Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tinkertown Museum and Sandia Crest

We’re staying this week at Leisure Mountain RV Park in Tijeras, New Mexico, just east of Albuquerque and at the starting point of the “Turquoise Trail”. 

Leisure Mountain

 A tight squeeze but it fit!


We spent our first couple of days getting some laundry done, and grocery shopping, and Tom found somebody to put new brakes on the car (that turned into an all-day job!) . . .

Getting the brakes changed

so by the time Wednesday rolled around, we were ready to do some exploring.  It was fairly early in the afternoon when the boys finished school and I was done with work, so we decided to take a drive on the Turquoise Trail.  It was a nice clear afternoon, so a good day to drive to Sandia Crest, in the Cibola National Forest.

The Drive to Sandia Peak

About a mile into the drive, we came across the Tinkertown Museum.

Tinkertown Museum

The folkart museum started out as a collection of carved figurines created by Ross Ward.  DSC_0020

He spent 40 years creating all of the miniature exhibits, and used to travel to county fairs to display them.  Eventually, a 22-room museum was built on his property to house all of his creations, as well as various collections.


Flowers in the window

We bought our tickets and received a quarter to start the music box.

Music Box

 The first corridor we walked down contained many of Ross Ward’s miniature carvings, which are all really detailed.

General Store

Delivery Wagon







Blacksmith Shop


Barber Shop









Indian Trading Post

Each display had a portion of it that was animated by pushing a button at the front of the display.  We could definitely see how these would have taken 40 years to complete – we were amazed by the detail included in each!


There were some life-size carvings, as well, and I thought these clown were incredibly realistic-looking!









What's Bryce's career going to be?

The museum also includes several 25 cent machines to analyze your personality, predict your career, and tell your fortune.

Personality Test

Nicolas and Bryce enjoyed trying those out, and used up the rest of my laundry quarters! 

Many of the walls of the museum are constructed from old bottles, and it’s really amazing to see.

Bottle Walls

Sunlight through the bottles

They really look cool with the sun shining through them!


Everywhere we looked was a collection of something – toys, knives, tools, dishes, license plates . . .


even horseshoes.


On our way out, we stopped in the Fortune Telling Parlor,

Fortune Teller

to have our fortunes told by Grandma Esmerelda.

Nicolas waiting for his fortune

Nicolas was skeptical, but the fortunes we each received (circa 1944) were actually kindof accurate . . . and funny!

From Nicolas’ fortune:  “ . . . You have fine taste in clothes, and this has caused many people to envy you.”

From Bryce’s fortune:  “ . . . Your charm and your sense of humor is always a source of joy to those who surround you.”

and from my fortune:  “ . . . You love a beautiful home and one of these days you will be in possession of one.” LOL!

The Mother Road

We exited through the Gift Shop (just like Disney!), where they have lots of fun Route 66 merchandise and silly gifts, but didn’t see anything we needed to buy.

Happy trails to you!

This was a really fun little museum, and definitely worth stopping at if you are in the area!

Good Motto

From Tinkertown, we continued on up the Sandia Crest Road, admiring the views along the way.

Sandia Mountains

We passed by the Sandia Ski Resort,

Ski Sandia

and continued to climb until we reached the crest at 10,678 feet.  As we got closer to the top, we even started to see patches of snow in the woods!

Snow on the mountains

From the surrounding area, the crest is easy to identify by the collection of radio towers located there.

Radio Towers at the peak

We walked up the short path to the overlook . . . and discovered that it was really windy and cold up there!

Cold at the peak!

Brotherly Love!










To the west, we could see all of Albuquerque,


and to the east, the Sandia Mountains.

Sandia Mountains

According to the sign at the crest, the Native Americans named the mountains Sandia, which means watermelon, because the setting sun makes the mountains appear the color of watermelon.

Sun coming through the clouds










There was a short trail along the ridgeline, but we decided that it was just too cold for a hike!  Back in the car, we started down the mountain . . . Tom was taking it easy on the new brakes, but they definitely got a workout!

Birch Trees

There were lots of these trees along the road – they looked to me like birch trees, but the bark had a bit of a greenish tinge to it.  They were really pretty!






We almost got surprised by these guys as we came around a corner!


Mule Deer

We reached the bottom without any detrimental affect on the brakes, and went back to the RV park to make dinner.  It was a nice little afternoon drive!

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