Christmas in Albuquerque

I have a daughter, Janet, with whom I’ve been mostly out of touch for the last five or six years. It is a long and painful story, which is now in the past and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted. Feelings of guilt and inadequacy have plagued me (and her too, it turns out), and this holiday season, we made our amends and spent some time together. It was intense, emotional, and very special, to say the least. The best part of it all, is that I saw my six year old grandson, Shane, who I had only met once.

Janet lives in Albuquerque, so it was fun to travel around a new city, take Shane to some parks and museums, and do a little roadtripping on the way there and back, while I was at it.

Shane’s favorite place by far was the American International Rattlesnake Museum. It wasn’t his first time there either. Apparently it’s a popular spot among the six year old boys… though, I must say, less so with the 60 year old women…eek! I also took him to the Explora! Science Center and Children’s Museum, which was much more my speed.

Probably the highlight of our trip was riding the Galaxi Roller Coaster at Cliff’s Amusement Park. I’ve never been so scared in all my life, but seeing Shane’s excitement made it all worth it.

Janet is a historian, so found a babysitter one day for Shane and took me to some of her favorite sites, including the Pueblo Cultural Center and the Turquoise Museum (which I LOVED), and had lunch at a nearby reservation where she’s got a few friends.

It all went by so fast, like a dream. There were certain moments, like when Janet and I stayed up late talking over a cup of tea, one single woman to the other, where I literally had to pinch myself. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, and this Christmas we each gave each other the gift of forgiveness and family.

I wish the same to all of you and a wonderful holiday season,
Martha
Continue reading

Ghost Towns, USA

I’m baaaaack! And I appreciate all of your emails of concern. I did not get eaten by mountain lions, as one of my very humorous readers asked. In fact, I am, sadly, back in New Paltz, the land of the living dead as I like to think. Back to the cubicle, back to grind. Gotta build up the cash stacks before my next adventure…I’m thinking somewhere colder this time. The northwest, Alaska, or I may even *gasp* cross the border into Canada.

There is so much I haven’t told you about the remainder of my Southwest/Midwest journey. It will take time, my friends, for me to put it all in words. And so, in celebration of Halloween Month (that’s what we called it as kids), I thought I’d share a bit about my Ghost Town travels. These totally came out of nowhere. I was hanging out with some completely random people in Colorado and they brought me around on their ghost town tour. We also went to the Ghost Town Museum near Denver. A rollicking good time was had by all.

First, what IS a ghost town, you ask? Well, wikipedia will tell you that it is “a town or city that has been abandoned, usually because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as flood or war.” But I would add, that a ghost town is an isolated, desolate, haunted area. Many of the places on this list I’m about to make used to be near railroads, but were abandoned when people moved out to the highways. Some were old mining camps. But all of them are spooky. mooo hooo hahaha! (That was my spooky cackle.)

Here are some ideas for Halloween fun if you happen to find yourselves out in the middle of nowhere in Colarado. The key to a good ghost town experience is to go with the right people. You have to be in the mood to pretend to be scared (because shhhh…they’re not really scary.)

And if you happen to be in California, take the “walk you’ll never forget”—the Calico Ghost Walk, a 90 minutes after-dark tour of the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo (Barstow).

Happy Halloween!
Continue reading

Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


Related Travel Guide Topics: