Day 72 - Santa Fe To Albuquerque Via Madrid

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Nov 08, 2008

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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We left the site around 9.30 am and took the scenic road through the hills, passing through another couple of small villages on the way. We both remarked on how it felt that we had "come home" with it feeling so much like Spain. After a few miles we re-joined the dual carriageway heading south and arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico's state capital about an hour later. After doing a full circuit of the outskirts before finding signs for the historical quarter, we eventually found somewhere to park around 11.30. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the streets and the shops, doing a little early Christmas shopping! Santa Fe is a really beautiful city and definitely worth the visit. Being the state capital we had planned to bypass it, but a couple we got chatting to in Chadron State Park recommended it. It would have been a real shame to have missed it.

Back at the bus we had our lunch before hitting the road again, heading out of the city and into the mountains, south towards Albuquerque. The scenery was stunning once again and the temperature was hot! Our route took us through Madrid! Quite different to the one in Spain, just a small village in the mountains, established in the 1970's and full of artists and bohemian types.

We arrived in Albuquerque mid afternoon and first stop was a McDonalds to get a nice cold ice cream. While we were there we saw the back end of a news article on their TV regarding California and an earthquake. Unfortunately we did only "see" as the TV was muted so we don't know any specific details. What were we saying about events happening not long after we were in the area?! After that we stopped off at a couple of RV supply stores in an attempt to get the camping guide we will need for the eastern states. No luck on that, but we did pick up a few bits and bobs we needed for the bus. From there we followed the directions we had been given for Wal-Mart. As our camping guide doesn't list any campgrounds close to Albuquerque, we decided that Wal-Mart car park would be our base for tonight. There were already quite a few RV's parked up when we arrived so we picked ourselves a good spot before going inside to do our shopping.

As it was still only late afternoon and you can't exactly get your camping chairs out in the middle of the car park, Neil decided to do Chip's oil change (as Wal-Mart will take your waste oil) and also to adjust the clutch cable slightly. And that's where a couple of interesting hours began.... While Neil was grovelling around under the bus, an elderly guy in an old Porsche pulled up next to us and called over "Do you need tools?" After thanking him for his kind offer and assuring him that we had more than enough tools he wandered into Wal-Mart to do his shopping. A few minutes later, a guy in a 60's bug drove past slowly, smiled and waved and went off to park a little way away. Then he came over and asked "Do you need tools?" After assuring him that we didn't, the conversation continued, for quite some time, during which the older guy had come back and he joined in. About an hour and a half later they finally left, but not before they both recommended a place where we could get our front beam greased on the southern outskirts of the city. They also carry spares apparently and there are a couple of bits we haven't got. Only a couple mind, as we are carrying practically a spare bus with us! And so we decided that tomorrow we will get off early to be down at the workshop when they open and get our axle greased, before heading back into Albuquerque for a look around.

Not long after the guys had left, it turned into Piccadilly Circus for visitors. Firstly some guy from an RV came over and asked if we could give him a jump start and then some nutty woman who had spent the last eight nights in the car park sleeping in her car came to ask if the guy had been making a nuisance of himself! She then went on to explain that he starts his engine three or four times during the night, that some else did this and someone else did that, which bit of the car park you could park in and which part you couldn't....

So Mel went back into Wal-Mart and checked with them. Once we knew which parts we could and couldn't we decided to go to a lot around the back of the store where it would be a little quieter and hopefully not have so many nutters! It was quiet in terms of nutters but noisy in terms of traffic as it was right next to the Interstate but we decided that that was preferable. While we were sat having our dinner, security drove past several times so we know there are no issues on that front. And so an early night ready for tomorrow's early start.

Miles travelled: 114

Total miles travelled: 6283

Days on road: 52

States visited: 11

National Parks visited: 10
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