So I had connections. When I was doing miniature shows in California, I’d become friends with an artist we called “The Bear” who did chip carving on his furniture pieces. He lived in Albuquerque, and he would say, “you always have a place to stay if you are ever in New Mexico”. He and his wife had been living in the South Valley of Albuquerque for thirty years in a 100 year old adobe house. The story I was told was that it was built by the Hubble’s of the Hubble Trading Post family in Arizona. It was my first, in-person experience with an adobe structure and all its character. Shaped like an H, half the home was fully plumbed and live-able while the other half was being used as storage.
When I arrived I was given the use of a little trailer out back while they prepared some space for me in their home. This was perfect as I needed some private time to “come back” from my wilderness experience in the Gila. Now the South Valley was not in the City of Albuquerque and still had that rural feeling. My friends would share tales of community gatherings in their old barn and how many families made their living from their homes. Bear and his family took me everywhere.
I went to my first Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and we waited in the cold dawn for Mass Ascension when all 300 Balloons hit the sky. They took me to Taos by the backroads, through the little Village of Penasco where Bear had taught the Village kids in a one room classroom. We did Old Town, Albuquerque and trips to the Sandia Mountains. And at dusk I was taken on old Route 66 that climbed West up out of the City where we parked and watched the City lights come on. They just shimmered in the dry desert air.