We had planned to visit the US in the fall of 2020. Then COVID happened. After rescheduling the trip twice over the last two years, whom we wanted to visit, what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to see all grew in scope. And given we hadn’t had a proper long vacation in just as long, we needed to do something new and different.

So we planned an epic road trip taking us from Chicago, through Indiana to visit my family, to St Louis to visit Elise’s family and old friends, and ultimately to New Mexico to visit Elise’s family, and meeting all the friends and family we hadn’t seen in so long along the way. It was a grand trip of large distances, vast open country, endless skies, and equally monumental reunions.

As we departed St Louis along the former Route 66, we enjoyed the slowly-changing landscape as we passed into the Ozark mountains, through the prairies of Oklahoma, the arid scrubland of Texas, and ultimately into the magical deserts of New Mexico. Growing up and living most of our lives in temperate climates, New Mexico enchants on so many levels. The desert and its red-brown-gold colors under endless azure blue skies mesmerizes. The utterly unique history of indigenous cultures and three different contesting countries fascinates. The unique mixture of cultures charms. And the culinary landscape tempts. Given all that makes it unique, going to New Mexico really does feel like traveling to a different country, but it is still so very quintessentially American in many ways.

It was wonderful to visit Elise’s cousin, Talia, after nearly twenty years, and she and her husband, Sammy, made sure we had a great time and served as great guides of the region. And though we had a great time visiting, we are looking forward to hopefully hosting them in Switzerland sometime in the future.

It was an epic trip, but I have to admit after over 2500 km (1500 miles), six states, and at least four Köppen climate types, we were ready to return home. It’s time to get the garden in order for the season. We have green chile to plant.

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