Ruined Ruins Visit

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North America » United States » New Mexico » Albuquerque
September 21st 2019
Published: September 24th 2019
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We woke up this morning to find ourselves still in Roswell still in our hotel room. Alien abduction avoided. So with no UFO sightings and no aliens being reported in the area, we decided to head out of town towards Albuquerque.

It was a another long boring ride as we were once again on a highway that ran alongside vast open land. For miles and miles, nothing but land. Not even trees. Today was mostly a ‘ride to the next town’ kind of day, but having something to entertain you along the way does help the miles go by faster.

Even though most of the day’s ride was on the dull side, we have seen some interesting things during the past few days of driving - interesting to us for we do not see them in the southeastern states. We have seen many huge farms - cattle farms of course, but also sheep farms, goat farms, windmill farms, we have seen oil drills, well drills, gas lines with fire always burning, we saw parts of wind turbines being hauled down the highway (those things are huge and had to be carried on special trailers for they are 100 feet long), we have seen numerous fields and orchards that seem to be so large they have no ending point, we have been through security checkpoints in various areas and we have seen more of each other in the past few days than we have in a long time. I guess that was bound to happen when you spend 24/7 together and much of that time in a car.

The first security checkpoint was for border patrol. We came to a stop and the guard waved us on by. The second one we encountered was a bit more thorough. Three armed patrol officers and a security dog met at our car. They made certain there was no one else in the car with us and sent us on our way. It was much easier than I expected. I guess we did not look too threatening or the type of people to try to sneak individuals nor drugs into the US.

We have also driven by several prisons. I suppose that is one thing to put out in the middle of nowhere. We saw many signs warning us that we were in prison territory and not to pick up any hitchhikers. I wonder, is that because the prisoners escape often or because when they are released, they are not truly reformed from their crime. Either way, we did not pickup any hitchhikers.

A few miles before reaching Albuquerque, we exited onto the old historic Route 66. I had read that the musical highway was on that road, so we might as well check it out while here. The DOT had created lines on the highway that play music as you drive over them at the correct speed - in an effort to control the speed limit. It only works on the east side, so we went up a bit and did a u-turn and then the car made music. It was a quick fun thing to do on Route 66.

After the car was finished with its music debut, we headed to the Sandia Peak Tramway. I though it would be a nice break from the car, and I was right. We purchased our tickets and boarded the tram. When we boarded some of the other riders asked about the guy on top of the tram and they along with the tram conductor made a few jokes about it- more about that later. Our tram conductor looked just Keanu Reeves from Bill and Ted’ Excellent Adventure and even talked like him with his dumbed down surf dude monologue). The ride up was fifteen minutes and we were at an elevation more than 10,000 feet. That is nearly 2 miles high. The air was much cooler at the top and wind was crazy. We walked around taking in the views and decided to eat lunch at the restaurant at the top. How many people get to enjoy lunch with such an amazing view?

The lunch was delicious. I ordered steak and frites - basically French fries with garlic, Parmesan, arugula and chimichurri sauce. Donald ordered a burger - he played it safe today. But his burger looked delicious as well. There were several hiking trails at the top and the back side of the tram was the ski lift during winter. I would have loved to hike one of those trails, but did not plan accordingly. Guess that will have to wait until next time (not sure there will actually be a next time, but if there is, I am doing it). We then headed back down via the tram and our new tram conductor told us about his training. Part of the final training is each conductor has to ride on top of the tram car from the bottom to the top to prove they can handle heights, stress and overcome their anxiety. What? People ride on top of the car through the tower transitions 10,000 feet up? They are attached by a safety cable, but really? Some thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. So the “joking” about the guy on top of our tram on our way up - Yeah - they were serious. There was a guy on top of our tram car. No worries about me ever having to train for that job.

Back down from the peak, we started our way to Durango, Co - the last stop for the day. We had one more quick stop planned on our way there but time was running short so we may have sped a bit during the next couple of hours trying to get to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. We did shave a few minutes off the GPS estimate but as we arrived to the closed gate of the park, our hearts sank. It was 10 til 5, so they were still suppose to be open, but they weren’t. I tried to get Donald to GO around the gate, for the exit was still open. But he would not do it - something about it being federal property.

So with our heads hanging low, we moved on to Durango and now had time to get to the visitor center to get our tour tickets for Mesa Verde. I went to the desk to get them only to be told that they were completely sold out of tour tickets for tomorrow (you can only purchase them in person, so there was no option to preorder them). So I guess we will visit Mesa Verde without getting to visit the dwellings. Our day was not ending on a good note.

We then checked into our hotel and grabbed a lite dinner. Hoping tomorrow is luckier than today.

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