We make it to Albuquerque but only stop long enough to get some maps from AAA, fill up with gas and grab something from Wendy’s. The cold weather has made us decide to blow off Santa Fe and Taos on this trip – they’ll be better during another season. Albuquerque is at a lower elevation and in a trough between mountains so it’s much warmer here. It’s also a sprawled out desert city and not very attractive. Even stranger, we cannot find a single taqueria. What happened to the “Mexico” in New Mexico? There are plenty of Chinese and Vietnamese places, but the only Mexican restaurant we see as we drive through the city is Del Taco! Seriously?
Acoma, the Sky City looks pretty cool. It’s a giant mesa with an ancient city on top. But when I read that we have to be on a tour and the whole thing costs $20 or more each, Big Dog gets annoyed.
“I don’t want to feel like I’m being bilked,” he says.
No, being bilked is not for the Frugal Travelers, so we wind up just looking at it from afar. (In my humble opinion, this was maybe not the best choice since we had already spent all this money to GET HERE in the first place.)
The land is pretty flat, grassy and shrubby, with mesas poking out. Lovely arroyos, lava beds… El Malpais’ evergreens grow right out of the lava beds! The lava rocks hold water so the trees can actually grow.
By the afternoon, we are at El Moro, another limestone-draped-shaped-wind-and-water-sculpted mesa. We’ll explore it tomorrow. It’s free entry at National Parks this weekend and no camping fee. Of course, there’s no water, either, and only pit toilets, but we were able to get water at the Visitor’s Center before it closed so we are set!