The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

Amazingly Simple Escape Away From ABQ-The Turquoise Trail


Disclaimer:  Sorry for the wierd alignment stuff.  I’m trying to figure this stuff out. It’s not completely intuitive.  Bear with the awkwierdness of the layout.  Also, if you place the cursor on the pic there may be a caption that will appear.  Ooh!  Magic.

I needed a change of scenery, fresh air, to get out of the city. Took what’s called the Turquoise Trail up the East side of the Sandias today to a little town called Madrid, pronounced mad (as in peeved) rid (as in no more).  Drive was beautiful, about 130 miles total, did a loop, was just what I needed, took most of the day with stops (there were many). 

Here’s a link to a map:,+nm&jsv=107&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=29.716225,59.414063&ie=UTF8&ll=35.241133,-106.062012&spn=0.955605,1.856689&z=9

Out I-40 to Hwy 14. 

First Stop:

GOLDEN-Founded when gold boomed, around 1840, there’s not much there except falling apart houses.  One house was a mirage of shimmer/glimmer as I came around a bend. There must have been thousands of bottles hanging from every possible suface, the house, trees, the clothesline.  Further down the remains of what I think was an old school are shown.  A book dating from 1981 I found at the library showed around 50% more standing. 

 School RemainsOrtiz Mtns

The drive continues over the Ortiz mtns, to Madrid.  Tried looking up the weather for Madrid this AM.  Not one weather site recognized it.  Kept referring me to Spain.  I wish…

MADRID – A lot like Nederland, CO but long and skinny in size, complete with locals in dreads, folks in old cowboy boots and tattered clothes and folks in new cowboy boots and new BMW convertibles.  This is also a biker destination.  Madrid was a founded in 1869 for coal.  The Santa Fe railroad brought in a spur in 1880 and things boomed.  It was a company town that provided the 4,000 people housing for $2/mo, medical care, 120,000 gallons water per day (brought in), and civilities such as tennis courts, ballrooms, and even a distillery during the Prohibition.  Famed for elaborate nightime Christmas light displays, airlines altered flights to give passengers a glimpse of the glow.  Coal peaked in 1928. The usual tale of desertion followed.  The 80’s began a renewal of the town.  I expected to see a smattering of relics when arriving.  A shop owner explained there are few left. Some builfings have burned, many were revived by those living in them. 

The main street’s lined with galleries (some funky, a couple stuffy), a few restauraunts, many trinket shops that sell pottery, jewelry, and what a friend calls “Stevie Nicks” clothing (the frilly, lacey, Victorian-ish stuff you see in towns like this.)  There was a chili cook-off going on today as well as a delightful bluegrass group strolling from locale to locale.  I kept the retail therapy in check.  Bought only soap and some killer tiles to make a mirror frame. 

Following are snippets of town:

Yummy rug at Seppanen and DaughtersA gallery in a boxcar.  I think this might be a tough sell.

Now that\'s landscaping using the natural features of the land! 


On to Cerrilos. 

CERILLOS – Los Cerillos means Little Hills. It’s 3 miles north of Madrid.  An open pit turquiose mine may be the earliest mining done by western man, dating from at least 500 A.D.  I read  Spaniards enslaved Native Americans to labor in it.   The first P.O. opened in 1880.  Nearly 800 lived and worked there.  Production of silver, turquoise, lead and gold was over by 1890.  Now it’s a small village of crumbling adobes, a few false front stores, some (sort-of) restored homes and the RR tracks that pass by. 

 Don\'t see these much. Esp. in action?  Two trains passed in a 15 min timeframe.Story behind an sadly empty building.  Adobe which became brick facade.

Pointed onwards towards Santa Fe but skipped the interstate-yuckiness way home and opted for a stretch of dirt road (how I love ’em) full of views and even a couple sketching opportunities.   Next stop, Galisteo.

GALISTEO – Once a Spanish Mission (1614) a revolt by Native Americans in 1680 forced abandonment.  Next a Native American Pueblo, this little cottonwood lined town is now full of lovingly restored adobes, an Inn, a couple shops and a graveyard with stones (that I saw from the perimeter) dating in the early 1800’s.  This little town intrigued me to no end.

Dirt road.  CR 42 to Galisteo.Galisteo Cemetary


Fighting the urge to ditch work tommorow and strike out further, I pointed south to head home.  About an hours worth of drive through open, high desert took me to I-40 where I reluctantly merged into traffic with roaring semi-trucks, dreaming and scheming up my next outing. 

To be continued…

4 thoughts on “Amazingly Simple Escape Away From ABQ-The Turquoise Trail

  1. Heather – What a great blog! Your pictures are fantastic and your writing entertaining. Keep it up 🙂

  2. NICE JOB, Heather! (You are much more brave than I…I wouldn’t even know where to BEGIN starting a blog!!) OH…if you are there this fall, you really should check out Zozobra–it’s a crazy festival (I think in Sante Fe) when they burn Old Man Gloom. Fascinating stuff.
    We miss you out here!

  3. Congratulations on a beautiful blog! Welcome to the internets.

    I LOVE Madrid. Now you have to go to Truth or Consequences, NM and sit in a funky hotspring. And, Las Vegas, NM. And there’s a really strange hostel in the middle of nowhere along S285 I think…Keep putting up pics of your travels – obviously I need to visit NM soon.

  4. Hey Heather!
    You did get a blog started and a mighty fine one at that. Feel free to share your knitting adventures also. Glad you are having an enriching experience in many aspects. I will live vicariously through your blog to satisfy my traveling itches since it is just not really happening for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s