Tag Archives: Vintage Flying Museum

My Southwest Adventure Part~5

20 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Continuing into downtown Albuquerque, I was pleased to see most of the stores have been restored, and are open for business since the last time I was there.  Gone are all the 1 boarded up store fronts, while the Kimo Theater and the Indian Jewelry stores are still going strong.  “Old town Albuquerque is a thriving tourist center, and the Rio Grande River actually had water in it.  Of course, most of that water had probably come from the heavy rains and flooding in Colorado.  The city has expanded toward all points of the compass, and is no longer the Albuquerque where I grew up.  Now it’s just another big city, with all the big city problems, as far as I am concerned.

As it happened, this was the week of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and I 2would have been really disappointed if I had traveled all that way for the Balloon Fiesta, only to have rainy and windy weather the only two days I was there.  Actually, I hadn’t even realized I was going to be in Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta until I had made all my motel reservations, and couldn’t change them.  However, the Anderson-Abruzzo  International Balloon Museum Foundation has built a beautiful big Balloon Museum since I had last been in Albuquerque, so I was able to visit the museum in spite of the bad weather. 

After saying goodbye to my friend Leon, I headed East on I-40 toward Amarillo, TX to begin the return leg of my trip.  Leaving Albuquerque, as I was passing through the Tijeras Canon, I spotted one of the many ceremonial Penitente crosses on the hillside 3that had always been there since I was a teenager.  We had heard all kinds of stories about the closed society of “Los Penitentes” or “The Brothers of the Pious Fraternity of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene” who lived somewhere in the Tijeras Canon area, and practiced their mysterious rituals there.  They  were known for their ascetic practices, which included self-flagellation in private ceremonies during Lent, and processions during Holy Week which ended with the reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday.  Thus, the crosses we guessed.  I never knew anyone who witnessed one of their ceremonies or knew a Penitente personally.

4Then it was on thru Moriarty, NM with its Tee-Pee Motel and Santa Rosa, NM, which I had missed on that scary day, on my way to Albuquerque, just a few days before.  Then I passed thru Tucumcari, NM, back across the border into West Texas, thru Wildorado,TX with its many wind generators, and finally into Amarillo, TX.

 While in Amarillo, I visited the CAF Dew Line Squadron, located at the Tradewind Airport, 5the Texas Air & Space Museum located at the Rick Husband International Airport, and the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian located on I-40 just east of the city.  This American Indian Museum had some of the most beautiful paintings, and when I ask about them, was told most of them were painted by an author named Thomas E. Mails, as illustrations for his book “Mystic Warriors of the Plains.”

The next day, after driving to Ft. Worth, I visited the Veteran’s Memorial Air Park, which has been combined to display artifacts and aircraft represented in the B-36 Peacemaker Museum, the OV-10 Bronco Museum, and the Forward Air Controller Museum, all in one location next to the Meacham International Airport .  After leaving the VMAP, I ask for directions to the Vintage Flying Museum, which was just down the street, and was also adjacent to the Meacham International Airport.




—–To Be Continued—–

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