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Published: December 12th 2017
The cable car ascending.
When I worked as a proposal manager, our busiest time of year was always September. We supplied video teleconferencing systems for the Federal Government, and their buying season typically concluded around October 1. So the entire month of September, we were scrambling to get orders in, win new work, and make revisions and amendments to previous bids. Needless to say, by the time that month was over, we were all ready for a little break!
That's why my husband and I always scheduled a weeklong road trip during the first week of October. We took five major road trips before our children were born, and can't wait to get back out there again once they're a little older and can appreciate the fact that it truly is the journey, not the destination, that makes the experience worthwhile.
Our first big road trip was to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was about 10 years ago, and I'd read all about the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
in a guidebook. We were young and had two full-time incomes to spare, so we booked the plane tickets and made plans to go see this once-in-a-lifetime event. The Balloon Fiesta itself was amazing and I plan
High Finance Restaurant
Our meal at High Finance Restaurant atop Sandia Peak.
to blog about it sometime soon, but for now, I'd like to talk about a separate part of my New Mexico experience. The Sandia Peak Tramway: Meeting My Fear Head-On
We decided that while we were there, we'd ride a cable car up Sandia Peak. We'd read online about a fantastic restaurant on the top of the mountain, where you could see the entire city below you spread out like a dollhouse scene. On our last day, we decided it was time.
We parked the rental car and got in line. This should have been my first warning. There were crowds of people wrapped around the entire parking lot. It was so full that I couldn't even really see where we were supposed to go. Keep in mind that this is in October, one of the chilliest months to travel out west. Still, hordes of people were bundled up and shivering together, waiting for their turn to board the cable car.
We got in line and made small talk with the couple behind us. They were an older pair who were also in town to see the Fiesta. I had a feeling a majority of people
Sandia Peak View
The view of Albuquerque from the top of Sandia Peak.
were there for the same reason. We stood in line for two hours and I'd failed to pack the proper footwear. I was standing out there in flip flops and it's a total miracle I didn't catch a head cold the next day.
Finally, it was our turn to hop on the tramway! At this point, the sun was setting and the nip in the air had turned to full-blown cold. About 20 of us got in the cable car, and we held tightly to the hand holds as it cranked up the mountain.
At this point, I should introduce the fact that I'm a total baby when it comes to heights. On the other hand, I love being underground or underwater. I can crawl in a cave and be just fine, and I've snorkeled in somewhat murky waters without a hitch. As a side note, if you've ever wanted to snorkel I fully recommend it. We've done it in Jamaica and plan to do it again in Australia and I can't stop talking about it. The key to overcoming that fear is being prepared. You can view here
to find some of the resources I'm using to get
Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
One of my favorite captures from the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta the next day.
ready for that upcoming trip.
But back to that cold night on that cold mountain! If it hadn't been nearly dark at that point, my heart would have been racing and beating out of my chest. Instead, I just gripped my husband's hand and closed my eyes during the roughly 15-minute ascent. The guide thought it would be a fun and playful moment if he shook the car just a little to make us all scared. No one was amused!
When we finally made it to the top, I felt my breath rush out. Maybe it was sheer relief mixed with a little panic, or maybe it was the fact that the air was thinner up there and it was harder to breathe. Either way, I ran into the restaurant as soon as we landed. I was back on solid ground, and I was so thankful. We had an incredible feast and I took in all of the sights like a kid on Christmas morning. The restaurant closed last year
and they're planning to rebuild another in its place. It saddens me just a little to know that new tourists won't get a chance to experience the exact same property as I did, but I trust the new one will be even more spectacular.
Afterward, my husband and I went to the lookout. Though I was too cold and tired to spend much time out there, we did manage to sneak a few peeks at the city below, all lit up like a radio dashboard at night. It was an evening I told myself I'd never forget, and so far I've kept that vow. Sometimes the scariest things are the most rewarding, especially when you conquer them with someone you love.
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