All the things!! We were very determined to see all the things on this vacation – we may even be trying too hard. That being said I feel like we are doing pretty good. It has been a long pandemic, so its time to get out in the world.
We started our Monday morning off returning to the Petroglyph National Monument just outside of Albuquerque, to get in the quickest possible petroglyph hike with the most rock carvings.
We walked Boca Negra – a super short straight up hill hike to a great view of all of Albuquerque and the Petroglyph National Monument, and the Maccaw trail (which is literally a 1oo ft loop just outside the park restrooms. As it isn’t a vacation unless we climb something really tall, so I put on my sneakers and proved that hiking in a dress isn’t just for Mennonites.
For those who haven’t visited the Petroglyph National Monument, know that none of the trails where you can see the rock carvings are at or near the Visitor’s Center. All of them must be hiked to, however, Boca Negra’s Maccaw trail isn’t really a hike so anyone, with minor exception can get a view in of a carving or two or 400. The carvings are literally everywhere, so look around and you’ll see them. Take them in, as they are more than a message – but actually an ancient version of a gratitude journal to spirit and to mother earth for the provision of water, food, and resources by the indigenous peoples who lived and farmed these lands before European colonization. Some of the glyphs are even personal and spiritual symbols of those who carved them hundreds of years ago.
After engaging with the petroglyphs we began our journey North to Santa Fe via highway 14 and a detour to Sandia Crest – so we could experience 10,000 ft altitude and the view over everything from there. There is a Tram that you can take up there, and on the right day of the week a restaurant and gift shop that will separate you from your money – but we drove, and walked around on the hiking trails near the “Steel Forest” as the antennae farm on the top of the mountain is called.
On a clear day you can see more than a mile out. Monday the 12th of July was not that clear – I could not tell if it was smog, smoke or both, but the view was definitely obscured but still very beautiful. The view down was not obscured and there were points along our walk that had quite the drop very close to the trail, which made my vertigo pick up so I had that not so comfortable feeling in the pit of my gut. I pushed though for the sake of the experience. I didn’t get dizzy however from the altitude until after we climbed a set of stone stairs to the top of a rock cliff. There I had to sit down and practice my deep breathing exercises and eat an emergency granola bar for a quick blood sugar boost. The air is definitely thin at 10,000 feet!
After experiencing nature we drove back down the mountain and turned into Tinkertown Museum at the foot of the Colobri National Forest whose byline is “The Land of Many Uses!”
Tinkertown, was a personal project started in the late 1960’s by a guy named Ross Ward. It became a museum apparently based on popular demand, however, he had to be inspired by House on the Rock in Wisconsin, because the weaving hallways between a multitude of collections is EXTREMELY similar in feel. The difference is that Tinkertown is not just collections, but a massive set of miniature towns and circuses with motorized parts and movement all built by one guy with the byline “I built this while you were watching TV!” and many other positive affirmations from famous persons about living life to the fullest.
Also at Tinkertown is a boat that one man sailed around the world over a 10 year span, and a map documenting his journey. The book about his journey is available in the gift shop, along with many other sundry items you didn’t know you needed until you find yourself in a crazy roadside attraction gift shop. The man was from down the road of Tinkertown, and when he couldn’t sell the boat after his many year voyage he gifted it to the museum for its retirement, and the story of his pretty amazing journey.
It is a good reminder that they only thing stopping you from accomplishing your dreams (or doing something amazing and out of the ordinary with your life) is you. As someone who travels a lot herself – when I get asked how I travel so much my answer is “I make it a priority, and I plan it into my life. No one else is going to.” I spent 15 years tied to a corporate desk, this guy spent 10 years sailing the world. I digress, back to the travel log.
After the amazing experience of Tinkertown, we piled back into the car, took a left on Highway 14 and headed for Santa Fe by way of Madrid, New Mexico for lunch. Madrid was once a coal mining town, that turned into a ghost town, that was completely revitalized by artists. It is now a very cute place with a WHOLE bunch of galleries and shops.
We stopped for lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern and had The Best Green Chili Burger in New Mexico with bison that raised literally down the road from Madrid at Rancho Chavez. We also got an order of fried green chilis and were pleasantly surprised to find those same green chilis on our burgers. There was plenty of green chili to go around. It was almost enough to make up for the lack of chili inside our Chili Rellenos at The Church Street Cafe, almost.
After a good lunch and an exploratory walk about that involved purchasing some very unique chocolate bark, a small devotional art piece featuring the Virgin of Guadalupe and a new sundress we got back into the rental and made our way to Santa Fe to check in to our super cute, thematic and art-filled Airbnb.
Somewhere in our travels we saw a bumper sticker that said “New Mexico, its like a 3rd World country, with great art.” As a tourist it felt wrong to buy this sticker, but I am really beginning to agree. And upon entering Santa Fe you are reminded that besides the being the Capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe really is a city fueled by art. The entire city is curated in fact. But that conversation will be in my next post about the city.
For us on the first night we found ourselves in very cute digs, and completely out of luck for dinner. There is no such thing as lockdown, or eating any restaurant with any reputation in Santa Fe without reservations. So we were lucky enough to wander in ahead of the other reservation refugees to a standard Southwest/New Mexico eatery to order some chili en nogados, queso and a plate of real chili rellonos and call it a night.