Aspen Vista Picnic Grounds
Oh, my, we woke up on Sunday to yet another beautiful day. The sun was shining and the temperature was just perfect at 68°. Randy and I spent the morning slowly sipping our coffee, chatting about all we had seen over the last few days and wondered what Vilma and Jim had in store for us.
After three days of climbing to wonderful heights to see wonderful sights, we all decided we needed a slower pace. So, when Vilma called and said that she had four options for the day we chose door number 4 which was a leisurely Sunday drive to the mountains of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe National Forest to see what was left of the fall foliage.
We understood that we were about three weeks past peak fall foliage but the ride up the mountain was so nice. There were so many people on the mountain stopping to take pictures and just enjoying being outside and we were glad to be among their number.
As we climbed a little higher we started to encounter snow on the sides of the road and the higher we drove up the mountain, the more snow could be seen high up on the hills and between the trees. How wonderful, I thought. That is until Randy got it into his head to throw snowballs me when I got out of the car. Very funny!
We stopped once in a while to at a view point to enjoy the vistas. From one vantage point we were able to see, hidden in a shroud of blues and greys, the Ortiz Mountains, Sandia Peak, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Tetilla Peak and the Pajaristo Mountain. Beautiful!
We stopped at the Aspen Vista Picnic Grounds and had a wonderful view of the mountain and notice that there were still small patches of beautiful bright yellow Aspens. We stayed a few minutes to enjoy the view, take a few photos and then made our way back down the mountain.
We decided to have lunch at Maria’s in Santa Fe. What a lovely restaurant. The food was delicious and the margarita’s outstanding. It was hard to choose since their menu listed a large variety of margaritas.
Randy and I both ordered the Taco Chiquitos which were six cocktail-sized shells, filled with lean-ground beef, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and their house salsa. They were delicious. I decided to try the Dirty Old Man Margarita made with Hornito’s 100% agave añejo tequila and triple-sec. This was delicious too!
By the time we arrived back home another friend had arrived at Vilma’s ‘little house’ and would be staying for an extended time. We have all known Sequin for over 20 years and looked forward to spending some time catching up. Sequin, Carmen, Bob, and Pat all came by Vilma’s and we enjoyed a great home-cooked meal that included Vilma’s famous rice dish.
Sequin, Randy and I returned to the guest house and settled in for the evening talking about old times and future plans.
When we arose in the morning, we all met in the living room and had an unofficial pajama party drinking coffee, eating breakfast and talking. It was really quite fun. It reminded me of the days when our singles group used to spend time going on retreats to the Wintergreen resort in beautiful Virginia.
Today was going to be another easy day. Vilma had made plans for the ladies to have lunch in Old Town Albuquerque and Jim and Randy planned on going to the shooting range.
Vilma drove us down to Old Town where we met Carmen and Pat at the Church Street Café. It was nice to spend some time engaging in girl talk for a while and enjoying a delicious meal too. After we ate, several of us walked around Old Town visiting some of the shops.
I bought a beautiful sweater and, of course, a magnet for my daughter Kristine. Her refrigerator has got to be approaching maximum coverage at this point with all the magnets I have purchased. Very funny!
(From left) Mary, Pat, Carmen, Vilma and Sequin
While we were having fun eating and window shopping, Jim and Randy went south of the airport to a vast area of property for the police department and the Albuquerque Gun Club.
“There were so many ranges at this facility that I was sort of blown away. Pistol ranges, rifle ranges, shotgun ranges and even a tunnel range,” Randy said. He went on to say, “The tunnel range allows you to sight in your gun without having any wind or ground effect. That was pretty cool!”
“I had a great time and Jim seemed to enjoy showing off the facilities and his guns,” Jim said.
They experienced a minor problem with a newly purchased gun so after departing the range they went to see the gunsmith at a gun store where Jim purchased the gun to see if it could be repaired or sent back to the manufacturer. “The gunsmith was able to make an adjustment and told Jim to give it a try. It was fixed,” Randy continued.
Everyone returned home and spent the afternoon just wiling away the hours until dinner time. Randy and I wanted to thank Jim and Vilma for a wonderful visit and had invited them to dinner. Jim and Vilma chose The Range Café.
Driving to the restaurant, Vilma caught a view of the Sandia Mountains bathed in a reddish hue and was so excited. Sandia means watermelon in Spanish. When I looked out the car window I could understand her excitement. The mountain was beautiful.
Vilma had been trying to encourage Randy and I to try eating green chiles since we arrived on her doorstep. We resisted until now. An ordered of Green Chile Strips-breaded whole chiles served with cool, creamy jalapeno dipping sauce was brought to the table and we finally tried one. It was delicious. The chiles had a nice smoky flavor with a light breading and, when dipped into the jalapeno sauce was absolutely delicious. Who knew?
The Rio Grande Gorge
The first time I visited The Range Café, way back in 2000, I ordered the Heuvos Rancheros and loved them. So, I decided to order them once again. And, once again, they were delicious. The plate was full to the rim with two fresh eggs atop blue corn tortillas, sprinkles with white cheddar, Range Fries, pinto beans and green chili. They were wonderful!
I wanted to celebrate Randy’s birthday while in Albuquerque even though his birthday had been earlier in the month. On his actual birthday my daughter Kara gave him a card giving him the choice to celebrate his birthday day, birthday week or birthday month. He chose all three so we celebrated all month. I ordered a Key Lime pie and it was delivered with appropriate candle and several wait staff singing, “Happy Birthday”.
We spent the rest of the evening time with Sequin talking about her on-going search for a place to retire. Her plan is to stay in Albuquerque for several weeks and get a feel about life in Albuquerque and see if this is a place she could retire.
We then retired to our room and finished our packing. Tomorrow we head back home with so many wonderful memories.
A bit shout out “Thank you” to Jim and Vilma. for being such wonderful hosts and showing us such a wonderful time while we were in Albuquerque. It was so good to catch up. And, thank you Sequin for sharing time with us in Vilma’s ‘little house’ and reminiscing about old times and forging new times. We will miss you all!!!!
The sun has set on our wonderful Albuquerque visit with Jim and Vilma but we are taking memories in our hearts that will burn bright for a very long time to come.