accident. Glad the driver was okay and glad you were there to help in that moment. I’m so excited to follow along with your winter trip through these desert places! 🙂

  8. Wow! You really had an amazing trip with everything from snow covered mountains, arid desert, an emergency rescue, and a cloud rainbow. That’s quite eventful. Glad you both had a good time. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Bright blessings on that park ranger ~ and on you two, for not just calling the accident in and driving on. It’s one person reaching out to another, all over our world, which has any hope of saving it.

  9. What crazy weather Kellye! That must have been so scary when the semi blew over, I’m glad he wasn’t seriously hurt. The mountains with the snow is so beautiful. We are still planning a trip that way and your posts are helping us make our decision where to go. Thank you!

  10. So glad that your quietness on WordPress wasn’t down to any life difficulties and that you were out on the road! It sounds like you had quite an adventure, especially with those crazy weather conditions early on. Relieved you both stayed safe. These snapshots have really whetted my appetite for your upcoming posts. Love the contrast in vistas, colours and conditions in seemingly the blink of an eye. Not sure I’ve ever seen a rainbow cloud, at least not one like that, it’s a great capture. Looking forward to seeing some ruins and glad nothing was ruined 😉

  11. Sounds like a marvelous adventure! Those high winds and snow can be really scary when you are traveling down the road. Glad you were able to have some nice days to get out and explore. Looking forward to seeing more about your trip.

  12. Great road trip. April 2022 we drove through Arizona and New Mexico. We got caught up in a dust storm, too. We’’d never seen anything like it. I think we got lucky we didn’t get hurt.

  13. A great documentation of Arizonas diversity with your words and your photos. I think that is what we love about living here. In one day we can choose our weather…most of the time.

  14. Hi Kellye. Whoa- does that mean you guys were trying to help that truck driver out through the windshield? Can only imagine not being able to see and hoping anyone that comes, stops… Love that you saw so many deserts and snow topped mountains. Sounds like a great trip. Love that someone shares their lunch. I do not like when people are hungry- love when someone shares. Hope you have a great day. PS I still can’t comment from my other blog. I don’t know why. I don’t even get any notifications either.

  15. Hi Kellye and Mike
    I’ll be catching up slowly now with your trip. Some gorgeous photos already, so many different scenes. Just love the rainbow cloud. That’s so kind of the ranger to share her lunch. Looking forward to reading the rest 😃

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