Leaving White Sands was a tad bit difficult because the setting was incredibly beautiful. We would have loved another day there to pause and enjoy, but Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque was the next stop and we wanted to spend some time in the area. We had no reservation. Helen (adorable wife) had been told that space was tight so we pointed Sherman (our Cruise America RV) northward and took off. The drive was only four hours and we had plenty of time before check-in. This would be our first stop of more than one night and we eagerly were looking forward to a slower pace.
At the campground, we claimed the last space available. By now, we were experienced campers and had learned that it was best to get shopping and gas out of the way before connecting Sherman to the utilities, so we made our way to the commissary for a few items then returned to the campground. When we returned we found a huge motor home in our assigned space with the owner just wrapping up with his connections. When we informed him that he was in our spot, he tried to dispute this, but we showed him our paid receipt and he relented. It turned out that he had pulled in after the office was closed and decided the space was his. He left somewhat disgruntled.
After that brief encounter, we settled in nicely. Although our view was not as striking as what we experienced in White Sands, we did have the Sandia Mountains to our front and considered ourselves fortunate once again. The camp shower facility was clean and well maintained and we never experienced a wait for them during our three days there. We were able to purchase propane there as well. So, for our Military Living readers, we recommend Kirtland RV Camp highly. Note: Received a comment from a reader informing us about great golfing in the Albuquerque area and that Kirtland has a great golf course. Glad to pass that along.
The next morning we decided to give Sherman a little down time too and made a reservation for a rental car in order to do some extended exploring of the area. Although Sherman had given us little to no trouble, he sometimes presented a challenge when parallel parking on city streets, and we were going to check out Old Town Albuquerque.
It was a perfect day for sightseeing when we parked in Old Town. The square which served as the center of activity was busy but not so much that it could be called crowded. We explored a few shops and marveled at the pottery that had been created by Native American artists from several of the Pueblo tribes in the area. Helen is a budding potter and loves to check out the works of others.
San Felipe De Neri is the oldest church in Albuquerque and since we were parking right in front of it, we decided to go in. This church was built in 1706 and had been prepared for the Lenten season with many of the Christian symbols in the chapel draped in purple cloth. The sanctuary was void of any noise. We passed several worshippers seated in pews and deep into prayer. We paid our respects and left.
Next…we eat. A short walk away was the Church Street café, and Trip advisor said it was a great place to dine in Old Town. The restaurant appeared small, but it was larger than it looked from outside. We were seated on the patio and given menus. After some deliberation, we did something we do rarely and chose the same thing…Navajo Tacos, a dish composed of beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and fresh avocado on something new to me–Indian fry bread. I added beef to mine. This dish was divine. The avocado was so good, and the Indian fry bread had an incredible flavor and the texture of a firm pound cake. I loved it and ate every bite.
By now it was early afternoon. For our next adventure, we drove out of town and bought tickets for the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, the second longest aerial tramway in the world. We had been told by a camper at Kirtland that the views from the top of the mountain were extraordinary and we thought it would be something that old retired folks like us would enjoy. After all, it was too early to hit the casino. This was another good move.
The tram was busy. This was somewhat surprising on a Monday afternoon. I asked around and learned that most of the passengers were tourists with a lot of families on spring break vacations. I also learned that the Tramway was voted the “Best Family Attraction” in New Mexico. We stood in line and caught the second tram available. Once we began the ascent, the city of Albuquerque became visible to the rear of the tram and flattened out toward the horizon. To the front of the tram, the rock formations on the Sandia Peak came into view and our tram operator described each in detail. The journey up was both fun and informative.
At the top, we spent considerable time walking out to the observation decks and taking pictures. There was still plenty of snow on the mountain, but the ski slope had closed for the season. One patron, an Army captain, pointed out Kirtland AFB in the distance. I was able to make it out, including our campground, but didn’t spot Sherman. I hoped he was making friends with some fellow RVs…he’s quite the social animal.
As we stood in line for the return trip down, our tram soon came into view and it had a tram operator standing on top of it. This brave soul had ridden the entire 2.7 miles to the 10,378-foot peak out in the open. I don’t think I could do that at gunpoint. On the way down, I took a short video to capture some of the views, and it can be found on the Easin’ Along YouTube page. (Click here and scroll to the video.)
We returned to Kirtland and caught Sherman blowing kisses to the cute little fifth wheel camper next door. I threatened to throw some cold water on him if he got out of hand but she didn’t seem to mind. It seems as if everyone was having a great day. Helen and I took a stroll around the park to let them get better acquainted while being partially chaperoned.
Albuquerque was indeed a high–light of Sherman’s march to the sea. Please visit the Picture Gallery that follows this post (click here).
We’re eagerly looking forward to Easin’ Along toward Santa Fe tomorrow—details next week. Please come back and Ease Along with us.