Guys (I’m from New England, I don’t say “ya’ll”), I had the BEST birthday! I spent my birthday weekend in New Mexico! It wasn’t my first time in the state, but it was my first time meeting a few family members, that for YEARS I had only known through Facebook and old photos.
What made part of this trip so exciting, was that it was VERY spontaneous, in that, I woke up last Friday morning and decided to pack my things and take the short 7 hour, straight shot drive, to New Mexico. No way was I going to spend my 26th birthday alone in Oklahoma with a bottle to myself. Although, before leaving Friday, my day was crazy busy. I just moved, so I was doing the last bit of cleaning in our old apartment, scrubbing as fast as I could to make my appointment to get my tires rotated, only to find out, I’d be dropping $256 on tire replacements. Ahhhh! Whatever, it was worth it and perfect timing since I was going to be driving long distance! BUT $256 later, I was on my way to the Land of Enchantment!
I consider myself VERY lucky because I don’t have kids and I can really just pick up my things and hit the road! Sometimes I think I’m too free-spirited and spontaneous for my fiancé because he requires A LOT of thourough planning before he goes somewhere. Of course, I have my dog, but he’s great company, although he does feel like a child sometimes… But I don’t think children bark at every noise they hear or people they see, or pee on other dogs’ beds.
I arrived around 11 with my aunt, cousin’s wife, and daughter, waiting outside to greet me. They live up on a mountain with a great amount of land, where it’s about 10 degrees cooler. They have two goats, chickens, a cat, and a dog. It is BEAUTIFUL up there! And from certain angles, I could see the mountains from their house. They live right outside of Albuquerque.
I began the next morning with a little adventure, jeeping up the mountain with my cousin to catch a glimpse of Sandia Mountain. This is a cousin I had never met before, so I guess you could say we had a little cousin bonding time on our way up the mountain. I hardly ever get to see my cousins, so this was really special for me! Oh, and I’ve never really ridden in a jeep before, so it was a pretty cool experience.So, this mountain is called Sandia (it means watermelon in Spanish), because when the sun sets on the other side, the mountain turns a pinkish red, like a watermelon. The weather there was PERFECT! It was about 80 degrees, which was a cooling change from the 100 degree weather in Oklahoma. Besides the rattling sound through the rugged terrain, when we stopped, it was quiet and serene. When you have moments like these at places like this, the best thing to do is take it all in and relish the view you’re looking at. I spent the mid part of the day with my family at the crest of Sandia Mountain. I got my mountain fix, for sure! From here, we could see a lot of Albuquerque and a WHOLE LOT of mountains and green foliage. It was gorgeous and filled with tranquility. This is one of my favorite photos. Photographed here, is my cousin, cousin’s wife and daughter, and my aunt. We had this taken up on Sandia Crest. You know, for years, I had only known my cousins/2nd cousins through Facebook and photos. It’s sometimes hard to tell peoples’ personalities through photos when you’ve never met them. You might get an idea, but nothing as accurate as when you meet them in person. These people, my family, are AMAZING and really really kind! Not to get all sentimental and mushy gushy, but I really felt blessed to have met family I had only known through pictures for a majority of my life.
After a scenic walk up the mountain, we made a stop at this place called, Tinkertown. My cousin is so funny. She was asked to explain to me what Tinkertown was and her response was something along the lines of, “You just have to see it, I can’t describe it.” And when we got there, I knew what she meant when she said it was indescribable. It wasn’t a town like I thought it was going to be. Tinkertown is a museum that a man by the name of Ross Ward, created. The museum consists of elaborate displays of handmade old western scenes and toys. In some ways, you could say it’s creepy, but it’s still actually really cool and whacky.
If you’re in the the Sandia Park area, you should definitely check this place out! It’s great for kids, especially! As you make your way through, there are buttons outside of the displays that you can press, and some of the figurines will sing, dance, jump, or make some form of motion.
Any “Breaking Bad” fans?? Check this out! I found it in the museum gift shop, tacked up to a pole. AND if you’ve followed the series, I got to pass the bar that the characters used during the making of the shows! The series was filmed in New Mexico!
That photo still makes me laugh!
Outside of the museum, were a few other art displays, including an old, beat up, vibrant painted car. My cousin said it was her favorite part of the museum, so I thought it would be the perfect spot for a selfie.
Oh! And I almost forgot! A small section of Route 66 plays the patriotic tune, “America the Beautiful.” Yes, a musical road! How cool is that? We drove through it after our stop at Tinkertown. Upon researching, I found out that the goal of this musical road is to keep drivers alert, so if you want to hear the tune you can’t go over or under the 45 speed limit. Apparently this was an idea from National Geographic!
Our evening was spent outside on the deck, talking, basking in the warm summer sun and savoring the cool breeze.
My birthday fell on a glorious, hot summer Sunday, that was filled with love and many birthday wishes! My cousins and aunt took me to explore the town of Madrid, which was about 45 minutes from Albuquerque. The small western town was filled with shops and art galleries that were crawling with tourists.
The whole drive there, we were HUGGED by mountains. It was breathtaking!!
Later on, we celebrated my birthday at a restaurant called, Cooperage: A great place for prime rib.
On my way back to the good old Sooner state, I stopped at Cadillac Ranch, which I will talk more about in my next post! Stay tuned!
I found this map hung up on the wall of a gift shop: “Show us where you’re from.”
I’m just a proud Mainah livin’, lovin’ and exploring the west!