Career Break Month 3 Recap

I started October with a cold and a stomach bug! It was bound to happen, but thankfully it didn’t slow me down too much! The month began at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had a cabin at Jacob Lake for 1 night, where I arrived and went straight to bed. Lodging here is pretty limited and even this place was still almost an hour away from the rim itself. So we didn’t spend a ton of time here, but had some nice views along the drive and at the rim.

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

From the North Rim, I drove to Page, Arizona and camped at the Wahweap campground on the shores of Lake Powell for 3 nights. Even though I wasn’t feeling well, it was so nice to camp again and to stay in the same place 3 nights in a row! This campground is awesome – very nice facilities perched on a hill overlooking Lake Powell. I highly recommend it.

The Page area has some really great natural attractions. Lake Powell is popular for houseboat vacations, Horseshoe Bend is Insta-famous (and Insta-crowded!), Antelope Canyons and the Wave are also here. My Wave permit application was declined and I never felt like getting up early enough to try the walk-up permits. Likewise, by the time I sat down to book a photographer’s tour of Antelope Canyon, they were all booked up! So I found Canyon X instead and I’m so glad I did!

After Page, I had 3 days to kill before meeting some friends in Albuquerque. My stomach was still not 100% and I was just generally exhausted and ended up wandering aimlessly. I spent 1 night in Farmington, NM and then 2 nights in Gallup, NM. In hindsight, I should have just gotten 1 spot for 3 nights instead of hopping around as I didn’t do any touristing during this time, either. (Big bummer that I didn’t get to Canyon de Chelly or Chaco Canyon, so I definitely need to plan a special trip, sans dog!)

(this is not Shiprock, but in the same area…I just liked the clouds)

Next, it was time for our annual girls weekend. My high school besties and I have been getting together for over 20 years, and this year we met up in Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta. We kicked off our weekend at the Gondola Club on Saturday night for glow night and returned again before sunrise on Sunday morning to see the balloons take off.

After brunch and naps, we made our way up to Santa Fe, along the scenic route called the Turquoise Trail. The following day, we hiked at Bandelier National Monument and visited the hot springs at Ojo Caliente. After just 2 nights, it was time to head back to ABQ for flights. We didn’t really get to see any of Santa Fe, so looking back, we all wished we’d just gotten a cabin at Ojo Caliente and chilled there. So, I definitely need to revisit Santa Fe (and Ojo Caliente!) someday.

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument

Once the girls all went home, I was headed towards Silver City, New Mexico. I ended up spending two nights at a Holiday Inn Express in Deming, NM (first night was just a stopping point for the night and I got lazy and stayed a second night!) From here, I drove to Silver City and spent 3 nights in a little cabin at the KOA campground. The “Kabin” was a fun little splurge as it wasn’t much more expensive than a campsite, and it came with TV, which was perfect as the Cubs were in the playoffs!

In Silver City, I visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings and did some hiking in the area.

Gila Cliff Dwelllings

Gila Cliff Dwellings

Halfway through October, I arrived in Tucson! (I actually skipped ahead two weeks from my original itinerary because I was getting tired of moving so much, and burning through money on hotels.) An acquaintance through Airedale rescue had offered up their guesthouse to Bailey and I, so we stayed there a week, while looking for someplace to stay a bit longer. We loved the guesthouse with a gorgeous mountain view, and no shortage of Airedales to play with.

Buddy and Bailey

My first week in Tucson was all about playing tourist, and I joined several tours which I’ll be writing about very soon! Let’s just say there’s no shortage of good food, culture and scenery here!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you already know I’m obsessed with Saguaros, so I’ve got a million pictures and counting!

Saguaro National Park

After a week, we moved into a guesthouse I found on Airbnb. As the month of October comes to a close, I’m establishing a nice routine of morning walks, yoga classes, lap swimming and hiking. (OK, and eating a lot of Mexican food!) I’m really enjoying Tucson, so much so that I’m considering an apartment rental for the rest of winter. I paid $1000 for a month in a really old, decrepit house, and that amount could fetch a pretty nice apartment. I don’t picture myself moving around again all winter, and I think Tucson is a great, inexpensive homebase while I figure out what’s next.

Don’t worry, though, there’s still plenty of travel to come! At the end of November, I’ll make my way to Maui, by way of Phoenix then San Diego. Once I’m back on the mainland after a week in Maui, I plan to return to Tucson and settle in for the winter, taking lots of side trips and getting to know the “Old Pueblo.”

Here’s my month in numbers:

  • Miles Driven: 2,083 (8,382 since leaving Chicago)
  • States Visited: 2 (Arizona, New Mexico)
  • National Parks Visited: 1 (Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park)
  • Hotel Nights: 8
    • Holiday Inn Express, Farmington, NM (1)
    • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, NM (2)
    • Holiday Inn Express, Albuquerque Old Town (1)
    • Hotel Chimayo, Santa Fe, NM (2)
    • Holiday Inn Express, Deming, NM (2)
  • Tent Nights: 6
    • Wahweap Campground, Page, Arizona (3)
    • KOA, Silver City, NM (3)
  • Private Home Nights: 17
    • Airedale Guesthouse (7)
    • Airbnb (10)
  • Expenses: $4,645
    • Lodging: $1,591
    • Gas: $219
    • Food: $529
    • Bailey: $494
    • Other: $1812

What was the highlight of your October?

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11 thoughts on “Career Break Month 3 Recap

  1. Santa Fe is one of my absolute favorites. You MUST go back! I’m doing a road trip through a lot of these places next spring so I can’t wait to see some of the same things in this post! Fingers crossed that I get to see the Wave. haha

  2. Antelope Canyon is my dream to visit! It looks so gorgeous. I love your photos, all the landscapes are so beautiful. Sometimes I forget that we have such beautiful places right here in the US!

  3. Seems like you had a pretty awesome month! I camped near Page too and it’s just amazing out there. I have never heard of Canyon X, I did see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon is literally amazing! I am addicted to Mexican food too haha.

  4. Damn, you did so well for a month on the road! That’s not expensive at all. And you did some stuff that I would totally love to do one day. Especially Horseshoe Bend (although, don’t we all want to do that one day?).

  5. Glad that I saw your post as I never heard about Antelope Canyon. It’s amazing to find all these places and also sad that soooo much to see in the world and it is so hard to be full time Traveller. I am impressed with people who can manage that. Your picture are absolutely gorgeous btw.

  6. Wow! Despite starting off sick, it really looks like you had an incredible month! I seriously want to visit every single place you named, though I had no idea that permit applications for certain places can be denied! I also admire how much you drove! I’ve had my license for over a year, but for some reason, I’m not crazy about driving (though I really wish I was)!

  7. I really love off the beaten paths. The hot air balloon festival looks magical. I’m sure this will be an unforgettable experience for you and your friends.

  8. What a fun adventure for the month of October. Tucson is incredible and I love the landscapes. The hot air balloon festival looks like fun as well. Safe travels and can’t wait to see what November brings.

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