This post is part of a series of stories from our 2018 Spring Break road trip across New Mexico.
Click here for all posts.

By midweek, we were headed north on our loop through New Mexico. Next stop: Albuquerque!

Before we got too far out of Alamogordo, we had to make a roadside stop for something you don’t see every day…

World’s Largest Pistachio

Unfortunately the World’s Largest Pistachio was under lock and key and we were on the road too early in the morning to get close! A quick picture through the fence would have to do. Annnnnnd NOW – next stop: Albuquerque!

We were in Albuquerque for just over 24 hours, but I learned three very important lessons.

Lesson 1: Altitude sickness is a thing.

As we drove north from White Sands Wednesday morning, my stomach didn’t feel right. I don’t get carsick and I didn’t eat anything weird, so I sipped some water and tried to put it out of my mind, joining in the lively conversation in the car regarding what we should do with our day in Albuquerque. By the time we got to town and landed at the zoo, I realized I was in for a long day. We wandered through the zoo — always a favorite — but I just couldn’t shake it.

Susan – a nurse – came back from a quick trip to the car to find me sprawled out on a park bench while the boys played on a small playground inside the zoo grounds — and she pulled the plug on the zoo trip. Everybody in the car! We’re headed to the hotel!

Long story short, I 100% underestimated the altitude. Did you know Albuquerque is higher THAN DENVER? It looks flat and all — but I’m here to tell you, the altitude is no joke. The altitude combined with the dry air proved too much for me, and I was down for the count for the rest of the morning. My advice: take it easy and drink 3x as much water as you think you need.

Lesson 2: The ASTC is worth every penny.

After a breather in the AC of the hotel, I rallied and we headed out for an afternoon of museum-hopping. My best friend from high school lives in Albuquerque so, while Susan and Charles headed out for a bike tour of the city, we made plans to meet up with these two cuties.

Why yes — they ARE standing on a Periodic Table!

Back in White Sands Colt picked out a graphic novel about the atomic bomb in the gift shop, so naturally, one of the museums on his Albuquerque wish list was the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

We also checked out the children’s science museum – Explora. But here’s the thing. We got our entire group – including my friend Lonette and her two kids – in FOR FREE. Because of something called the ASTC, or Association of Science-Technology Centers. I mentioned it back before the holidays as a gift idea and I can’t sign its praises enough. Many children’s museums are members and if you see the ASTC logo on the back of your membership card it means your membership to one museum on this list gets you benefits (like free admission!) to museums all over the country. We used our Amazeum (NWA museum) membership to get free admission to both museums in Albuquerque and we’ve now used it in four states in the last 18 months!

Lesson 3: Old friends are the sweetest.

Well, technically I already knew this, but my goodness it was fun to be reminded. Lonette and I have been buddies since junior high and we’ve been friends across the miles for years now. It was so much fun to get our kiddies together for the day and reconnect. Last time we were together was her wedding five years ago, and we promised to get together before another five years flies by. Here’s to that.

Sarah + Lonette. BFFs since junior high.

More Albuquerque stories coming tomorrow. Hint: we adventured among the clouds!


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