Bob & Elsie's Adventures travel blog

Sandia Mountains in the morning

Sandia Mountains in the afternoon after the smoke rolled in

San Filipe Church in Old Town Albuquerue

In Old Town

More Old Town

Open-air market in Santa Fe

Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe

The Miraculous staircase in Loretto Chapel

The alter in Loretto Chapel

Display at Tinkertown Museum

Display at Tinkertown Museum

Tinkertown Entrance

"Live life as the pursuit of happiness"

Just one of the Bottle walls at Tinkertown

At the Albuquerque Botonical Garden

Botonical Garden

Botonical Garden

At the butterfly house

Farm garden at the Botonical Garden

Restored movie theatre on Route 66 Albuquerque

Restored movie theatre on Route 66 Albuquerque


We have been enjoying the last 2 weeks at the Albuquerque North KOA in Bernalillo, New Mexico. Bernalillo is about 15 miles north of Albuquerque and about 45 miles south of Santa Fe. Our reservations at the Grand Canyon aren’t until the end of July; so we have decided to slow down and spend more time at each stop on our way there. Our plan was to stay at this KOA for a week and if we liked it we would hang around for another month. It turns out that this campground is very nice so we extended our reservation until after the 4th of July. The KOA has everything that we like, a friendly staff, good cable and wi-fi and convenient to lots of things to do. We have been keeping pretty busy considering how HOT it is here. Mornings and evenings are comfortable but it has been HOT every afternoon, between 90 and 100 degrees every day and we haven’t had any rain since we left the Fort Worth area, over a month ago. Oh and yes, it is a dry heat, but as far as I’m concerned that doesn’t mean a darn thing, it is still HOT. All of New Mexico is suffering extreme drought and there are wild fires in several locations in New Mexico and Arizona. The smoke from the large Arizona wild fire has blown into the Albuquerque area several times in the last couple of weeks causing problems with the air quality. It hasn’t been too bad in the campground but as you can see from our pictures, there have been times when the Sandia Mountains that we can see from our campsite seem to disappear. Despite the heat, we do really like it here in New Mexico; it has a different feel than many of the places we have been to so far on our journey. Most of the homes and even commercial buildings are Pueblo styled, made with flat roofs and rounded corners and finished with Adobe. Many homes, even the newest ones, have Adobe walls forming courtyards all around the houses.

We spent an afternoon in Old Town Albuquerque, a really nice restored area near downtown where Albuquerque was first established over 300 years ago. The center of Old Town is the San Felipe Church. There are dozens of shops, restaurants and open-air plazas to sit and enjoy the area.

We spent another afternoon at the Santa Ana Star Casino, just a few miles up the road from our campground. As usual, Bob won a little and I lost a little and we enjoyed the buffet. There are several casinos in this area so we will probably have to try out at least one more before hitting the road. We have to pace ourselves so we will have some cash left when we get to Las Vegas.

We made the trip into Santa Fe another day and even though I had been there in 2004 with my brother Richard, it still was something to see. The Palace of the Governors, built nearly four centuries ago, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Loretto Chapel are located on the plaza in the center of Santa Fe. The Loretto Chapel is best known for the “miraculous staircase” a spiral stairway built by a mysterious carpenter. We are planning at least one more trip to Santa Fe in the next week or so to see the sights that we didn’t have time to see this time.

As you can see, we try to keep busy, and when we run out of things to do Bob will usually say “So what do you want to do today”……sometimes he wishes he had just kept quiet. That is exactly what happened one day this last week. I found what looked like might be a fun destination on the internet, the Tinkertown Museum. I programmed the address into Lucille, our GPS and found that it wasn’t too far but the directions indicated that we would have to take I-25 and I-40 to get there. Now that didn’t seem like it would be a fun drive, not much to see so I asked Lucille for an alternative route. The message came on the screen asking if we wished to avoid unpaved roads, so I asked Bob and he said no problem he didn’t mind some unpaved roads. Little did we know that Lucille planned on taking us on an unpaved eight-mile journey through the Sandia Mountains. It really was a beautiful trip, very scenic, unfortunately Bob didn’t get to enjoy it; he was too busy trying to avoid the large boulders and ruts in the road. Our little tow vehicle is not built for off-roading so we had to take it really slow, making those eight miles take a lot longer than you can imagine. The Tinkertown Museum is really neat, it is the work of one man, Ross Ward, a collection of 40 years of hand carved displays along with walls built of over 50,000 glass bottles, all kinds of collectibles and wacky western memorabilia. Mr. Ward, who passed away in 2002 began carving his first display in 1962. It was definitely worth the trip but probably taking the Interstates would have been the better plan.

This last Thursday we went back into Albuquerque to check out an Antique Mall that we had seen and then went to the Aquarium and Botanical Garden. Both the Aquarium and Botanical Garden, located together in what is called Albuquerque Biological Park were very nice, the gardens were beautiful and I took lots of pictures. Unfortunately as the afternoon wore on it did get HOT and we had to give up and head for something air-conditioned. Yesterday we visited downtown Albuquerque’s Historic Route 66, which consists of mostly bars and restaurants and a large Indian Arts and Craft store.

Supposedly this is the start of New Mexico’s “monsoon season” and although I certainly don’t want to know what that might mean it sure would be nice if it would rain for a couple of hours. With the extreme dryness and high winds that are predicted there will be no fireworks in New Mexico this 4th of July. No fireworks for the 4th of July, I think that will be a first for me.



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