Holiday Enchantment in Old Town Albuquerque

The longest we’ve stayed in one location this entire trip was 1 week back for Thanksgiving, and we liked having a little more “down time” around the holiday. You may find it funny that we need “down time” given that we’ve been on sabbatical since late September, but our pace has been brisk to make the most of our time/budget and it was nice to linger a little longer than normal. On that note, we’d decided to make Albuquerque our home base for Christmas. The RV park was quiet, though not deserted. The owner had a small collection of retro cars and campers that were placed throughout the property, which made it feel like even more like we were right off Route 66.

On the outskirts of town, there was a short, flat desert hike that led to some area petroglyphs. The trailhead was odd in that you had to work your way through a pretty newish suburban area and park behind an auto garage. As we headed down the trail, I couldn’t help but notice the many holes in the ground along the path. Squirrels or snakes or both? My eyes were continuously sweeping across and ahead of our path, which was fairly narrow and required a single file processional. We never did determine what type of creature called those holes home, which was fine by me. Reptiles are not amongst my many loves, and I don’t think Mike is too keen on them either.

One of two singing roads in the US (the other being in Lancaster California), Route 66 in NM has a short section that plays a portion of America The Beautiful when the rumble strips are driven over at ~45 mph. It took us two passes to maximize the amount of the song that plays, but it was a fun little known spot. How incredible would it be for each state to have singing roads and/or for the combination of those to play the entirety of a song? …Maybe a little Van Morrison or GNR. If it were up to Mike, it would probably be Van Halen. Oh the possibilities! Fun fact: There are singing roads in other parts of the world as well. At time of publication, Japan has the most singing roads. Have you visited other countries with singing roads?

Though we’ve made it a point to keep to our budget, which has a limited allowance for eating out, we’ve also made it a priority to designate that budget to cuisine that is unique to an area. In Albuquerque, we purchased a loaf of Green Chili Sourdough from a bakery across town from where we were staying. As it turned out, that particular type of loaf was typically reserved for their customers who own restaurants. Is it any wonder that a wink/smile/please from Mike resulted in us picking up a special order loaf 24 hours later? It was incredibly delicious and lasted us the week. Well worth the trouble!

For Christmas Eve, we were looking in the area for something festive and dog friendly (no easy feat) and found that Old Town Albuquerue has a huge luminaria display in the town center. It was cold – winter jacket and boots cold – which added to the festive feeling for yours truly! When we arrived and drove around a bit to park, it seemed like everyone in the vicinity had come out in droves. We wandered the old town area for an hour or so. It was beautifully lit with brown bag luminaries and red chili ristras and swags of evergreen. The distinctive smell of mesquite wood permeated the air and everyone sort of meandered about, checking out the lights and wishing each other Merry Christmas. In addition to the town center lights, many of the adjacent neighborhoods participate with luminaries or other elaborate light displays. Not knowing the area, we’d decided in advance to splurge on a rickshaw ride from Mother Road Bike Taxi…and hoped they’d let our sweet pup join in. Jake, our driver, not only gave Caira the green light, but having lived in New Mexico all his life, provided a fantastic tour experience complete with history of the area and recommendations for other treks between there and our next destination. He was also very understanding when Caira goosed him with her cold nose as we were just starting to pull out for our tour!


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