20141110 – Up, Up And Away


Monday – hot and sunny.


Ancient graffiti or as the proper people call it Petroglyphs.

Ancient graffiti or as the proper people call it Petroglyphs.

Off down to the National (free with our NP pass) Petroglyph Park. Basically a lot of ancient graffiti. Have a pleasant stroll / climb around the rocks. Getting very brave in me old age.

Wendy at top of Petroglyphs.

Wendy at top of Petroglyphs.

Then we drive up to the Coronado Historic site. Now that’s a lot more interesting, complete with climb down into a Kiva and talk by a very helpful docent. Awesome views of the Rio Grande and the Sandia Mountains.

Having experienced Comcasts service first hand I can relate tot this. It took 4 days, 5 store visits and 4 phone calls to set my account up. Believe you me they are infinitely worse than BT.


Tuesday – hot and sunny.


Sadly none around.

Sadly none around.

Up at 05:00 for a 06:30 balloon flight. Manage to talk Wendy into it. She keeps whinging that it’s to expensive. You only live once; you can’t go ballooning when you’re dead, not even in FSM heaven, or so I’m lead to believe; what a great experience it’ll be; it’s only money; good way to fritter away the kids inheritance. If anybody, it should be me whose reluctant as I don’t like heights.

You’d think that having to get up this early they’d pay us.

Coronado overlooking Rio Grande.

Coronado overlooking Rio Grande.

Anyway we bundle up with 5 layers, hat and gloves – it’s probably going to be colder than a witch’s titty in a brass bra doin’ push-ups in the snow. I help with the erection, sorry inflation. It’s massive, they go inside. Amazing there’s a big hole in the top with a circular plug of balloon material below it. Apparently there’s a cord to it, pull the cord, the hole opens up to the heavens and you’ve got an emergency descent – whatever you do don’t touch the cord.


Would you believe that before this balloon flight I had a full head of hair. Now it's all been burnt off.

Would you believe that before this balloon flight I had a full head of hair. Now it’s all been burnt off.

Anyway we’re off up and away. All very smooth, and I’m amazed that despite my fear of heights how exhilarating it is. We drift around at he mercy of the wind. We get to do a “splash and dash” into the Rio Grande, where the bottom of the basket just touches the water. We get to clip across the top of the trees and are able to touch the branches. Rise up above 1,000 feet. The first 999 feet don’t bother me it’s that last 1 foot.

Nearly got our feet wet in the Rio Grande.

Nearly got our feet wet in the Rio Grande.

First attempted landing, would have been on a road, fails. Finally land in a large area of scrub land. Bend zee knees on landing, cling on and basket nearly tips over but manages to right itself. Yes, we’ve all survived although Wendy had the joy of a 20 stone female elephant sitting on her knees as we landed. It wasn’t as cold as expected and I’m sure the propane burners has singed all me hair off – could be a law suit coming on.

Rio Grande.

Rio Grande.

Then in ballooning tradition it’s a champagne breakfast, a badge, a champagne glass and a survivors certificate. Awesome experience, even Wendy enjoyed it.

Don’t you just love foreign call centres. This just epitomises the experience:


Wednesday – cold and sunny.



Wendy in the slot canyon at Tent Rocks.

Wendy in the slot canyon at Tent Rocks.

Bloody hell it’s cold. Need a Starbucks on the way back to warm up.

Before we go some Breaking Bad, this time as a Sitcom:


Thursday – freezing and sunny.



Tent Rocks.

Tent Rocks.

Call in at Wholefoods (AKA WholePayPacket) to pick up a dish for tea (dinner to any Southern softies reading). Wendy thinks it’s a great pity there aren’t any Wholefoods in the UK. Me and my credit card are eternal grateful for the 3,000 miles of Atlantic ocean and our language keeping them at bay.

Afternoon lazing around. Skived off my bike ride and did some SQLing.

Do you want to build a meth lab? (Frozen * Breaking Bad parody)

I can’t quite decide whether to class this as a rant or a joke. But before we descend into Texas I’d better get my anti-NRA rants over with. I think down there criticising the 2nd or the NRA is considered blasphemy, a bit like mentioning the war in Germany, and can probably get you shot:


Friday – cold and sunny.


Lazy morning and then off to the Balloon museum.

Only $2 each for us geriatrics. Must be the only benefit of old age. Interesting place, spend a couple of hours browsing and playing with the experiments.

Wendy wants to call in at Teavanha (Starbucks of the tea world) for some of their ludicrously expensive peppermint white chocolate tea. Two for one, and it’s still so expensive I’m beginning to think it’s perhaps a tea that’s been consumed and then shit out by a Roadrunner or some other exotic bird, with the droppings scrapped up and put in an expensive box. Thankfully we don’t have Teavanha in England either – I hope. However, I will admit it is a very tasty tea.

Well we’re coming to the end of our stay in Albuquerque and I suppose nothing would be more appropriate than some quotes from Breaking Bad:

Just couldn’t resist this Robin Williams and guns:

I promise to be good and not comment on the NRA once I cross the border into Texas.


Saturday – warm and sunny.


Last day here in ABQ, so big clean up. Wendy wants me from under her feet, so packs me off on the bird walk for a couple of hours. Oh dear how sad, the things I put up with to please her.

My jobs sorting the car apparently.

A1 Car wash.

A1 Car wash.

Now that’s what I call a car wash. Call in at the A1 Car Wash from Breaking Bad – actually called Octopus. Now I’m alway the first to slag off America and it’s Ford principle of tiny tasks and no discretion or initiative., but this place is a shining example and a shrine to the Ford Principle. Slick, and I’m not referring to the soap suds, isn’t the word. A cast of 1,000’s vacuum the car; whisk into a conveyor; clean wheel; clean inside; leather dry it. Just 5 minutes from start to finish but in case you get bored, thirsty or hungry there’s free, yes free, coffee, pop corn, comfy chairs and magazines. Admittedly no girly mags but hey ho, can’t have everything.

Finally manage to find the bottle bank. Obviously the Green peace tree huggers don’t want anyone re-cycling so they’ve hid it well and made sure there’s no signs to it.

After lunch we’re all done so drive down to Wholefoods to pick up some tea and then get the Hire car from that nice Mr Hertz, including “big” upgrade – well ain’t everything bigger over here!

We’ve had an awesome time in ABQ. Great city, so easy to get around; lovely weather; plenty to do; fantastic network of bike paths, just a pity about the “Goat Heads” – natures very own stingers and bike mine fields.

More Breaking Bad:

Why do we keep getting so many home exchange requests from giant families in Spain, more kids than you can shake a perforated condom at. I’ve emailed them back and told them we’ll come to Spain when they’ve finished building it.
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