Friday, June 10, 2016

Moving On!

Audio Version available - see player below

It's time to move to my next adventure on my current trek westward. I've been in Edgewood, New Mexico staying at the Rt 66 RV Park. Yes! THAT Rt 66, aka, “The Mother Road.” This is my first time staying at a “commercial,” privately owned (non-governmental, city, state or federally owned) camping area. I'll have a report on my experience here at this RV park in a future article on the blog. Let me just say that that this was my first experience in a commercial RV park and could quite possibly be my last experience. The best part of my two week stay here is coming up tomorrow morning – I'll be leaving. Enough said!

I have been enjoying time with my friend, John Abert, who I met through my blog. John has been baching it for a couple weeks since his delightful wife, Sharon, has left him on his own while she's been on an Alaskan tour with her sister. Her adventure was a primary motivation for John selecting this RV park for a month stay while she was traveling. This RV park is about 25 miles or so from the Albuquerque airport that Sharon needed access to in order to fly to Seattle to meet up with her sister on the way to Alaska. John will leave here on Tuesday, with no love lost either, to meet Sharon at the airport on her return from Alaska. They will continue on their travels heading to Texas to take care of some business.
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The National Nuclear Science & History Museum

Meanwhile, John and I enjoyed a trip into Albuquerque the other day to explore the National Nuclear Science & History Museum. It's a very well done museum. It's a non-profit organization, chartered by Congress and funded by federal, city, corporate and private contributions. It's associated with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, but operated by the Sandia National Laboratory.

The museum is the successor of the Atomic Museum originally located on Kirtland Air Force Base. The base forced the museum's closing immediately on September 11, 2001 when they locked down the base and increased security. The museum moved off base into the museum district of Albuquerque until 12 acres were acquired in 2005. Construction on the new (current) facility began in 2006 and opened in 2009.

There is a small, but impressive, display of nuclear weaponry and delivery systems behind the museum. There is lots of room for the museum to expand on the 12 acres. And, the inside of the museum is very well designed with impressive displays. If you're going to be in Albuquerque and you have any interest in nuclear science, this museum should be high on your list. And, the displays cover much more than nuclear weapons. Nuclear technology has improved our lives in many ways. It was a really nice day for John and me.

Old Town Santa Fe, New Mexico

A short trip to Santa Fe was also in order. John and I jumped in My McVansion and headed north. We drove about 50 miles or so through very, very sparsely populated plains with some very large ranches in evidence. We passed a for sale sign for one piece of property of a mere 80,000+ acres. I have to admit, it was the largest piece of property I've ever seen for sale. It made me realize how insignificant my 49 acre “Oakhill Ranch” was in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. That was the largest piece of property I've ever lived on.

When people talk about the “wide open spaces” and “Big Sky Country,” this is certainly part of what they are talking about. And this is very high country. I haven't been below 6,000 feet for at least the last two weeks.

I was looking forward to visiting Santa Fe. Several friends have told me how neat it is. So, let me say this. I enjoyed my visit. However, I was, again, disappointed as I was when I visited Sedona, Arizona a few years ago and as I was when I visited Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee a few weeks ago. While Old Town was quaint, it is obviously a tourist trap. Gift shops, of one kind or another, after gift shop. Generally expensive restaurants were the general rule. There were numerous art galleries with all kinds of wonderful art, mainly with the southwestern influence and from local artists.

The square in the center of the old town section was very nice. A very pleasant place to people watch. There were also a substantial number of street vendors selling all kinds of wares, but mostly native jewelry and silver wares.

Parking was all metered at $2.00 per hour with a two hour limit. There were parking lots and parking garage facilities at $2.00/hour and up. Parking a large Class B RV or a full-size Class C, A, 5th wheel or travel trailer is not a reasonable consideration in downtown in the Old Town area. Take that into account if you have one of those kinds of RVs and want to visit downtown.

We had lunch at a place called The Shed. It was hidden in one of numerous little courtyards. The food was very good and plentiful. When the server brought my Green Chili Burrito out, It was huge. It was spicy as described (I might even add, very spicy). It was good. But, it was quite pricey. Let's just say a LOT more than a Burrito Supreme at the local Taco Belle. In general, I'd say the lunch experience was worth it, though.

I was glad to get to Santa Fe and add it to my list of places visited. I will return there one day in the future and spend more time learning about the place, but now that I've been there, it won't be high on my list to immediately return.

Basically, I would say that Santa Fe, the Capital of New Mexico, is another large city, about 70,000, but, not even close to cities like NYC, LA or Chicago. It has a larger infrastructure, neighborhoods, shopping centers, strip malls, car dealers, fast food chains, etc. and the accompanying traffic and congestion, even midweek in the middle of a work day.

Overall, it was a great visit, but as I've said about other places, like the ones I mentioned earlier, I'm about 50 years too late in seeing and experiencing what my vision of these places was. Time marches on.

Sandia Crest in the Cibola National Forest

Another trip found John and me driving northwest to see what was out that way. Strangely, we found . . . not much. Like our trip to Santa Fe, we drove through a number of miles of sparsely populated areas. Our intention was to go up to the crest of Sandia Peak, but we initially drove past the road to the top to see the countryside I just noted.

We returned and turned onto the Sandia Crest National Scenic Highway. The drive was pleasant and scenic as we drove up the very steep climb and curvy road. It definitely gave My McVansion a run for its money. This is the engine I had rebuilt in California after it failed climbing a mountain between the central valley and the Los Angeles area a year ago January.

We finally reached the end of the road at the crest (thus, Sandia Crest). We were at a wonderful lookout area with views of up to 100 miles on a clear day. The view overlooked the Rio Grande Valley and the city and suburbs of Albuquerque. We could make out the Rio Grande River from our vantage point. As you can see, we were at 10,678' or about 4,000 feet higher than our location at the Rt 66 RV Park (6.700').

I love views like this. It really puts things in perspective. According to a point made on one of the signs at the overlook, we were at two miles above sea level and a mile over Albuquerque.

We ate lunch at the Sandia Crest House where there was a gift shop selling the usual native and Spanish influenced “stuff.” The lunch was, pricey for the food delivered. It was okay, but I wouldn't give it more than two stars. But, again, a tourist trap is as a tourist trap does.

Once again, I totally enjoyed the outing and the experience. Sometimes, I think my expectations are a lot higher than reality would suggest. However, from time to time, I have been “wowed.” That's what keeps me going and seeking new experiences. Interestingly, some of my best experiences had nothing to do with touristy places. I guess I'm not really a touristy person. I don't like organized tours, either.

The Rest of the Time

The rest of my time here in New Mexico has been spent working on a new eight CD/section training program for one of my clients. I recorded the original tracks in Fairfax, Virginia just as I was leaving on this trek. The project is completed and I'm just waiting for a final approval from my client. Then off go the files for uploading to an Internet server and to the CD duplicator.

I've also been attempting to catch up with some old friends via email and phone calls. I am working at getting better at staying in contact with friends. I appreciate being remembered and I know others feel the same.

I've been getting some reading done. That's something I'm way behind on. So, I enjoy these times when I can focus. I have a large and growing Kindle library. I'm cooling my jets on ordering any more books until I get through some of the books in queue.

I've caught up on some older episodes of TV shows I enjoy following when it's convenient. Being able to stream TV programs on my schedule is a convenience I greatly appreciate thanks to the Internet. I've also enjoyed watching some movies (DVDs) with my friend, John. We'd have dinner prepared in his motor home and then watch a movie while enjoying some decadent ice cream for dessert. Yes! Just because we have wheels under our “tiny houses” doesn't mean we don't have all (or at least most) of the amenities of “home.”

And, I've been listening to classical, 30'/40's big band music, vintage country music (Willy, Waylon, Merle, Johnny, Lefty, Ray, Eddy and Eddie, Ronnie, Hank, Dottie, Kitty, Crystal, Tammy, Loretta, Dolly and others) and old time crime, drama and comedy radio shows on my Sirius satellite radio. I also keep up with the news, especially the political and economic news on Fox, Fox Business, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, CBC and BBC.

This election cycle is really hyping up to be quite a show. I will never tell anyone who they should vote for. That's a personal choice based on your own beliefs and values. I will tell people who I won't vote for or can't support and why. But, again, that's based on my opinions, beliefs, values and reasons. I won't tolerate anyone telling me or attacking me about my thoughts or reasons. Typically, I get to vote for the “evil of two lessers.” This time I think it's going to boil down to voting for “the lesser of two evils.” And I feel very strongly about my motivation for voting – I have to vote to retain my bitching rights, otherwise, I probably wouldn't take my time to vote.

It's getting warm here in the bright sunny day. The current temperature is about 88 degrees at 1 PM on this Friday afternoon. According to AccuWeather, the humidity is 12%, but the “real feel” is 97 degrees. Yet, as I sit in my van with a slight breeze blowing through, I'm not particularly uncomfortable. The peak temperature is supposed to be about 90 degrees which means the “real feel” could be close to 100.

So, I'll wrap up this Article by simply reminding you to live free and be happy. EH.

1 comment:

Lois said...

Great post, Ed!

I'm not a fan of private campgrounds, either, but they have had a place in my travels off and on during my life. I view them as a necessary evil to accomplish something else I wanted to do, namely a convenient location for an area I wanted to visit. I bid them a very grateful farewell when I leave them. hahaha!

I haven't enjoyed either Santa Fe or Sedona in decades; the highlights of their desirability as a place I like to visit ended in the 70s (a very long time ago). Now I avoid them if at all possible. I did have the opportunity to visit Santa Fe a few years ago when I was staying with a friend just south of Albuquerque but we only stopped to see the Loretto Chapel with its amazing wooden staircase. However, it too, has been "tourist-ized" and the hype has to be taken with a (large) grain of salt.

My aunt lived in Taos Canyon many years ago and I visited and stayed with her a number of times - she took me to see some things most tourists miss in their quest to see the more "famous" locations. I enjoy Chimayo, Taos Canyon, and of course the Earthship Biotechure Community out past the Rio Grande Gorge - still wonderful places to visit, in my opinion. I also enjoyed the drive through the mountain-y area northeast of Albuquerque on what they call the Turquoise Trail, up through Madrid (a little artsy town where Silivanne lives when she's not traveling). It's kind of the back road from ABQ to Santa Fe.

I really enjoyed that Nuclear Museum when I visited a few years ago! A very nice companion to it is the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. If you ever get there, check it out.

Happy trails, Ed!