{Ruidoso, NM // First trip of 2019}

I posted on Instagram earlier in the day that I was in a funk when it came to taking pictures and posting on Instagram now that Christmas is over. And also talked about how school started back and we were trying to get back into a routine all the while my gypsy/Jeepsy soul was craving some spontaneous adventure. I was sitting in the car pick up line at Masons school on Thursday afternoon when it hit me...go find some adventure! We had some Christmas money saved up from my dad that we could use to make some awesome memories. So I got home and typed up an email to Nate with my proposal. He replies “I’m down...now let’s figure out where.” I replied with “let’s start with Sam (our dog boarding friend) first. She had an opening and we were ecstatic!! We both looked online for places within 4 hours of home since it would be a quick weekend trip. We talked about Jefferson, Broken Bow, the hill country, Hot Springs, etc. but the forecast was showing nothing but rain all weekend in every place that we researched. Not to mention that all of the state/national parks were shut down due to the government shutdown. Deep down we both wanted snow! We talked about going to Colorado or New Mexico over Christmas break but it just didn’t work out with the way Christmas fell, birthdays and my work schedule. So at about 6:00 pm that evening we decided to just go for it and travel to Ruidoso, NM. While it’s 8 hours from us it’s an easy drive. 

We’ve been there twice before (both summer trips) and are pretty familiar with the area, and most importantly SNOW! Our plan was to get an air mattress and sleep in the back of the Jeep. We’ve both been wanting to do that for quite some time. We discussed our plans with Mason and at first, he thought we were plum crazy for wanting to sleep in the Jeep. We had a backup plan but we didn’t share that with him. There’s a hotel there with openings in case our plan falls through. But, this whole trip is about adventure and we want to give the Jeep a go first. Mason was tired and crabby and lost his marbles about the whole thing. The poor boy was exhausted. School schedules are for the birds. He had been staying up way too late and sleeping way too late during the break. And then the first day back we had church that evening. We didn’t get home until almost 9:15 which put him to bed way too late for his first week back after the break. Anyhow, once it started to sink in that he would get to miss a day of school, see the mountains and play in the snow he couldn’t contain his excitement. We ate dinner, ran to Academy for a couple of things and then took the dogs to the kennel. We got home around 9:45 and put Mason to bed so we could pack like crazy people. We packed everything we needed for a roadtrip to the mountains (with snow) in about an hour.  Well, I should say we packed everything we thought we might need. We are from Texas and never have to worry about snow. But...adventure, right? Nate and I were asleep by 11:30 which was way too late for that 3:30 alarm clock. But the excitement trumped the exhaustion!

We were on the road by 4:14 am. We gassed up, grabbed a Red Bull for Nate, Big Red & donuts for Mase and a Diet Coke for me and we were on our way. Mase was awake at first and I was worried he wouldn’t go back to sleep, but thankfully he did. We hit some traffic in the Fort Worth area due to a wreck, but it didn’t set us back too far. We got into Roswell around 11:15 and Mason requested the “alien” McDonald’s for lunch. We ate a quick bite but didn’t linger too long because we were ready for the snowy mountain goodness.

It’s about an hour and 10 minute drive from Roswell to Ruidoso. It’s was so exciting to see the mountains come in to view the closer we got. I took over so many pictures and videos within that hour drive. It’s also absolutely insane how completely different two towns only an hour apart can be. The weather dropped at least 15 degrees, there was snow and huge mountains. Roswell is like a dusty, dry desert!

We got into Ruidoso and headed straight for Ski Apache!! It’s the highest point in the town and also where there is the most snow (ski resort). It was 47 degrees at the bottom of the mountain and 31 degrees at the halfway point. We only went halfway up because we saw a sign at the bottom that said chains on tires were required on the high roads of the mountain. We weren’t exactly sure which point constituted the “high” roads so we stopped just to be safe. We all three flipped our little Texan lids when we saw the snow-covered trees, roads and mountains. Between the wind and the snow coming down, we took a good beating when we got out at the look-out point. The snow was coming staight for our faces and it hurt! We weren’t really prepared for the snow. We were still in our road trip attire and all of our warm stuff was packed in the back of the Jeep. But did that stop us? Nope! Crazy Texans on a mission to see the snow here. We took some pictures and videos and then started back down the mountain.

On the way up we scouted out a good place to stop on our way back down the mountain and so we did! It was pretty good cutout leaving ample room for the Jeep and for us to play! It was then and there that Mason declared he was never leaving and that he wanted to live in New Mexico forever!! The snow was so weird and different from that at the halfway point/lookout we had just stopped at. It was almost like styrofoam. We played for a solid 30 minutes (still in normal clothes). We had to drag Mason back to the Jeep with a promise of returning again the next day. We will be more prepared with the warmer stuff we brought.

After playing in the snow we drove down the main strip of the town to see what was all going on. Not much has changed since were here in the summer of 2017. And it wasn’t too terribly congested with people either. After driving through town we checked out a sporting goods store and then headed for the forestry trails. We went on one that we frequented our last trip and again it did not disappoint. It offers amazing views of the mountains, lakes, deer, etc. We scoped out some places to potentially camp and marked them on a mapping app we were using. It started snowing really hard on our way back down the mountain/trail. We were so excited and took another gazillion photos and videos.

We were all hungry and chose a Pizza/Italian place called Vinny and Val’s. It wasn’t great at all. Our pizza tasted like a frozen pizza warmed up. Bummer! We stopped at the store to grab some waters to use for teeth brushing and headed back to the trails. We found our spot and set up our camp. Only our air mattress wouldn’t air up. Womp womp. On to plan B which was just laying down some blankets and then each of us in a sleeping bag. It was amazing until it wasn’t. I’ll start with the amazing. Think...5 billion star hotel!! We had the best view of all the stars. We would see some explode, some different colors, shooting stats, etc. We wanted to set up the tripod to get some photos, but it was buried under all of our bags in the front seat. We made a plan to not bury it the next day. 

We tried going to sleep and none of us could get comfortable. And then it hit me. I started feeling so sick.  Pizza sometimes doesn’t agree with me, but I haven’t had an issue in a really long time. Of course, tonight would be the night that I did. Nate thought it would be best for us to get a hotel room for the evening. We didn't know how long I would feel bad or how bad it would be. I felt horrible for making us leave camp, but I could tell Nate was relieved to have a bed to sleep in. We only got 4 hours of sleep the night before and had basically been driving for 12 hours (8 hour trip + time driven in Ruidoso). I really, really wanted to camp in the Jeep and was still so bummed. But I can’t deny that a hot shower and a bed never felt so good! Nate fell asleep around 10 and Mason and I were right behind him around 10:45ish. We all slept pretty hard until 5:25 when the smoke alarm started going off. What a way to wake up!! I was pretty much wide awake after that. I laid there for an hour before passing back out. We all got up at 8:15 to begin our day.

We looked up donuts and found the best donut store in town. I didn’t eat but 2 donut holes because of my stomach issues the night before. The boys said they were great, though. We ate our donuts on the way to a little town called Cloudcroft. We stayed in a cabin there when Mason was a toddler and fell in love with the little town. The drive there was the most scenic drive complete with snow!! We were ahhh’ing and ooohhh’ing the whole drive. We passed a snow plow on the way. That was neat to see! We drove around the town a bit and then took Mason to his favorite place, the Old Apple Barn. He picked out a few souvenirs and we were on our way. We decided to head back to Ski Apache in Ruidoso to play in the snow.

We were able to go all the way to the top of Ski Apache this time which is 11,500 ft elevation. The day before the snow was coming down pretty good and we thought it was a good idea to not go all the way to the top. The temperature was around 29 degrees. We found a good area of snow and played for over 2 hours! Mason was having the time of his life!! He would run up the mountain and roll back. There were times our we would sink and the snow would come all the way to our upper thighs. It was amazing!!

We quickly learned that we are rookies at the whole snowman building thing. Texas y'all! After we had our fair share of playing in the snow and just when couldn’t feel our fingers anymore we decided to walk up to the ski area to check it out. Such a fun and neat atmosphere up there!

 We left the mountain and grabbed some subway to fill our hungry bellies and then went to some more forestry trails. We watched the most amazing sunset while on the trails!! A little slice of Heaven on earth!! After the trail ride we headed to the shopping strip area to try get some long exposure shots with the new gimbal we bought with gift cards from Christmas. It’s safe to say we need more practice. We are still learning the gimbal (this one) but so far it has been pretty amazing! There are so many functions and options. One of our goals this year is to start making more videos and get our Jeep Around Texas YouTube channel going. This gimbal will help us to make better quality videos. We are pretty excited about it. Then it was time to grab supper and head back to the hotel. We were all asleep before 10:30.

We set a 6:00 am alarm so we could get a jump on the drive back home. New Mexico sent us off with the most awesome goodbye...it was snowing! And it was coming down pretty good. It made us all that much more bummed about leaving.

I’m now convinced that spontaneous trips are where it’s at! I’m such a planner by nature, but there was an unexplainable thrill in having absolutely no plans or expectations (other than seeing mountains and snow)!! We had the time of our lives and made so many fun memories. Mason exclaimed about 20 times a day that “this is so much fun!” or “I love this trip.” Or “I love this day!” And lots of “can we move here?” Worth it. He’s a sucker for the mountains and the snow just like me.

Only 10 days into January and we can already scratch “visit New Mexico” off our 2019 goals!

And now I am off to see how we can make moving to the mountains happen.

Here is the video I made of our trip! Like and subscribe to our channel for future videos! 

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