New Mexico!

(I really did try to write sooner – but WordPress = dumb for a bit.)

The Romgi and I recently got back from a trip to visit my grandpa in New Mexico. In the week between the end of the Romgi’s job and the start of law school orientation, we thought it would be nice to have a little vacation up at the cabin.

Maybe “vacation” is the wrong word.

We left on Wednesday morning so we had full daylight to enjoy the beautiful desolation of the drive. Seriously, most of the Utah-Colorado-New Mexico route is pretty boring and barren. For the first few hours, the only interesting thing we saw was a train.

Not much to start with.

Not much to start with.

One thing that did make the trip more enjoyable, though, was these bug-eye sunglasses the Romgi got for me:

Audrey Hepburn would be proud.

Audrey Hepburn would be proud.

Ok, anyway, moving on. (I know they’re ridiculous-looking – that was the point.) At a rest stop in the middle of nowhere – which is to say, it could have been anywhere along the drive – the Romgi took pictures of the desolation while I fed the Bwun.

This is what most of our drive looked like, except that the Romgi was usually in the car. Driving.

This is what most of our drive looked like, except that the Romgi was usually in the car. Driving.

Sometime around…I have no idea when, we saw this amazingly incredible rainbow in the clouds.

I want one!

I want one!

And eventually (I think around 2:30pm) we made it to Shiprock. Or, near Shiprock.

We were near Shiprock the city (town?) and less near Shiprock the rock.

We were near Shiprock the city (town?) and less near Shiprock the rock.

And even more eventually we made it to my grandpa’s house in Gallup, where we spent a few minutes watching the Bwun chase dogs around (the boy can move fast when he wants to!) before heading down a series of increasingly un-maintained roads to the cabin.

IMG_4316

The Romgi meant for me to get a picture of the truck, the road, the sunset, and the blackeyed susans, but I could only manage one or two of those at a time. Sorry, dear.

Once we made it to the cabin, Grandpa fed us way too much food and then we headed off to bed. Long day, you know. He told us we could sleep in as much as we wanted. But none of us really slept well – with the Bwun sharing our bed, there wasn’t much room, especially since he kicks in his sleep; there were moths flapping around all over, even though the generator was off and there was no light in the room; and around 1am we found this little guy (who, in the dark, I initially feared was the world’s largest moth):

A little bat, not a giant moth. Whew!

A little bat, not a giant moth. Whew!

The Romgi was my hero. He caught the bat in a towel and put him outside. I never would have been able to sleep with that lurking right above my head. Or anywhere in my room, actually. I finally dozed off again and got to sleep in, like Grandpa said – all the way until 7am, when he knocked on our door and said that breakfast was almost ready. It was an enormous breakfast and in the interest of not wasting food I ate and ate and ate until I’d had “my share.” Blarg. Too much!

Luckily Grandpa knew the best way to work it off. We spent an hour watering his garden (which had two types of squash, corn, potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, peas, and beans) before going on a little hike.

Anyone who knows my grandpa will at this point say, “No! You didn’t!” because they understand that Grandpa’s little hike, no matter where it goes, is not little. It is extreme. We have no pictures because I didn’t dare bring a camera down the ravine and canyon. Ok, listen up here. We hiked down Nutria Canyon. The Romgi had the Bwun in a front carrier and he was amazing – he climbed down and over and around huge rocks and drops that I didn’t think possible. I also didn’t think an 80-year-old man could climb like that.

Once we got to the bottom of the canyon and stopped so I could feed the Bwun, I regretted not bringing the camera. It was so beautiful. The canyon walls were red and orange and grey, there was a little lake with green water, yellow wildflowers were growing all around, and a blue dragonfly kept flitting above the water. I hope I never forget that picture (or at least I have another chance to go down the canyon, this time with a camera).

When we made it back to the cabin, exhausted, Grandpa made lunch for us and then asked, “Who wants to go on a h0rse ride?”

I excused myself in a very motherly fashion and went to feed the Bwun again.

So that’s why there are no pictures of the Romgi’s horseback ride. I fell asleep feeding the Bwun and was still too tired for a ride when the Romgi came back. Instead, we helped Grandpa get dinner ready. The aunts and uncles and cousins who were nearby came over for a roast, potatoes, squash, and cake – most of it made in a dutch oven. Delicious!

The Bwun was completely enamored with my cousin Brenna.

The Bwun was completely enamored with my cousin Brenna.

That night the Romgi and I tried to get my grandpa to tell us stories about himself and his dad while we had a campfire. He has dozens of stories about our ancestors, but this was one of the first times I’ve heard about his childhood.

The man himself.

The man himself.

Campfire!

Campfire!

I did get more sleep that second night, so I was ready for a horse ride the next morning. The Romgi again took pictures while I was gone.

My grandpa started building this cabin when he was 68. You can't really see the addition on the right. He added that in his 70s.

My grandpa started building this cabin when he was 68. You can't really see the addition on the right. He added that in his 70s.

These are his 5 horses: Lucky, Barney, Billy, Smoky, and Monroe.

These are his 5 horses: Lucky, Barney, Billy, Smoky, and Monroe.

I rode Billy. That horse knew I didn't know a thing about horseback riding and just followed Grandpa.

I rode Billy. That horse knew I didn't know a thing about horseback riding and just followed Grandpa.

We did actually go on a short ride, believe it or not – mainly because Monroe jumped the fence just as we started, so we had to put him back and the other horses got out while the gate was open to get Monroe back in, and I could hear the Bwun screaming the entire time we were getting the horses taken care of. When we got back from our ride we packed everything up and headed to Ramah.

This isn't how you picture New Mexico, is it?

This isn't how you picture New Mexico, is it?

Our first stop was at the Lewis Trading Post.

Kin Łigai is Navajo for "white building."

Kin Łigai is Navajo for "white building."

Then my aunt and uncle generously let us both shower at their house, which we were very grateful for after several days at the cabin. Feeling refreshed, we spent a while at the Ramah cemetery.

This hard-to-read tombstone is for Samuel Edward Lewis, my great-great-grandfather, the first to come to New Mexico.

This hard-to-read tombstone is for Samuel Edward Lewis, my great-great-grandfather, the first in our family to come to New Mexico.

Did you know that Ramah has a historical museum? It’s true! We made a small donation (the only cash we had: $2) and took a leisurely tour through the 4 rooms.

The Bwun mainly slept.

The Bwun mainly slept.

That night we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house and finally learned how to play Rook. I was terrible at it – whether from being tired or just being unintelligent, I couldn’t keep track of what had been played. The Romgi did much better than I did, but we still think they went easy on us. Rook is a family tradition of sorts, and I feel a little bit embarassed that I’d never played before.

We headed back to Provo the next morning. Our last view of Ramah:

The cluster of trees in the middle. That's Ramah. All of it.

According to the 2000 census, population: 407.

Just for fun, we stopped at HOLE N” THE ROCK, which we’d seen but didn’t really know anything about. Behold:

It's near Moab, UT. And it has weird punctuation.

It's near Moab, UT. And it has weird punctuation.

Although we were too cheap to pay for the official tour, we did learn that HOLE N” THE ROCK was at one point a house inside the rock. A 5,000 sq ft house. Can you imagine?

Anyway, it was an adventurous trip. So adventurous that we didn’t get pictures of the adventurous parts. It was really enjoyable spending time with my grandpa. Anyone up for another “vacation” with me in October? I promise we won’t hike the canyon!

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5 thoughts on “New Mexico!

  1. KHL says:

    That was a very fun travelogue! I completely agree that the drive between Provo and Gallup/Ramah isn’t very picturesque. (And I’ve done it a lot more times than I would have liked.) But there are some nice views. One time coming down a grade before Shiprock, we saw a whole line of dust-devils. I’ve never even stopped at Hole n” the Rock. Or for that matter, gone to the cabin! Good pictures all around!

  2. sposita says:

    wait…. the bwun is crawling? aack!

    you guys are very brave.

    i was glad to see the owl shirt! =)

  3. romgi says:

    I’m glad you had a good time. I said it what we were at the cabin, and I’ll say it again. There is something satisfying about hard work. Even though we went to bed exhausted every night, I still felt relaxed and rejuvenated after the trip.

  4. Katie says:

    Mika! What a wonderful trip!! I totally want to go! Josh and I wanted to try to go over the 24th of July, but we didn’t meet our goals to be able to go. How fun to get to listen to Grandpa talk about himself as a “little shaver”. What an awesome trip! I’m totally jealous!!!

  5. Sara says:

    Ok, there is so much about that post that makes me happy, I don’t even know where to start. That truck picture is the greatest. I may need to frame it for Kevan (that particular truck is his dream truck)(no, seriously)(every time I see an old beater truck, I say, “Look, Kev, it’s your truck!” And he agrees with me.) And I laughed out loud (fer rills, not just cuz the kids these days say that) when you said you went on a little hike with Grandpa. Comedy! And lots of other stuff, too. I love, as we call it, New Metsitoe (that’s what Jessie called it when she was little).

    Girlfriend (that I did say because of the kids these days), you seem to have those Lewis photog skillz.

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