Tag Archives: Sandia Crest

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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