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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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M and I spent a week in Albuquerque. Dry and a mile in the sky, the weather was beautiful in March – sunny and cool, getting downright cold at night.

View from the resort.

We stayed at the Hyatt Tamaya. This is an excellent resort and hotel. The staff were all fantastic and the on-site restaurants were surprisingly good. The on-site nature trails, activities, sitting areas, and views of the Sandia Mountains were fabulous and relaxing.

The zoo was ... lame.

We explored a bunch of museums and tourist attractions. Few were particularly notable. The ABQ BioPark was impressive for what it was: I woud not want to construct a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium in a desert. However, compared to offerings on the coasts, things felt pretty dull.

The National Museum of Nuclear History has been on my list for years and was highly disappointing. The exhibits indoors are pretty lame and the outdoor exhibits are either in poor state, complete disrepair, or seem to be an afterthought (a Titan II is just sitting in pieces with no real effort or information).

The food was, in general, okay. What I love is that everything has some heat. What I dislike is that there’s not that much food that is particularly good and the emphasis on cheese and grease is hard to avoid. The green chili remains the popular choice, but the red chili is still where it’s at. The best food we had was at The Shed in Sante Fe and a The Corn Maiden at the Hyatt.

The only respectable winery in New Mexico is Gruet. Visiting was interesting; most of the winery’s visitors are not from New Mexico and there’s not a lot of foot traffic.

There are numerous breweries and a lot of them make rather good beer. La Cumbre, Marble, and Il Vicino were all a lot of fun.

The Sandia Peak Tramway was a bit of a tourist trap, but I can now say I’ve been on the world’s longest aerial Tramway.

Hey, a volcano. We were on top of this eventually.

Two activities stand out for the trip. First, horseback riding in the Santa Ana Pueblo was a treat. I rode a draft horse named Bob who was as tall as I was. Luckily he knew what he was doing.

At a thousand feet, give or take.

They look like ants.

The other was a hot air balloon ride. We originally had this scheduled early in the trip. After getting up well before dawn, we made it to the first launch site and a test balloon was moving far too fast for safety. At a second launch site things looked better and we unloaded the baskets, tarps, and envelops and started inflating and loading. A few seconds before launch the whole thing was scrubbed and we spent another hour packing up instead.

Inside the envelope.

The penultimate day of the trip things went a little better. Surface winds were calm and our launch went off without a hitch. Riding in a balloon is strange. It’s a very stable platform and incredibly peaceful. Highly recommended, given the opportunity.

View from the balloon.

Incidentally, tumbleweeds are real, and a lot tougher than they look in the cartoons. Also, road runners are real, and they are, in fact, chased by coyotes.

Dos Equis Balloon