Weekend Rides Around Albuquerque–TinkerTown

28 09 2010

This will be a monthly feature that will discuss fun rides to take in and around Albuquerque. It will detail: route, stops, distances and hopefully have some nice photos.

The first day-trip is…



Next quote is taken from the Tinkertown site.

It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old-fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.Inside, the magic of animation takes over. The inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. Under the big top, diminutive circus performers challenge tigers and defy gravity while the Fat Lady fans herself and a polar bear teeters and totters.

Throughout, eccentric collections of Americana (wedding cake couples, antique tools, bullet pencils and much, much more) fill Tinkertown’s winding hallways. Otto the one-man-band and Esmerelda, the Fortune Teller, need only a quarter to play a tune or predict your future. Through a doorway and across a ramp waits a big-sized surprise: a 35′ antique wooden sailboat that braved a 10 year voyage around the world.

Ever a work in progress, Tinkertown is ready to inspire your imagination and awaken your creative spirit. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Anyhow, a fun little place to check out and spend an hour or two looking at some amazingly complex handmade puppets and cravings, folk art and strange stuff.

Fun and cheap. 3 bucks to get in. A few quarters to get your fortune, play a few songs, test your strength with Uncle Sam and such. Ask for the history from the gentleman working there. It is a short but informative talk.

And, on top of all that, it is a nice little ride to take on a weekend day. ESPECIALLY if you are riding on 2 wheels!! (or three…but that is a different post)

You can also do the trip by car….but why? 🙂

Ride Facts:

This is a fairly short and easy ride. It is also a ride that has many potential additional rides to lengthen the trip. Some of these extra rides are quite nice*.

If you start from Tramway and Central, it is about 15 miles to Tinkertown (so 30 miles round-trip). You should not need extra gear* or supplies for this trip.

The route will take you on well paved roads that are 35, 45 and 50 mph. This ride starts with slight rolling hills on Route 333 that become larger graded climbs and downgrades on Route 14. None of the hills are too hard and any scooter should be fine with them, though 50 cc scooters will be slow on some uphills.  If you are taking a 50 cc scooter, keep to the right hand lane on these hills as the climbs are at 45 and 50 mph and cars will want to pass slower scooters. Luckily these hilly parts are two lanes both ways.  150 cc  scooters or bigger and motorcycles will have no issues with this ride.

There is gas at the beginning of the ride, and will also be gas along the route. No scooters or motorcycles should have to fill up along the way though as the ride is not very long.

Stops: There are no real stops on this trip, but at the halfway point you can hit Molly’s on the way back for a bite or a beer. It is a seedy little restaurant and bar…but those are my favorite :). Molly’s is package sales only on Sunday.



We start at Central and Tramway.

We usually meet there so people can gas up and grab a bite to eat before taking off (no food at Tinkertown, but you can grab a soda there….just remember to leave them the glass bottle, they use them to make all the walls at Tinkertown).

But we aren’t there yet…as a matter of fact we haven’t left Albuquerque yet….

So a nice way to start would be with a “meet and eat” at Einstein Bros Bagels on Central and Tramway. It’s the start of the ride and a good place to meet up with everyone that is going.

Riding alone? That’s fine too, but really call around and get a group…Group riding is much more fun. And TINKERTOWN screams out to be explored with friends.

Now if you have a name like Einstein Bros, perhaps you should embrace the whole “Hey, we’re smart” thing a bit with some better proofreading…

Our parking site, I think? How did that song from the 60’s go? “I don’t want a pickle, just want to ride on my motor cicle.”

Anyways….From there, once gas tank is full and belly is satiated, time to take off.

It is really a simple ride. And very pretty as you will be traveling first in the canyon between the Sandia and Manzano Mountains. And then riding along the east side of the Sandia mountain. Very green and nice clean mountain air. Traffic is usually light.

Directions: finally 🙂

Start by going straight east on Central, which becomes rt 333 (this is the I-40 Frontage Road). Take that pretty rolling road for 6.5 miles till you get to Tijeras and then turn left onto Route 14.

Route 14 is a bit faster and a fair amount hillier. Take that about 6 miles till you get to the turn for the Sandia Peak and Sandia Ski area. This will be Sandia Crest Road. Turn left and go about 1.2 miles to TINKERTOWN. Turn left and park and have fun.

This photo from The Kid…I took one too, but his was nicer so I stole it off his facebook page.

After seeing the crafts and folk art, watching the humming birds fight over the best feeding spot and checking out the gift shop, it is time to head back.

Easy enough, just turn around and head back the way you came. Leaving TINKERTOWN, turn right onto Sandia Crest Road and start back…..Or


*Better yet, take a quick ride up to the top of Sandia Peak.

Leaving TINKERTOWN, turn left. This will be an additional 12 miles or so each way. Fairly steep with lots of switchbacks, still it is a very doable ride on a well paved road. Watch for Bicyclist and also for Deer–the time I rode my bicycle up the mountain a deer come out of the woods right in front of me.

This ride is very green with huge Pines and has nice views of the city from the top of the mountain. It is also a  good place to take a short hike on some well marked trails.

(again, watch for Deer. **Funny and slightly embarrassing, but once on a hike at the Peak I saw a young deer, less than a year old, with its mother. I was with my wife and kids and I told them to keep on the trail and head back to the car, but I was going to try to get a closer photo of the deer and mom. That I would catch up to them on the way back to the parking lot in just a minute or two. So I move a bit close to take a photo…move a bit closer…a bit closer…till I must have hit the enough point for mom and she comes charging at me…FAST. Crazy eyes and making a weird bleating noise I didn’t know deers made (or perhaps that was me).  I will admit I ran like mad the opposite direction.  Seeing the family up ahead I start yelling, “Run kids, run….The Deer is chasing me….” Of course by that time the deer had stopped and I just looked like a crazy fool running down the path. I really think I impressed the family that day with my masculinity. 🙂  “Dad, tell us again how you ran and ran from that ferocious animal. What animal was that again? Oh yeah, the highly dangerous doe. Run dad run, Bambi is going to get you”   Sigh.)

Remember to take the correct clothing, it is usually 20 degrees colder at the peak than in the city.

The peak ride is a must add-on for anybody from out-of-state visiting the area. Free Parking at the top and you can get a bite to eat at the cafe or some semi fine dining at the High Finance Restaurant.


Remember to drink water. And use sun screen if you are doing a hike…the sun is strong at 10, 678 feet.

Other additional rides are taking Route 14 north to Madrid or even all the way to Santa Fe…but that will be a post for another day 🙂

Route 14 between the Crest road and all the way to Santa Fe is very twisty and pretty and fun. A must ride for any motorcycle or scooter rider looking for a fun day taking a ride around Albuquerque.





3 responses

28 09 2010

Some great shots but my favorite was the one of the Emmet Kellys.

28 09 2010

Yes…the progression of both the eyes (looking ahead but slightly up, looking ahead by slightly down, looking down) along with the size getting progressively smaller with each one, was strangely powerful. Not sure it was intentional, but very strong.

5 09 2012

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