Travel Journal Day 9-10: Albuquerque, New Mexico

We are currently traveling the country on a crazy road trip. We’ve explored a few southern states like AlabamaMississippi and Louisiana. Our family spent quite a bit of time in Texas– specifically in WacoDallas and Amarillo. And we even ventured up into Oklahoma.

If you missed any of my previous Travel Journal updates, click on the links above to get a recap of where we’ve been so far!

Even though we were more than a week into our trip, arriving in Albuquerque made it feel like our trip was finally starting!

The city of Albuquerque was always one of the most important stops on our trip. In fact, when we were initially planning on flying- it was one of the ONLY places we were planning to visit on this trip.

Brent grew up visiting the area to see his grandparents, aunt and cousins. He has fond memories of all the things they used to do when he’d visit. He couldn’t wait to show the kids how he used to rake the rocks in the yard to make them look perfect (personally, I believe it was a task designed to keep a young boy active and out of the house…but apparently, it’s a “thing” there.)

Our first night in Albuquerque felt like a true vacation. The kids played for hours, we ate amazing home cooking (Mexican, of course!) and we got all caught up with family.

It never really occurred to me that we’d moved into the MST since it was still so light outside. At one point I realized it was almost midnight at home and the kids were still going strong! Just like that, we’d adapted to a new time zone.

Our first full day in Albuquerque was jam packed with fun!

We started out at the BioPark (the zoo.) The animals were so awesome and the whole park is laid out really well. Mary Grace specifically enjoyed the “Cat Walk” where we saw tons of awesome species like the leopard, tiger, etc.

Once again, the kids both LOVED using their VTech Kidizoom Action Camera. I think I might have created monsters. They want to stop and take pictures of everything. Of course, I love how seriously they’re taking photography…but I’m going to have to start building some extra time into our itinerary.

The highlight of the BioPark was visiting the elephants. We each got to do a training exercise where we tossed food into an elephant’s mouth. Mary Grace (my little animal whisperer) was in her element. There is a chance this experience swayed her career path away from marine life and to zoology!

We also got a special peak at Thorn, the newest addition to the herd. Thorn was only 17 days old!

After the BioPark we found some lunch (Mexican!) and headed toward Petroglyph National Monument.

We were just starting to get out of our car to hike up the trails when a freak rain/hail storm began without warning. Apparently this is common in New Mexico and leads to a lot of flash flooding. We jumped back in the car and waited out the rain.

It ended as quickly as it began and we were able to do some short hikes to view the petroglyphs. If I’m being honest, I will admit that this wasn’t the most impressive or interesting place I’ve ever visited (even though it’s one of the largest collections in North America.) But Mary Grace couldn’t get enough.

She studied petroglyphs in her history curriculum and I couldn’t believe the amazement in her eyes as she saw the real thing. It truly makes me grateful we can travel and make education come alive for our kids…even if I was a little bored!

The temperature dropped quite a bit with the rain so we eventually headed back to change for our evening at the Sandia Peak Tramway (sponsored.)

The experience was phenomenal! I’ve shared more about that adventure in this post: Sandia Peak Tramway.

Our second day in Albuquerque was a tad less scheduled than our first day. We debated two things:

  1. Switching out our car at the Albuquerque airport. As I mentioned in my previous journal, we weren’t thrilled with driving an extended cab Expedition. Although the space was incredible, we dropped from 27 miles per gallon in the van to around 15. Tough pill to swallow when you are driving 6,000+ miles.
  2. Going to Santa Fe. We really wanted to go, but there was also so much more we wanted to see in Albuquerque.

Ultimately, we made the decision to pass on Santa Fe since we could squeeze so much more into the day if we didn’t spend half of it in the car. We also ran by the airport and had a pretty disappointing experience. Not only were there no “ideal” cars available…there weren’t ANY cars available.

I stood in a really long line and then we were sent around to the empty car lot. There were at least 20 other people there waiting on cars. It was insane. We gathered quickly that we should just be grateful that we had a car- so we left in the Expedition.

We ended up touring the Seattle Fish Co. and watching some gigantic salmon and tuna be prepared for distribution. It was really cool to watch! We ate even more Mexican food, spent an hour touring/shopping in Old Town (okay, actually Brent and Miller sat in the car…they needed a break!) And we ended our day at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum.

After another great evening with family, we began to pack up our bags and prepare for an early departure to the Grand Canyon.

If you are following along on Facebook, you will know that we are a little further ahead in our trip than these Journal posts. We had an unfortunate experience…but I’ll include those details in the next post!

You might also enjoy reading:

10 Years of Traveling With Kids

A Look Behind The Scenes

The Most Interesting Place I’ve Ever Been

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