After driving 14.5 hours yesterday back to Los Angeles, I am incredibly tired and not really rested at all. I slept last night in my own bed after 8 days, but instead of feeling great when I woke up this morning, I feel like someone hit me in the head with a shovel. Ugh. Overall, our trip was incredible though. We went to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, AZ and Santa Fe and Taos NM. I will work on putting together a few pictures from the trip in case anyone wants to see them. It’s going to be hard to choose because I took over 300 pictures.
As I was getting up this morning, I started thinking about this post, Top Ten Things I Learned On My Vacation and wanted to put “fingers to keyboard” while it was fresh in my mind.
10. We have way more than we need. I saw poverty like I had not seen poverty, and that is saying a lot as I live in Los Angeles, where this is a ton of it. The way that some people live out in the in country is amazing, in broken down hovels with 30 cars in the yard with a rusted water storage container. We have more than we need.
9. I have a new respect for the Native American culture. I learned more about their past and the way they were treated than I ever was told in textbooks. To add insult to injury, a lot of these people are poor, see #1. I mean seriously poor.
8. In relationship with #9 and #10, not all Indian tribes get money from casinos. In fact, barely any of them do. And to those people that say that Native Americans have plenty of money and that the casinos should share with them all…when was the last time a casino in Las Vegas shared its income with the community? Never. I never thought about that.
7. The Mini does 100 MPH pretty well.
6. You get what you pay for…sometimes. We spent $110 per night for a hotel in Sedona that was not so great. And by not so great, I mean bad. We could have spent less and gotten a nicer room at any of the Motel 6′s around there, but we thought a nice bed and breakfast would be better. Plus, the reviews were good. They were lying. We spent the same amount per night in Santa Fe, and had a wonderful experience. Sometimes money is not the deciding factor.
5. Gasoline is about $1.00 cheaper per gallon in New Mexico then it is here. California has its own refineries and New Mexico does not; tell me why I pay $1.00 more per gallon out here?
4. Land in California is ridiculously overpriced compared to Arizona and New Mexico. We looked at some property in Taos, both close to town and outside of town, and we almost put a deposit down on a 3 acre lot close to town and/or a 20 acre lot outside of town. We did neither, for now. It is to be discussed in the coming weeks if we are going to do it. Both of us had never seen or been in a place as incredible as Taos and we want to move there. I will discuss the land/building options in an upcoming post.
3. I did 100% of the driving over 8 days – 2,453 miles. Which was OK until yesterdays Death Drive 2007 back from New Mexico. Doing all the driving is tiring, but since my wife doesn’t really like to drive fast, it would have taken us a lot longer to get places. Thus, I drove. Not smart, as my body is paying for it now.
2. Eating tacos daily is a good thing. Eating tacos three times daily is a bad thing. This is something I would have to get used to if we moved there, as Mexican food is item #1 on every menu in every restaurant. Which is a great thing, until you feel like having something else…and you can’t.
And the number 1 thing I learned on my trip through the southwest is…
1. Vacations are the greatest invention ever, even if they cost me thousands of dollars. We saved up slowly for about a year for this long extended vacation, and because of that we basically have the entire trip paid for already, including food, hotels, trinkets, gasoline, gifts for family, etc.. As an added bonus, I should be getting back about $100-$150 from my dividends card, and earning about 1,000 miles on my mileage card for this trip. Not bad, heh?
I will have new posts up this week including discussions about a possible move for us in the future, buying land, cost of living changes and a bunch of new stuff as well. Thanks to all the guest posters last week while I was away – No Credit Needed, The Digerati Life, and Getting Green. I hope everyone enjoyed the guest posts!