April 24, 2015

Albuquerque Adventures

Tim and I arrived in Albuquerque on March 16 and pulled into Ruth and Lou’s back yard for a few nights.  What wonderful hosts they were.  Lou prepared his famous spaghetti the first night, we enjoyed just sitting around and learning about the direction our lives had taken since our last visit.  We were especially excited to find out that Ruth was winding down her career and would be retiring in the next month.  Exciting times for everyone.

During our stay, Ruth’s sister Byrd came to Albuquerque for a visit, and it was go good to spend some time with her.  Tim and I had not seen Byrd since our wedding so we had lots of things to talk about. 

Good Time With Friends

One of our top priorities in Albuquerque was purchasing New Mexico piñon coffee.  This was our favorite coffee when we lived in Colorado, and we had been able to acquire it at our local Costco.  We really missed this unique coffee so we made our way to the New Mexico Piñon Coffee Company’s retail store in Albuquerque.  The company now makes K-cups for Keurig coffeemakers, so we stocked up. 

"Great Coffee Is a Matter of a Piñon"

Albuquerque was the perfect city to get our fill of wonderful New Mexican food.  Ruth and Lou took us to some of their favorite restaurants, and each meal seemed to be better than the last.  New Mexican food is different than Mexican food, although there are some similarities.  The use of the New Mexican chile, both green and red, is perhaps the defining ingredient that distinguishes New Mexican cuisine.  Green chile is used as a topping on everything, from burritos to cheeseburgers to pizza.  Over the years, Tim has made me a green chile convert!

Tim and I also took a day to visit Petroglyph National Monument.  This National Park Service unit preserves one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, but its location is somewhat surprising.  Petroglyph is really an urban park, and development has inched right up to its boundaries.  The park was established in 1990 and is an oasis in the midst of suburban sprawl.

Suburbia Is Just Inches Away from Petroglyph National Monument

Several trails lead to major concentrations of this amazing rock art, and Tim and I hiked the ones in Boca Negra Canyon.  We learned that the petroglyphs were carved onto the rocks not just by the ancestors of modern Pueblo people, but also by Spanish settlers in the 1600s, and later explorers in the 1800s. 

Petroglyph National Monument

Our first hike was not a long one, but the trail was steep and rocky, and surprisingly crowded.  We had forgotten that spring break brings out lots of families with kids.  It was therefore difficult to spend much time studying the petroglyphs and contemplating their meanings.  Still, I’m glad we took the time to seek out the images and marvel at the early cultures that created them.

Images in the Rocks

Tim and I had only planned to stay a few days in Albuquerque, but we extended our visit when the weather forecast for northern New Mexico called for snow.  This gave us time to shop for a new computer for me.  My laptop was old, slow and quirky, and I wanted to upgrade before we headed to Alaska.  

Although we had been researching laptops for some time, I couldn’t quite make up my mind.  We stopped at a Best Buy in Albuquerque and looked at the two top contenders.  Although I liked both laptops, neither had the one feature that I really wanted – extra-long battery life.  The salesman showed me a new HP with a battery life up to 12 hours – WOW!  That was twice as long as the ones I was considering.  However, since I knew nothing about the HP, we left empty-handed to do a bit of research.

I still couldn’t seem to decide, but finally made up my mind to get the HP. I drove to Best Buy the afternoon before we were to leave, but forgot my purse and had to turn around.  Arrggh!  I went back the next morning while Tim headed to our next destination.  I bought the HP Spectre x360 and left it with the Geek Squad to begin the set up.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to wait for them to finish, but I came back in three hours, and a very helpful Geek worked with me to install the programs that I would need right away.

I Love My New Laptop

I’ve been using the laptop since mid-March, and I love it.  The battery life is as advertised, and the computer is a pleasure to use.  I love how fast it is, and the back-lit keyboard is a great feature.  I had to quickly learn Windows 8.1, but it wasn’t too difficult.  I was even able to transfer all of my files from my old laptop to the new one by myself.  Having a reliable computer will give me a little more peace of mind as we head to Alaska.

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