Homeward Bound from Albuquerque and Babysitting my Grand Dog Dexter….lol..

Albuquerque is such a beautiful city.  It is situated in a Valley with the Sandia Mountains bordering on the east side.  The scenery, no matter where you drive is just breathtaking.  On Sunday before I left Gino and I went to Sam and Melissa’s house.  Sam is my step brother, Gino,s half brother.  He lives in Bernalillo, which is north of Albuquerque.   Gino wanted to do some drinking, lol, so he invited his friend Anthony to drive us.  They all grew up together and attended the same schools.  So we took off down the freeway and then headed north in the valley shadowing the mountains on the right.  When we got to Bernalillo, we turned west and climbed out of the valley somewhat.  Sams house was located in a development that was overlooking the town.  When we arrived Sam was doing dishes….lol…..The boys were home, both grown now, Sammy G and Issac.  Melissa was outside with her parents from Santa Fe.  I had met them one other time.  Sam made steaks on the grill and we had a great meal.  As we looked out across their back yard I seen…..    “THE RAINBOW”     …..In the sky was a dark rain cloud hovering and moving slowly up the valley between us and the mountains.  The rainbow appeared as we watched.   I can’t imagine sitting in my back yard every day and watching such gorgeous views before me.  We continued to watch it as it slowly headed north up the valley and the rainbow disappeared.  You could just see the rays of the sun playing on the mountains across from us and casting shadows.   A view always changing.

11276169_10204205656249286_1861805474_o

View from the backyard of Sam and Melissa’s

After a fun evening, which included visiting and watching the NBA finals…lol..in Overtime, I might add, we headed back to Gino’s.  Again the views of Albuquerque at night are stunning.  All the city lights, the strips of lights of moving cars on the freeways’ and the lights of the homes all the way up to the foothills of the mountains

11423341_10204210119760871_776717333_n.

On Monday I went back to my sister Anna and spent to day.  We went to Applebees for afternoon lunch, and then back to her house. We spent the rest of the day visiting and looking at pictures.  That’s what we always seen to do when we get together…..We love pictures….

Tuesday afternoon, It was time to leave.  After an hour + wait, the train finally left.  It was interesting watching the murals and the graffiti painted as we slowly wove our way up the tracks while we were still in the city….These are only sites to be seen on the train….

11303825_10204217289060099_773153364_o

I can only imagine what I missed seeing on the other side of the train.

11422991_10204215110365633_872917814_o

As we traveled up the valley towards Santa Fe, we passed one of the Pueblo villages..

At the Lamy stop…(Santa Fe)…I loved the little church up the hill.  Also in front of it was a side track with an old engine and a baggage car with a painted mural.  If you pull the mural up close, you will see the mural matches the name of the locomotive…..Pretty neat…..

We slowly kept heading north up into the mountains…..The train has to travel very slowly on this stretch.  It is very mountainous and rocky.

The scenery and homes nestled in the mountain sides are priceless.  On the way to Raton Colorado, we went through a tunnel at Raton Pass.  Then we passed a sign.  We were traveling the Santa Fe Trail, which traveled through the Ranch of Dick Wooten.

“Uncle Dick’s” real name was Richens Lacy Wootton.  He constructed a toll road through the pass around 1870, cutting several hundred miles off the Santa Fe Trail through the mountains. When the railroad came through they bought the right of way and built the tracks over his toll road.

Uncle Dick’s family moved from England (via Scotland) about 1800. First to Virginia, then to Kentucky. He left home at age 16 and became a “mountain man’, He knew Jim Bridger and Kit Carson. He built the first store in Denver, Colo.

11347801_10204216311835669_1863257648_o

Now we are back following I 40 heading through a small part of Colorado heading east.

Along the way we came upon an area that had a forest fire.  Dramatic scenery when the sun was setting. Finally we sped up as we were out of the mountains heading for the flat plains of the Midwest.

I love the train.  I slept in the chair, but I didn’t have anyone next to me this time.  lol.  The rocking motion is so peaceful.

I spent some time in the observation car the next day.  It is such a bright and cheerful spot.  The café is downstairs, with soda, sandwiches, snacks, and alcohol, for sale.   The dinner car is next to it, serving 3 full meals a day.  It is expensive, but nice that they offer it.

Finally crossed the Great Mississippi in Fort Madison Iowa, entering Illinois.  This is a double decker bridge.   The cars are on top and the train on the bottom. Finally arrived home…..Rich had been waiting to pick me up……..lol…..Only about 3 hours late….lol…But that’s what happens on a train.  Kids were all glad to have me home again.

11419819_10204248627723546_612748686_n

This is Carly and Cassidy.  This tree is in the front yard and it is called the Family Tree….The kids always have their picture taken in it.  Now this week, I am babysitting my Grand Dog, Dexter.  Tina, Ed and the kids are heading to South Dakota for Mileys Gymnastic Nationals.  They will be gone a week.  I will be spending nites with Dexter at his house.

11324169_10204242438088809_1451025928_n

He is a Golden Doodle and is only 5 months old.   OMG….What a baby…and now a chewer…..He is locked up in the kitchen when no one is home.  They have gates everywhere leading out of the kitchen.  He also has a soft doggy pillow that he lays on in the kitchen.

11638456_10204244174452217_1887821054_o

First nite, I looked away for 5 to 10 minutes.   “LOOK WHAT HE DID”…..He ripped a hole and was pulling out the stuffing.    An hour later, I was playing ball with him.  I through it to high, and took out one of the lights on Tina’s ceiling fan…….hahahaha…..Oh No……I’m in trouble now.   The next morning he found my new ear buds that came with my new phone I just purchased in Albuquerque.   Grrrrrr……Things have settle down, but he is such a baby and so full of energy.   He circles around and round.  He brings you his toys and wants you to play with him.   Yesterday he destroyed a flyswatter…..He loves plastic…..and Mileys little stuffed animals….I have rescued a little monkey several times.

11419979_10204251765121979_411683038_n

Well this week will be over soon……….

Back To Normal……….Hopefully…….

On the Way to Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gino and I boarded the train at Princeton. When I decided to go, I checked tickets and the Value ticket from Princeton was not available, but it was from Mendota, which was the stop before. I of course bought it from Mendota, lol. I thought about calling Amtrak, but never did. What could they do? My ticket was paid and they just got a little more of my money. When the conductor came around to check tickets, she checked Gino’s and then looked at me. I was looking for my ticket, and she said “I bet your ticket is going to say to board at Mendota isn’t it”. lol I looked at her with a smile and said, ……”Yeeeesss”……She said she knew when she seen 2 of us coming to board, she should have only had 1, and she was short in Mendota…..She was smiling, so she was ok with it, but I guess they really do keep track….


Ive’ always loved train travel, as Rich and I have rode many times. Ahead of us was a younger girl….(20’s). She had on her headphones, and kept singing and dancing in her seat….How annoying….Gino kept mumbling things everytime she would get loud (he had a few beers already)….I   was annoyed with her, but a little worried he would be heard and oh NO………….But fortunately, she got off at Kansas City.  We were in the last car which was a first for me.  We were able to see out the back door.   We seen some water in the fields, but not as bad as I thought it might be, with all the rain we’ve had.  .

11358820_10204180505500533_1509953789_n

We crossed over the Mighty Mississippi, at Ft. Madison Ia…..what a beautiful river, and so vast and really calm…..

11418336_10204183497775338_1786270774_n

So much beautiful scenery coming down in to New Mexico.  The train has to slow way down and go slow through the curves…(thank goodness)….The track in one place switches back and forth as it comes down the incline of the mountain….We went through a tunnel and in many places, the hills had been blasted large enough for the train to fit through.

Our last stop before Albuquerque, was Lamy.  People who are going to Santa Fe, get off here and are shuttled to town.  On side was an old car that was now a residence.  A deck was built on the front.   Further down was another one, also a residence.  Finally we got into Albuquerque on time, after around 24 hours on the train.  We pulled in the city and the PA came on….The passenger train coming from the west was almost 4 hours behind and we had to wait for them to stop and unload and reload and also to fuel up and resupply the train…..ONE HOUR LATER…..we pulled ahead one block to the station….lol….But it was a Good day….My step brother Sam met us and took us to Gino’s apt.  I called my sister Anna that nite……”Surprise ….Guess where I’m at”…..lol…

The next day we went and visited her for a short time and made plans for Monday with her.

Yesterday I took Gino’s car and went visiting.  First stop, my ex niece in law…..lol….Lisa was married to my sister Anna’s son, Bill.  Now she lives across town with her sister and one of the daughters, Lee Anna and her little girl Melissa.

She is only 3 and is so tiny and cute.  Had a FABULOUS visit with Lisa….We talked about our kids, and told many storys of the past…..Had some great laughs with the memories from the past.  So enjoyed our visit.  Finally I left and was to head to my friend who I graduated with,  Randy and his lovely wife Sharon.  We attended the same school most of our childhood life, and even graduated in the same class…..The whole 36 of us…..lol….. and had never seen each other again till last year.  He came to Illinois to visit family.  We had found each other on fb several years ago and was astonished as he had settled in Albuquerque.  He was living on the east side in the foothills of Sandia Mountains, near the Tramway.

Being I was early, I decided to buzz up to the Tram way……I’ve been their many times before…The clouds were coming and going….some rain…some sun…..

The Sandia Peak Tramway consists of 2 cable cars that are suspended with only 2 towers between the 2 terminals.  From bottom to top, it is 2.7 miles long and takes 15 minutes to ascend 4000 ft.  Each tramcar is capable of carrying 50 passengers or 10,000 pounds up the mountain at a maximum rate of 200 passengers per hour  On the average, the tram makes 10,500 trips per year.  On the top is a beautiful Restaurant and miles and miles of hiking trails…..A ski slope goes down the other side of the mountain. The Tramway is now 48 years old.

I have been up the Tram many times but just can’t miss an opportunity to visit.  The views are breath taking and it never , never gets old……

11422154_10204203338631347_1801750729_o

It was rather cloudy and sprinkled a little while I was their.  As I was leaving, I looked out and seen Albuquerque.   What a beautiful site to see the city nestled down in the valley….Their were some storm clouds and you could see the rain coming.

11420207_10204203587997581_855982449_o

So on down the road to Randy and Sharon’s.  It wasn’t far at all.  I was amazed as to how close they lived.

11424470_10204203203787976_1382959502_o

Their view from there courtyard was beautiful.  As we sat their and visited, one just couldn’t take your eyes away from the amazing site before you.  We had such a nice visit, remembering old times, and   catching up from the past.  Finally we went to dinner, to a really cool Mexican Restaurant.  It was decorated true to the Mexican culture.   Of course leftovers were taken home……Back to their house for more visiting.  Before we knew it, it was time to go…….We went out the court yard, and right before my eyes was the breath taking view of the mountains at dusk.

11280507_10204202758256838_1944440904_o

On the top you could see the lites of the visitor center at the Crest….and over to the right, was the lights of the top Of the tramway.  As we watched, all of a sudden you could see the 2 lights of the cable cars traveling up the mountain.   One going up…..On going down……”Magical”……I could have watched for hours.   But time to leave ….another beautiful site……

th

                …………..Driving down into the valley of “Albuquerque” at night…………..