Alan and Jonna's Albuquerque, NM trip

For a second time, Alan's family decided to do a Christmas holiday trip rather than attending the traditional family gathering in Florida. This time Brenda and Harvey drove westward, while Jonna and Alan flew south. We all met up in Albuquerque, NM to enjoy exploring this southwestern city. We explored the Sandia Crest mountains, flew in a hot air balloon, relaxed at a spa, visited the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, walked along the Rio Grande, strolled historic old town and visited with Harvey's brother Gene who lives in ABQ. It was a great trip and more quality time together as a family.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture.):

1) For our first day in Albuequerque, we decided to literally get an overview of the city. We did this by riding the Sandia Peak Tramway up to the top of Sandia Peak. From there, we could look down onto the city, as well as looking out across the greater Rio Grande valley. Supposedly, you can see almost 10% of the entire state of New Mexico from on top of the Sandia Crest!

2) Brenda had hoped for a white Christmas which Albuquerque didn't quite deliver. However, she did get a chance to see some snow up on top of Sandia Crest.

3) We all enjoyed the tram ride up to and back down from Sandia Peak. The mountains were scenic and since this is supposedly the longest tram in the world there is plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

4) Brenda has said for years that a hot air balloon ride was on her "Bucket List". What better place to check that one off than in the hot air balloon capital of the US? We chose Rainbow Ryders for our trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is a colorful view inside the balloon itself while it was being inflated.

5) Lift-off! We had a very calm day for our flight but it was a full basket, max'ed out with 12 passengers in addition to the pilot.

6) Brenda and Harvey both enjoyed the flight! Because of the calm winds, we didn't travel far but we had nice views of both the Rio Grande river and the Sandia Crest mountains.

7) On the second day, while Brenda and Jonna relaxed at the Ten Thousand Waves Spa in Santa Fe, Harvey and Alan drove up in the mountains to visit the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos. The history of Los Alamos and the greater story of the WWII Manhattan Project was well documented with many interesting artifacts, photos, movies and displays.

8) We started our final day with a drive out to the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park to see the Rio Grande up close. We walked through the bosque (the riverside forest) to see the big cottonwood trees and watched a great blue heron stalk fish in the shallow parts of the river.

9) After our walk along the river, we headed to the State Park's visitor center's bird blinds to watch the ducks out in the nearby pond.

10) Our final stop was Albuquerque's historic old town area. We walked the loop and visited the 300 year old church. We had a delicious meal at the nearby Church St Cafe and then went our separate ways. It was a memorable Christmas trip which we all enjoyed!

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Alan Fleming