June 18-Aztec NM Day 2

I slept in as late as I could because the house had cooled off the night before, and I had slept very poorly most of the night. Aztec Ruins National Monument conveniently turned out to be about 1/4 mile down the street from where I was staying. I drove even though the distance was walkable because it was so hot and sunny out.

The National Monument is small compared to the National Parks I’ve been visiting-maybe 5 or 6 acres total. It’s less like a park and more like a walkable tour of a culturally significant landscape feature. The Monument has a path that leads you through cultural artifacts that looked to my eyes similar to what I saw at Mesa Verde NP. There were water collection and storage facilities, and a covered, semi-underground area that had intricate masonry work.

Downward-facing stairs at entrance to underground strcuture at Aztec Ruins National Monumnet in Aztec New Mexico

Ancient indigenous water facility at Aztec Ruins National Monumnet in Aztec New Mexico

Corridor through structure at Aztec Ruins National Monumnet in Aztec New Mexico

Ancient Indigenous engineered water facility with people in upper right hand corner for scale at Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec New Mexico

Stairway and walls at Aztec Ruins National Monumnet in Aztec New Mexico

Walls with windows at Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec New Mexico

Corridor leading through series of walls at Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec New Mexico


It was so hot out that I quickly walked through the area without really stopping to examine each feature and structure. I felt guilty for speeding through it but it was sweltering out and there was very little shade along the path.

In the first recording, you can hear two members of a Friends of Aztec National Monument group discussing the handmade wares they sell to support the Monument to some tourists who were looking at them.

Aztec National Monument NM.m4a

In the second recording, you can hear me entering the underground structure.

Aztec Ruins National Monument.m4a

In both recordings, you can hear me breathing heavily due to the elevation and heat. And the fact that I’m a total mouthbreather.

I went to Safeway and bought some yogurt, and spent the rest of the day at the AirBnB trying unsuccessfully to stay cool. At first I tried to take a nap, but after about noon it got to be too hot for that. I camped out in the living room next to the window unit but it just couldn’t keep up. The temperature slowly rose throughout the afternoon. I did get some work done on the behind the scenes stuff for the blog and email address for this trip done so that was good. Diana and I talked and she inspired me by staying she wanted to eat cheese and appetizers for dinner. I ended up eating yogurt for dinner as well.

I decided to reserve an AirBnb in Taos so I found one that had excellent reviews. It sounded intriguing-a bedroom in a man cave? How novel! The reviews all mentioned that the host was very hospitable and helpful.

Shortly after I reserved it, I got a panicked call and then a message via the AirBnb app from the host. I was on the phone when he called so I called him back later. His message said “Thanks for reserving! I need to spiff things up a little, when do you think you will be here tonight?” I then realized that I had reserved the place for that same night for three nights. Whoops. I messaged him right back and thanked him for helping me realize this and explained the mistake I had made.

In retrospect I should have just driven to his place in Taos that, as it turned out, had powerful AC, and just thrown away the second night in Aztec. Instead I asked him if the place was available Sat-Mon instead of Fri-Mon. He said it was and encouraged me to change or cancel the reservation for the right nights.

So I went into the app and tried to change it. The app, which lately has been really buggy, wouldn’t let me change the start date. Long story short, I ended up canceling and rebooking and only got a partial refund for Friday night and didn’t hear back from AirBnB that day about my request for a full refund.

I called my Taos host back to confirm the changes. He asked if I would be comfortable if he had a BBQ in the man cave next to my bedroom on Sunday night to which I was invited. I said sure-that sounded great-but I left the door open to not attending depending on my energy level as I had been sleeping very poorly or not at all the last few nights. He said I was welcome either way.

I spent the rest of the evening working on getting the blog up and running and trying to sleep with weak AC. One task was easier than the other.

Jacob M Brostoff @roadtrip