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Sparky's History of

Jim lived in Albuquerque from about 1950 until 1967, when he moved to Denver, and he knows all about Albuquerque, so he made a good tour guide.

At least until we went north of Alameda Boulevard, cuz none of the other roads were there yet when he lived there, so he was lost a lot of the time, cuz our motel was out about near the north end of town.

It would take a lot of explaining to tell all about the entire history of Albuquerque, so, instead, I'll just put in a link to the website of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, cuz they'll probably tell it better than I could.

Basically, it started out named "Bosque Grande de San Francisco Xavier," but that was a reel hard name to remember, and some folks might get it confused with the San Francisco in California.

So they decided to have a contest, with the winner getting some sort of a reel cool prize, like a box of baby chickens, or a set of horseshoes for your horse, or a pile of firewood, or a sack of pinto beans.  You know, something reel useful back in those days.

Since there was only about 3 people in that area back then who could read or write, it didn't get too far, so they decided to jest vote on a name for the little town.

They put up some signs announcing the vote, but the same 3 people who could read or write was the only ones who showed up for the election, so that didn't work either.

About that same time, a feller named "The Duke of Alburquerque," came to town from Spain, and he had one of those reel cool wagons, with gold and silver thingys all over it, and 4 reel cool horses with all sorts of colorful strings to control them with, and he impressed everybuddy right off, so they decided to have a party.

That's when the Duke cooked up a batch of weird, square donuts fer dessert, and everybuddy liked them so much that they decided to name the town after him.  The square donuts was about 4 inches square and didn't have a hole, and they puffed up a lot when he cooked them.   People said they looked like "Sofa Pillows," so that's what they called them, and when the local people said it fast it came out as "Sopapillas."

Then people started squirting the hollow inside of the sopapilla donut full of honey to make them even better.  (That's also why Gloria won't let any of us eat them on the couch, cuz the honey might leak out).

It was hard to say, "Alburquerque," and the guy at the newspaper office decided the name looked too long, so he jest left out the first "r" and shortened it to "Albuquerque" instead.

You ken find out more about it at:

Albuquerque Visitors Bureau 

No Pictures on the Indian Reservation

I didn't take any pictures around Espaņola cuz there are lots of places in that town and all around there that are on the Indian reservation, and they don't want you to take pictures of anything there.

I don't know what they might do if they catch you, but if they take away the film or break the camera, I might get in reel trubble, cuz the digital camera Jim jest bought doesn't use any film, and jest uses a little computer thingy to hide the pictures until you squirt them into the computer.  That might cause some reel trubble if whoever catches you gets mad cuz he can't find the film.

Lil Benny Discovers Gatorade!

Lil Benny sitting on top of the container of Gatorade powder

Lil Benny is shown carefully guarding the container of Gatorade powder he discovered on the counter top last week.  He's from Louisiana, and he's used to drinking swamp water, so he figures that the Gatorade must be for making your own swamp water.

Sparky's Trip to
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
July, 2003

by Sparky

Original Historic Marker in Old Town Albuquerque
Brian had a computer fixing job down in New Mexico, so we all decided to go along so we could all do some sightseeing in Albuquerque over the weekend, then we would head for where he had to fix the guy's computer on Monday morning.  That way Brian could go to work and Gloria, Jim and Cathy and the rest of us guys could go and do some fun things like sightseeing and eating ice cream, and so forth.

Anyhow, we got to Albuquerque on Friday afternoon, July 18, 2003, and went to eat dinner at Grandy's on San Mateo Blvd.  Gloria was reel tired from the trip, so she stayed at the motel in front of the air conditioner, and we jest brought her back a dinner, and it was reel good cuz us guys got to mooch a lot of the stuff from her, cuz she's a lot easier to mooch from than the rest of the family.

The next morning, we headed out and Jim took us on a tour of his first schools and the old houses he used to live in.  You ken see more about that if you go back to the travel page and click on "West Texas Trip, Page 3," or just click right here and it'll also take you there.

When it was lunch time, Jim decided we would like to eat at Mac's La Sierra Restaurant, home of the "Steak in the Rough,"  which is a platter of steak fingers that are lightly breaded and deep fried, and it comes with fries and some coleslaw or something like that.  The problem was, everybuddy else in Albuquerque also wanted to eat lunch there, so there was a wait, so that's when Jim selected another, equally famous, place to eat.

That place is named "The Dog House."  It has been a famous Albuquerque eatery for over 50 years, and is located around 12th and Central.  We had the special footlong chilidogs for lunch, and they was reely good.  The place was originally on the other side of the street behind another building, so it was reel hard to find unless you were from around there.  The original building was very small, with about 6 booths and a pinball machine, but the hotdogs were very popular.  Then sometime probably in the 1970's they moved into their present building.  It is a little larger, cuz I think I counted that they had 5 or 6 booths plus 6 or 7 stools at the counter, but no pinball machine.

After lunch we headed out to find a new park that is located on the west end of Alameda Boulevard, right next to the Rio Grande.  They have bike trails and other park kinds of things there

We had heard about a devastating fire in the river bottom near the world famous Rio Grande, so we tried to see what had happened, but we never did find the damage.

Sparky's Albuquerque Photo Album

Wild roadrunner watching out for the coyote
Wild Roadrunner we saw

Rabbit Crossing sign, but we didn't see any rabbits there
Rabbit Crossing sign

Looking southwest across the plaza in Old Town
Old Town in Albuquerque

Across the plaza in Old Town
Old Town Plaza & Gazebo

Old cannons in the Old Town Plaza
Old Cannons in Old Town

Drinking fountain wirks best if you bring your own straw
Drought Water Fountain

Brian & Cathy after intense shopping excursion
Brian & Cathy done shopping

Some of the stuff Brian & Cathy didn't buy
Lots of neat stuff for sale

An Old Town DinnerSign in front of the La Placita Restaurant
Saturday night we wound up in Old Town Albuquerque (The World Famous Old Town) and ate dinner at La Placita Mexican Restaurant.  It's been there for about a million years, or at least since the 1930's, as shown on the sign in the picture at right.

They had really good Mexican Food, and we also got some reel Sopapillas, cuz me and Sniffy snuck in and hid under the table where the old folks and Brian & Cathy was eating dinner, so we got lots of scraps.

July 20, 2003  On Sunday morning we took off and drove around sightseeing some more, and then we went up to see Sandia Crest, which soars above Albuquerque by about a mile.  That is to say, that Albuquerque is largely about a mile above sea level, and Sandia Crest is just over 2 miles above sea level.

It seems like more than a mile above the city, probably because you ken see so far off into the distance.

At Sandia Crest you ken look over the edge fer free, but it will cost you 3 bucks to park there, so all of us natcherally looked over the edge a bunch of times, cuz it was free, and all of us like to get Jim's money worth whenever possible.  I would guess that if you counted up all the looking that all of us did, we probably got in about $14.59 worth of looking if they had charged fer that instead.  Add to that we had our own binoculars so we didn't have to put any cash into the special telescope they have up there fer just such an occasion, and it becomes reel apparent that they reely lost money on us.

There was a sign that said because of all the antennas up there, you might have some problems with your cell phones and any remote controls you might be trying to use.  Jim didn't have any trubble with the remote that opens the doors of the van, so it must jest be an exter special one that isn't prone to having problems.

Sparky's Sandia Crest & Madrid Photo Album
Overview from atop Sandia Crest
Albuquerque View from Crest
All the antennas on top of Sandia Crest
Sandia Crest Antennas
Looking east from Sandia Crest
Looking east from Sandia Crest
Old Boarding House Mercantile store in Madrid, New Mexico
Store in Madrid, New Mexico
After leaving Sandia Crest, we drove north on the old road, I think the sign said it was Route 14, on our way to Santa Fe.  On the way we had decided to eat lunch in an old coal mining town named Madrid.  They have a reel cool coal mine museum there that the family had gone to see before any of us guys was ever bought out of the store, so that was a reel long time ago.

There was also some talk about touring the coal mine museum and going into the reel coal mine after lunch, so that sounded reel good to me and Ty and  Sniffy, cuz we jest love getting into places like that where we ken mess with old and interesting things.

Well, wouldn't you jest know it...Madrid was jest another one of them towns that wants you to come and spend your money there, but they didn't have very many parking places, and the few they had were full of cars and motorcycles, so Jim got an attitude and decided that if they wanted any of his money, they should have some parking closer than 8 blocks away, and Free Parking would be even better.

On the north end of town was a little store named the "Old Boarding House Mercantile," so we parked in their convenient, free parking lot and went inside.  The old geezer in there had all kinds of stuff, from junk food and cold soda pop, to reel groceries like onions and pinto beans, tomatoes, taters, video tape rentals, books to sit and read on the front porch, and all sorts of ice cream, tater chips, pretzels, and short, a reel junk food paradise that also sold genuine groceries.  We thoroughly recommend it even if you jest want to check the place out.

There might be some other reel cool places there in Madrid, but without any parking, either free or otherwise, I guess we'll never find out.

Santa Fe, Espaņola & Pojoaque  We got to Santa Fe by mid afternoon and kept on going till we got to Espaņola, which is about halfway between Santa Fe and Taos.  Brian had a computer-fixing job there, so we checked into a motel and kicked back fer a while until it was time to head out fer dinner.

We drove a little way outside of town, towards Santa Fe, and got some dinner at a place named "Gabriel's," in Pojoaque, New Mexico.  Me and Lil Benny went to dinner with everybuddy, but we waited out in the van, cuz there was a lot of cars in the parking lot and also a lot of pickup trucks that seemed to be always driving somewhere, so it jest wasn't safe to get out of the van.  We could see the folks inside, and their dinners looked reel good, and let me tell you, the smells in that parking lot were jest terrific, and I would recommend it to anybuddy regardless of whether they were going to go inside to eat or jest sit in the parking lot.

The old folks and Brian & Cathy all had some Guacamole Dip with chips, then they had some Mexican Food, cuz that's all they serve there, but it was reel good, and they had some Sopapillas for dessert, and they looked reel good.  That restaurant has a guy with a little cart that comes around and if you want some Guacamole Dip, he makes it right there in front of your table, so you'll know that he didn't dump it out of a can in back.  We heard some people in the parking lot talking about that Guacamole, and they said it is the world's best Guacamole.  That's great, but none of us guys like the stuff, so we'll never find out, I guess.

July 21, 2003  We got up early and dropped Brian off at the establishment where he was to do his computer work and Jim, Gloria, Cathy, and a bunch of us guys headed for Santa Fe to do some sight seeing.  How's that for a fine arrangement, Brian has to work while the rest of us go and goof around?

We started at the Jackalope Store, which sells all sorts of weird things, mostly imported from Mexico and a lot of other countries.  We didn't spend any money there, on account of the fact that they also have a store near Denver, so when we're ready, we'll just go there and buy whatever it is that we happen to need at that time.  They have a lot of cool pictures on their website, so you ken jest click here to find out more about it: 
Jackalope Store

Loretto Chapel  After that it was starting to get hot, so we weAmazing staircase in the Loretto Chapelnt to find the Loretto Chapel, where they have a reel cool staircase that was built a long time ago by some unknown carpenter.  Rather than get into trubble, I'll jest put their website link here so you ken see the reel McCoy.  They said the stairs was made without any nails, and me and Ty crawled back behind it, where the dust bunnies hang out, and there was a little hole just big enough for me to get my head into, but it was too dark in there, so I have to report that I didn't see any nails, either.  Loretto Chapel 

By then it was getting toward mid afternoon, and we had gotten lost so many times and Jim was tired of setting off the cholesterol detectors all over the place, that we jest headed back for the motel in Espaņola.

That evening, after we picked Brian up, we went to dinner at another Mexican Restaurant, named Los Arcos, in Espaņola, and they also had reel good grub, but their sopapillas was a might shiny with too much grease, and they didn't puff up very good, so we jest had to glob the honey on and it dripped off and made a sticky mess, and us guys almost got sticky, so we didn't eat too many of them.

July 22, 2003  We dropped Brian off so he could work again, while the rest of us goofed off.  We headed for Bandelier National Monument, which is where early Indians used to live.  

Jim used to come here with his family when he was a kid, about 200 years ago, just after the Indians had left, cuz back then they used to let you camp there, where the picnic area is now.

Jim, Gloria, Cathy and I went on a hike along the trail that went out the back door of the Visitor Center in the park.  We saw lots of holes in the side of the cliff above the valley.  Back when the Indians discovered this place, they were looking for some new caves, and there had always been a severe cave shortage all around the world, due to the fact that wild animals would always take the best caves, then came the tough people who got the ones that were left over.

The people who lived here didn't want to cause any trubble, so they kept looking all over the place for a new cave.  When they got to BandDrawing of the hammer that the team of experts inventedelier, they found that there were a couple of little caves up in the side of the cliff, and by doing some experiments, they discovered that they could get a hard rock from down by the small creek that runs through the valley, and use it to break off pieces of the soft volcanic ash that the cliff was made of.  Then another feller invented a sharp rock, and pretty soon a team of experts emerged and they invented a handle for it, and they had a hammer that anybody could use to carve out their own cave.

Pretty soon there was caves all over the side of the cliff, like in picture 1, and that's when a different team of experts invented the ladder shown in picture 2 below.  Then at night they could pull the ladder up, or when somebuddy went on vacation, they could simply take the ladder along with them so nobuddy would break into their cave.  (They had to do this cuz doors and locks wasn't invented yet).  Picture 3 shows Sparky (that's me) and Cathy in a special cave that had that special pet door that I'm sitting in and several other holes in different rooms that were connected, kinda like an apartment.

Picture 4 shows me in a little pet cave.  I was thinking about using my pistol gun like a hammer and making it bigger, but it was kinda hot and we had to go and check out some more things.  That's when we saw the little squirrel in picture 5, and he was eating lunch.  Gloria got tired about a half mile from the Visitor Center, so she stayed on a nice cool bench down by the cute little creek, and Cathy, Jim and I went on to go and see the ceremonial cave at the end of the trail, about another half mile ahead.

Picture 6 shows Cathy at the top of the first of 4 reely big ladders that were too big for me to try to climb, and they was made out of logs and had splinters all over them, so Jim and I decided to stay behind and let Cathy go check it out for us.  Picture 7 shows the big cave that is at the top of all those ladders, and also up there is a little basement that they call a "Kiva," and that was probably where the old geezer Indians went to smoke their cigars and drink coffee.

Picture 8 shows the sign that reminded Jim that he didn't reely want to climb all those ladders.  Jim said he had climbed those ladders about 50 years ago, when he was a kid, and he still remembers those rickety ladders, and he also remembers what is up at the top, so he didn't need to do it again.

Sparky's Bandelier National Monument Photo Album

Holes where Indians lived
1. Holes where Indians lived
Sparky checking out old wooden ladder
2. Sparky checking ladder
Cathy & Sparky checking out Indian cave
3. Cathy & Sparky in cave
Sparky in a little cave he found
4. Sparky in secret little cave
Wild animal eating something he found
5. Wild squirrel eating
Cathy at the top of the first big ladder
6. Cathy on first Big Ladder
Top of the ladders at the Ceremonial Cave and Kiva
7. Cave at top of lots of Ladders
Sign that reminded Jim that he didn't really want to climb those ladders
8. Warning that kept Jim off

At the bottom of the valley, near the creek, there are some ruins of some stone shacks where some of the Indians lived.  Apparently, some of them started getting older and got tired of messing with ladders and digging caves in the side of the cliff, and probably even some of them got tired of falling out of bed in the middle of the night and getting hurt when they hit the ground, and they built the stone shacks that are mostly gone except for the foundations and a little bit of the walls.  It was also probably a real drag carrying firewood up those ladders, so that same team of experts invented doors and the roof and made the stone buildings on the ground.

If you want to know more about Bandelier, jest click below for more information.  Oh, yeah, whenever you're talking about Bandelier, especially when you're there, don't ask anything about the "Forest Service," or the lady in the Visitor Center will get reel mad at you like she did with Jim, and she'll keep telling you it's the "Park Service" that runs the place.

Bandelier National Monument 

That night we went back to Gabriel's for dinner and everybuddy ate the same thing all over again.  Us guys found a brand new sopapilla sitting on a picnic table just inside a fence that was next to the restaurant, so we squirted some honey all over it and had a reel feast, and didn't even get very sticky.  Jest when we got through the fence on our way back to the van, some yuppy guy with a cell phone came and sat down at that table, and called the waiter over, and told him that he needed to get another sopapilla, cuz it looked like some wild animals had made a horrible mess and ate most of it up!

He shouldn't have abandoned it if he still wanted to eat it!

July 23, 2003  Not much else exciting, we headed for home and got here about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Hard Working Bees
It has been estimated that it takes about 2,000 bee-hours to produce a single teaspoon of honey!
About Sopapillas

Sopapillas are often refered to as "Mexican Bread," and are little more than flour and water that has been cut into squares and deep fried, which, if the grease is at the correct temperature and all the other variables are correct, will result in the finished product being puffed up.

This allows honey to be put inside the hot pastry to help offset the burn of hot chilis.  Some cooks also apply powdered sugar to the outside.

There are no known pictures of sopapillas, because nobuddy has ever stopped eating long enough to take a picture, and by the time the idea pops to mind, they're usually all gone.

For more recipes, jest click below:

Sopapilla Recipes  

If you want to make your own Guacamole, there are about a zillion recipes that you can find on the internet through lots of websites.  Basically it is made up of smooshed avocados with whatever other ingredients you prefer.  Click on the link below to find more recipes than you ever thought there were:

Guacamole Recipes 

Cholesterol Detector

When we was looking fer one of the touristy things in the area, Jim decided to do what he reely hates to do...ask for directions.  Well, Jim didn't reely decide to ask for directions, Gloria decided for him.

Anyway, we pulled into a parking lot of the local clinic and he went inside.  Just inside the front door they had a Cholesterol Alarm, and since we all had been eating so much Mexican Food, including guacamole dip and those reel good taco chips and Sopapillas, all cooked in lard, Jim set off the alarm when he walked by the machine.

Right away, a doctor came over to him and tried to get him to go to the emergency room, so he scooted out of there reel fast and we found the place we was looking for the old fashioned way; we drove all over the place, then wound up finding something else that was even better, and had free parking.

The Fellers Who Went on This Exciting Trip

Left to Right: Ty, Hiram, Sparky, Sniffy, Lil Benny

Left to Right: Ty, Hiram, Sparky, Sniffy, Lil Benny.  The guys from Hiram's crew who went on the trip are shown above.

Ralph sitting in Sparky's corner

Some of Ralph's crew also went along, but we don't have a picture of all of them, so we'll just use Ralph's picture of him sitting in the corner until we find a picture of the rest of the travelers.

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