Our goal now is for Madeline to reach all 50 states before she turns 50. I didnít feel like being at home on my 50th birthday, I needed to take a trip to ensure I reached Platinum on American Airlines, and there were some sales, so we took off to New Mexico. We spent two nights in Santa Fe and two in Albuquerque, and we had lots of fun driving around the countryside.

12/7/11-12/11/11 New Mexico

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We flew through Dallas to get to Albuquerque, and we quickly saw that the storm that went through a couple days before put a blanket of snow on the ground.

On our way up to Santa Fe, we stopped at Hacienda Vargas in Algodones to visit the little chapel that my brother and sister-in-law got married in around 8 years ago.

WednesdayThursday

We got up early on a cold morning and started driving north towards Taos. We stopped briefly in Santa Clara Pueblo and checked out an interesting cemetery. We then moved on to Santuario de Chimayů, a church known as the Lourdes of America. It contains Ďholy dirtí, known to miraculously cure people from ailments.

We continued on the High Road to Taos, and then to the ski resort. We ate lunch at the lodge and then went back to Santa Fe via the Low Road, where we crossed over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.

FridaySaturday

We got up and went east of Santa Fe to Pecos National Historical Park, a multi-storied town (like the model on the right) built around the end of the first millennium. After the Spaniards found them, they built a church (left and lower right), which is the about the only thing still standing today aside from foundations (below) and kivas (far right).

We returned to Santa Fe and checked out the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, first built in 1610 and then rebuilt in 1886. We then saw the famous street vendors around the square, did a little shopping, and then drove down to Albuquerque.

On our last full day, we drove northwest of Albuquerque to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, an extremely unique place where we decided to hike in the snow in our tennis shoes and jeans. We took both trails, going through the canyons to the top of the mountain.

At the top, Madeline placed a phone call to let people know how beautiful the view was. It was worth the treacherous trail through the canyons.

Overall, we hiked for more than 4 hours on one bottle of water, a bag of trail mix, and getting extremely wet and cold feet. It was worth it all!

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