Tag Archives: Santa Fe

Day 12: Santa Fe and (driving to) Phoenix, AZ

After a good night’s rest, we were eager to get back on the road and get closer to our final destination.  Our morning routine included diaper changes, giving kids their milk and a mini-breakfast snack (usually cereal or cereal bar).  All of the following would happen thereafter:

  • change kids into their day outfits
  • pack away kids’ beds and clothes
  • M & I get ourselves ready
  • pack away our clothes
  • pack away toiletries and potty seat

At this point in our road trip, we were be able to do all of this by 9:30AM.  The kids kept themselves entertained that morning.


Morning playtime on Kid C's bed


Kid C having morning snack


Kid A snack time (notice cereal in bib's trough)

To save time, we had breakfast at the hotel and then packed up the van once again.

We thought we’d stay in Sedona, AZ for the night.  After doing quick research, it seemed like Sedona was a destination for a spiritual retreat versus a quick overnight trip with kids in tow.  Stopping in Flagstaff seemed to be the next logical choice.  We would see how the drive went and decide whether we would book a hotel in Flagstaff or try to make it all the way to Phoenix.  Only time would tell.

  • Santa Fe to Flagstaff = 383 miles
  • Santa Fe to Phoenix = 529 miles

Views during our drive out of Santa Fe:

We planned to stop for lunch in Gallup, NM and used Yelp to find Jerry’s Café.  (I wanted to have one last sopapilla while we were in NM.) When we stopped to fill up on gas, I saw a sign that read “Fry Bread – one block away”.  We had about an hour until we would reach Gallup, I’d never had fry bread, and I was starting to get hungry… So, fry bread, it is!

One block away from the gas station, we pull up and see this stand-alone building:

IMG_5097Not sure what to expect, we found a treasure trove of Native American crafts – some rugs, blankets, jewelry, but mostly pottery.  We hadn’t purchased a single souvenir up until this point, but we ended up buying a couple of vases here.  The pieces were “Horse Hair Pottery” – pottery that is fired first and in the middle of firing, horse hair is applied.  The pottery makers were Navajo tribe and Pueblo of Jemez.  I felt like we stumbled upon a cool, little shop.

But back to the Fry Bread… there was a single window (to the left of the shop’s entrance) with the Fry Bread menu written on a paper plate.  You had the option of having cinnamon, powdered sugar, or honey drizzled on the fry bread.  Or you could have all three toppings. 

IMG_5098Of course, I opted for all three.

IMG_5099It was a delicious treat that we all enjoyed.  (Yes, I shared.)  Next time, I would stick with just honey or honey & cinnamon.  The powdered sugar was just an added mess with no added flavor.  The fry bread was crispy and surprisingly light, with just the right amount of sweetness.

With our fry bread fix fulfilled, we continued on to Gallup.


Got a cool shot of a train


We made it to Jerry’s Café and I was especially looking forward to trying another sopapilla. (Because, you know, I wasn’t eating enough fried foods with drizzled honey that day.)



Jerry's Cafe: Chile Relleno plate


Jerry's Cafe: Sopapillas


Jerry's Cafe: Combo plate (with a taco, tamale, enchilada and maybe there was even a tostada)

The restaurant was full of local folk – always a good sign.  They had a kids menu and a high chair – another plus for us.  Our server was pleasant and our meals were tasty.  The sopapillas were crispy and delicious.  With drizzled honey, it was even better.  Eating good Mexican food always reminds me of being home.  I started to feel like we were closer to California than ever before!

We tried to let the kids walk around a bit before we plopped them back into their car seats for the next leg, which was nearly 3 hours until we got to Flagstaff.  We waited about an hour into our drive before we played the other movie loaded on the iPad, which was Cars.  Kid C was especially mesmerized by the movie and would blurt out Lightning McQueen’s catchphrase with an enthusiastic “Ka-chow!”  It was the most fitting kids flick for our little adventure.

Views as we neared the Arizona state line:



Arizona - The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You

We ended up having dinner in Flagstaff at Beaver Street Brewery restaurant, which was fine.  Nothing exciting to report.  At dinner, we decided to continue on to Phoenix.  We knew that the kids would fall asleep on this leg and as long as M had the energy, we would get to Phoenix in about 2 hours.  I was too tired to drive at that point.

We booked a hotel while we were on the road and arrived in Phoenix at about 10:00PM.  Total mileage for the day was nearly 530 miles, just a few miles less than the longest driving day of the trip (aka: Omaha to Denver leg).  We were exhausted, yet glad to have made it to Phoenix that night.  We were one day away from reaching California.

Day 11: Sante Fe, NM

Since we had such a long day of driving the previous day, we decided to stay in Santa Fe for another night. It was nice not having to worry about packing up and driving to another state.  We would get to enjoy the city for a full day.  We were most excited to sample some southwestern cuisine.  Several friends recommended we eat sopapillas.  After I read my dear friend’s blog post about sopapillas at The Culinary Chronicles, I knew we would definitely put sopapillas on our must-eat list.

We started our morning with a walk to Tia Sophia’s Restaurant, which was about 10 minutes away from our hotel.  This restaurant came as a recommendation of a friend’s friend who was from NM, and also received high marks on Yelp.  When we got there, we saw groups of people scattered near the restaurant, which we took as a good sign.  We waited about 20 minutes for a table and took in the sights nearby.Burro AlleyIMG_4885.JPG


IMG_4890.JPGOur food was delicious. I had the Huevos Rancheros (with green chile) and M had the Breakfast Burrito (with red chile).



After breakfast, we walked to Santa Fe Plaza and made our way to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.  I was most impressed with the interior architecture of the church and the beauty of the light shining through the stained glass windows.  Kid C enjoyed climbing in and out of the pews and did a great job keeping her toddler-voice down.  On the other hand, Kid A’s loud voice forced us to finish our time in the church and head out.

IMG_4946.JPG IMG_4949.JPG IMG_4953.JPG IMG_4955.JPG

Thankful that we had such great weather, we took in some other sights on our walk back to the hotel.

Checking out sculptures at an art gallery

Wind sculptures outside of Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel

Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Colorful stones at an outdoor craft market

San Miguel Church

We wanted to get the kids back to the hotel for a nap – the first stationary nap they would have in over a week.  That afternoon, they napped for three hours.  M & I seized this rare opportunity and got massages at the hotel spa.  It was a much-needed treat that left us relaxed and rejuvenated.

That feeling lasted about an hour.  Shortly after we we sat down to have dinner, our toddler (Kid C) had a meltdown that reached a carry-out-of-the restaurant-screaming level.  Here are some nice family shots before the meltdown.

We had dinner at Tomasita’s that night.  I found my dish to be a bit too spicy for my liking, but I think M enjoyed his meal.  The sopapillas were good, but I imagined them to be crispier.  (Little did I know, that I would have a better sopapilla experience the next day.)

After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and went through our nighttime ritual with the kids – bath, brushing teeth, story time and bed.  M & I were happy with our decision to stay in Santa Fe an extra day.  We would definitely come back for another visit.