A car driving through the desert with a paper map hovering above. On the map, one pin has been crossed off and a new pin has been dropped.

Headed to Arizona!

Editor's note: This is part 3 of a series. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2.

Well, we made a change of plans right from the beginning. Instead of doing Route 66 at the beginning of the trip, we decided to do that on the way home and explore some states that we both had never seen. We cut through Iowa onto Nebraska and then into Colorado. Both of us have been to Iowa, all the time, in fact, we only live 20 minutes away, but we hadn’t been to Nebraska or Colorado. We decided to take off to Denver and then head to the Grand Canyon and head down to Tucson from there.

A scary experience

Driving through Nebraska was not much different from Iowa but way flatter. Colorado was a little more hilly land. The part we were in didn’t look like it was that high but my lungs could tell that the altitude was getting higher. We stayed the first night in Sterling, Colorado, and it wasn’t too bad, but that night I had a terrible experience. I woke up coughing and gasping for air.

I noticed as I sat up coughing that my tubing had disconnected from my concentrator. That was so scary. I hollered for Dave to tell him just in case I passed out while I got up to put it back on (I was closer to it and was quicker for me to plug it in). I got it back on and sat there for a bit before I checked my stats. My pulse ox was at 70 then so I don’t know how far it had gone down. From then on, I had a rough night and morning. I was having a hard time doing anything that morning as I was getting ready.

Another change of plans

We planned to head to Denver, a place we both had never been and wanted to see. I was anxious all morning and couldn’t keep from wondering in my mind what Denver or the Grand Canyon was going to be like on my lungs. As we headed to the gas station to fill up, I almost had a panic attack thinking about our day's journey and asked Dave if he’d care if we just headed down and forgot about going to Denver and the Grand Canyon. It actually relieved him because he wasn’t looking forward to the extra days.

We were a little disappointed at not seeing Denver, but he didn’t mind. I could tell he was worried about my anxiety and breathing as well. We then headed down to New Mexico (some sites Dave wanted to see were there) and then onto Arizona. Little did we know we would go through some higher altitudes than we had been in, but we managed.

Movie inspiration and old friends

We headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where my husband and I wanted to see where they taped one of the TV shows he likes and saw some of the Route 66 stops along the way to Tucumcari, New Mexico for the night. I was excited to get pictures of Route 66 there because that was the city from which the Disney movie Cars got its inspiration. We even got to see the original “mater” inspiration from the movie.

From there, we headed to Tucson, where I used to live, and visited my old friend Julie and the schools and hangouts that I used to live by. In Part 4, I will write about Tucson and our drive home.

Do you have a favorite place in Colorado or New Mexico that you like to visit? Please share in the comments below, Thanks!

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