October 10, 2016 – Sun, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 53
Miles to Date: 17,677
States to Date: 45
Albuquerque is low-slung as Fresno, visually chaotic as Houston, friendly as Minneapolis, street-peopled as Portland, and outdoorsy as Denver. Albuquerque’s much smaller than I thought: its sister city Phoenix is more than four times its size.
I pedaled the length of Fourth Street, which is about as diverse a strip as any in our nation. I visited Old Town and the Jetty Jacks along the Rio Grande flood plain, downtown and the university. I was enthralled by the National Museum of Everything Nuclear, a more apt name than its official title. Mostly I liked Albuquerque because everyone I met, from coffee guru to college professor, to nature walker, to obese bicycle man, to green chili curry waitress, to ED doc in spandex, was open and engaging.
What I couldn’t compose in my brief stay was a coherent image of the place. Instead I found myself drawn to Albuquerque’s details. To the light on the coarse adobe walls, the contrast of brilliant orange against so much brown, to folk murals and stainless steel shimmering in the blinding sun.
Perhaps Albuquerque is the quintessential American city – disparate parts loosely tied together into an entity that resists cohesion.
When I visited Albuquerque in 1968, it rained the ENTIRE time we were there. Everyone kept apologizing to us . . . “It’s never like this!”