If you don't mind getting your baby dirty, the ride to the top of the Sandia Mountains via Placitas is a choice drive.

Take I25 North to the Placitas exit, go right. You'll be treated to some spectacular red rock views and some incredible homes. What's funny is that the homes quickly drop to rustic as you wind your way through the town.

As you leave Placitas, you'll see signs for a mountain road with warnings about the road being closed during the winter... BELIEVE THEM! It's one of those routes that once you commit to taking it, there's no turning back!

Gut checked? Great! The pavement ends and you get a 1.5 lane road drive that dances you through some impressive curves, climbs, and views. There are 100-300 foot drops that are not guardrailed, nasty gullies that make you fear for the undercarriage, and squeezes that have you praying that no one is coming from the other direction.

While we live to turbo, be sure to stop and look at the views when there are pull-offs. It's amazing how quickly it changes as you climb the mountain. Also, there aren't a lot of facilities along the way, so be sure to fill up in Placitas and empty the bladder!

Once you crest, you get a nice paved road with some sweeping curves that take you to the top. Great hand-on-the-knob driving!

Be sure to take a little hike at the top. The view of Albuquerque and New Mexico is spectacular! There's a gift shop and snack place, as well as excellent walking trails. Be sure to have sensible shoes, though, as you'll be walking over rock for some of the trails and they can be slippery.

Once you've had your fill of the scenery, head on down the mountain, but head for Edgewood instead of Placitas. This is all paved roads, but varied enough to keep your attention.

Eventually, you'll intercect with I40. Head West, back into Albuquerque, while enjoying the opportunity to engage the turbo while you cruise at 85+ MPH speeds.

NON-DRIVING OPPORTUNITY

If you've got the time, jump off of I40 at the Tramway exit and go right, headed North. Visit the Tram and take it to the top of the mountain. It's a nice ride and there is an amazing restaurant at the top, High Finance. Try to take the tram in the late afternoon, enjoy the view while waiting for a table, eat dinner, then be amazed at the star-like view of the city as you descend in the dark.