Friday, April 26, 2013

Visit to Albuquerque, Part 2

Three girls in a treehouse.
Following our Paseo del Bosque Trail ride (detailed in Part 1 here), we did a bit more exploration around Albuquerque. It's a pleasant city that somehow feels smaller than its population of a bit more than half a million might suggest. Traditional New Mexican architecture abounds, and really contributes to a well-defined sense of community. The way space is used here, both public and private, differs from that of other areas of the Rocky Mountain West enough so that it feels as though it is another culture. Sure, there are malls and tract houses here and there, but much of Albuquerque has a very distinct flavor that I find very appealing.
My brother constructed this treehouse in a very artisanal manner, typical of many of the projects he's built around his house.

Look Daddy, no hands.
With little precipitation, old Volkswagens seemingly live forever here.
A little early morning hula-hooping in pajamas and cowgirl boots.
She's still got it.
An Alexander Calder-esque mobile of my brother's creation.
Scout claimed this as her cozy spot during our visit. 
Convex mirror fun.

Albuquerque is apparently experimenting with a variety of bike infrastructure implementations. Unsurprisingly, many of the bike projects are infused with art, either in a supportive or integrative capacity. A wide variety of styles and designs of bike racks pepper the landscape, along with more ambitious projects, such as bicycle boulevards and trail systems. I saw a lot of ambient bike use, including families on bikes, commuters, crusty old-timers on weathered cruisers, college kids on fixies, and even a bright red Big Dummy for which I was too slow with my camera. It's a great city for biking, as hills are gentle and key destinations are within easy reach. I wasn't able to sample the bike shops of the area, such as Two Wheel Drive, but I hope to during the next visit.

Lil Sis appreciated this sleek bronze jaguar bench.
Bike racks in front of the Albuquerque Museum.
This area was full of hipster hangouts and people on bikes. 
A Kokopelli-inspired bike rack.
The morning that we left, we accompanied Chris and Hazel on their ride to school. It was a perfectly clear Albuquerque morning, and we even spotted a hot air balloon on the horizon. Riding to school is fun any time, but it's especially enjoyable to see two eager seven year-olds pacing each other, while not forgetting to stop at stop signs. It's hard to believe how quickly they grow into autonomous big kids.

After a seven-hour drive, we were home. It was a bummer to leave a 75 F degree spring day in Albuquerque and arrive to a less-than-welcoming 24 F degrees in Denver. I like snow as much as the next person in Colorado, and I know we need the precipitation, but after three straight weeks of Spring snowstorms and unseasonably cold temperatures, I'm done with it. Here's to the hopeful arrival of actual Spring weather.

The morning after was a chilly ride on frozen disappointment.
Our annual backyard finches have already had their chicks, who are cuddled for warmth on a cold day.


  1. I need to get to Albuquerque again. I've only been there once, in 2003, and it was a very crappy experience, but that was more due to circumstance than (probably) the city itself. It would be nice to get down there when Mr. Gypsy By Trade is still down there, but I highly doubt it, alas.

    1. It had been nearly three years since I'd been there, and it seemed that a lot of things had changed with regard to biking. It's a place with great possibilities.

      Unless you plan to be there in the next couple of days, it may be too late to be shown around by Mr. Gypsy By Trade. I'm sure he'd give you pointers for another contact.