Moving is one of those things no one really wants to deal with. First, there's all the sorting through old and forgotten things. Then, the garage sales and multiple posts on the latest apps. By the time packing and storage is done, last-minute donations are dropped off and whatever remains starts filling the dumpster, one is long overdue for a major emotional breakdown. I had a couple of those before finally getting behind the wheel of my extremely packed SUV with Rudy, my four-legged copilot, and everything else that mattered to me as we set out on our 5-day trip from Los Angeles to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This is how we did it.
DAY 1: CALIFORNIA TO NEW MEXICO
DISTANCE DRIVEN: 700 miles / 1,127 km
TOTAL DRIVE TIME: 12 hrs
LODGING: La Quinta Inn & Suites (4300 E Pine St., Deming, NM 88030)
As far as planning is concerned, I knew that Interstate 10E would take me across the country all the way to San Antonio, Texas, from where I'd head south to Laredo and cross into Mexico to continue my journey. My goal was to drive as many hours as I could during the daytime so I could reunite as soon as possible with my daughter, already waiting for me in Playa del Carmen.
On our first day, I left Downtown L.A. around 9:30 a.m. and drove straight through Arizona, stopping once for gas and Subway on-the-go, and taking a couple of short breaks in Tonopah and lovely Texas Canyon.
As the sun started to set, my search for pet-friendly lodging options led me to La Quinta Inn in a town called Deming, New Mexico. I checked in shortly before 10 p.m. and asked the girl at the front desk if my bike, mounted on a rack on the back of my SUV, would be safe in their parking. She couldn't guarantee the security of personal belongings left in vehicles but assured me of frequent security rounds through the night. For my peace of mind, I pulled the car all the way back into a wall, effectively locking the bike between the two. Tired, famished and ready to call it a night, I ordered from the only place available for delivery, Pizza Hut, which was so bad that I barely finished one slice.
We didn't sleep much. The room felt dirty, presumably due to its "pet-friendliness," and sharing the 2nd floor with other pet owners was a challenge on its own. Every time Rudy and I managed to drift away, some untimely bark stirred up a chain reaction all around us. By 4 a.m. I decided to shower and get going. It was still dark when we left Deming, my bike still secured to my car.
Give yourself time to map your route ahead of time and choose a couple of good options for spending the night beforehand -- particularly if traveling with pets or children. Make sure you read other travelers' reviews to make sure your lodging choice meets your needs and expectations. Oh, and try to avoid La Quinta Inn in Deming, New Mexico!