11 July 2017

Visits From Friends On Cross-country Drives

Because we live along a major east-west U.S. highway corridor, occasionally friends pass through town on their way across the country. It seems every summer friends from afar are driving through Albuquerque.

Just last night good friends from California, who have been on a cross-country vacation, asked if we wanted to meet up for dinner later this week. A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of great friends from L.A. coming to town while on a cross-country roadtrip. Such fun. We first learned they would be coming last winter so it seemed a long way out and then suddenly it was time for them to come.

We met up on a Friday morning to ride the world-famous Sandia Peak Tramway to the top of 10,378 ft. high Sandia Peak. We took a short hike and enjoyed the cooler temperatures and beautiful lush green forest and meadows you don't get in the desert valley!

It was fun to see the kids run wild and enjoy each other's company, for all of us to breathe in the fresh air and for the grown up ladies to be able to chat too. The tram ride is amazing and the immensity of the natural beauty and the size of the mountain are pretty astounding.

It was a great opportunity to reconnect and I am realizing that living along I-40 is a blessing for staying connected with friends from afar. Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway is one of the best and most enjoyable activities you can do in Albuquerque for the views of the vast desert landscape we live in, to see the city from above, to get close to the mountains and get close to nature. Once at the top there is a lot to take in and it is all so beautiful.

One of the things that makes catching up with old friends who are passing through town most successful is being very flexible. These groups are usually passing through town on a pretty exhausting driving schedule and they may be delayed or arrive earlier than expected. I think it's important to consider how they are feeling when they arrive and not put a lot of expectations on them.

So we try to be helpful, non-pressuring, considerate and amenable to what they feel they are up for. Our first questions are always "Is there anything we can do for you?" and "What are you feeling up for?" That may be a quick fast food dinner, a full New Mexican food feast, a visit to an indoor activity where it is a cool, a refreshing swim, time for kids to escape the car, stretch their legs and run around in a park, or any variety of things.

When my family keeps this in mind it's okay if we need to reschedule or cancel at the last minute. We understand road trips and know that being open to what works best for our friends is the best for everyone. So we go with the flow and try to be helpful and understanding and not be so excited to see our friends that we overwhelm or further exhaust them with energy, big plans or unrealistic expectations. This has worked out really well.

I am putting together a list of ideas for just such occasions since we know our city better than visitors would. I have a list of suggested hotels and restaurants in a variety of price ranges and excursion ideas and good parks. That way when they ask we can easily have ideas at the ready to share. Sometimes friends get in touch in advance and sometimes it's very spur of the moment so having some ideas at the ready makes this easy.

This ability to have so many friends visit our city was a completely unexpected surprise but we sure are enjoying it. It's fun to share our city, catch up and maintain lifelong friendships!

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