Tag Archives: Sandia Crest

Road Trip~ Albuquerque, New Mexico to Pueblo, Colorado

30 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

September 12, 2017 Day 6

Our daughter asked on Face Book if any of her friends knew someone who could come over and take a look at her roof. One of her high school friends volunteered her day and they set up a time to check it out. Electricity still out in most of the neighbors and long lines at restaurants that were open.  I sent up prayers for her day to go smoothly before we began our sixth day on the road.

Judy Wills has mentioned Sandia Peak several times in her blogs and I was anxious to see it. Plus, I had listened to Stealthy Steps by Vikki Kestell and it was set underneath Sandia Crest and that increased my interest.   I was disappointed that we would not be able to take a tram to the peak as it was not running on that day but we were able to drive to the crest, so I was happy.

 

The cafe at Sandia Crest

 

One of the aspects of the Albuquerque area that fascinated me is the diversity of rocks in the different layers.  At the crest, this section of rock looked to me like the earth had thrown up mud piles.

 

 

The elevation where we were standing was around 10.000 feet and we were looking down on these mountains.

 

 

 

To our left we spotted this couple. It really was as dangerous as it appears. Some people are crazy.

 

 

I was surprised and pleased to find these colorful wild flowers after driving through miles of arid landscape.

It is usually chilly on the crest but it was a beautiful day. My husband snuck this picture of me while I was taking a picture. As you can see, Albuquerque sprawls across the landscape below. The city is way too big for this small town girl.

 

 

On the drive up to the crest, I spotted a picnic area and we decided to stop there for lunch before we continued on our drive to our stop for the night in Pueblo, Colorado. We were the only people in the picnic area and we enjoyed the quiet beauty. There is nothing better than the scent of the woods undisturbed by city fumes. I was glad to see that the picnic area included “facilities” as it was a longish drive back to civilization.

 

 

As we left the Sandia area the mountain vegetation changed. From a distance the mountains appeared to be carefully landscaped with squat round bushes.

 

 

To our surprise we came upon the town of Madrid, New Mexico. According to their website:  Madrid is nestled in a narrow canyon in the Ortiz Mountains. Once a historic coal mining town and ghost town, Madrid is now a creative community with over 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, a spa and museum. 

The town is definitely colorful. One of the things I love about road trips are the unexpected jewels, like this town.

 

While we were enjoying our day, our daughter had met with her friend’s father who inspected her roof.  It seems that Hurricane Irma’s wind had blown up under the roof flashing and it would be a simple and inexpensive fix. She was still without electricity so it would be another restless night for her.

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 13

21 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

More random memories of New Mexico:

 

In previous musings, I’ve written about Sandia Crest, on the East side of Albuquerque.

 

Sandia mountains, East of Albuquerque

 

Albuquerque is in the “valley” between two sets of mountains. (Please revisit my post of February 15 2015 about The Crest) The Sandia’s, to the East, are the tallest, while the ones to the West, are more volcanic. There are essentially two ways to get to Sandia Crest: drive, or take the Tram. My post of February 15, 2015 tells more about the tramway.

Occasionally, on a family outing, we would drive from our house up to the Crest. As mentioned before, the Crest tops out at 10,678 feet above sea level. And since it is that high, it is COLD up there – even in the middle of summer!!

 

 

At the top, one will find the usual gift shop (tourist trap as we like to call them), but they have some delightful New Mexico items to purchase. Also at the top are several microwave towers, as well as observation stations. If one cares to look – especially during the daylight hours – the entirety of Albuquerque can be seen from any of those observation points – probably 100 miles! It truly is a magnificent view!

Driving up to the Crest was an adventure in itself. At the time I lived in Albuquerque, there was just a two-lane road going up, with a lot of twists and turns – we called them “bobby pin” turns, or hair pin turns. But I suppose that was the best way to build the road to make the grade up that tall mountain do-able. It’s been many years since we made the jaunt up, so I’m not sure how the road is, at this point.

After Fred and I married and moved away from New Mexico, my parents kept talking about this neat all-you-can-eat-fish/chicken restaurant on the way up to the Crest. It was called Bella Vista (beautiful view), and it did have a magnificent view. It was such a popular eatery, that they just kept expanding and expanding, until they could seat approximately 500 people! Busy place! And the food was terrific! Of course, it was all fried fish or chicken, but that was okay back in that day. Unfortunately, the original owners of the restaurant either died or retired, and their children took over. The children turned it into a sports bar – which didn’t go over very well with the usual clientele, and the business folded. We were sorry to see it go.

 

Credit Google Search

 

As for driving up/down the mountain, I remember the time after my Mother died. Fred and I had flown to Albuquerque for the funeral, along with my brother, Bill and his wife, DiVoran. Our oldest daughter, Karen, and her husband, Brian, had made a driving trip from South Carolina, as well. We wanted to introduce Karen and Brian to Bella Vista, so we all made one “last” supper visit to Bella Vista, before heading back to our respective homes. By the time we had finished eating, it was beginning to get dark outside. Fred was driving the four of us, with Karen and Brian following us in their car, down the mountain. Fred, not being too familiar with the rental car, was trying to find the head light switch, while driving. At one point, he either hit or turned a button, and all the car lights went out. We all said “NO!” and he turned the switch back on quickly. Karen later told us that they both yelled “NO!” at the same time! There was just too much darkness to be driving down that mountain without head lights!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Memories of New Mexico~Part 4

19 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

Back to Albuquerque – way back in my day, the airport was not the big event it is today. The airport (appropriately called the Sunport, since it’s over 5300 feet in altitude) shared the runway with Kirtland Air Force Base. The airport building itself was quite different than it is today; quite primitive, but unique. Here is a picture of it, taken with my grandmother. It will give you an idea of the “Southwest” look it had.

 

 

No jetways then – one had to climb a set of stairs to get into the airplane.

There was a “wall” made out of New Mexico stone, that was really beautiful. And after I was old enough to drive, my girlfriends and I would drive to the airport, sit on that wall, and watch the airplanes take off and land. It made for very inexpensive but wonderful evening entertainment. I’m not even sure the wall is still there. And since 2001 and 9/11, I suspect security wouldn’t let anyone sit on that wall and watch the airplanes come and go anymore. Pity.

As a kid – and then a teenager – we used to enjoy driving from Albuquerque up to the mountains, sometimes to Sandia Crest (tops out at 10,678 feet in altitude). It was a bit harrowing at times – the road was quite twisty and curvy, and it wasn’t such a great road back in that day. Today it is a lovely road – still some twists and curves, but not as nerve-wracking as it was then. And even in July, the temperature up there can be as low as 28º in the daytime! Take a jacket!

 

 

After Fred and I married and moved away, a fish restaurant was built along the way up the mountain. My mother and family/friends would drive up there for a Sunday meal after church. When Fred and I visited, we were able to go with them to Bella Vista Fish Restaurant. Granted it was fried fish, but it was an all-you-can-eat place, and we most certainly ate our way through the meal! It was great!   Unfortunately, it is no more. The original owners died, the children took over, but made it into a sports bar – and the patrons just didn’t take to it that well. So it went under. We were sorry to see it go.

Just one more memory. I’ve mentioned before that my father had one lone peach tree in our back yard that he babied. He would wrap it in cheesecloth each year, so the birds couldn’t get to the fruit. It produced some of the biggest, sweetest peaches I’ve ever eaten! Mother would cut some up, freeze them for pies later, or make fresh-frozen jam out of them. Delicious!   But one other type of pies she would make were cherry pies – and they were the best! We would drive out to the North Valley to Bosque Farms to pick our own cherries. I remember doing that a number of times. We would pick what we wanted, and probably paid by the pound or basket. Mother had a cherry “picker” in that it would dig out the seed as one turned the handle. So we would de-seed the cherries, mother would freeze some them for pies later on, and then would make a pie. Daddy loved it. Especially with hand-packed, home made ice cream from Fitzgerald’s on Central Avenue! We stopped every Sunday for the ice cream to go with the pie mother had made. WOW!!

Oh my, what memories those are for me. This is such a fun trip down memory lane for me.

See you next time.

 

 

 

 

 

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