This person has a definite mission-to promote Jesus and Salvation. He had a well trained string of mules and they obviously were durable and accomodating. He was/has traveled around the west and keeps finding ways to live and tell his story.
On the West side of Albuquerque the National Park Service runs the Petroglyph National Monument. Not more than 15 minutes from Old Town, you can explore a section of the Monument in about an hour, with some like hiking. There are several other canyons to explore but they require longer walks and take a while to drive to. You should wear good hiking boots or shoes and carry water. That said, there was a little girl with crocs that was doing just fine... but the rocks are sharp and to see the myriad of petroglyphs you need to do some creative hiking. You also need to watch for the occasional rattlesnake....thrown in for no charge.
After growing up in the Albuquerque area, it wasn't until a few years ago that I heard about tent rocks. A wonderful day hike with hoodoo rock formations and small slot canyons. It's a great place to take the kids.
The area is starting to gain more attention, and the main road to the hiking area is now paved. I think it's ~$5 per vehicle fee now.
It's about a 3 mile hike round trip I believe to the top and back. (My estimate on distance, not sure)- my son hiked it when he was 3...
It's halfway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque off of I-25 on the way to Cochiti Lake. Just past the spillway approaching the lake, turn left at the sign to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Follow the signs to the parking area/trailhead.
As soon as I read about Tinkertown I knew that it was a “must see” for us. We both love these idiosyncratic places that seem to define a US road trip for us – and this is one of the best we have come across. If you are anywhere in the area I urge you to go – you’ll have great fun and even maybe find yourself a little moved by the dedication of the one man who created it.
So many of these quirky folk art museums are the result of one person’s obsession. In this case that person was Ross Ward. It took him over 40 years to create the huge number of models and scenarios that make up Tinkertown, and it’s easy to believe that it took that long once you start to explore. As he said, “I did all this while you were watching TV”. A sign inside explains:
“Tinkertown was begun as a hobby in 1962. The little General Store [my main photo] came first (it was all I intended to build at the time!) 90% of this display was built by myself. The buildings are scraps form my sign business and the people are wood-carved or made of clay. Many of the furnishings are antique toys and miniatures. I did it all “a dollar at a time” without a grant or a bank loan! You can do the same no matter what your project!”
The fun starts as soon as you pull up in the car. There are old signs galore, wagon wheels, saddles, other Wild West paraphernalia dotted around the site, while the wall that surrounds the museum is made up of over 50,000 glass bottles – recycling gone crazy! Once you’ve finished exploring outside (at no charge), pay your $3 to enter the rambling museum and prepare to be transported to another world!
The first section, which was probably my favourite, consists of a row of dioramas depicting different buildings on a sort of Wild West theme. There’s the General Store already mentioned, a hotel, a Native American Trader, a pharmacy with a doctor’s surgery above (photo two) and many more. Some are animated, all are fascinating and repay careful scrutiny – there are just so many amusing details. Here a man with a cleaver chases chickens in a circle, the doctor ogles a young female patient while his nurse glares at him, men fight in the street, couples ride by in wagons and children play.
In other sections you will see Ward’s various eclectic collections from over the years, including wedding cake couples, antique tools, bullet pencils, dolls and more. Later models are on a grander scale, especially the circus, complete with big top, cages of animals, trapeze act – the list goes on.
Back outside there is a rather incongruous addition to the collection in the shape of the Theodora, a 35 foot wooden boat that a friend once sailed around the world before retiring to the Caribbean and donating his boat to Tinkertown.
Many of the models are animated. When you pay your entry you will be given a quarter back to put into the first animation, a hillbilly band “Rusty Wyer and the Turquoise Trail Riders” (photo three). Make sure though that you have a few more quarters with you too (ask at the till for change if you don’t) as you will certainly want to use them on later models – the Boot Hill Cemetery (photo four shows just a glimpse) is a must!
Oh, and hidden among the collections is a small model of Mark Twain, and this quote from him, which I think could be a great motto for VT:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely ... Broad, wholesome, charitable views ... cannot be acquired by vegetating in one’s little corner of Earth.”
Directions: Take Interstate 40 east from Albuquerque and leave at exit 175 and head north about six miles on Highway 14. The junction with Highway 536 is at a wide point on the road and consequently a little hard to spot, or so we found – we nearly missed it! The entrance to Tinkertown is on your left about a mile and a half up the road.
Open April 1st – October 31st, 9am to 6pm daily, 7 days a week (last admission 5:30pm )
Albuquerque once again fell under the national spotlight when it came to light that multiple bodies have been buried in what was once a remote, desert location in the southwest corner of the city.
A person from the adjoining housing development recently stumbled upon what appeared to be a human leg bone while walking her dog. The police were summoned in and quickly discovered a human skeleton, followed by another and another. Within a couple of weeks the investigation turned up 13 bodies, including that of a fetus of one of the pregnant victims. Only two of the bodies have been identified - those of two women who were known to frequent nearby Central Avenue as prostitutes.
With the crime scene in full view of surrounding two-story homes from a number of recent developments, many questions are surfacing. Who are the women? Are they somehow connected to one another? When were the bodies placed there? Over what period of time? Are there more and, if so, how many and where? Many neighbors are concerned that their new homes may have been built on top of other grave sites.
The investigation continues although hindered somewhat by seasonal sandstorms - information appears to be in short supply as the locla news bureaus have nothing new to report since the end of February when the number of bodies shot to the current thirteen. It has been reported that the bodies were likley buried in 2004 and 2005 before the fill was placed on top of them in preparation for building homes.
This isn't really an attraction as it is a private residence, but it is so unusual it's worth a look.
3501 Monte Vista Blvd.
Directions: On the northwest corner of Monte Vista Blvd and Marquette Ave.
Now if you're one of those one's who's expecting to see ghosts on any tour that advertises haunted locales, then you'll always be disappointed. Don't expect too much, and expect the unexpected! I took this tour with a couple of friends in October of 2009 and I learned a lot about my town as well as the spirits that are reported to haunt the location of Old Town, where the tour takes place. Consider taking it if you visit Old Town. The tours are held daily, in almost whatever weather.
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