Pete & Lorna Go
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Day 8, Saturday, May 27, 2017:
Albuquerque New Mexico -> Los Lunas -> Correo -> Mesita -> Laguna -> Budville -> Ville De Cubero -> San Fidel -> McCartys -> Grants New Mexico

The day started in Albuquerque with the best shower so far, flow, temperature and pattern! The sky was bright and the mountain view from the 4th floor room was nice but I don't think we have had truly clear skies once in this first week. There's been a constant haze in the air. I don't know if it's been pollution or what. It's not seeming humid there aren't any volcanos or fires in the news.

The Best Western hotel breakfast was an inclusive voucher deal in their restaurant. The waitress was a little terse and my order came out a little scrambled but it was good and ours for the cost of a gratuity.

Today's first target was another section of Route 66 that we were not able to do in 2012. This is an alignment that was active prior to 1937. Before we could see that we needed to get out of town. There was a lot of road construction and New Mexico Markings of 66 aren't stellar I this state. We must have been the better part of 90 minutes getting out of town but after the grand tour we were on our way.

On the way out of town we visited an abandoned drive in theatre. We also found a giant roadrunner (bird) made from spray foam and a garage made decked out as a castle and spayed over with blue foam! Apparently a local foam insulation contractor wanted some show pieces.

The drive down 66 was nice and relaxing. The Route 66 vibe isn't as intense as on the latter alignments. After all, this road hasn't been Route 66 for about 80 years. When delisted in 1937 the American motoring culture was nothing like it was when the Interstate system bypassed the towns then lining Route 66. Still we spotted the occasional decorative 66 shield or business name.

We passed through the Indian Territory Pueblo of Isleta on route 314/66 before arriving in Los Lunas. Going back to the 2012 trip we have been seeing Blake's Lota Burger stands. We decided that on this trip we should try one and rolling into Los Lunas at noontime what do you suppose was on the corner? I went with their standard cheeseburger. Lorna was feeling adventuresome and went with the LOTA Burger® with Green Chile. She ended up removing most of the green chile but the burgers were good as were the seasoned fries and onion rings we sampled.

At Blake's we turned the corner on to route 6/66 and began the northwestern leg of the trip back to the final configuration of 66.

In the Correo area we stopped to get pictures of lava flows, mountains, mesas and wash canyons being carved in the red sand. Several trains passed by while we were there. In the west we see long freight trains that are usually stacked 2 high with shipping containers or intermodal trailer boxes.

We got rolling to a construction traffic stop that was just in sight. A pick-up truck with flashing lights and a tailgate sign reading " Pilot Vehicle - Follow Me" pulled up in front of us and a few other waiting cars and led us along the one open lane through a maze of traffic cones for what seemed like a few miles. After another few miles of open road we repeated the cycle through another construction site. Lorna had read that this road was in rough shape and apparently that's being remedied.

We got back to I-40 and got off onto 66 in Mesita. This was a stretch we drove in 2012 but with time to spare beat being on the super slab with the big rigs. We stopped east of Laguna where some rock formations looked like something like a cross between dwarfs from Snow White and Smurfs. It was a good spot to get more shots of the surrounding country side.

At the Laguna exit crossover we pulled into the 66 Pit Stop convenience store and solved one of the mysteries that haunted me since 2012. On that trip we encountered several convenience store hamburger counters that were for all intents and purposes clones of a Five Guys Burgers and Fries outlet. And there it was, "Laguna Burger". Apparently these are operated by the Laguna tribe. While visually the Five Guys resemblance is unmistakable with the red and white tile and many signs that are total rip-offs the menu is quite different. The flagship burger is a ˝ pound green chile cheeseburger. It's said to be one of the best in New Mexico. There are at least 2 other locations and if the timing is right I'll need to try one.

What followed was a stretch of road that we had not seen in 2012. Maybe we got on I-40 by mistake. In any case we were treated to many photo opportunities such as abandoned trading posts, curio shops, filling stations, motels and other businesses. Today was planned to be a short day so we would eventually arrive in Williams, Arizona Monday evening to tour the Grand Canyon right after the Memorial day weekend on Tuesday. We rolled into Grants, New Mexico where a Comfort Inn Suite was waiting. Sunday night we will be in Holbrook Arizona.

Blogging got off to a tough start on this trip but I'm catching up. All of the photo's are organized in folders by town or segment so they will have context in the future and not just be curious pictures. Day 2 went online and yesterday will be written before hitting the road Sunday. The intent is to do each day and one of the undone days until I close the gap. In about 5 days the wheels should be should be back on that wagon.

I did take a drive down the main drag of 66 in Grants. We spent a long evening walking and photographing this place in 2012. The theatre has closed and a new local burger joint has opened in the former Uranium Café. Other than that, time seems to have more or less stood still. New construction continues at the modern motel row near the I-40 exit.

One goal never realized in 2012 was to see the stars in the desert night sky. Around 10:00 PM we left the motel for a drive back down Rte. 66 and found a side road where we had a big view of the night sky. It was a sight I may have never seen before. More stars that I could imagine. There were so many distinct minute points of light that it had the effect of a celestial cloud. The stars seemed to be connected by those dotted lines used to illustrate constellations, the sky was that rich with starlight.

Our room was a few doors down from the mechanical room and by early evening there began periodic banging of pipes. We were too settled in to ask about moving but earplugs made all right with the world. When I checked out and mentioned this it was apparently a hotel wide problem.

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Created May 14, 2017