Saturday, June 11, 2016

New Mexico Mat 2016 Westward Ho! 13 Albuquerque NM visit and revisit

To us owning an RV is easier (by far) than a house but it does have its own set of requirements in terms of maintenance and it was time for us to attend to them.  We had had new tires put on in October and February and have been diligent about the oil changes and since we have hardly used the generator* we have not yet had to do the maintenance on that but we knew there were a few things that needed their annual check up.  I had called the Albuquerque Camping World since the things we needed done were all generic and not specialized to Winnebago and was told that they did not take appointments but first come first serve.  The very nice woman then went on to tell me that there is a town easement road right outside the  Camping World property on which people can spend the night so they get in early the next morning.  How handy because there was no time limit and we wanted to see a bit of Albuquerque while we were there.

The next call I made was to Wanda whom I'd met at Natchez State Park in MS.  She and her husband had been on their way to move in with her elderly mother in Albuquerque and she invited me to call when we got there.   

So, we left Puerta del Sol and Socorro in the morning and in a few hours we were heading into Albuquerque.  Before heading to the site, west of town, we needed to do some grocery shopping. I needed a few other things and our hiking poles had shown us how easily they could be broken, on the Devil's Hallway hike, so we wanted to get new ones.  We stopped at Sports Authority and after a l-o-n-g walk around the perimeter of the still-under-construction-mall we got there, got our poles, walked b-a-c-k,  drove on to do the other tasks and then out to CW.  It was early and that meant I could get all sorts of other work out of the way.  The big one was, of course, laundry but my old trusty camera had finally given up the ghost and I feared that both lenses had been exposed to one too many grains of dust as neither the wide angle or zoom lens was focusing properly.  In fact, the auto focus on the wide angle wasn't working at all. I had been reading about mirrorless lenses for awhile so decided now was the time.

I had a few pieces of hardware that we also needed to get and shopping for the pets so it was handy that the stores were all along one road.  I finished everything except the laundry and camera purchase and after some more consideration, sampling the different cameras I went with the Sony 6000 (which I love).  When I went to pay I noticed that my small red wallet with seldom used credit cards (the one that fell out in Mobile) was missing from my bag.  I paid with another card but panicked inside and when I got to the car I dashed back to each of the stores and the parking spaces where I'd been and ...nothing.  Then I thought to check in the laundry basket-sitting on the seat beside me and there it was!  Relief.  It is not always spelled r-o-l-a-i-d-s. (sorry, 1970s and US-centric ad reference)

That "catastrophe" averted I continued on my merry way to my favorite place in town: the laundromat.  This one was clean, big and had plenty of machines so I was in and out within a few hours.  Although parked on a street with a huge facility to the west and open fields leading to industrial sites to the east and north and a highway to the south, the fact that the Sandia Mountains tower over Albuquerque meant that we were treated to a beautiful sunset that lit the sky and the mountains with gorgeous colors.

I looked up to see the moon and noticed a jet flying toward it.  It perfectly "bisected" it.

The skies reflecting the sunset colors were just as beautiful and being in a parking lot next to a highway did nothing to diminish the beauty. 

The next morning was equally beautiful as the sun rose over the mountains and by 8am we were inside the gates and registering our MoHo to be seen.  Then Don and the pets went and settled in the waiting area while I ran to the RV park next door to visit the "propane wizard," so called by the guy at Camping World  to whom I'd brought our second non-functioning gas grill.  Every time we hooked it up the gas pressure was too strong and LP would spew through the regulator, ergo we did not have any grilled meals.  IF you are an RVer, or even if you aren't and have a propane grill problem, and IF you are in Albuquerque, go see Randy Van Why at R&I Enterprise 14305 Central Ave NW.  Seriously the guy is a wizard who works fast, does not charge you your life savings and is pleasant to boot.  I left with a fully functioning grill (he spliced a regulator into the hose) and a grin on my face.  One less drag on the batteries when we are boondocking!!

Wanda called and we agreed that they would meet us up at our camping spot after the MoHo had come out for the night and go to dinner in Old Town.

Despite the fact that we had the pets we decided that a few more errands needed to be done so off we headed for JiffyLube and and an oil change for the car and back to the laundromat to do the bed linens that I'd put off for another day.  While we were waiting for the oil change the mechanic came out with two of the most disgusting looking filters we'd seen and it turned out that with all the "full service" checks we have been having-and paying for-NONE of them had checked the air conditioning filters.  We'd simply decided that Honda has lousy A/C systems in their cars and if we use it we have it on Max.  Hmmm.  What a difference air flow makes.:-)  We had stopped for lunch just before Jiffy Lube and Don realized later he'd left his hat on the chair.  We got back to the restaurant JUST as the owner was locking the door so luck was with us and Don still is in possession of his hat.

By the time we returned the MoHo was almost ready for her "discharge" back to the parking space so I called Wanda and within minutes of getting set back up they arrived and we went for a lovely dinner at the Church St Cafe in Old Town Albuquerque.  It was such a treat having Wanda, who knows the area, be able to identify places and take us on a quick walking tour of Old Town and to spend time with such a fun couple.

San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church
built in 1793 it's one of the oldest surviving structures in the city

The next day we headed north to Santa Fe where we stayed at Cochiti Lake COE Park and went to see Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument*, with a stop at Coronado Historic Site but then 4 days later we returned to ABQ...

Albuquerque Round 2

Having learned that the spot we used is a town easement road with no signs posted prohibiting overnight parking and since we were only staying overnight we headed back to our "spot" and then back down to Old Town to spend a little more time walking around and seeing the town.  The next morning it was time to head west again and we planned to stop for the night at a truck stop in Grants, NM...

On I-40 heading east into town from Camping World

Our spot-which we shared for awhile with this roadrunner who was very busy running back and forth to the fence which is electrified with 7000 volts.  

Cadbury dreaming about roadrunner for dinner...not really his hunting abilities seem to exist only in dreams although he has been known to catch a lizard.

The MoHo getting her first real bath.  We've washed her many times but this was a real scrub down-a day at the spa.

While strolling through Old Town we had a chance to sit and listen to this group which was very good and played many of my old favorites, including El Condor Pasa

Surprise, surprise this store sells bears

Inside San Felipe de Neri church

Carved and painted in a tree trunk outside the church

The sky was beautiful our last night in Albuquerque and then the... morning as we drove out the clouds had descended over the Sandia Range and were rolling over the tops like waves in an ocean.

* A generator needs to be exercised regularly and should be run with a full load for at least 1-2 hours monthly.  At this point that was about the only time we ran it.

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