Located in the high desert, just a one hour train ride (free on Wednesdays for Seniors) from Santa Fe, Albuquerque is New Mexico's largest city. Founded as the Spanish Colony of "Villa de Albuquerque" in 1706, it was named after Francisco, Duke of Albuquerque, who served as Vicroy of New Spain from 1653 until 1660. But before the Europeans had arrived, the Tanoan and Kereson Native American peoples had inhabited this area for centuries. Petroglyphs engraved into volcanic rock just west of the city give proof of their presence. After the arrival of the Europeans, Albuquerque became a sheep herding center of the west. "Old Town" Albuquerque was designed in the traditional Spanish pattern of a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church. Strategically located, Albuquerque was ideally suited for a military garrison. So, Mexico built one here in 1821. Between 1846 and 1863, the American military occupied the city, establishing their own Federal Garrison and Quartermaster depot. When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad arrived here in 1880, growth of the city exploded. Albuquerque was incorporated as a town in 1885 and as a city six years later.
For the third time during our adventures, we were able to stand on part of the historic Route 66.