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Day 7, Friday, May 26, 2017:
Santa Rosa, New Mexico -> I-40 Trading Posts -> Moriarty -> Alburuerque, New Mexico

The Santa Rosa morning was clear and fresh. Leaving town we got a few more choice photo's before leaving this town. Of the Route 66 stops we made over the years Santa Rosa is top shelf in iconic content. This section of road for the most part has not seen redevelopment and in the moderate climate places stand for a long time.

We took a deeper dive into the side village. While there we ran up the road to the Blue Hole, the regions premier scuba diving destination. Open water is scarce in this desert climate making this a destination for most of the state. The spring fed sinkhole is known for a constant 62 Fahrenheit temperature and 100 foot visibility. Part of me wished I had planned to dive there but knowing how that goes it would have ended up being most, if not all of a day start to finish. The hole is about the size of a small pond at home. It is also has facilities for general water recreation. This body of water was also an important stop for travelers heading west.

Heading out of Santa Rosa a significant section of Route 66 was buried under I-40 making for some open highway driving. Fortunately this was not to be the typical monotonous drive down the interstate. Rest areas consisted of Fuel stations associated with gift shops or trading posts, notably the "Flying C Ranch" and "Clines Corners". These places have a ridiculous assortment of merchandise to memorialize your visit regardless of what your interest is. What makes them real fun is the hype that surrounds them. About 10 miles before you get there the billboards start. Each hyping something you just need to have or a treat you can't resist. They number close to two dozen, maybe more. Of course after you pass there are a few more that thank you for stopping.

We turned off at Moriarty for great adventures. At the exit ramp we spotted the "ZIA RV Park & Campground, You're Home on the Range". It's overgrown and has been closed for years but there was still a lot of visible detail. It's still listed in some online camping guides!

The longhorn ranch looked down and gone but the Sunset motel was bright, crisp, vintage and open. Then there was "Club 203" in a big windowless log cabin style building with totem poles flanking the entrance. I had to wonder what went on in there. Searching the internet some ghost information remains telling that Club 203 is a wild cross between a country bar & strip club catering to truckers.

Just down the road was a nicely restored Whiting Brothers filling station. In bright white, yellow and red it is the station is the last in operation.

The good news is that Moriarty is at the junction of I-40 and NM-41 and the west end of town seems to be thriving supporting that traffic. We decided to have lunch at Shorty's Bar-B-Que. We found an address in Yelp and plugged it into the GPS and headed out of town, 10 miles, up a dirt road to the drivevay of a house. Lorna then found a review mentioning the bogus address. We drove back into Moriarty, cruised the main drag and there it was. We had passed it earlier before it became our destination. It seemed like a nice family operation and the sandwiches were good. The town even had a cool water tower highlighting the Pintos, probably the local school mascot. I spotted a number of other classic motels looking neat and active. Pete's Bar didn't fare so well.

This led to the 1934 - 1949 alignment of Route 66. Between Edgewood and Moriarty the Midway Trading Post offering Indian Curios was overgrown but in surprisingly bright paint. It had been closed in the 1980's but starting in 2013 local organizations have been sprucing it up. Over time they hope to build it into more of an atraction. There were a few more remnants like the mountain lodge sign with a roping neon cowboy. There were some other 66 places but 1949 as a long time ago.

By late afternoon we arrived at our Best Western room in Albuquerque. We took some time to relax which was nice. We were a few blocks from Old Town Albuquerque and walked down around 6:00. This is a historic area of about 10 blocks of restored buildings including an open green plaza. Some blocks are street fronts, others are a labyrinth of paths connecting shops, eateries and other businesses. We ended up eating on the veranda of a place overlooking the plaza where a band played in the gazebo. Things really picked up when a graduation ceremony let out at a church across the street. The restaurant had a lot of inside tables set aside for the big graduation parties.

After walking around a little we found a frozen yogurt stand priced by cup (not the pound) . We found an outside table and enjoyed the warm evening and ambience. After a nice walk back to the hotel we called it a day.

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Created May 14, 2017