Friday, May 31, 2013

The Plaza – Santa Fe, NM

Raton Pass, NM  High 81  Low 41

We covered all of 70 miles on Wednesday into Santa Fe. We had planned on camping at the Camel Rock Casino but their parking lot for RV’s is dirt and the wind gusts were 50 mph. It was a a mess. So we broke down and went into a park in town.

We stayed at the Los Suenos de Santa Fe RV park. Santa Fe is an expensive area to visit. Our two nights, with a Good Sam discount, was $70.50. That is definitely more than we usually pay. However, it was the cheapest rate that I could find.

It’s hard to find the park because the city council won’t let them put out a sign on the road. That’s the same city council that won’t let the Fairgrounds rent out campsites any more either. So if you plan to stay there, call and get the directions which involved parked Ryder Rental trucks and The Lofts.


The major plus for this park is the fact that the city bus picks you up right outside the park and takes you downtown to the plaza. For $1.00 you can get an all day geezer pass. Or you can pay $1.00 for the ride down and $1.00 for the ride back to the park. This is definitely the way to see downtown Santa Fe. Very narrow streets and no parking.


P1030498 The Spitz Clock – The Spitz Jewelry Store was established on the Plaza in 1881 and a clock, without works, was place in front of the store for an advertisement. This clock was replaced by a functioning clock and stood until 1915 when it was knocked down by one of the first motor trucks in Santa Fe. A used clock was found in Kansas and was put back up. When the plaza was developed in 1967 the clock was donated to the city.

Lots of colorful murals all over the city.


Santa Fe Plaza has been the commercial, social and political center of Santa Fe since about 1610 when it was established by Don Pedro de Peralta. The original Plaza was a presidio (fort) surrounded by a large defensive wall that enclosed residences, barracks, a chapel, a prison and the Governor's palace. Eventually the wall gave way to large houses built by high-ranking Spanish officers and officials. 


Look at how green the grass and trees are. Been a long time since we’ve seen that kind of green.


The original palacio, the Palace of the Governors, was built between 1610 and 1612. The Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. It is now a museum and outside on the sidewalk is the Native American Vendors Program where licensed artists sell their wares.


This picture is for Denise. Lots of Harley riders.


Santa Fe is going to take several posts. There is just so much to see and do and we barely scratched the surface while we were there. We didn’t visit any museums and there are several of them. We didn’t stop in any of the little shops and there are hundreds of them. We didn’t make it to the capital or the railroad yards. Both stops I wanted to make. Next time.

But we did see these clouds. Been a long time since we’ve seen clouds as well as the green in the plaza.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Santa Fe, NM   High 77  Low 46

Monday – we recovered. We had the kids come to our house for lunch and then sat and visited with them for a few hours. No more touring for us.

Monday afternoon, Tom and Dianne and Dave and Nancy pulled into our park. In fact Tom and Dianne got the spot next to us. We made arrangements to go to dinner. I got to choose the place.

The last time we were in Albuquerque we met up with Dave and Nancy and made plans to go to a Chinese restaurant. After driving around for almost an hour we never did find the place. I checked in with Yelp and picked the Zinc Wine Bar and Grill which was excellent.

But this time we wanted to try a different place. Checked out Yelp and Urban Spoon and decided that Pelican’s would offer a good selection and it got great reviews.


We would all agree with those reviews and have added this restaurant to those we would go to for a second helping.

Tom, Jim, Me, Dianne, Nancy and Dave


After dinner we all went over to Tom and Dianne’s for ice cream. A wonderful evening.

When we left Grants, NM the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for the truck decided to malfunction. The “service TPMS" light came on. Called On-Star and they ran a diagnostic and determined that nothing was wrong with the truck.

The big problem came when we locked the truck and then tried to unlock it with the remote entry. Seems the TPMS system an the remote entry are connected and if one doesn’t work neither does the other. So every time Jim would unlock the door with the key the alarm sounded until he could get the key in the ignition and shut it off.

Tuesday morning he headed for a Chevy dealership and a couple of hours later it was fixed. We got everything ready for travel on Wednesday. It was going to be windy so we wanted to get on the road in the morning before the winds picked up.

There are many things and places we didn’t get to see in Albuquerque but we needed to save something for the next time we come this way. The Madonna Tree is one of them.

70 miles later we are in Santa Fe for a couple of nights.

Old Town Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM  High 82  Low 51

Don’t even think we have finished with our day yet. I told you we were exhausted when we finally got back to the rig.

Old Town Albuquerque is a MUST when you’re in the area. Founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez. Centered around the plaza, Albuquerque's Old Town encompasses about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings.


On the north side of the plaza is the San Felipe de Neri Church, the oldest building in the city, which was built in 1793. (I was happy to read that photographs were allowed inside.)





Our next stop was thanks to Kevin and Ruth.  I would never have visited this one if they hadn’t blogged about it.

The Rattlesnake Museum

P1030455On our way to the museum we ran into bank and stagecoach robbers trying to find a place to hide their loot.

There were lots of folks around since it is a three day week-end. The children were loving all the noise an hollering that was going on during the show. The guns especially were a big hit.

After we escaped we went to the museum.


I do NOT ever want to see a snake out in the wild. But these snakes are all behind glass and were fascinating. I took so many pictures but I’ll just post a few of them.





Gila Monster


They also rescue turtles from people who got them when they were small and then couldn’t handle them as they got bigger and wanted to get rid of them.


We took the kids home and headed back for the rig. Our day was finally over an we both collapsed. One of the best days ever.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nob Hill

Albuquerque, NM  High 82  Low 51

I still have a couple more posts to do about our one day whirlwind tour of the city.

Besides being a Roadside America junkie, I also love anything Rte 66. Nob Hill in Albuquerque is on Central Avenue which was originally Rte 66. Since it was lunch time we headed for Kelly’s Brew Pub (originally Jones Motor Company).


In 1939, Ralph Jones, commissioned the construction of a gas station, a car dealership, and service station along Route 66 in Albuquerque. The detailed tower above the central portion of the building was one of the first icons encountered by westbound travelers on Route 66.  Constructed at the eastern end of Albuquerque, the station featured gas pumps at an angle on one side, allowing motorists to easily access the pumps from two sides. Large display windows in front showcased the latest car models to passing travelers on the other side.  Both sides were marked by curved walls. The place became so popular that Mr. Jones constructed a canopy on the southern wall of the garage, so that the customers could unload their vehicles in the shade before servicing.

The place was packed when we were there. I thought the food was so-so but the atmosphere helped make up for that.

P1030434 This neon sign has stood since the motel opened in 1958 on Rte 66.

Nob Hill was developed between about 1925 and 1950 and has become a popular tourist  destination. Nob Hill has been described as "the heart of Albuquerque's Route 66 culture and also its hippest, funkiest retail and entertainment district".


We didn’t have a lot of time to wander in and out of stores but we did take the time for this one.

nob hill2

Such an eclectic and fascinating area.

Aztec_Motel_sign nob hill

nob hill1

More Weird

Albuquerque, NM  High 82  Low 51

Continuing our mad dash around the city in search of the weird, we found three very strange houses. Two of them were from Roadside America, but Jen and Steve knew about a third one.

The first was built by architect Bart Prince. I think he may have also built the third house, but I’m not positive. Anyhow – imagine living in these houses.




House #2 – right next door to house #1



House #3


These houses are tucked away in regular neighborhoods. It took all my restraint not to go knock on their door and ask for a tour. I’m sure they would have said no. It is their home after all.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Albuquerque’s Weird Side

Albuquerque, NM   High 95  Low 61

I am a Roadside America junkie. Judy did a post on her GIANT Roadside finds and I’m doing one of the weird kind.

P1030384This guy originally appeared above the Duke City Lumber Company store in the early 1960's. The lumber store became a hardware store and is currently a Vietnamese Cafe. The cafe owners took advantage of the grandfather clause in the Albuquerque sign ordinance, which makes such a monstrosity illegal today, and left it standing. This gives them a huge attraction that makes everyone wonder how the lumberjack is connected to a cafe.

Fins ‘N Critters Pet store













Steve’s sign says: Trespassers Will Be Eaten

Cruising San Mateo - It was erected as part of a street-widening project. The car is a Chevy, of course.


You are here!


The Flying Saucer Cafe


Library Bar and Grill


There is more so I’ll continue it in my next post. The kids were fantastic about finding all these things for us. A weird sort of treasure hunt.

Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum

Albuquerque, NM  High 90  Low 56

The kids wore us out yesterday. I had a whole list of things I wanted to see and do. Figured it would take at least two days, if not longer but about 95% of them got done today.

I’m going to have to make several blog posts out of this day or this one would be miles long.

We picked up Steve and Jen and headed over to the Balloon Museum. I loved having tour guides who really know the town. We didn’t have to use the GPS at all.

A wine festival was being held in the launch area and the museum was free today. We had so much fun.



Did you know that sheep were sent up in the first hot air balloon to make sure it would be safe for people. Can you see the sheep in the basket?

P1030391 P1030391

Up, Up and Away we go.


Buns over Albuquerque


This must be what the skies over Albuquerque look like in October.


Super Steve


The balloon museum is named after two Albuquerque pilots who were pioneers in long-distance helium balloon flight. Ben Abruzzo and Maxie Anderson were part of the crews who first successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon in 1978 and the Pacific Ocean in 1981.


This really was a fun museum to visit. They have an interactive area which definitely entertained the “children”. Their challenge was to land a hot air balloon on a target using a simulator. Not sure I would ever want to go up in a balloon with them running it or not. lol

Saw these beautiful flowers at the entrance.



This fellow was serenading us when we stepped out on the balcony.


I would highly recommend this stop while in Albuquerque.