Monday, May 06, 2019

Half a Dozen Trips That Will Amaze Your Kids!

 A view from the hiking trail at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. 

 Miguel Atencio, a reader of this column, wrote to me via email asking if I had any suggestions for day trips for him and his 11-year-old son. I thought that was a great question, as parents of school-age children begin to make plans for summer vacation. Below are six ideas for day trips with kids.

1. Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array: Roughly 40 miles west of Socorro, this facility is one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, consisting of 27 radio telescopes. A self-guided walking tour features large, informative signs and takes you to the base of one of the giant dish antennas. An absolute must-see destination for everyone.

2. Hiking in the Jemez Mountains: The East Fork Trail on the Jemez River via the Las Conchas Trailhead on Route 4 is easy and interesting. There are also a pair of trails at Battleship Rock, including one on the right-hand side of the rock that leads to McCauley Hot Springs. 
3. Uranium Mine Museum in Grants: They dug a facsimile of a mine in the ground, equipped it with a full array of mining equipment and then built a museum on top of it. A former miner was leading tours the last time I was there.

4. Take the Rail Runner to Belen: At the Belen station, go south on the pedestrian bridge to get to the Harvey House Museum and the Belen train yard.  This is one of the busiest train hubs in the southwest, and the Harvey House has a shady portal from which to watch the action. Across the street is Pete’s Cafe, and the Doodlebug, an articulated one-car commuter train from the early 20th century, is about a block away.
5. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument: About 50 miles north of Albuquerque, this place is full of natural beauty with a hiking trail that winds up and around unforgettable and stunning rock formations. Just remember that dogs are forbidden in the monument, even in your car.

6. Sandia Man Cave and Tinkertown Museum: These are sure-fire kid favorites and close to Albuquerque — just on the other side of the Sandias. You can see them both in one day and then top it off with an ice cream cone on the drive home. You’ll be a hero! 
Jon Knudsen is a freelance writer and retired educator. Email him at

Friday, April 05, 2019

Chloride: A Ghost Town Explained

My article for NMMarketplace this month is about the town of Chloride.  Basically a ghost town, it was born, lived and died all within 15 years.  7,000 Chloridians...gone.  But you can still visit!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

One More Click on the Big Clock: The Burt's Tiki Lounge Neon About to Bite the Dust.

DOWNTOWN -- Some of our best neon signs hung in front of bars.  Now Burt's, according to an early post on Albuquerque's Craig's List, is about to be dis-connected and de-hung.  I wrote about it on my FB page.

They were giving it away for FREE to anybody who was willing to remove the whole thing.  Here's a screenshot of the ad.

Other signs I miss (but not the bars particularly) were The Tropics Bar and Jacks Or Better Lounge.

The Tropics Bar sign was a kind of a leafy palm tree that reminded me of a poor man's Paul Klee.  The Jacks Or Better featured a pair of jacks in neon surrounded by flashing incandescent bulbs.  It was glorious.

  The Tropics sign was destroyed.  Jack's was taken back to Zeon Signs were it was repaired and apparently picked up by a private party.  I heard somebody say former mayor Martin Chavez ended up with it.

At any rate, here's hoping the city or a museum sees fit to preserve it...even if they don't know what to do with it at the present time.  Neon itself is endangered.  Twenty years from now, nobody in New Mexico will be making neon or even repairing it.  Let's hang on to what we have.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

One Click on the Big Clock: Dick Bills Band with a young Glen Campbell.

From the photo archives of the Albuquerque Museum c. 1955.  Silver gelatin print. A gift of Joyce Graves Barefoot.

Monday, March 25, 2019

From my morning email inbox... The Mercury Messenger. V.B. Price's weekly newsletter.

V. B. Price once again hits the nail on the head!  Who do you trust in the era of "sponsored" news?

"The trickery of our culture is seen clearly in how plastics manufacturers talked us into an all but useless passion for recycling their products so we’d be preoccupied with our own false guilt while the manufacturers themselves keep churning out millions of tons of whale-killing plastic bags and thingamabobs."

Who Do You Believe in a Post-Truth Era?  
Who Do You Believe in a Post-Truth Era?