Albuquerque – Sandia Peak

Thursday, September 18
2622_sandia1Well, it looks like we can put our snorkels away for a while. It is still raining heavily in the southern part of the state, but we seem to be out of the wet for now. We arrived in Albuquerque by mid-afternoon. Actually we drove right through Albuquerque to Bernadillo, a little north. We pulled into Coronado Campground. Our Ultimate Campground app told us it was a city park campground, but on arrival, it turns out to be another Passport America site. It is situated on a bluff above the Rio Grande River with a grand view of the Sandia Mountains. The sites here are quite nice. Each has a ramada with picnic bench, water, electric and, while a bit close together, the way the sites are laid out, gives them a sense of privacy. There is also a common dump station. For $20 a night, a good deal. There is some road noise, but it is distant, so not too bad. And, the nearby indian gas stations have sub $3.00 gas! We may stay forever…
2625_sandia2 2631_sandia3We came to Albuquerque in order for Mary to connect again with a high school/collage friend. Mary has seen Cynthia only once in the past 43 years. Cynthia and hub Jerry have lived  and worked all over the world, but have since put down roots in Bernadillo, near where we are staying. We have tried to connect on earlier trips, but the timing was wrong and we always just missed each other. This time, all things worked out well and we hope to spend a few days hanging out together.2648_tram4 2634_tram1 2638_tram2 2640_tram3Friday morning, we motored over to Cynthia and Jerry’s house up in the hills above Bernadillo. They have a lovely southwestern style multi-level home with a wonderful views of the surrounding hillsides. Cynthia toured us around the grounds and we met their two kitties, before driving off together to ride the Sandia Peak Tram up to the 10,000 ft. Peak. It was in the high 80’s at ground level, but a very pleasant 68 at the top. We could see clouds covering the peak as we waited to board our flight up, but once up there, the clouds soon lifted and we had amazing views in all directions.2646_tram5 2649_tram6 2651_tram7The tram is supposed to be the longest in the world, but what was more interesting was the trip up. It is just amazing how things like this are done. Some of the stretches of cable between towers seemed impossibly long, but the tram just kept chugging on up. In 15 minutes, we were there. This is a ski area when snow permits but at the top today were just grassy meadows and wildflowers. We could definitely feel the altitude as we walked along some of the trails. None of us were really up for walking downslope too far. Most of the trails were kind of gravely and footing was not too stable.

Our coach arrives.

Our coach arrives.

2657_tram9We walked around a bit, making photos of the outstanding views, then decided to have lunch at High Finance restaurant up there. Afterwards, we tramed on down and headed back to Cynthia’s home. Jerry had arrived by now and we sat on the patio in the now cooling late afternoon enjoying our cocktails and catching up.

Mary will kiss anything with a mustache after a glass of wine.

Mary will kiss anything with a mustache after a glass of wine.

Later on, Jerry and Cynthia took us out for dinner at a nearby cafe. It is a truly local hangout where lots of the local artists hang out. The place, both inside and out, was crammed and covered with the art and sculptures of the locals. This being Friday, there was live music. A three piece band covering bluesy country songs. Good food and beer too!

We returned to Cynthia and Jerry’s place for an hour or so for a night cap of single malt whiskey. Tomorrow, we plan on visiting the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque. Should be fun.

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