Monday, July 6, 2015

Albuquerque, NM and Sandia Peak

HELLO! I am alive. And finally posting some of our vacation. It's been weird over here. Not necessarily bad, but weird. Life is weird. But also so good? Anyway, a couple weeks ago we went on our annual summer road trip! The end game was Las Vegas, NV, by way of Albuquerque, NM and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Brendon and I did this same route when we were 18 (!!!) on our first road trip together ever, except we continued on to California after Vegas back in 2006. This year Vegas was our terminus. It's amazing how much you remember, even though that was almost a decade ago.

So first up, our little stop in Albuquerque. We were only there for the night, but we got in at like 3pm (thank you time change!) so we had most of the afternoon to play. I had read online that there was a tram you could take to the top of one of the nearby mountains, and a tram seems like a pretty quick way to shimmy on up a mountain. So up we went! It's pretty cool, I highly recommend it if you are in Albuquerque for any amount of time.

The Sandia Peak Tramway runs year round, during the summer it's great for good views, hiking, and biking, and in the winter, you can ski! The side of the mountain opposite the tram is a ski area. So you can get to the top of the mountain to ski from either side, which is pretty neat!

Here comes the nerdy part... This thing goes 2.7 miles up the mountain and up 4000 feet, and it only has two towers between the bases. Which means most of the time you're just dangling! There are only two tram cars, and they travel up and down at the same speed to counter balance each other. Isn't that super neat?? The trip up/down takes about fifteen minutes, and the whole time you're surrounded by insane views. Also, the mountains are called the Sandia Mountains because when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived they thought the granite on the mountains made the peaks look like watermelons, and Sandia is watermelon in Spanish! How cute is that?

The view from the top isn't bad either! You can see for MILES and miles. Even though it was a sunny clear day, it was so hazy we couldn't see the horizon. So we saw pretty far, but on a clear winter morning you can see forever!

The have these cool little view finder things that tell you exactly what you're looking at. I had a major freak out when I saw that you could see Taos and Wheeler Peak. Well, you could, on a clear day. It was too hazy for us to see. BUT STILL, TAOS!! My home away from home!

I told Brendon to get a picture of me with the mountains in the background... nice door! ;) And pretty much every picture I take of Brendon he makes this face:

I swear, I did not drag him here. He was having a good time! Really!

That's pretty much all we did in Albuquerque. But for me it was perfect, going to the top of a mountain? Yes please! After we got down to the bottom we found our hotel, checked in, and then mentally checked out. We just vegged out in front of the TV. The next morning we were greeted by a ton of hot air balloons in the sky! New Mexico loves its hot air balloons! We see some almost every time we come! (Which is twice a year? We have a problem...)

OH and if you are driving through Albuquerque, PLEASE stop at Owl Cafe. I am so glad we stumbled upon it, it truly was a random strike of luck. Owl Cafe is an amazing, owl themed, Route 66 diner with all sorts of charm. It also happens to be delicious. Get a milkshake and a bowl of beans. Seriously. They brought a little sample bowl of beans to the table when we sat down and I was like, wow that's weird, but then I tried them and I was like oh, okay! These are gold! Gimme more please!

Next up, Arizona and the Grand Canyon!

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