Day 7: Amarillo, TX, to Albuquerque, NM.

Trip Start May 29, 2010
Trip End Jun 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, June 4, 2010

The Ride Continues!

We made the decision late yesterday to start off the day as early as possible to avoid the predicted heat wave moving in to the area by noon.  We left Amarillo at 8:00 a.m. (CST) and jumped back onto I-40, a road that we've become quite familiar with.  The countryside was quite magnificent as you could see for miles in virtually every direction.  The speed limit in Texas is 70mph and moving along at 65 to 70 mph certainly keeps you cooler, as long as the temperature is below 80 degrees.  As we departed, the temperature was a cool 68 degrees compared to what we've experienced over the past few days when in some cases, the mercury climbed close to 100 degrees in the sun!

The ride through the remainder of Texas was uneventful, and before we knew it, we had crossed into New Mexico.  Even as we crossed the State line, we knew we had a while to go before we reached Albuquerque.  Traffic was somewhat light, which is something we have experienced quite a bit in the southwestern States.....minimal traffic.  The only exception though is the traffic congestion near large cities.

At various locations along I-40 there are gentle reminders that the highway traveler can exit onto local roads in order to experience what is left of the historic Rte 66, however, what remains is a far cry from what it was like over the past several decades.  Although there are numerous efforts to restore this historic route in numerous States, many of the small townships and municipalities along this route continue to struggle today.  Many areas of the historic route, those areas that remain, struggle with blight and economic hard times.  Credit must be given though to those who remain behind in an effort to restore the route, and their community.  The objective in many cases is for the communities to simply survive, as opposed to having the ability to thrive.
As we continued west along I-40, the temperature, as expected, continued to rise. We became hot, and hotter, and decided it was time to pull off the highway and get a cold drink.  We made a brief stop in Newkirk, NM, and found a small post office attached to an old gas station that had no gas!  We then took the opportunity to ship home the extra clothing that we had, along with Kevin's ill-fitting helmet. This helped to 'lighten the load' so to speak.  While at the decrepit gas station, we bought some cold drinks to rehydrate, and used the restroom which had a sign inside requesting a 25 cents donation.  We each made a donation, as requested, and then proceeded westerly on I-40 once again. 

Similar to our visit yesterday in Clinton Oklahoma to see the historic Rte 66, today, we exited I-40 and drove through the community of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  Although many portions of the main street through Santa Rosa have experienced some economic development, other areas continue to have the shell or frames of businesses from years past.  These building relics are checkered throughout the main street area, and as you see these building you cannot help but ask yourself, "What family owned that business?  When were the good years?  If only those walls could talk, about the good times and bad times. Where are the former property owners today?"  How about the descendants? I have enclosed some photo's that depict the buildings I've described.

On the western end of Town, Mike chose a locally owned restaurant, Joseph's Bar and Grill Cantina, as opposed to other lunch options such as Denny's and the all-to-familiar fast food eateries. The restaurant was providing lunch primarily to the local residents based upon the chatter and discussion taking place between the staff and customers.  There were very few "out-of-towner's" other that another group of five motorcyclists (Military Veteran's) who were returning home from the Memorial Day weekend activities in Washington D.C., activities that honor our nation's service personnel.  Although we only spoke briefly, they stated they were close to home as they live in Grants, New Mexico.  In fact one of the folks told me that he owned a large towing company and if we had any issues with our bikes, we were told to call him at his business and he would take care of our needs (International Towing, Inc.).  He also requested that as we pass through Grants, NM, tomorrow, we stop by the Town and visit the Viet Nam Memorial that he and his wife erected, with local support, a few years back,  He was a great guy, and we plan on making the stop to see the memorial that he was so proud of.

Joseph's Cantina is a third-generation family owned restaurant.  The interior decor provided an accurate reminder of the historic Rte 66 as there was memorabilia throughout.  The dining room table and chairs have seen better days, and appeared to be remnants left over from the 1950's and 60's as did other areas of the restaurant. The dining area was rather warm, a clear indication that the air conditioning system was faulty. In fact, while we were waiting for our order, a maintenance worked climbed atop a table, removed a discolored ceiling tile, and worked on the air conditioning duct.  After some rattling and banging, the blowers came to life. The restaurant clearly needed some attention, including cleaning and upgrades of furniture and infrastructure. Given the economy though, and lack of traffic in town, this is highly unlikely, at least at this point in time.   

The menu came in the form of a newspaper with food items listed on several pages, as well as stories about the restaurant and the local area.  Mike decided to go with a hamburger, and I went with the Patty Melt. Kevin, on the other hand, was brave, and chose the calves liver and onion. I would not have gone this route, and, not surprisingly, he wasn't happy with his decision. As a result, we told Mike that he was no longer going to be allowed to pick a restaurant!

After lunch, we continued west, and by about 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time Zone) we arrived in Albuquerque. I had the GPS locked in to a Marriott Residence Inn, and the trusted Garmin brought us right to the front door!  The hotel was fairly new, clean, and at a price of only $89, was a great deal.

Not too long after we arrived, Mike placed a call to his sister, Francine, who resides in Albuquerque.  She was expecting his call was was happy to hear from him.  They made plans whereby his sister, her spouse George, and son Michael met us at the Residence Inn.  Their other son, Ethan, was out of Town and didn't get the chance to see his wealthy and sober uncle, Mike.  After we met, they suggested we all go to dinner, however, Kevin and I bowed out, suggesting the family dine together to catch up on old times as Mike has not seen Fran in over five years.  Further, Kevin and I were exhausted and were inclined to eat "light' and call it a night.

Mike and his family went to an Irish pub for dinner, which I believe is the third Irish pub he has been to on the trip. Kevin and I walked 100 yards from the hotel to a locally famous Bar-B-Que restaurant, Rudy's, that has an extensive menu and a unique layout that offers casual dining, either inside, at large family-style tables, or outside on a large covered porch.  The menu included smoked and grilled pork, beef brisket (house favorite), ribs, both beef and pork, half chickens, and smoked turkey (another house favorite).  The restaurant proved to be a great pick.  While eating, we also noticed that numerous Albuquerque Police Officers were coming in for dinner.  This has to tell you something....that the food was good... and it was. 

Today's Mileage: 292.3
Total Mileage: 2445.3
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