VISIT THE “OLD MAIN” NEW MEXICO PRISON – Scene of 1980 Prison Riot

In 1980 there was a prison riot in Santa Fe, New Mexico that resulted in the deaths of 33 inmates and the destruction of the New Mexico State Penitentiary. Since then a new prison has been built next to the remains of “Old Main.”
The New Mexico Department of Corrections conducts tours of Old Main at the New Mexico Prison in Santa Fe. I took the tour in 2012. The tour took about two hours.
“Old Main” was virtually destroyed and 33 inmates were murdered.
Tours are conducted for part of the year. The goal is to raise money for a museum; however, nothing seems to have happened in the last five years.
If you want tickets for the  Tour, click here; however, as of the date of posting this post, no tours are being offered. They may be offered again in 2018.
If you want to read about the 1980 prison riot, click here.
This is out of my comfort zone; but something we should be aware of.

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Strings of New Mexico red chiles for sale at The Albuquerque Rail Yard Market in October.

A Railyard mosaic.



Every Sunday from May through October, the old rail yard in Albuquerque, New Mexico becomes The Rail Yard Market,  home to food and local arts and crafts. There are food trucks and a variety of food, both fresh and prepared, at stalls inside the old train yard. The yard, complete with roundhouse was the hub of Albuquerque’s new town beginning in the late 1800’s.

Today it is largely abandoned and waiting redevelopment.

Rail buffs will be fascinated by the huge interiors alongside the tracks that still serve Amtrak, the New Mexico Rail Runner and numerous freight trains.

After visiting The Rail Yard Market, catch the Rail Runner to Santa Fe or Belen for more of historic New Mexico.

The Wheels Museum is also located on the premises.



                                                          Sopapillas at Rancho de Chimayo  in Chimayo, NM

New Mexico is full of small out-of-the-way interesting places. Chimayo and Truchas in Northern New Mexico  doesn’t really qualify as travel since Truchas is only about 130 miles from my home; however, it is worth discovering since it about 50 miles North of Santa Fe, a popular tourist destination.

Truchas is home to about 1200 people and dates to around 1750. Chimayo has about  3000 people and the Catholic Church, El Santuario de Chimayó, is the goal of Good Friday pilgrimages. It is known for its weavers, the Chuch, which is a National Historic Landmark, artists and Rancho de Chimayo, a great restaurant.

A friend’s art exhibition took us to Truchas one Sunday; and since we were in the neighborhood, we couldn’t pass up the restaurant in  Chimayo, always crowded and always good. The food is traditional Northern New Mexico.

Courtyard and entrance of Rancho de Chimayo


Statue at the entrance of Rancho de Chimayo


Courtyard dining room at Rancho de Chimayo

Rancho de Chimayo has been around for more than fifty years; is a James Beard Award Winner; and, Florence Jaramillo, the owner, recently received the New Mexico Woman Restaurateur of the Year Award.

For me, you can’t beat the Huevos Rancheros. (Two eggs on a corn tortilla topped with cheese and your choice of red or green vegetarian chile. Served with refried beans and rice.) I usually have the green chile; however, the Christmas is good. (Red and green chile mixed.) And, of course, I think the Chile comes from Hatch, New Mexico, the chile capital of the world.

The rest of the menu is equally  good and is topped  off with the sopapillas with New Mexico honey.

Never miss a chance to stray from the beaten path.



GROWERS’ MARKETS – A source for traveling seniors!

If you are traveling to Albuquerque you should visit the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market on Saturday morning.

The growers’ market is a weekly event, though many towns have different markets on different days.

In Albuquerque, there are several, but my favorite is the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market on North Rio Grande. There are farmers (maybe urban) selling peaches, onions, beets, berries, etc. There are also a number of bakers and several vendors of meats. The mix changes weekly and what is offered changes as crops are  picked. Always fresh, never shipped in.

There are also dozens of  local crafts people  selling jewelry, hats, canes, clothing, etc. Almost anything someone could make at home; especially if they are old and retired.  A number of our friends have set up sales tents to sell things they have made. You might even want to consider a new career. Want to sell hats?

Take a look at Hat Academy to learn how. You don’t just have to be a buyer; you can also be a seller. The same goes for any other craft. If nothing else, these markets are a source of creative ideas.

Some of the stands at the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market.

The best part for me is the food. I always stop for a breakfast burrito. For $4.00 I get the # 1 which is a large tortilla filled with eggs, potatoes, crisp bacon and Hatch green chile. Another dollar gets me a cup of coffee and there is a table and a few chairs where I can sit and watch the people go by.

I know that it sounds strange to go to a growers’ market when you are travelling, but it is an interesting bit of local lore and even when you are on the road you need to eat and you may want some fruit to tide you over. I have been to such markets in Taos, Tucson, Waynesville, NC,  Washington, DC; not to mention Bulgaria, Armenia and Belgrade. Each has been an interesting experience.

How to find a growers’ market near you; wherever you may be:


“growers’ market”+City

“growers’ market”+Albuquerque

















On a Rick Steves’ tour to Ireland a few years ago, we visited a working sheep ranch and watched the dogs herd flocks of sheep following whistled commands from the sheep herder.

The Kissane Sheep Farm  is located in Moll’s Gap, Kenmare, County Ireland, Ireland. It is 7 Euros for an adult to watch the dogs and the shearers in action. You can also adopt a sheep, but if you want to take it home, you have to buy it and put up with an enormous amount of red tape. Better to adopt one in the name of a grandchild.

In addition we were able to watch expert shearers shear one of the sheep:

Irish sheep shearer working on a sheep.

I like Rick Steves’ tours because they always include something new; something beyond museums and restaurants; and, something that I know nothing about.  I wanted to replicate the experience when I returned to New Mexico.

Searching in my own backyard, I discovered the New Mexico Herding Dog Association and on Saturday, May 13, 2017 we went to one of its events on the New Mexico State Fair Grounds.

This was the herding instinct test in which herding dogs, as classified by the American Kennel Club, and which have no experience with sheep, are tested to see if they like sheep, with three sheep. Mixed results. A fascinating new sub-culture to me, and one close to home.

Sheep Dog at Herding Instinct Test in Albuquerque, NM


New Mexico Herding Dog Association – Herding Instinct Test

Trained Sheep Dog herding sheep into arena for Herding Instinct Test

Sheep Dog that has never seen sheep before being tested.

A variety of breeds tried to maneuver three sheep while their owners urged them on. At first the dogs didn’t do much, but after watching the owners race about herding the sheep, the dogs got the idea,  and tried it themselves.

About 40 sheep were kept in pens and were maneuvered about by a trained sheep dog which efficiently moved them from pen to pen and then into the arena where the test took place. The trained dog then sat quietly and watched from an adjoining arena.

The next step is to visit the FTB Ranch in Mountainair, NM and watch more events.

If interested you can search for events in your state on Google.

Search terms: State+herding dogs

ie Utah+herding dogs




MEETUP – social networking for seniors; and, everyone else-

Meetup is a social networking group based on common interests. You locate a site near you, or near where you will be, by going to and inserting your zip code or city. You can then find groups that have the same interest as you. You can sign up, go to the meetings and enjoy what they have to offer.

The Meetup in Albuquerque includes one on blogging using WordPress which I joined. It meets weekly and while it has over 800 members there are usually only 5 – 10 there. The meetings are either “work-a-longs where you can get expert help with your blog for free; or sessions with speakers on various blogging topics; including photography.

The work-a-longs are very good if you are trying to learn something new and need help. I can get quick, knowledgeable help on my blog problems from people who are expert in the field. The meetings last up to two hours and are always useful.

Meetups are not limited to blogging; they are for any thing people are interested in; including, dancing, languages, travel, art, cooking, or you can even start your own. They cost nothing for the participant, and about $10 a month for the sponsor. You could even start one on how to live as an old person.

When traveling, look for Meetups where you will be. Just plug-in the new zip code or name of town and see  what you get.


Google: +city, state

For example: Since I am going to Huntington, NY:

Google: +Huntington, NY

and the result is: a list of  Meetups around Huntington, NY, including, hiking, food, photography, sailing, widows and widowers, etc. There is no shortage of Meetups, including 25 on writing; none on blogging and one on WordPress, which costs $6.

You should Google: +name of town

They are worth considering.




SENIOR CENTER BULLETIN BOARDS – a source for travelers!

Whenever I go to a new senior center, I peruse the bulletin board; a source of classes, events and TRIPS! In the first six months of 2017, the Albuquerque Senior Centers offer 106 trips; both day trips and overnight trips.  A sampling of the trips includes: Albuquerque Police Museum, Albuquerque Balloon Museum, Indian Pueblo cultural Center, Santuario de Chimayo (A pilgrimage site known for its healing powers), Hollywick Farms: Working Alpaca Farm, Christ In The Desert (2 days/nights at a monastery), Sky City Cultural Center & Haak’u Museum, Albuquerque Publishing Company, Santa Fe Opera, and numerous Theater trips. Most are free, plus a small transportation cost. The most expensive is Christ In the Desert, which is $176 double occupancy which includes transportation and meals.

Vacations can be boring; especially if you are old and the swim suit doesn’t really fit, the sun is too hot, and you miss your routine. Trips to see grandchildren are even worse, as the kids are working and the grandkids are in school and you can’t figure out how to work the TV. The solution is probably near; the senior center.

Every town has a senior center of some sort; and, every senior center has a bulletin board, a news letter, a web page, or some source of information for seniors. Many also have free book exchanges, classes, and most importantly trips.

The trips can take you to interesting places that you might not otherwise be able to get to. The trips are free or reasonable. The only downside is that you may not  be willing to admit that you want to spend your time hanging out with a bunch of old people.

Plan in advance. Look at the on-line Activities Catalog and call or e-mail the senior center that you are interested in to make sure that you can take the trips as a non-member. You can probably use the center as a guest, but  the trips may be another matter; if nothing else, you can probably join using your kid’s address and paying $13 for an annual membership.

In addition to the events, classes, and trips that you find on the bulletin board, you might also be interested in computer classes and working out. All are available plus a card room, pool room with four pool tables and a large dining hall where you can get breakfast for $1.50 plus 30 cents for coffee. Admittedly this is the senior center close to my home in Albuquerque, but most that I have been have similar  facilities.

Albuquerque does not have reciprocity, but if you are from out-of-state, you can use the facilities as a short-term guest.

Check the Activities Catalog and see what trips are available and attempt to sign up for those in advance, so that when you arrive everything is taken care of. I suppose if they insist on a card, you could use your local address, pay $13 for an annual membership and take the trip. At  your age you should go for it.



Google: name of town +senior center

For example: Albuquerque +Senior Centers

leads to:  Senior and Multigenerational Centers

I am going to Huntington, NY in  June, so I googled: Huntington NY +Senior Center and got:

Huntington Senior Centers trips

The Huntington web site indicates that it may be limited to Huntington residents, but check on reciprocity, ask to go as a guest, or join using a local address. Bring your local senior center membership card.





If you visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, a visit to Tesuque Glass Works will provide an interesting experience; perhaps even better than the tours of the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York, since at Tesuque, you are closer to the action.

You can watch expert glass blowers turning out works of art, which are for sale.

If you arrange for it in advance, you can also take classes and blow your own creation. For classes contact:​
Corning also has classes in glass making.
Tesuque is located six miles North of Santa Fe on Bishops Lodge Road.



VOTING BY OLD PEOPLE – Keep it simple – registration and the absentee ballot

Voting was simple when you were young. Now that you are old it can become more complex. It can even be stressful. You have to register; you have to remember election day; you have to get yourself to the polling place; you have to wait in line; and, you are aware of the people lined up behind you as you try to read a ballot with small print – and, you forgot your magnifying glass. In addition, you don’t really know who or what  to vote for. The language of issues on ballots make no sense.

People who  are over 65 seem to turn out to vote more than other age groups, but the percentage was still only about 45% in the last election.

For old people, voting is important. Politicians are constantly looking at Social Security, Medicare and the Older Americans Act. If you don’t vote, you have no one but yourself to blame for what happens. You are part of a major voting block. You need to make your wishes and the wishes of other old people known.

There are five  simple steps to voting when old. I will use New Mexico where I live. I will give you key words, so that you and your grand-kid can search out the rules in your state. There are no old age voting  requirements that I am aware of. If you have been adjudicated incompetent, you will have a problem. If you have been convicted of a crime you may have a problem.

The goal is to vote at home, take your time and not feel stressed.

  1. Register – by mail if you can. If not, find out how to do it in your state or call the party you support. They will help you. Make sure that you have the necessary identification.

    NM mail-in voter registration form.

    NM mail-in voter registration form.

  2. Identify  the candidates and issues. Check the newspapers for a list of candidates and issues. Or, go on-line.
  3. Find someone whom you trust to help you, if necessary. Just make sure that it is you that is voting, and not someone else.
  4. Order an absentee ballot – You can download the ballot in NM and then just send it in.
  5.  Vote at your leisure and mail in your ballot to the county clerk for your county.

Finally encourage all the old people you know to do the same. At the assisted living facility, get the ombudsman to help you if your kids or friends can’t.

The important thing is to vote. You are part of a vulnerable class of voters; and, your rights will be at stake.

Search in your state:

“voter registration +name of state”

i.e. voter registration  form + Arizona

“absentee voting +name of state”

i.e. absentee voting + Texas

Note that registration and absentee balloting differ by states, so check yours out. Check out the competency requirements and the deadlines.



ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS – 10 sites for seniors

ADULT EDUCATION is the best part of aging. Whether for pleasure or to understand your daily activities, you need to make use of the sources available to seniors. An added bonus is that most aging studies encourage you to keep your mind active and to be involved. This does not mean TV; this means developing an interest, searching out the sources  and gaining expertise,i

This blog was written as part of a University of New Mexico Continuing Education six-week course.

Adult education,

UNM Blogging Classroom

The course is: Blogging Your Way to Writing Success. It met once a week for two hours and was taught by an excellent instructor who is a professional blogger, journalist and writer. The cost is $75 and it meets during the day so you don’t have to worry about driving after dark. Parking is easy. The students are my age or a bit younger. It is a non-threatening course.

What other courses are there for old people? The following list is a list of courses in or near Albuquerque.  If you click on the underlined word, you go to the web site for Albuquerque. Use the “search” terms to find classes near you; or make up your own search terms. Every town has classes, even if it is only the Historical Society of  Villisca, Iowa. Any town you visit can give you a learning experience.

Either click on the underlined word/s or search the words listed.

  1. Oasis    Search: + your town
  2. Osher   Search:     Osher + your town
  3. UNM Continuing Education   – Search: Community colleges or continuing education + your town
  4. University of New Mexico  – Search: College or university + your town
  5. Coursera  – Search:
  6. National Parks  New Mexico – Search: National Parks – lectures or classes + name of park
  7. Albuquerque Public Library  – Search: Library + town
  8. Meet up  – Search:  Meetup + town
  9. Groups like genealogy society, camera clubs, historical societies, Friends of the Camino de Santiago etc – Search:  key word + your town.
  10. Senior Classes – Albuquerque  – Search: senior classes + your town.

Drop by any senior center for a list of their classes, trips, books, cheap food and information.

This is only a short list. The trick is to search the name of the town and what you are interested in.

This is how you should live and travel.