After only 3 days during our stay at the Great Salt Lake just outside of Salt Lake City we took a break from camping and traveled to Albuquerque so Kat could go do some work. We arrived on Sunday evening to a big rain and hail storm. What? That was not in the weather forecast! We had just missed the end of the balloon festival so the Embassy suites hotel was pretty busy, especially at the managers reception. The drink line was long and the food disappeared quickly. Of course we grabbed a quick snack and drink before we headed out for some New Mexican food. We were super excited to start eating as much green chile as possible in the next three days.
Even though I had TV with lots of channels to watch and a hotel room that was bigger than our camper I spent most of my time exploring and driving around. I went to old Town and shopped around and to the Albuquerque museum. I also decided to do something productive and what better way to spend my time than doing some volunteering at the Roadrunner food bank? I scheduled myself for Tuesday from 2-4. When I showed up I was the only afternoon volunteer. They had 170 volunteers already that morning. This food bank is also part of Feeding America like at the Salvation Army in Salt Lake City. They get food in their warehouse from them and other donation sources and then distribute it to smaller food banks. The warehouse was huge and I guess it needs to be because they feed 70,000 people per week! My job was to take recently delivered bread off the racks and put them into big boxes that were sitting on pallets. The boxes were to be filled with 250lbs each, so I ended up loading 500lbs of bread in my two hours. As I loaded the bread I had to look for the dates and quality. If the bread was old, moldy or damaged it was to be put into a different box that goes to pig farms. Later in the year the pig farmers donate pork products back to the food bank. That is a fantastic idea not to throw that bread into the garbage. I wonder if many other food banks follow this practice?
The New Mexican food did not disappoint. We had Mexican food all but one night. We ate at Monroes near Old Town on the last night and finally found the green chile stew with pork that we had been searching for all along. Kat had that and I had a great chicken stuffed chile relleno. We wish we would have eaten there earlier in the week so we could have gone back again. I also enjoyed a Blake’s Lotaburger. This would be like an In and Out burger to the West Coast people. I added green chile and oh man was it delicious. Lots of memories from this place as we ate here a lot when living here. We did miss out on McDonalds green chili burritos for breakfast and also having a double cheeseburger with green chile. Oh well, we will be back or maybe find it somewhere else on the West coast.
I had a good time in Albuquerque (nice weather helped) and Kat got some work done, so it was a good trip and we had an uneventful flight back to the camper parked at the Great Salt Lake. The camper was as we left it, but we found we did miss a bit of excitement while we were gone because the afternoon of the day we returned there had been a plane crash in the lake. The pilot was the only one on board and he was ok because he was quickly rescued by a shrimp boat and our own harbor master at the marina who is part of the search and rescue team. You can easily die of hypothermia in the lake, so good thing that shrimp boat’s spotter heard the pilot’s distress call and got him help right away.
I felt good visiting Albuquerque since I had a lot of memories from living there. We were an Air Force family and moved around a lot, but we stayed in Albuquerque for about 6 years starting when I was 8 or 9. I started high school here in Albuquerque and while playing basketball in the gym one day the coach told me I should try out. I had never played organized sports, I learned to play basketball by playing with the neighborhood boys in a driveway and spending hours alone shooting baskets. My shooting form was horrible because I had never been shown the correct way, but I was pretty scrappy and had good aim. After only about a month into high school we moved to Roswell. I figured I had a fresh start and nothing to lose, so I tried out for the basketball team and I made the team! I also corrected my shooting form with a lot of practice. I ended up having a decent basketball career and getting a college scholarship. I look back at those years and if that coach had not said that to me I would have never thought to take the chance. I can only guess how different my life would have been without basketball. I would probably not be visiting Albuquerque and you may not be reading this right now. So, remember, what you say to kids or anyone really can make an impact, especially positive, encouraging comments. Thank you very much to that coach!
It is nice to get home and back to our normal life. We will enjoy Utah a little longer before moving on to Nevada.
An update on our stay at the Great Salt Lake to follow.
Until then….Bert signing off.