Albuquerque to Santa Fe (with stops in Madrid and Cerillos)

Both Kelly and my host in Santa Fe recommended taking highway 14 instead of the interstate and stopping in two small communities along the way. Advice from locals must be heeded! And the interstate isn’t much fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

This part of NM really reminds me of the Okanagan.

This part of NM really reminds me of the Okanagan.

First stop was Madrid. Not pronounced Meh-drid, but Mah-drid, an old coal mining and then ghost town that is now a quirky little shopping district.

Entering Madrid.

Entering Madrid.

Shops line highway 14 on both sides.

Shops line highway 14 on both sides.

I drove to the far end of the town and parked at the antique shop there. I went in and poked around. Near the end, I found a pair of earrings I fell in love with and the owner gave me a bit of a deal, not charging tax on them, so a flat $20. I tried to photograph them, but I didn’t manage it. They are rather like two glass marbles, a smaller one on top of a bigger one, with dรฉcoupaged flowers in them. The friendly owner said I was welcome to remain parked at his shop and gave me recommendations for restaurants. I wasn’t hungry, of course, but the words ‘ice cream’ and ‘coffee’ did catch my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚

I stopped in a few shops on the way to the ice cream, seeing tons of jewellery, but nothing I liked nearly as much as my new earrings. It’s always risky buying the first thing you see, but I tend to know what I like and recognize things that are unique.

The ice cream place had Dreyer’s ice cream or locally made gelato. I went for the latter as they had chocolate with brownie pieces.

This is their 'child's size' gelato. I would have hated to see an adult one...

This is their ‘child’s size’ gelato. I would have hated to see an adult one…

Amazing driveway made of... broken glass? Lots of colours.

Amazing driveway made of… broken glass? Lots of colours.

I walked as I ate my treat, making a note of shops I would want to stop in later. I stopped at the famous Madrid Mineshaft Bar, thinking to tour their museum, but I waited for ages to buy a ticket and no one showed, so I figured it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t disappointed as it didn’t sound great and I would have just gone as a way to kill a little time.

Famous Mineshaft Bar.

Famous Mineshaft Bar.

The entrance looks like a mine shaft.

The entrance looks like a mine shaft.

Instead, I did a few more shops, then got a coffee and sat to watch both pedestrian and vehicular traffic for a bit.

Their coffee was good! :)

Their coffee was good! ๐Ÿ™‚

Java Junction. No pricier than Starbucks, and tastier.

Java Junction. No pricier than Starbucks, and tastier.

I liked their old sign.

I liked their old sign.

Then, it was time to stroll back to my truck.

Old miner's house.

Old miner’s house.

This is where I got the gelato.

This is where I got the gelato.

:)

๐Ÿ™‚

Name of the shop.

Name of the shop.

So many pretty buildings!

So many pretty buildings!

It's sitting there on flat tires waiting for someone to love it enough to restore it...

It’s sitting there on flat tires waiting for someone to love it enough to restore it…

Another pretty shop.

Another pretty shop.

If the snakes don't get you, the faeries will!

If the snakes don’t get you, the faeries will!

Old station wagon.

Old station wagon.

Photo park.

Photo park.

My last stop was a bit of a mistake, or so I thought when I walked in, as it was the Madrid grocery store, housed in, well, a house. Prettiest grocery store I’ve ever seen! Well, I found some handicrafts in the back, including Guatemalan purses that are the exact style of purse I was hoping to find in Maz this winter, basically a large wallet with a shoulder strap that can be tucked out of the way. I can throw it in my giant tote to go to Maz or use it as is around Isla. It was a little pricey ($25), but the colours were perfect and I knew I would regret not getting it.

So I definitely contributed to the Madrid economy!

I continued on through gorgeous scenery.

Really looks like the Okanagan!

Really looks like the Okanagan!

Doesn't it?

Doesn’t it?

Next stop was Cerillos, as in little cerros (hills) not matches (fire sticks). This is turquoise mining country and Cerillos was once seriously considered to be the capital of New Mexico. Now, it is almost a ghost town. I followed the signs to the museum and petting zoo.

Museum and petting zoo is stretching the truth a tad. :)

Museum and petting zoo is stretching the truth a tad. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another quirky building.

Another quirky building.

The entrance is a jewellery shop. The owner’s son, a guy about my age, was very friendly. He wouldn’t take my money for the museum entrance or a bag of feed for the animals, so I bought another pair of earrings. ๐Ÿ™‚ These were turquoise, beautiful small rough mismatched pieces of it on surgical steel, for just $10. My first piece of turquoise jewellery and what a place to have gotten it!

The museum is a well curated and organized collection of old stuff.

The museum is a well curated and organized collection of old stuff.

My farrier friend Charles would likely recognize all of these.

My farrier friend Charles would likely recognize all of these.

The animals were a few chickens, three goats, and a llama. One goat was hungry, and the other two just wanted to be petted! I fed them a mixture of grain and corn. I had water and soap in the truck for washing my hands after nearly getting licked to death by the goat! ๐Ÿ™‚

The llama wasn't friendly.

The llama wasn’t friendly.

The goats were!

The goats were!

And so were the chickens.

And so were the chickens.

But not these chickens.

But not these chickens.

Scenic overlook.

Scenic overlook.

The top of the building is lined with glass telephone pole insulators.

The top of the building is lined with glass telephone pole insulators.

Front of the 'museum.'

Front of the ‘museum.’

'Downtown' Cerillos.

‘Downtown’ Cerillos.

RVers would have watch out!

RVers would have watch out!

Rather impressive church for a small town!

Rather impressive church for a small town!

Cerillos was a fun little stop along the road and I’m glad I stopped in.

It was early when I drove into Santa Fe, but I had left ABQ earlier than expected. I called my host to see if it was okay to come in early, yup! I headed out there, but had to call for help near the end since my GPS was being useless. I eventually found it!

So that’s where I am now, just outside of Santa Fe. I am staying at reader John’s spread, but I won’t say which John just to give him a modicum of privacy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, get this. John has me living in his Arctic Fox trailer! I’m in an RV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John made me feel very welcome and I will likely be here a week. I don’t plan to work as hard as I did in T or C because Santa Fe is the NM city I really wanted to explore, but I will work some (and have a project due Friday). The trailer is wonderful — comfy bed, full kitchen, dinette for working, and full bathroom. I have FHU. John showed me around a the ‘neighbourhood’ a bit and then left me to my own devices.

I went back to town and bought groceries for a week, dropping more than 50USD! But this should last me the week, in addition to a couple of meals out when I’m in town. There was also a two for one deal on some white wine, so I opted for that instead of beer. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did Panda Express for dinner though, as I was famished and too tired to cook.

Thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality, John!

Nickel Tour of Albuquerque

Kelly and I left her house just before 9:00 this morning and headed to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. We parked and she took me on a walking tour of Old Town, a very picturesque and quaint neighbourhood.

Chiles hanging from the rafters.

Chiles hanging from the rafters.

This reminded me of New Orleans architecture.

This reminded me of New Orleans architecture.

Lots of quaint courtyards in Old Town.

Lots of quaint courtyards in Old Town.

Very '70s stained glass in the chapel

Very ’70s stained glass in the chapel

Quite a fancy church for this style.

Quite a fancy church for this style.

We loved the pigeon on the cross.

We loved the pigeon on the cross.

The church is quite large.

The church is quite large.

Found a prehistoric-looking wheel.

Found a prehistoric-looking wheel.

I love the adobe, the blues, and the bricks altogether. I am rethinking the style for my cabin. :)

I love the adobe, the blues, and the bricks altogether. I am rethinking the style for my cabin. ๐Ÿ™‚

The sign above the door says, in French, "the door of heaven."

The sign above the door says, in French, “the door of heaven.”

Big cog wheel.

Big cog wheel.

Coral rose.

Coral rose.

Magenta rose.

Magenta rose.

Cream rose.

Cream rose.

Red rose.

Red rose.

I love the Midwest-style adobe bungalows!

I love the Midwest-style adobe bungalows!

This one was grey, not a good colour for adobe.

This one was grey, not a good colour for adobe.

Love the colours.

Love the colours.

Stone wall outside the museum.

Stone wall outside the museum.

She has a membership to the museum, so if it hadn’t been the free admission day, I would have still gotten in at no charge. I made a donation to support the museum.

We didn’t see everything, but we did take in two galleries. The first was a really eclectic art gallery with an incredible range of different styles of painting, including surreal, modern, and impressionist. I saw a lot that I liked.

Then, we did the new gallery about the history of ABQ. We both felt it was a little scattered, but it was interesting. We were both impressed by the giant satellite image of ABQ on the floor of the gallery’s rotunda and I was able to quickly find her neighbourhood!

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Sculptures outside the museum.

Next, we headed to the Ranch Market, a Mexican grocery store. It had all the products and services I was used to seeing in Mexico. What a feast for all the senses!

Beautiful tiles outside the Ranch Market.

Beautiful tiles outside the Ranch Market.

American-standard Mexican grocery store, if that makes sense.

American-standard Mexican grocery store, if that makes sense.

It was only about 10:00 by the time we came out of the market, but we were both famished, so we headed over to a restaurant Kelly loves that she thought might be open that early, and was, Sharky’s. They are a taco joint with a beach theme (yes, in the middle of the desert)!

Sharky's.

Sharky’s.

Historic Route 66.

Historic Route 66.

Lunch was on me and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the prices were in line with what I paid for tacos in San Carlos! More expensive than Maz, but still very reasonable! We each started with two fried fish tacos (hold the mayo for me) and layered on the salsas. They were so good! The batter was very light, the fish was flaky, and the salsas, while hot, had a lot of flavour. So yum!

Fish taco.

Fish taco.

We were still hungry, so we each had another taco. Hey, tacos are small. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kelly had another fish one and I ordered beef al pastor, but they were out, so I switched to carnitas (shredded pork).

Carnitas (shredded pork) taco.

Carnitas (shredded pork) taco.

Our six tacos came to about 14USD for the two of us. Cheap lunch! These tacos were the real thing. ABQ is lucky to have Sharky’s!

We drove around a bit more after and then Kelly had to get to work so we returned to her place. I had already packed and loaded up the truck, so we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways around 11:30.

I saw more of ABQ this morning than I would have discovered on my own and didn’t get close at all to the sprawling brown suburbia that I always thought ABQ would be. It is a sprawling city hemmed in by mountains, Native reserves, and the Rio Grande River, and has some neighbourhoods that are real gems. Thank you so much for your warm hospitality, Kelly, Kevin, Lester, and Olive!

Truth or Consequences to Albuquerque (with a Fort Craig side trip)

I got a late start from T or C on Tuesday. Checkout was noon and I was right on the nose when I left. I had a bit of work to do in the morning and it took longer than expected, plus I had to deal with a few issues related to the change of webhost. I was really surprised that I got out as late as I did and was glad that I only had a couple of hours to drive to get to Albuquerque (ABQ) and wasn’t expected till 5:00ish, so I could do a side trip.

My first stop even before I left town was Walmart because was in dire need of tee-shirts, another planned expense. I got to Isla with a four or five ugly tee-shirts that looked even worse after six months because of all the sun fading and I just threw them out. The only thing I had to wear with skirts, jeans, or capris were long-sleeved light-weight tops. Walmart has a couple of brands that are decent quality and very reasonably priced. I came out with five tee-shirts in beautiful colours for about 30CAD, so that will do me for the summer.

And then, I hit the road. It was very windy going and my gas mileage was the pits. I should have made it to at least ABQ on what I had in the tank, even with my planned detour, but I had to make the decision early on that I would have to refuel in Socorro, halfway to ABQ.

It rained off and on as I drove.

The scenery reminded me a lot of southern Alberta.

The scenery reminded me a lot of southern Alberta.

My planned stop for the day was Fort Craig, an important frontier fort that saw Civil War action. It’s quite a drive to get there, about 25 miles/40KM or so from the Interstate round trip, but it was worth it for me to go. I had done my research and knew not to expect much, so I was very impressed by what was there.

Quite a drive to get out here, but it was worth it!

Quite a drive to get out here, but it was worth it!

There are camphosts on site. I wish we had camphosting like this in Canada. I’d likely still be full-timing if we did. The hosts get all hookups plus a stipend in exchange for working five days a week.

Wish we had sweet gigs like this in Canada.

Wish we had sweet gigs like this in Canada.

The visitors’ centre is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but there was a lot of information available in the parking lot, including a brochure, and the trail was open. So it was not a wasted stop.

HUGE parking lot, with flat topped mountain.

HUGE parking lot, with flat topped mountain.

Seriously, that mountain looks like it got a military haircut!

Seriously, that mountain looks like it got a military haircut!

The site is basically a bunch of earthworks with some stonework. There is a very, very long trail with informational placards. It was a very nice walk.

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At one point very early in my walk, I ran into a lady who is a New Mexico history buff. She talked my ear off for about a half hour telling me all about the history of Fort Craig, the environs, and giving me information on places I need to visit! Wow! What a great encounter! Her husband is from Glasgow, MT, and knows exactly where Assiniboia is. Small world! Just running into her made the trip worthwhile. I won’t be able to hit a lot of what she mentioned on this trip, but it will fit in well into the fall plans, depending on how late I leave.

After she went on her way, I still had tons of Fort Craig to visit, but only about a half hour left if I wanted to make it to ABQ for 5:00ish! So it was a bit of a quick tour, reading only the placards that really interested me.

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The lady spoke at length about how the Buffalo soldiers, African-Americans, were posted to Fort Craig. The Natives called them that because their hair is similar to buffalo fur.

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Fort Craig is a worthwhile and interesting detour for folks going between T or C and ABQ. I learned a lot about the Mexican-American War, settlement in this part of the US, and New Mexico’s role in the US Civil War. Its location today feels just as isolated as it must have felt in the late 1800s!

It was then time to get miles under me. I stopped in Socorro for fuel, just under $2.60 a gallon, the most expensive I’ve seen yet on this trip, but nothing to get excited about.

It rained hard on and off as I came into ABQ.

The mountains were gorgeous coming into ABQ.

The mountains were gorgeous coming into ABQ.

My hosts, blog reader Kelly and her husband Kevin, live just off the Interstate, so their house was easy to get to, even with the traffic coming into ABQ. There was a lot of it, but it was so much more ‘civilized’ than what I got used to in Mexico! People actually signal and let you into their lane! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was warmly greeted and invited to throw on a load of laundry (very much appreciated!). We had a beer, caught up, and debated what to do for dinner. The original plan was to grill on the BBQ, but the weather was looking iffy for that. The decision was made for me that I was getting taken out for sushi instead! Wow! Kelly is a new blog reader, but already knows the way to my heart! ๐Ÿ˜€

We went to a place called Shogun in the Nob Hill neighbourhood. Dinner was awesome. Kevin and I shared between us a crunchy roll (shrimp tempura with avocado), crab and octopus nigiri, an eel roll, and a huge order of sashimi (raw fish without rice). Everything was so fresh and tasty! Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

We took the long way back to the car.

Nob Hill is my kind of neighbourhood; very walkable with lots of shops and restaurants.

Nob Hill is my kind of neighbourhood; very walkable with lots of shops and restaurants.

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Check out the old sign from when this mall was the only thing in the area for miles around!

Check out the old sign from when this mall was the only thing in the area for miles around!

So pretty!

So pretty!

I want! :D

I want! ๐Ÿ˜€

We got home and settled in for the evening. I folded by laundry, was shown how to use the coffeemaker, and was left to my own devices until the morning, rather like being home. I’m posting in bed the next morning while having my coffee. Kelly is going to take me around ABQ this morning before I head for Santa Fe. It’s been a wonderful stay. Thanks!