Thursday, January 30, 2014


Sheesh. I am finally able to write Albuquerque without looking up the spelling each time.

You may need to set aside some time for this post - another long one. We were in this fine New Mexican city for three nights, so I have quite a bit to show and tell you about.

Until now we have avoided Albuquerque, like El Paso, we thought of it as a large city to go through or around.

Not this time.

More tire troubles….

We rolled into Albuquerque from Elephant Butte mid day. The first thing we had to do was find out why our van was shaking all the way up from the State Park …. hmmm …. it was hard to tell because there wasn't anything visibly wrong other than the shaking. We pulled into Home Depot in order to search out a place to go. Derek noticed a Ford dealer across the street and decided to go talk to them. Now, we don't usually go to dealers for repairs because we haven't had much luck with that in the past $$$- but when in a large city that you don't know things are a bit different.

To make a long story short, the problem was with the spare tire that we put on back in Marathon. We bought a new tire in Alpine but didn't put it on. Turns out the spare was a bad tire/rupture (it had come with the van). We could have put on our new tire purchased in Alpine, TX. and called it a day.. BUT we thought maybe it would cause an imbalance so we asked them to find us a matching tire but the Ford dealer could not match anything with their stock… so we decided to put two matching tires on the front for equal tread. We were at the shop at 7:15am and weren't out until 1:30pm and were $460 lighter. Sigh.

Next stop:

Again…. you didn't just think we came for the sightseeing - right?! 
Turns out that Albuquerque - and many other towns and cities in New Mexico, have a strong and growing craft brewery scene. The New Mexico Brewers Guild is a good way to find them all, by the way. 

La Cumbre Brewing Company is putting out some mighty fine craft beer.

A flight of 8 beers - our largest yet! 

This time the Wood Clan (well, two of it's members anyway) wasn't drinking alone! We met up with Maria and Brian from The Roaming Pint - as we are making our way west they are headed east.

What's better than visiting one brewery in a night? Well, two of course! Nice that La Cumbre and Il Vicino are within walking distance of each other. 

A second group photo but instead of me there's Jonathan, one of the cooks at Il Vicino who visited with us for the evening. That's root beer in Cassia's hand by the way!

We also met up with Tim. Tim went all the way home and back again with his wife to give Derek a bottle of Sierra Blanca's Imperial Alien Stout. We were going to stop in ourselves on our way through Moriarty but since we will be there Sunday when they are closed we are thrilled that we have it. Thanks again Tim. Nice to meet you!

We enjoyed the music of Marlee Crow + a free cd! 

Cassia had a dancing mate in addition to Derek, Maria and I.

Nice that we parked between the two breweries for the night - a colddddd night.

Albuquerque Old Town

After bidding adieu to Maria and Brian the next morning we were on our way to look around central Albuquerque - The Old Town.

Cassia spied a candy store ….. so we went to take a look. She walked out with a few treats but not these. 

Derek and I splurged on the black scull - we kinda like all these colourful skulls in these parts.

Mmmmmm - one of our favourite coffees - New Mexico Pinon Coffee. We didn't buy any here since we stocked up at Trader Joe's the night before. We used to sell it in our old fashioned Sweet Shoppe. 

I'm not sure that my pictures do the Old Town justice - that was just a sampling. It is a neat place to tour around, especially in such a large and fast paced city as Albuquerque. Down in the old town you forget about the modern city surrounding you. It was a cold morning though so a few hours was enough for us. Plus, we had more to see.

Albuquerque Downtown

While traveling down Central Ave. (what was Route 66) to Nob Hill, we passed through the Downtown - we decided to stop and see.

The Kimo Theatre from 1927.

Skip Maisel's in the building by Morris Maisel in the 1930's.

Lot's of murals in the Downtown. We had a nice walk around, especially since it had warmed up.

Next up:

Albuquerque Nob Hill

The Old Town and Downtown were nice to visit but we knew even before we got there that Nob Hill was probably a little more our scene. A vibrant, eclectic, retro, funky kind of place. After making lunch in the van we went to check it out.

Hey - another brewery! Kelly's in addition to Tractor Brewery where we parked. But we are brewier-ed out for right now - plus it is a little early in the day for us for that.

This strip of the Route 66 in Nob Hill is known for it's neon lights. We were thinking to stay long enough to see and photograph them but it was too early in the day to make that happen... Sigh.

Albuquerque sure seems to be a mural town. Although there is much to see in Nob Hill we made a rather quick trip of it. Derek and I thought that Cassia and Rufus could really use a place to stretch their legs so we went in search of a park.

Fun driving through Albuquerque's inner city neighbourhoods - most houses are pueblo or pueblo inspired.

Nice that Cassia had a playmate - also four years old. 

Later in the day we headed out of the downtown back to the Interstate area to Chama River Brewing Co. We were happy to see that there was a theatre with a HUGE parking lot beside Chama. We saw a security guard driving around so went and asked if we could overnight in the parking lot. Super, super nice guy - the former Sheriff - who not only said we could park overnight but told us the best place to park, not only there but also in Santa Fe. Later, after we parked he came back over and we had a nice conversation with him.

A flight of 6 brews. We quite liked all of them, even the light ones, but again - the two stouts - Sleeping Dog and the special Serenity Milk Stout were our favourites.

The Chama River Brewering Co. was a little more up-scale then we expected or are accustomed to but we enjoyed our flight and a filling order of nachos.

By the time we got back to the van at 7:30 pm it didn't take the three of us long to fall asleep - a busy couple of days. After a very quiet night in the back of the parking lot we were ready to hit the road again this morning. 

Albuquerque was easy enough to get through and we were glad that we took it on. Three breweries in one city was a record for us - but since they have many more we may have to return. We are really quite enjoying our New Mexico tour.

And more good news! Crysti from El Paso checked with the Promoter for the Gorden Lightfoot concert about a ticket for Cassia or if she could sit on our laps. Turns our we had row D tickets on the 1st level - amazing seats. However, they would trade us those tickets for three tickets on the 2nd level mezzanine. That works for us - we are just happy to be there.

We are in Santa Fe tonight after a nice ride up the Turquoise Trail with an interesting stop in Madrid for the day - pictures of all that the next time I have a full battery and wifi.


If you are looking for more of Rantin' n Raven we are not hard to find out there in the social media world. We are on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. See you there!


  1. Loved old town and the Turquoise trail. Even took the Sandia Peak Tram to the top and awesome ride, but $20.00 each Cassia be free though.
    Good deal with the concert tickets too.

    1. Yup - $20 was a bit steep for us George - it would have cut into our beer fund! :)

  2. Wonderful photo tour... I love all the colours and perspective you include. Great murals, love the tile entrance at the theatre....

    1. Thanks Kelly - lots of colour! I like the tile in the entrance as well - works of art.

  3. Sorry to read of the tire problems, but you should be good for many more miles, now Great pictures. Love all the vibrant colors on the buildings. We visited the area years ago during the balloon festival, but can see we barely scratched the surface. Will put it back on the to-do list. You guys just have "too much fun".

    1. I hope so Jerry but the condition of some of these roads here in NM I'm not so sure.

      We'd love to be back for the balloon festival one day!

  4. I just love Albuquerque!!! The balloon fest is not to be missed if in the area that time of year!! Expensive tire fix, fingers crossed no more van or trailer problems this entire trip!!!

    Safe Travels.............

    1. We agree BlackSheep a nice city with a lot to do - we'll have to return for all that and the balloon festival!

  5. Oh my goodness, I can't believe that they painted the doors on that church grey now. When we were there, (2006 I think), they were a lovely blue colour. I loved them and did an oil painting of them later. I posted a photo of my photo of them when they were blue and a photo of my painting of them, on your FB page.

    1. Sad Brenda - I saw your picture and pairing. Much better. I love the blue with the beige of the buildings. As you mentioned - we didn't like Santa Fe all that much - preferred our tours of Albuquerque!

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