California, Here We Come!… Albuquerque, New Mexico

Just off I-40 West within sight of Route 66, Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post is worth a stop.


Originally known as the Hill Top Trading Post built in the late 1940s, the adobe style building did some crazy advertising to attract visitors: from a line of teepees on the roof, a stuffed bear at the door, and even a live burro wandering the parking lot. The property was converted into a campground in the early 1970s but many kitsch features remain on the property and in the building. Take a look at these vintage travel trailers! (from campground brochure)







The Trading Post is fun inside too. The campground staff are among the friendliest we have encountered. The gift shop is filled with jewelry, Route 66 mementos, and collectibles that are not for sale. Even the laundry room has old washing machines and a mangle on display.


Our RV site faces east toward the Sandia Mountains. Unfortunately Camping World obscures our view.


The good news about Camping World, however, is that Jeff can walk there and purchase a kink-free potable water hose, an inside/outside temperature guage for which he has a fettish (I think he secretly wants to be a meteorologist), and a membership to the Good Sam’s Club! We are now the proud owners of a telephone-book sized directory of every RV Campground that offers us a 10% discount because of our membership in Good Sam.

The Sandia Mountains

Their name means “watermelon” in Spanish and some say it refers to the color of the sides of the mountain when the sun sets.


Others reference the silhouette provided by the line of trees growing across the top resembling the rind of a watermelon.


The Sandia Indians offer another explanation. When the Spaniards came to this area in 1540 they thought the squash gourds growing on the mountains were watermelons. (from

The world’s second largest tramway, 2.7 miles, ascends over 4,000 feet in 15 minutes, carrying passengers to the top of the Sandias. Supposedly the longest aerial tramway is in Armenia. Crossing the Vorotan River George, the “Tatevi Trevor”, the Wings of Tatev, is some 3.5 miles long. (from

When my son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Jen, lived in Albuquerque we rode the tram at sunset and I witnessed the reddish pink color of watermelon bathing the sides of the edifice. Jen often ran on the trails atop of the mountain. When I visited, however, the trails were closed because of the severe threat of forest fires due to the heat and lack of substantial rain.

About Albuquerque

This largest city in New Mexico sits in the high desert in the northwest quadrant of the state.


The Sandia Mountains lie to the east and the Rio Grande River flows north and south through the city.      Photo  by C.C. Royal

Before the Spanish, Mexicans and colonists arrived here the Pueblo peoples populated and cultivated the area of the Rio Grande Valley as far back as 2,000 B.C. (from

It was founded in 1706 as a Spanish colony. Three explanations of how the city was named exist. The first supposition suggests that it was derived from the Latin “albus quercus” which means “white oak” and refers to the color of the cork oak trees of the region when their bark is removed. Wine bottle stoppers and flooring are produced from these evergreens. The second premise is based on the word “albaricoque” which means “apricot” in a northwestern dialect of Spain. Spanish settlers introduced the apricot to New Mexico and eventually planted trees from the seeds. Since an apricot tree grew nearby the Spanish settlers named their land “Ciudad de la Albaricoque.” Western pioneers could not pronounce the Spanish word correctly and the name morphed into “Albuquerque.” (

The third explanation is more historical. In 1706 King Philip of Spain gave his permission to establish a villa here on the banks of the Rio Grande River and beneath the mountains which provided both protection from and trade with the Native Americans living in the area. The governor of this new city named it “La Villa de Alburquerque” in honor of the Duke in Spain with the same name. Through time, and I am guessing spelling hassles, the first “r” was lost. (from

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