In Albuquerque, NM I visited the 2926 Restoration Project. The New Mexico Steam locomotive and Railroad Historical Society is restoring a steam engine that hit the tracks on May 17, 1944. It travelled 1,090,539 miles. It is being completely restored by volunteers and will be put back into service for excursions soon, we hope.
You can visit the restoration project on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1833 8th NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico. One of the members will give you a tour and explain what the restoration.
It is close to Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Try Cafe Azul for the best huevos rancheros with Hatch green chile – get the papitas, not the hash browns. BUT: the hot Hatch green chile may take you way out of your comfort zone. Remember you can always have it on the side.
In September there is always the model railroad exhibit at the state Fair. If you like New Mexico trains, ride the Amtrak, the Railrunner, and the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gage. At Christmas, take the Cumbres and Toltec through the snow.
You can see a video showing the history and restoration of 2926 on You Tube.
Learning something new is one of the most rewarding aspects of aging. (It may be the only one.) There are opportunities everywhere; near and far. You can learn anything and it can be much cheaper than learning as a kid. It is frequently free and usually you don’t have to sweat grades, tests or degrees. You are learning for the sake of learning; to keep your mind active, and to meet new people.
One of the most important things you need to learn is how to work your computer. (Remember, when I graduated from college, we all walked around with slide rules hanging off our belts.) Computer classes are available close to home; in my case the computer room at the North Valley Senior Center in Albuquerque, NM.
Using your computer, search for a class on-line, close to you, or in a place that you are about to visit. Click on any highlighted words to see some of my learning experiences, then adapt the search for what you are interested in.
1. Cooking School. Any time you are on vacation, consider a cooking school. My granddaughter and I learned to make Macarons in Paris. (The highlight of the trip.) I recently attended three cooking lessons on a Holland American cruise, and have taken cooking classes in Paris, New Orleans and San Francisco.
2. Meetup. This is Tampa, but you can search most any city. I attend one in Albuquerque on WordPress.
3. Habitat for Humanity. We have volunteered, after age 60, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Albuquerque and Macedonia. You learn about construction and about people. The people you are building for help on the job.
4. College. Most colleges have discounts for seniors. Google one near you. The University of New Mexico lets you take a class for $5 per credit hour if you are over 65, taking fewer than 6 hours and register. Parking is a pain, so get a senior bus pass.
5. Genealogy. Most towns have genealogy societies with free advice, lectures and access to computers and on-line genealogy services. Try Largo, Florida and Albuquerque, New Mexico; or just google your town plus genealogy. Take a road trip to discover your ancestors.
6. Community Colleges are always a good learning source for senior citizens. The are cheap, have interesting classes and you are around young people with different ideas. Central New Mexico Community College offers $5 per credit hour tuition if you are over 62. Again, learn how to use your computer and Google. A number of years ago, my 90 year-old father and I took early morning computer classes at CNM and then had breakfast together.
7. Oasis. this is a national lifelong learning adventure for older adults. A variety of classes that usually last for 2 or 3 hour. You can even teach one if you have some expertise. You can also learn about things that you don’t want anyone to know you are learning about, such as: Advance Planning: Avoiding Guardianship, an Albuquerque classes.
9. Senior Centers are a gold mine. Art, wood-working, book clubs, photography, computer centers, cell phone training, legal help, investment advice ……… In Albuquerque you have the choice of a large number and they have trips; such as a bus trip to the Crown Point Rug Auction, where you can buy hand-woven rugs from Native Americans on the Reservation. (If you go, pass up the meal on the bus and wait until you get to Crown Point and eat the Navajo Fry Bread and the Navajo Tacos that they sell.) Senior centers also offer breakfast for about $1.25 and coffee for 25 cents. Plus, there are free books that people donate.
THINK OLD! or at least think!
Habitat For Humanity in Macedonia!
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.
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:
On Sundays from 9-3, May 4 – Nov. 2, you can visit the Rail Yards Market near downtown Albuquerque, NM. The site is next to the tracks and is in a huge old Santa Fe Railway repair shop. The market has over one hundred vendors and artists. It draws thousands of people. Outside there is plenty of free parking and a line of food trucks.
Inside, which is free, you find artists, bakeries, local produce, music and crowds. Turn down your hearing aid.
Rail buffs, and most other people, especially those of us who can remember riding the train to college, will be fascinated by the interior of the Santa Fe Railway Repair Shop, now abandoned, waiting a new life, and used as the setting for a number of movies.
To learn more about the rail yards visit the City of Albuquerque web page.
Maybe you are looking for a second career in your retirement. Central New Mexico Community College in conjunction with the Street Food Institute offers a course in “Street Food.” Maybe you should apply. Visit Craigs List to find food trucks for sale.
The bottom line is that for a few hours on Sunday morning, you can’t go wrong, and you will see a part of American History. Drive through the surrounding streets and see “new town,” which came into being with the arrival of the rail road over a hundred years ago. Then compare it to “Old Town.”