It finally hit me.
We left home a week and a half ago and I’ve been curious to see when this idea of full-timing it across the country and parts of Canada in a motorhome would start to feel real. Because for nearly a year, we’ve been wrapped up in the myriad of details – saving, researching, planning, etc. – that have gone into getting this trip off the ground. Seeing our goal move from thoughts on paper to reality is exciting yet somehow, unbelievable. I thought it would take me a few weeks to finally breathe that sigh of relief. Turns out, all it took was visiting Bandelier National Monument to make me say, “wow, we’re really doing this!”
And hopefully after you read this post, you’ll understand why. Though I didn’t really know what to expect as we approached Bandelier NM, the area blew any and all expectations away. It also cemented the reasons why we undertook a trip like this in the first place: to experience for ourselves those places we’ve previously only read about, to stand in awe of such places, and to stop putting these experiences off to a tomorrow that is not guaranteed.
I selected the Main Loop Trail, which is also their most popular as it’s easily accessible from the Visitor’s Center. Less than a quarter mile in and you’ll encounter stone kivas and then, you’ll find these awesome caves (or cavates) that you can explore by climbing up some wooden ladders.
Walk a little further and you’ll have the choice to return to the Visitor’s Center or continue for another half mile to the Alcove House. If you have the time, definitely continue to the Alcove House. Climbing 140 ft of ladders up a sheer rock face will bring you to an alcove where you’ll have sweeping views of the surrounding valley and the chance to see a reconstructed Kiva. Really, visit the Alcove House.
RV/Oversize vehicle parking: We arrived around 10 am and snagged the RV parking spot that’s in the main parking area, at the opposite end of the lot from the Visitor Center. The sign says it’s for RVs no larger than 25 feet, which ours is, thankfully.