Virtual Travel – New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico. As you will see by the length of this post, New Mexico was one of the last states I got to but has become one of my favorites.

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State Capitol – In my opinion (!) the New Mexico State Capitol is the very finest in the country. Located in Santa Fe, which is amazing by itself, this is the only round capitol in the country.

It was designed to represent the Zia sun symbol when viewed from the air. This is the symbol on the New Mexico State Flag.

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Unique State Symbols

Official Litter Control Mascot – Dusty the Roadrunner.


State Cookie – Biscochito



State Guitar – New Mexico Sunrise Guitar





New Mexico Cultures

1946        1973 Acoma         2007 Abo Ruins



Santa Fe – It seems as though New Mexico has a better respect for all of the cultures that exist in their state than most, and Santa Fe as the capital and cultural center embraces all of those.

Art and culture abound everywhere in the city. It has been recognized by UNESCO as a ‘Creative City’.

In addition Santa Fe was established before the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and is home to the oldest public building in the United States (photo on bottom row – with bell at the top).


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Albuquerque – Easily the largest city in the state with a metro population of around 1 million, Albuquerque is cultural unique like Santa Fe, but with a much more urban feel to it.


Hotel Andaluz – We were lucky enough to spend our one night in Albuquerque at the Hotel Andaluz. This historic hotel was opened in 1939, with an extensive remodel occurring in 2008.




Artesia – This small town celebrates it’s oil industry history with a collection of sculptures around town.

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Clovis – This small eastern New Mexico town is legendary for the recording studio there that was the place where Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others had their start. Our amazing good fortune had us show up, unannounced, to a tour with a cool guy named Dave who had been a backup singer in the studio.

There is a museum in town as well, but the studio is the true museum – with most of the original equipment still there. For this posting I have included a photo of nearly every piece of original equipment.

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Quirky New Mexico

1947 – Dude Ranch         1950 -Taos Mountains


As you travel across the state you always come across something unusual and interesting.

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The baseball team in Albuquerque is called the Isotopes, and have adopted the Simpsons as their mascot since Springfield’s team in the show had the same name.



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The town of Portales has a retired fighter jet in the median strip.

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Roswell – I have had the good fortunate to travel in every state, and in 22 foreign countries but never have I seen a town play up their legend more than Roswell. And we loved it! Nobody is alien in Roswell.


And to top it off they have an ‘airplane boneyard’



1958 – Cristo Rey Church     1974     1992/1994 Pecos National Historic Park

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Rio Grande Gorge

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View from Sandia Peak in Albuquerque

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Lonely Eastern New Mexico Highway.

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Carlsbad Caverns – America’s best cave.

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2003 – US 84 near Abiquiu     2014/2015  Las Cruces


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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

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Cool freeway bridges in Santa Fe

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Sandia Peak Tram



Trains in the plains.

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Route 66 in Tucumcari







New York City – August 2019 – Circling Manhattan

With a trip for work to New York City I had little time for sightseeing, but my wife didn’t! This is her photo blog of a 4 hour New York Architectural Society (almost) circumnavigation of Manhattan. I say almost, since there was a bridge on the Harlem River in a down position so they had to backtrack back around.

They set sail from a pier in Chelsea.

And headed for the harbor…

Passing by Jersey City…

The trip was actually offered for college credit, so there was an instructor on board whom reportedly spoke ‘constantly’. The trip took them past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which I wouldn’t think would need any dialog to explain.


It was time to head up the East River…

This carousel in a park in Brooklyn came from a defunct amusement park in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.

Nearby was a jet ski school!

As you make you way up the East River you go past many areas that are undergoing gentrification.

An interesting view of Roosevelt Island, and the 59th Street (Queensboro) Bridge.

The United Nations Building

Roosevelt Island was once home to a Tuberculosis Hospital, but now is home to thousands in new apartment buildings.

A great view of the bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tram.

A series of bridges on the far end of the East River, where they ended up turning around.

If you have plenty of money ($850 one way for a 30 minute plane ride) you can get from Manhattan to the Hamptons in a hurry on a seaplane.

Or a helicopter…

The cruise continued back down the East River

The late afternoon sun made a interesting view of the Staten Island Ferry with the statue in the background.

The World Trade Center from the Hudson River

One of the many New York Waterway ferries.

Finally some interesting new architecture along the Hudson.

I think you will agree her photos were great – I am so jealous I had to work, it looks like it was a great cruise 🙂

New York City – June 2019 – Random Views

As with any week spent in the city, you always run across interesting sights.

Starting with the Puerto Rico Day Parade

The view from the Roosevelt Island Tram

A Public Art exhibit on the High Line.

Brooklyn Subway Station Details – those familiar with the area will notice it is actually from two different stations.

Staying in Brooklyn – Barlay’s Center Arena.

A cool art deco power substation for the subway in Greenwich Village

Park Avenue just north of Grand Central Terminal.

Hudson Yards

The Alexander Hamilton House

And finally – the Apollo Theater in Harlem!

New York City – June 2019 – Different Ways to Get Around Town

On the ground, on the water, or in the air there are many ways to get around the city.

Let’s start with a city bus. Not just any bus, but a collection of historic buses from the MTA Museum:

Via the water…

Always a favorite – the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Or the train…

For now it is time to get out of town – over the swamps of Jersey.

New York City – September 2018 – Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island is a long narrow island in the East River, between Manhattan and Queens.  For much of the history of the island it was used for hospitals, earning the name Welfare Island

In 1976 the Roosevelt Island Tramway was built, connecting the island to Manhattan next to the 59th Street (Queensboro) Bridge.

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Our ride to the island at 6 PM was packed with tourists and commuters. The island is now home to over 10,000 people, many of which use the tram for their daily commute.

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Once on the island we headed south under the bridge.

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The Smallpox Hospital was opened in 1856 and abandoned in the 1950s. The building remains as a reminder of what Roosevelt Island used to be like.

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At the southern tip of the island is Four Freedoms Park, dedicated to FDR.

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Looking south along the East River towards the Williamsburg Bridge.

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The Long Island City/Hunters Point area in Queens has had substantial growth.

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The apartment buildings in Queens have great views of Manhattan, as well as the iconic Pepsi sign.

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The UN Building. The reason we were on the island is access was restricted to the UN Building area because of ‘UN Week’, so we opted to go to Roosevelt Island instead.

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Returning back to the tram station provided different views of the bridge.

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Roosevelt Island is a popular destination when ‘Manhattanhenge’ occurs. On this day though, we were nowhere near one of those dates, and it was cloudy.

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A look back at Manhattan towards the Chrysler Building.

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At just the right angle it appears as though the tram is running underneath the bridge.

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The return ride was far less crowded.

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With the sun setting the lights were coming on (although the reflection in the tram windows made it tough).

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One final look back at Roosevelt Island.

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And the squeeze between the buildings and the bridge into the Manhattan side.

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FDR Drive goes under some of the buildings.

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Arrival at the station.

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The southbound tail lights on 1st Avenue. Roosevelt Island is worth the visit, take the tram!

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Albuquerque – National Parks Road Trip – Day 18

Easily the best breakfast we have had on this road trip was at the Drury Inn in Santa Fe, setting us up for another excellent day. Before we retrieved the car from the valet and checked out of the hotel we set off on a two hour walking tour of more of the city. Santa Fe was settled in 1610, making it one of the oldest towns in America, and as a result they have some very old structures, including what is commonly thought of as the oldest house in America, an adobe structure in the historic downtown district circa 1646. The doors and windows are small to combat the desert heat. Directly across the street is the San Miguel Church, which, according to its plaque, is even older than the Oldest House.

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Our morning walk allowed us to admire even more art along the street, eventually leading us to the New Mexico State Capitol. It is a round building with a southwestern style filled with galleries of art. We took a self-guided tour after registering at the front desk, wandering through office hallways of people working as part of the tour. The capitol had paintings in watercolors, oils, fabric as well as photography.

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We stumbled into the governor’s office where Fran, the governor’s assistant, kindly gave us information, pins, and a map, as well as the opportunity to purchase a Christmas ornament as a souvenir which helped support the governor’s art program. After returning to the hotel and checking out we took a last drive down Canyon Road through the art district to see the many galleries and the exterior art displayed outside their shops. Santa Fe is a beautiful city and we enjoyed our time there.

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Immediately upon our arrival late morning in Albuquerque we went to the Balloon Museum, finding it closed that day (a Monday). For an alternate choice took us to Sandia Peak Tramway. The tram took  20 minutes to go up the mountain reaching an elevation of 10,378 feet lifting us up 2.7 miles.

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The 11,000 square-mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley was striking. The temperature dropped dramatically at this elevation from the valley below and it was also windy. One of the features of the tram is the opportunity to see different climate zones as the tram made its way up the mountain. Once at the top there is a ski lift for snow trails and ski runs at the top of the mountain during the winter months.

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After a quick lunch of Kobe burgers (they were excellent) at the High Finance restaurant, situated at the top of the mountain, we went back outside to photograph the tram and the view of a distant Santa Fe and Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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Amazingly, at times, the tram will stop at the towers to let workers climb out of the tram to grease the equipment then let the tram continue up the mountain. Another tram picked up the worker after he finished. Maintenance is performed regularly during its operation. This seemed extremely dangerous while the worker hung to the tower in the wind more than two hundred feet above the ground. Fourth-grade schoolchildren poured out of the next tram and things got noisy. Later we rode the tram back down the mountain with the last load of school kids.

It was time to find another Roadside America offbeat tourist attraction. So we drove to a residential section of Albuquerque to see the (bug house or spaceship house as some refer to it). The bug house is tucked into an average neighborhood but the sight of this house is not average. It looks as if a giant caterpillar is mounted to the top of the house where the roof should be. The house has a glass and rounded metal facade The house was designed by Bart Prince, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. Two metal dinosaur sculptures stood guard in front of the home. The house across the street was also interesting with its angular style.

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We moved on to see the Albuquerque Isotope baseball field. After yet another t-shirt purchase, and a brief explanation about our 24 day road trip around America, the manager opened up the gate allowing us to walk in the stadium and pose with the Simpson characters and to look around. The Simpsons are part of the theme of the park since the team is called the Isotopes and Homer Simpson worked at a nuclear plant.

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The Isotopes earned their name by a majority vote of its city residents influenced by a TV Simpson episode threatening to move the Springfield team to Albuquerque, New Mexico and also because Albuquerque has research labs. The Isotopes are a Triple A team for the Colorado Rockies.

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Old Albuquerque is just west of downtown, and is the original site of the town. While the buildings are very old, the entire area is very touristy, with the typical trinkets shops. We spent a brief time here before returning downtown to check into our hotel.

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We reached our hotel, The Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque. The Andaluz was a sophisticated boutique hotel opened in 1939 by Conrad Hilton for the wealthy route 66 travelers. The lobby has classic Moorish decor with private dining rooms built into alcoves behind heavy drapes. It also has a hotel library, a terrace lounge and a tapas restaurant.

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Beautiful art decks the halls and every piece of furniture and lighting is interesting. A three-panel colorful glass wall is at the end of the lobby. The Andaluz was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. I love this building and it is the most outstanding thing in Albuquerque. We ate dinner at the tapas restaurant and tried multiple dishes, spicy shrimp with chorizo, scallops and the Mexican cheese plate. The food, atmosphere and service was excellent. After dinner we strolled the halls of the hotel admiring its unique but lovely atmosphere before retiring for the night.


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Palm Springs, CA – August 2009 – Aerial Tram

The Palm Springs Aerial Tram is the largest rotating tram in the world. Leaving the valley station it rises almost 6000′ in elevation in a little over 12 minutes. The day we took it up, it was nearly 100 degrees in the valley and 70 at the top.

The views on the way up and at the top are fantastic.

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