And then we were in Albuquerque, for like…forever. Part 1

November 14 – December 7, 2016
ABQ, New. Mexico

Back in Kanab over a month ago, we discovered a leak in one of our gray tanks which proved a stubborn fix. After a few attempts to fix it ourselves, and one attempt at a repair shop, it became apparent the the whole tank would have to be replaced. It can be a bit of a challenge to find replacement tanks for these older trailers, as they change the size/shape of them each year in the new trailer models. So we knew we would have to find a larger town to connect with a repair shop and wait for a tank to be shipped or even fabricated. We decided a great place to be “stuck” for awhile was Albuquerque, NM. Neither Brad nor I had ever spent much time in New Mexico, so it was an area we were interested in learning more about. And with ABQ being a city of half a million people, it was a refreshing change from the previous weeks of spending most of our time in very remote areas.

The day we waited for Camping World to take measurements of our galley tank for replacement, we had a blast checking out all the RV accessories in their store, the girls’ soaked up the free popcorn & PBS cartoons in the waiting area, and Brad & I got to see what it would be like in the drivers seat of one of the giant modern class A rigs. (This is when we were still under the illusion that Camping World, ABQ was going to help us out in any way, so we were feeling optimistic and silly.)

Our pace drew to a grinding halt here. We toyed with the idea of going south to the White Sands NP or Carlsbad Caverns. But we had just exhausted ourselves with all the big day trips, and we didn’t feel like towing hours away for places that we weren’t dying to visit. So we opted to stay put in ABQ for awhile.

life in Stumbo

It’s been nice to sit still for awhile. We’ve done lots of homeschooling, lots of design work, lots of normal-life type stuff. We’ve also enjoyed some of the perks of life in a bigger city – great museums being our favorite part.

The Explora was maybe our favorite children’s museum ever!
Coral loving life in the Bubble Room!
Also Brad loving life in the Bubble Room!
Me biking across the high-wire at the Explora.
In the sketch lab, you colored pictures of cars, busses, building, UFO’s, or other city structures. Then you scanned them in to become part of this bustling, projected city on the wall. Of course we added a Stumbo. After the UFO delivered your creation to the cityscape, it would dance if you tapped on it. The hypnotic music playing in this dark room put me into a coloring trance. I’m pretty sure we spent about 15 hours in this room.
At the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, you’re greeted by the lobby guardian Stan, the T-Rex. You’re also greeted by a bunch of eager museum volunteers who insist that every kid get their picture taken with Stan in this pose. Some of the most interesting things about Stan are his injuries – a skull fracture and a broken vertebrae that they calculate were caused by a fight in his adolescence.
Our favorite part of the History & Science Museum was the Naturalist Room.
The Naturalist Room was full of interesting animal specimens – both living and deceased – and a very friendly scientist who was eager to talk to kids (and their parents) about any questions they had. We enjoyed peeking into microscopes, creating animal footprints in sand, and making faces at reptiles.
A turtle catching his breath. We learned that in winter they hibernate underwater for months and take in all the oxygen they need through capillary walls… their butt!
Owl skeleton. At one point the girls mistakenly called a giant paper wasp nest as a bee hive. They were disappointed because Coral had been asking questions about what a beehive looked like. The resident science guy overheard our conversation, went into a back room, and brought out a beehive for us to handle & discuss!

We also frequented the library, got to know the lay of the land, and visited a couple of churches. One of them was the Catholic Church where Richard Rohr serves as one of the church Fathers. He’s an author who I’ve been interested in for some time and whose book I was just about to start reading with some friends. It was wonderful to participate in mass with this group of Christians, but our family may have inadvertently desecrated the Holy Eucharist. This is a story better told in person, so if you’re interested in the details, ask me when you see me! The other was a very different experience of visiting a mega church called Legacy where 7,000 people attend each week. It was definitely unlike anything we had participated in before, but we were grateful for the new experience. It made for great conversations with our kids that day about what we believe and why, and some great self reflection as well.

The ABQ Library System has tons of branches. We loved visiting Main in downtown on quite a few occasions, including one of our “homeless” days while Stumbo was being worked on. I realized that day that I’m only a few showers away from asking the librarian for the bathroom key and getting a “no” in response.

We also enjoyed a great little Thanksgiving Day at the Enchanted Trails RV Campground in ABQ. We have had many turkey days with only our immediate family, so the main difference from being on the road was that we scaled back the menu to a more realistic amount of food for preparation in the small space. We still managed a turkey (crock pot…who knew?!), stuffing, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, rolls, and pecan pie.

All the girls enjoyed part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and some community puzzles in the Enchanted Trails community building.
Coral wanted to make a turkey. Celebrating Than-fulness!
Black skillet pecan pie!
Happy Thanksgiving!

We also put together our traditional Thankful Tree. Brad’s only contribution this year was “Studio Gibli Films”. Hopefully that was because we most often put our “leaves” on the tree during school hours, and not because it’s all he has to be thankful for this year!

annual Thankful Tree

It’s been great to be forced to slow down and get to know a place more fully than the fly-by’s we’ve been doing so far. But we are also eager to get on the road before these snow flurries develop into something that actually sticks and spend holidays with family in the south. We got word today (from repair shop #2 in this ordeal…) that our new gray tank is on its way here from Indiana. So hopefully it will be here and installed within the next week and we will be on our way east again.

Lazy Sunday morning family reading time.
Great life, occasionally squished.

2 Comment

  1. Sadie says: Reply

    You folks are doing & seeing things that other people can only think of glad you are having fun

  2. Brennen Gooby says: Reply

    I love that last picture!

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