Jody Brown and I have been friends for over 20 years. *Yes, I know it doesn’t appear that we are both old enough to have a friendship that long, but it is true!! So when she and her husband, David, decided they were going to move to Florida, she told me one morning, “Let’s go on a road trip just the two of us. You can take me to the place you always talk about in the mountains.” I replied, “Heck yes! We will go to Red River, New Mexico!!” That is how this “girls mountain getaway” all began.
As the day drew closer for her to move, we began to settle on a date. We soon realized we had waited too long to go before her move, due to commitments; so she booked a flight from Tampa to Oklahoma City for July to come see her kids, close friends, and head to Red River. We got our townhouse on the river booked, as well as, our sports car rented, and began making our Red River bucketlist.
After plans and payments had been made, it was time for us to make our last late night Target run and say our goodbyes. Little did we know this goodbye would be very short lived. Two weeks after the move to Florida, they moved back home to Oklahoma. YAY!!! Since no refunds were possible, we explained to our understanding and supportive husbands that we “had to go!”
I went the night before our trip to pick up the sports car that we had rented. We had strategized for weeks on how to fit all our stuff in one. They ended up having a Camaro convertible for us, so we chose to rapidly downsize our belongings to fit an even smaller space and go for it! Girls can get serious and creative about packing, when a sports car is involved.
Jody sent a picture to Cole, her 18 year old son, who is a car fanatic. He told her, “Oh Lord, I am gonna start praying now!” Earlier that day at work Gavin, our friend we work with, was extremely interested in what car we were going to end up with. I let him know after picking up the car, that we had a Camaro convertible. The next morning I had two Marco Polos from him, excitedly wondering if we would be by the church before leaving.
I told him we would stop by and let him “see it.” To which he responded his insurance would cover him driving it! When he and Morgan, another friend we work with, took off in it for a test drive, it was like two excited kids in a candy store. It happened to be beneficial for us, as Gavin explained features of the car that we wondered about.
I went to pick up Jody from her house and while hauling her stuff out, her rottweiler, Harley, tried to eat me!! I AM NOT LAUGHING!!! Jody wasn’t either at the time. (I knew getting into the Camaro with the top down would not prove safe for me.) Needless to say, I was glad to get her loaded and head west.
With the top down, the sun at our back, our music loud and our voices louder, we had Jesus time and adventures on our mind. The initial convertible experience was about as short lived as Jody’s time as a Floridian...it started pouring on us! Thankfully when we reached the west side of Oklahoma City, the rain was gone, the sun was back out and the top came down again.
It wasn’t long until we began plans to make a pit stop, and pay my 89 year old Grandma Peggy a surprise visit in Weatherford. Knowing she would appreciate and love the fact that we were headed to Red River (the place she and my Granddad had taken their family for decades), and that she would be super giddy we were in a convertible.
When we arrived at her retirement home, Weatherwood, she was in the fellowship area, jammin’ to some “I’ll Fly Away”. We both joined her in singing, clapping and dancing a jig. Jody immediately got to see her spunky, spicy self as she “accidently” pushed her walker into the gentleman that was sitting in the reading area. She giggled and said, “Oh, I am sorry.” and cracked up laughing. She took us to see her new two bedroom place, and then we took her to see our ride.
She managed to get herself in the car, which we were hoping we could get her out of later. She loved it! She said, “This is so neat! I am so glad you girls get to go to Red River alone.” She also said as we are driving fast down the highway, “I am glad I getting my hair done tomorrow!”, and laughed while raising her hands. It is these precious moments I will hold onto forever!!
Jody complains about my driving a lot (I not really sure why, haha), but she seemed pretty relaxed for the hours of driving I did. She said, “This car is more comfortable that I gave it credit for.” There was a point in the 100 degree temperature that I decided my feet needed AC and I was listening to something on my phone and she decides that is the time in my 6 hours behind the wheel that she needed to take a picture of me, of course!!
On the north side of Amarillo she began to drive for a couple of hours and we laughed that the entire time she drove the Texas State Police were trailing her even to the point we stopped to see if an elderly couple that was pulled over needed assistance and the officer pulled over to watch us instead of checking on them...SMH!
As we got a couple of hours away from the mountains I took over driving, since Jody struggles with altitude sickness. The drive was familiar and became more beautiful as the miles passed by. Jody was asking me again what the landforms were that we were passing, since I explained them to her and Cole last fall when we drove this route to Colorado Springs. Most of them were plateaus, and she began to ask, “How do you think they were formed?” With the most serious voice and face I could muster I began to tell her…”60 billion years ago when New Mexico was under water there were these large fish that used to rub their bellies on these hills and it made the hills flat on the top. Then whales would come along and take naps on them!” It was a great laugh since I had her going for a bit.
As we began to get further into the Carson National Forest I began to see quickly how significant the drought had been. The river along the road and through the town was so very low. Eagle Nest Lake was so low, that most all the boat ramps could be seen from top to bottom. It was truly sad.
The mountains though, oh the mountains...they did not disappoint! It was gorgeous, and the town of Red River felt like home! We stopped at the grocery store when arriving in town, and I told Jody just grab your purse everything else will be ok! With the top down and all of our belongings in arms reach of anyone we went in and did our shopping! The place we rented our townhouse from was already closed so they left our key on a corkboard outside their door.
About the time we unloaded a nice, cool storm moved in and it rained for several hours. It was awesome...the smells, the sounds and the sight! We were eager to unpack, get settled, and be well rested for the next day of adventures!!
I wanted Jody to share her take of entering the mountains and Red River...“Driving into Red River was a little sad at first, because we were passing acres of land that had been recently scorched by wildfires. The pine trees had an unusual purple grayish hue to them. But once we got past that, and drove into Red River, I was awestruck by the coziness of the town. It truly was nestled in the mountains, with 360 degree scenic views. The town itself has the feel of small town America. Kids riding bikes, people walking around, and people stopped on the sidewalks talking with each other.. it has a very “safe” feel to it. Once we arrived at our townhouse, I was struck by the fact that the Red River looked more like a stream than a river... but a beautifully clear stream. Twice while taking pictures down by the river, I encountered a deer. These deer were so calm, and completely unconcerned about people, that they would stand just feet away from me, taking pictures of them, and they just didn’t care! that was very cool!!”
Thanks for following along with us, on day one of the “Girls Mountain Getaway!!”
Written by Gretchen Cannon
If you would like to ride along with us through the rest of our trip you can click here.