Albuquerque, New Mexico . . .

New Mexico’s largest city offered us some interesting places to visit. We stayed in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains off the ‘Turquoise Trail’ route to Santa Fe within easy reach of Albuquerque.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

This was a ‘must’ for us as we both have backgrounds in Nuclear Medicine and are interested in the diverse uses of Nuclear Energy. We appreciated the comprehensive history of the development of Nuclear Weapons prior to and during WWII and the debate about whether to use them. Cheryl enjoyed the exhibit of the first Nuclear detector to produce Medical Images, developed by Hal Anger. She used this device (or one like it) in the 70s. Colin was interested to see a more modern Nuclear Medicine Scanner donated by Picker International, as he ran Picker’s Nuclear Medicine Division for several years.

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University of New Mexico and Historic Old Town Albuquerque

We often visit university campuses of different states, so decided on a quick tour of University of New Mexico. Most of the buildings had modern architecture with 2 campuses and very spread out. Cheryl’s oldest brother attended there for 2 years in the 60’s but the campus and city now probably offer no resemblance to that time. Additionally, we visited Historic Old Town Albuquerque, which was fun and offered the look and feel of the old west.

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Albuquerque Rattlesnake Museum

Warning: you may not like some of these images! Colin’s favorite (apart from feeding time) was the Alligator Snapping Turtles passive approach to feeding, sitting with his mouth open waiting for prey. Cheryl liked the cuddly venomous Gila Monster.

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Balloon Museum

Albuquerque is famous for its October International Balloon Fiesta and is home to a very beautiful Balloon Museum located West of the City. After the discovery and development of the relationship between gaseous pressure, volume and temperature (Boyle’s Law) in the 17th century and follow on discoveries, hot air ballooning started in France in the 1780s with the famous Montgolfier Brothers’ flight with a sheep, a duck and a rooster on board. However, the Chinese knew about the capacity for hot air to raise up containers well before, likely around AD200. Until WWI, hot air ballooning in Europe was mainly recreational. We enjoyed learning more about the history, development, successes and failures of balloons, for example in preparation for space exploration and manned space flights. Who knows, a balloon flight may be in our future.

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Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

This was a fascinating visit for us to learn about the history of the Pueblos in the South West and how they have struggled to maintain their culture and land. There are 19 pueblos in New Mexico, all independently run, covering many different tribes and languages but all sharing a common way of life. Their history was very well displayed and explained in the museum, particularly the colonization by the Spanish, ‘civilization’ by the Spanish Missionaries and their fight with the US Government to maintain ownership of at least some of their original territory. Below are photos of some of the Pueblo Art also found in the museum:

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The Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe

We took the back way from Albuquerque to Santa Fe known as the ‘Turquoise Trail’, perhaps named for the many shops selling jewelry in the little towns along the way. We spent most of our time in Madrid, a town with a long history of coal mining, now appealing to tourists with its many bars, jewelry and art stores, restaurant’s and a quaint ‘Mine Shaft Tavern’.

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Singing Road

Route 66 from Chicago to California is famous for many reasons. We didn’t know until we came to Albuquerque that there is a special section here that plays a tune if you drive at exactly 45mph with your nearside tires lined up just to the left of the white line. After two unsuccessful attempts, we finally were able to hear (and record) it. Listen carefully. See what wonderful fun we have while traveling?

  • Albuquerque

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    Albuquerque, New Mexico, Staying at Turquoise Trails RV Park

  • 6 Comments on “Albuquerque, New Mexico . . .

    1. My birthplace! I love New Mexico with all it’s diversity. No better cloud formations or sunsets anywhere! The Jemez Mountains are my favorite. Did you get to Abiqiu…home of Georgia O’Keefe?
      From Cheryl: No we didn’t get to Georgia O’Keefe’s home this time. We visited it about 5 or 6 years ago. We loved the diversity too, and you are right about the cloud formations and sunsets. Just spectacular. I’m not sure I knew you were born there!

    2. Loved the singing road! We hadn’t heard of that. Loved northern NM. Georgia O’Keefe Museum. etc.
      From Cheryl: No we didn’t get to Georgia O’Keefe’s home this time. We visited it about 5 or 6 years ago. The singing road was subtle, not a screaming rendition, so it was hard to hear. Glad you had a good time when you were here, it is a lovely place if you are into blue skies and beautiful mountain scenes! Ha!

    3. Superbe ces objets en terre du musée indien! La route 66 donne envie de partir. Mais le serpent qui mange la souris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! beurk.
      From Cheryl: Yep, that is pretty horrible seeing the snake eating the mouse. But everyone’s got to eat. Just awful to watch. Glad you liked the Route 66, we didn’t get to see it all, but even pieces of it are an incredible history lesson. Love to you and the family. Bissoux.

    4. Kenzie and I visited a friend about 4 years ago who took us to Historic Old Town Albuquerque and The Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe. We loved the weather there. No matter the temperature it felt like it was in the mid 70s.
      From Cheryl: I’m glad you and Kenzie experienced this part of the country, it’s so unique to the old west. You are right about the weather – and mostly blue sky each day.

    5. For sheer shock value, that snake eating the rat had the most impact! Makes me wonder what I look like when I eat! Great photo. I hope there was glass btw/ you and those reptiles! I didn’t know Albuquerque had a museum of Nuclear Science. If we ever get back there (were there in 2007), I’d like to visit that. And those weird catci with the yellow growths on them…wuttup wit dat? Thanks again for taking us to so many interesting diversions with you.
      From Cheryl: There are many people who don’t like snakes and especially watching them eat. Luckily for the rat, it was already dead. The caretaker in the museum had to shake the rat to fake out the snake and make it think it was read. Ugh. Glass yes, and very thick. So you will have to return to see the Nuclear Science Museum – strange but very informative place. So good can come of Nuclear Science, we just have to understand the real choices. When you were in Joshua Tree National Park, you saw lots of cacti with flowers, as I remember. But these waxy yellow ones were amazing to me. Looked like a plastic rendition of a real flower growing on the stems.

    6. Bubby and I used to pass through on our way to Chicago in the 1950s.
      From Cheryl: What a great memory for you to have with your grandmother. I remember her and how sweet she was. So glad you had a great time in Alaska, and sorry we didn’t get to see you on our way through Las Vegas. Love to you and the family.

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