Playing Tourist

 Posted by at 2:07 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 092013

Does the wind ever stop blowing in New Mexico? We’ve been here nearly two weeks now and it seems like every day has been windy. Sometimes just a stiff breeze, but more often really blowing around out there. I’m really hoping it dies down before we get on the road next week. Driving a 40 foot motorhome in the wind is no fun at all!

After spending yesterday morning checking and answering e-mail, we spent the afternoon playing tourist. We took a ride to the Tinkertown Museum, which is billed as New Mexico’s premiere folk art museum. Several readers had suggested we go there and I’m glad they did. This place was amazing!


The lifework of artist Ross Ward, who spent over 40 years carving, collecting, and building Tinkertown, it will delight the child inside of everyone who visits, no matter their age. Ward used over 50,000 glass bottles to build a maze-like 22-room attraction that houses a fascinating collection of antiques and memorabilia, including old coin operated sideshow machines like Otto the One-Man-Band and Esmerelda the Fortune Teller. Drop a quarter in the coin slot and they come to life.



Most fascinating are the thousands of animated miniature wood carved figures arranged in hilarious scenes. One diorama is an Old West town, another is a circus complete with trained tigers and acrobats, yet another is a spooky Boot Hill, complete with dancing skeletons. The figures were originally part of a traveling exhibit that appeared at county fairs and carnivals across the country in the 1960s and 1970s.



There are also collections of antique tools, wedding cake figurines, old toys and dolls. Even a neat old 35 foot long wooden sailboat that Ward’s brother-in-law spent ten years sailing around the world in!

Outside there are Old West storefronts, metal sculptures from trash and castoff farm machinery and more. One of the many signs in the museum pretty much sums it all up with a quote by Thomas Edison, “Invention consists of imagination and a scrap heap.”



We will have a feature story on the Tinkertown Museum in a future issue of the Gypsy Journal.

When we left Tinkertown, we drove into Albuquerque because I wanted to stop at a Verizon store and see what was involved in cancelling our contract on our 4G mifi, which has never performed to Verizon’s promises or our expectations. But as it turns out, while we could upgrade to a new device this month, the two year contract is not actually up until October. The nice young man at the store was very eager to convince me that I just needed to upgrade to their latest whiz bang mifi device and my world would be wonderful, but while I was born early in the morning, it wasn’t yesterday morning! Fool me once, shame on you, fool , me twice, shame on me. He also tried very hard to convince me that I wanted to upgrade our total plan, which includes our old and reliable unlimited 3G air card and unlimited telephone plan for something new. Again, fool me once, shame on you, fool, me twice…

By then we were hungry, and a Yelp search took us down the street a couple of blocks to a little family owned restaurant called La Salita, where Terry and I agree that we just had the best Mexican dinner of our lives. Terry admits she’s a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food, living in Arizona most of her adult life, and she said her chile relleno was the best she has ever had. I had the pork (carne) adovada burrito smothered in cheese. Delicious! This place definitely gets added to our Favorite Restaurants guide! And the owner said that if any of our readers stop in and mention the Gypsy Journal, they’ll give you free chile con queso with your tortilla chips. What a deal!

I’m not sure what today holds for us. We may play tourist some more, or we may stay home so Terry can get some weaving done and I can write. It’s nice not having anything we have to do or anyplace we have to be.

Thought For The Day – I know the voices in my head aren’t real, but they do come up with some really cool ideas!

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Nick Russell

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  14 Responses to “Playing Tourist”

  1. I’m so glad you liked Tinkertown. I have a lot of respect and admiration for people like Ross Ward who set out to create something amazing for the sheer joy of creation. We’ve visited a lot of quirky places in our travels and Tinkertown is definitely at the top of my list of favorites. Thanks for the great pictures. We’re probably going to visit it again soon.

    I heard of a place today in New Mexico that might be of interest to Terry. It’s an Alpaca farm just north of Las Vegas near the town of Mora. The story I read about it said they had a little store there that has an amazing collection of wool and yarn. It’s a little far from where you are now but, if you decide to take 25 out of New Mexico, it might be worth a little side trip.

  2. Pam, we’ll be visiting Mora when we leave this area. Terry’s been looking forward to it.

  3. Nick, DO NOT ! give up your unlimited 3g air card . We had one loved it not Verizon, when my wife passed away, all I wanted to do was switch the bill from being in her name to mine, was on auto pay, never late, had been with them for years. They told me had to do a new contract, new account, said nothing would change, yeah sure, 1st thing to go was the unlimited airtime, got the next bill, and called them up, explained that I had said if they changed what I had was going to drop them, So was told that they would change it back to my unlimited, well got the next bill still no change back, called them and told me had been denied, but did they call me and let me know, Ok so now I told them they had 30 days to get it back to the old air card with unlimited or was closing that account. So now I started looking for another internet connection. When the next bill comes still no change ,called up and told them to stop service, The person who I was talking to says wait they can fix it for me and make it all good, said no thanks have been lied to twice already, have had it with them, probably close to 20 years of using them, The real kicker was the credit card that was in my wife’s name didn’t get canceled like I thought it had , and was still a good number till sometime in 2015. so make sure both of your names are on the account. Read this article that they really just don’t care about pissing off their customers, because they know that for most of us just don’t want to go through the hassle of changing our phone carriers, so we get upset, but stay with them anyway. Dave

  4. Nick,

    I do not know what is wrong with your MiFi as we have a MiFi4620L that really works. We are getting download speeds of 52 Mb/s and uploads of 12 Mb/s in Medora, ND and in Florence, AZ we get download speeds of around 15 Mb/s and uploads of 6 Mb/s all depending upon network load of course. The other advantage is that it allows all seven of our devices to connect at the same time when we are in 4G service areas and five when we are in 3G service areas.

  5. I agree with Greg V. Our 4620L Jetpack 4G is working great. Has been since I upgraded to it last year. Also our Macs are all performing perfectly. I think you must be jinxed, Nick.

    — jc

  6. I have a Verizon 890L 4G mifi that has worked great since I got it on 12/31/12.

  7. We toured the New Mexico State Parks a few years back and it was windy every afternoon for 5 1/2 months. Instead of having afternoon “circle” ie: happy hour we had rectangles inside the utility trailer we had then.

  8. I could spend all day at that museum. Thanks for telling us about it.

  9. They tried everything to get me to keep my Verizon mifi 4G and I told them to stick it. It gave me problems the first week and every day for the next 2 years. And everywhere I went I got the same BS answer you did, they were upgrading service in that area. They replaced it twice and still junk. Now I use a Millenicom 4G air card thing which uses Version signal but gives me 20 gig for what I was paying Verizon for 10.

  10. Do not miss Cervantes Restaurant for great New Mexican food. We will not miss it if we are ever close to the area.

  11. Nick,
    Thank you for the tip on La Salita restaurant. We lives less than a mile away and have never been there. We most definitely will eat there this week!

    So happy you and Miss Terry enjoyed Tinkertown. It’s a magical place

  12. Regarding the wind, why do all RV’ers use solar power rather than wind power. On our sailboat we had a wind generator fastened to the stern rail. I can vision the same unit attached to the rear ladder on an RV. There is always wind, 24/7 and only sun for 12 hrs/7 if not cloudy.

  13. Bill McKibbon, what wind generator was it that you had on your sail boat? Thanks.

  14. The chile relleno at la salita is the best and is on “Our Favorite Things – Food” on our blog, How to Love Where You Are and Eat Where the Locals Eat,

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