We enjoyed the couple of weeks we spent in Arizona but it was time to move on to New Mexico. We both have a particular fondness for New Mexico for a variety of reasons and were looking forward to revisiting some favorite places and exploring new ones.

We took our time packing up our campsite at Schoolhouse campground on Roosevelt Lake. We had a reservation at an Airbnb in Gila but check-in was not until 3 and it was only a few hours drive. We made coffee and enjoyed a nice breakfast in the beautiful morning sun before we started organizing the car. The very sweet camp host stopped by for a chat while we were packing which was very nice.

On the road, we picked up where we left off on our audiobook The Kite Runner. It is such a sad and beautifully written story. The audiobook is read by the author which is a nice touch. Between the book and the scenery, the drive was very pleasant and went quickly. Unusually for us, we were actually right on time for check-in.

We drove through the very small town of Gila on our way to our Airbnb. We knew from the directions that it was a few miles from town on a dirt road. We were greeted by our lovely host, Joanne who showed us the space. We have been to a number of Airbnbs on this trip and have enjoyed them all but this one was by far our best experience. We had a suite with a separate entrance so we had plenty of privacy. The suite included a bedroom and large bath with a small table and chairs and a writing desk. It also had a microwave, fridge, toaster, coffee maker, etc so we could prepare simple meals. Our suite opened onto a patio with a gas grill and a gorgeous view. We were very excited about relaxing here for a couple of days while we both tackled our work projects.

We had a fantastic time at Joanne’s place, so good in fact that we decided to extend our stay an extra day. The outdoor bench and patio table made it so easy to work outdoors and enjoy the scenery. Neighboring horses and donkeys stopped by several times to access the water right outside the fence. We had assumed they were wild but found out from Joanne that they were owned by her neighbors. She told us that New Mexico has a free range law were residents are allowed to have their animals roam freely and if you don’t want them in your yard then you are responsible for building a fence to keep them out. We thought that was awesome.

We took advantage of the beautiful weather by barbecuing, eating on the patio, and enjoying the incredible sunsets.  Joanne was a great hostess and we really enjoyed getting to know her as she gave us so much information and helpful suggestions for places to explore in New Mexico. She was even kind enough to read the introductory chapter of Francis’s book and gave him some very thoughtful feedback. She also sent me some links to the local school system and a nearby charter school after I expressed interest in going back to teaching once we settle. Add in a comfortable bed and beautiful, spacious bathroom and we could have happily stayed much longer. Link to Joanne’s Airbnb.