Motoette -in forward motion

Day 4 – Albuquerque and the Watermelon Mountains

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To me, Tucumcari, New Mexico is kind of an eclectic town with its obvious mixture of present, middle and past. It has some interesting tourist attractions, from an antique car museum to a restored train station. Apparently these places were a must see from the locals, unfortunately, we missed both. But what we did see was a long stretch of the intimate town’s main street, which is also Route 66, lined with old abandoned hotels. One after another just left as they were forty years ago, aging in the harsh desert sun.

Our next destination was Albuquerque, 170 miles of undulating smooth hwy. We were to stay the night with our good friends India and Pete, who had just moved to the Albuquerque area a few months ago from the Bay Area. This was basically Pete’s home town, so it was like going home for him and India was enjoying her newfangled Southwestern surroundings.

For the duration of most of the 170 miles, Route 66 paralleled the I-40 like a well-trained dog healing by his masters side. Matt wanted to get off the main hwy at different points to once again drive the historic road, but something told me we needed to get to Albuquerque as soon as we could. We did stop once at Cline’s Corner, an over-priced souvenir emporium where we bought some over-priced souvenirs for the family. We then became a little hungry, so we bought some over-priced sandwiches before we put some over-priced fuel in the bus before descending into Albuquerque! (I bet you thought I was going to say “over-priced” again!)


This portion of the trip was the first with altitude. Our first introduction to hills was when we entered into Texas, but it had leveled out somewhat when we came into Amarillo. Now we were putting Dorothy to the test in how she could handle the steady ascending mountains and the thinning air. I had been warned about VW buses and their fear of heights, not to push the engine and use low gears when climbing. My friend Vicky, who is proud former VW bus owner told me “don’t forget to get a running start up the hill”! Her words kept running through my head as I would approach the never-ending hills we had to climb to the 7,000 ft peak.

Luckily, it was downhill into Albuquerque and straight to India and Pete’s house. Matt tooted the distinctive VW horn to let them know we had arrived and soon the door opened to be greeted by smiling faces. It was so good to see two familiar faces, it was like going home for me, even though we had only been gone for a few days.

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India took me through their new home and it was just spectacular! A one level beautiful modern house with the most amazing views of the Watermelon Mountains with the Rio Grand in the foreground. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the stunning composition! I got my camera out later, as the sun set and found out why the call it the Watermelon Mountains with its exquisite colors of red and orange that glisten from the dwindling light of the sun’s rays and vibrant green foliage imitating the rind.

The four of us had a delicious dinner at a cozy southwestern restaurant, compliments of India and Pete. We headed back to their beautiful abode, where we just sat back and breathed in the wonderful atmosphere until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. India and Pete gave us some Mexican Jumping Beans, which I subconsciously placed next to my nightstand. I kept thinking I could hear a clock ticking during the night, until I finally figured out it was the damn jumping beans! Obviously, they were relocated in the wee late hours of the evening!

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October 3, 2013 - Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus | , , , , , ,

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