Not all enchantments are good and adventures generally mean the gods will test you before any rewards are given. That was certainly true this last weekend with our adventure to New Mexico. There were moments of great joy; but also moments of despair were nothing seemed to be quite right. The first clue to our tests began when Bob called to confirm hotel reservations as we were leaving for the airport. And the hotel told us “We were bumped from our hotel room; but not to worry. When we arrived, they would take us to another hotel.”
Arriving in Albuquerque at midnight was eerie; an empty airport has a disturbing feel. We tried to take a taxi instead of calling the hotel shuttle and waiting. The taxi driver refused to take us. Called the hotel and their first response was “the shuttle stopped at 10 pm”. Bob persevered on the phone. After learning our names, they did send out the hotel shuttle who took us to the promised second hotel. There the gods demanded payment causing a large bag with about 10 dollars worth of quarters to break and roll all over the ground. Eventually we pass the hurdles and made it to the front desk. More confusion when they could not find a reservation and claimed they were full. But eventually all got sorted out and the first hotel paid Thursday night’s bill.
On Friday, trials continued. Bob was feeling a bit sick. At breakfast on Friday, I spilled coffee, burned toast, and poured waffle batter all over the self-service counter. Then we changed hotel rooms. The hotel was trying to be nice; they gave us a poolside room. Well, an indoor pool side room on the third floor is an interesting experience. All the heat and humidity rises up from the pool. Add in no direct window to the outside and you have a very surreal hotel room. At least it was clean and neat. I like the low end hotels – you get empty refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, laundry facilities, and free breakfasts. Much better than those fancy ones where the fridges have motion sensors on the overpriced contents and charge you 15 dollars to empty the fridge. But then we got to spend a great afternoon with Liz—Lunch and Old Town.
The next day was Take your parents to work day. Really great visiting Sandia National Labs. Lots of cool stuff. Besides seeing all the labs where Liz works; we got to see a Z-Machine. What is a Z-Machine, well I had to look up the definition. From webpage http://www.sandia.gov/z-machine/
“Sandia’s Z machine is the world’s most powerful and efficient laboratory radiation source. It uses high magnetic fields associated with high electrical currents to produce high temperatures, high pressures, and powerful X-rays for research in high energy density science. The Z machine creates conditions found nowhere else on Earth. Z is part of Sandia’s Pulsed Power program, which began in the 1960s.”
And there are lots of really interesting photos / descriptions on the sandia websites. Take a look. For example, a robot that can literally turn on a dime because it is smaller than a dime.
One bad part of the tour was spraining my ankle. So afterwards we went to Liz’s apartment where she had an ace bandage. Got some great photos of her room; it’s the nicest dorm I’ve ever seen. Second bad part was getting a call from the hotel asking if we were staying Saturday night. We called, they said OK. Both of us were glad to see our suitcases were still in the bedroom.
The next day adventures continued. We got to the airport several hours early only to find that our plane was an hour late arriving (Fog in San Francisco). That meant we missed our connection in LAX. We did get booked on the 7:30 pm plane (the next one after the 4 pm plane). But that plane broke down in San Luis Obispo. So the airline called in a third plane from Yuma, Arizona. We did finally make it home at a semi-reasonable time on Sunday evening. Long hard trip, but I enjoyed it.
Below are a series of pictures in random order from the trip. Enjoy. First is a Store window in Old Town.
Tree in old town
Greetings from a rescue turtle in old town
window in church in old town. it’s a moon map; but I don’t know how to read the green portions.
view over the wing
this could be a great painting someday