A Quick Left Turn at Albuquerque, NM
“I knew I should’ve made a left turn at Albuquerque.”
Bugs Bunny (1953)
Albuquerque is the crossroads of New Mexico, and Bugs Bunny isn’t the only one that’s ended up in the boonies with a wrong turn here. This is where the desert meets the mountains, the high plains transform into forest, and a whole lotta nothing goes off to each side. It’s a southwest melting pot and contains a little bit of everything in New Mexico all wrapped up in one. And of course, it’s the largest city in the state.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes as the Spanish colonial outpost Ranchos de Alburquerque. It straddles the Rio Grande almost exactly in the central part of the state, and retains both Spanish and traditional Indian heritage. In the early 1900’s growth followed the famous “mother road” of Route 66 that passed right through town, and by 1950 Albuquerque gained a whole new reputation with Sandia National Laboratories and the coming of the Atomic Age.
And it’s all still here…
You can walk through tradition in Old Town, catch a few pieces of iconic American history along Route 66 in Nob Hill, see some traditional Indian rock carvings at the Petroglyph National Monument (with doggie in tow, of course), explore the Atomic Age at the National Museum of Nuclear Science, and finish it all off with a panoramic view from one of the world’s longest tramways atop Sandia Peak. If you want the full party come back and experience the whole thing all over again during the spectacular annual Balloon Festival in fall.
We spent a cool few days exploring the city and the surroundings, managing to squeeze in a dinner with one of Paul’s old highschool buddies as well as sampling some excellent Southwestern food (watered by a few tasty margaritas, of course) at Sadie’s.
This town definitely has a cool vibe and a bit of something for everyone. Just remember to take that left turn before you leave…