Thursday, May 2, 2013

Getting to Know Albuquirky

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico with a county population approaching one million, and was founded in 1706 by the Spanish. It is bordered on the East by the Sandia mountains which rise abruptly out of the desert to a height of 10,678 feet. The Rio Grande river runs through the center of the valley and Petroglyphs National Monument provides a North Western border. University of New Mexico (UNM), Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories are major presences. All these elements provide a rich history and eclectic vitality that gives the city its nickname: Albuquirky.

Hans lived here for a few years in the early 1980's while he was in the Air Force attending UNM. It was here that he first acknowledged his love of music, took up the guitar, and joined his first band...which connected him to the arts and music community of those days.

We've toured his old haunts, having a meal at the classic Frontier Restaurant. Great food at an excellent price in a cafeteria setting right across the street from UNM. 

We've met up with an old friend of his, Bobb Neoboy Maestas, an artist who creates fabulous 3D visual pieces from found objects, photos and may also include poetry and painting of his own creation. We had fun reminiscing and looking at photos of the old days and then had a great dinner at Roper's Restaurant, a wonderful Western/New Mexican diner.

We've also met up with fellows RVers, Wendy and James Morrison, who live here in Albuquerque. We met them while in San Diego this past winter. We enjoyed happy hour at their lovely home, then dinner at Annapurna, a neat vegetarian restaurant with a focus on Indian food. This get together is a direct result of one of the benefits of RV travel: meeting fun people all over the country and having the opportunity to run into them again somewhere down the road and catch up and share information. We may run into them again in Durango, CO in a month or so.

Historic Route 66 goes right through Albuquerque. There are a number of classic motor courts along the route in various states of existence. Some have been cleaned up and reopened as motor courts, others have been transformed into low budget apartments, some are empty and falling into disrepair, and many have been razed to the dismay of locals who love the quirkiness and historical vibe they provided.

One of the fabulous classic motel signs you can see along Central Avenue/Route 66.

Though set in the middle of arid desert, Albuquerque is surprisingly green due to the Rio Grande river running through the middle of the valley and the city. Following the river is the Paseo del Bosque Riverside Trail, a 16 mile paved trail, the bosque is the cottonwood forest that lines the river.

The trail is built upon the levee that protects the surrounding valley from flooding. From the trail the bosque is between you and the river so you don't see the river very often. On the East side of the trail is an overflow ditch, further protection from flooding, and homes or ranches (in the North) and the ABQ Nature Center and the Zoo and other city parks in the South. We chose to bike the trail from North to South and back.

Typical view from the Paseo del Bosque trail.
The Rio Grande is about 100 feet through the forest on the left.
The metal posts just visible on the left are debris barriers in case of flood.
The river is wide and brown and looks fairly shallow.
The recent years of drought have taken a serious toll on the river environs.
During the last few miles of the Paseo del Bosque trail we took one of the offroad trails into the bosque.
You can see a tiny red speck in the middle of the photo...that's Hans on his bike.

We happen to have arrived in ABQ during Beer Week so there are a number of events celebrating beer going on. We went to the Marble Brewery where they were having a Food Truck Rumble with live music.

The band playing in front of the wonderful mural at Marble Brewery.
This was a really unique food truck...they prepare food in the back and have seating in the front.
It's called The Broiler Monkey.


  1. I love the old court yard hotels and their neon. It's unfortunate that they aren't preserved and cared for. More history going down the tubes!

  2. We enjoyed visiting Albuquerque on one of our motorcycle trips. Looking forward to revisiting it in the future. I am sure Hans enjoyed see his old haunts and friends. Enjoy your stay.

  3. How is NeoBoy? I saw him in 2015, I believe - I was there with Rapid City, SD SDSMT AISES Chapter and we had lunch at El Patio - another of our old "haunts" - where we both were servers back in the day. I hope he is doing great!

    1. We have not seen him since this visit in 2013. He was doing great back in 2013!