Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Clayton NM to Santa Fe NM

There was a big wind out of the south under blue skies as we got ready to leave Clayton, New Mexico. Sherm installed the Wyndham Rewards app on his phone and I showed him how to book our room for tonight at a Super 8 in Santa Fe.

Leaving the motel just after 7:00 AM Mountain Time, we stopped at the adjacent Love's station to fill the tank because fuel stations are few and far between in this part of the country. The 86 octane regular gas reminded me that we were at altitude.

Sculpture in Clayton New Mexico

The terrain here was quite flat considering we were a mile above sea level. The desert was, however, punctuated in places by buttes and mesas of what appeared to be volcanic rock. As we approached I-25, the faint Sangre De Cristo Mountains came into view and dominated the western horizon.

Jutting out of the flat desert

These were volcanic intrusions

Sangre De Cristo Mountains

Sherm had a recollection that there was a Russell's Truck Stop in the area. He said it was more of a museum. We stopped at a gas station in Springer and they said it was five miles north on I-25. We were not pressed for time so, even though our path was south, we went north and found it. Unfortunately, there were more than one Russell's Truck Stop. The one he was thinking of was on I-40 near the Texas line. This one was nice but he said that one was a lot better.

Russell's Truck Stop - I-25

The King plays on

Fine old cars

One from my youth

Carved wooden trucks

Many diecasts

That's a lot of Norma Jean

Nothing remains for me to say

Back on track, we headed south on I-25 through level high desert and past the odd rock tower. There were a few spots where water sources allowed for a few miles of trees and grasses, but most of it was arid. We spotted a few pronghorns along the way. Past Las Vegas, New Mexico (nothing like its Nevada namesake), I-25 South hooked northwest into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the new Santa Fe National Forest. We began our climb towards Santa Fe.

Looks like a volcano to me

Santa Fe National Forest

Looks like a cloudy hitchhiker

As we drove along, I got a cell call from the nursing home where Sandy's mom resides. They were wondering if she was with us. Not likely. It turned out that Sandy's cousin had taken her out for lunch but had forgotten to notify the desk. It's nice to know that they were keeping an eye on her.

It was 87F at 11:30 AM Mountain Time as we crossed 6,900 feet elevation. Trivia of the day. We kept seeing Canada in names down here.  It turned out that caƱada means gully or ravine. They have a lot of those around here.

The GPS took us to the last Santa Fe exit and then had us come back to the Super 8. Sherm though he and Lanny had stayed there last year on their way to Taos, but he said it looked different. He could not spot the excellent Mexican restaurant they had eaten at a couple of blocks away, so we figured we had a different hotel.

After lunch at Denny's, the hotel kindly let us check in early. Sherm was talking to the desk clerk about the Mexican restaurant and they concluded it was called Taquieria and was two blocks down the road just as he remembered. The fact that they had painted the hotel was what threw him.

There were two Quebec motorcycles outside. One was a Vulcan which was having hydraulic problems with the clutch. The riders spoke very little English and the one on the Vulcan did not seem to want much help, so we didn't. They did not know that they had Vulcan icon Dr. Chrome right there willing to solve their problem.

We unhooked the trailer and went to visit old town. Luck was on our side because we found a parking space right away. Walking the narrow streets, we went into Sherm's favourite French Pastry Shop and Creepy (or Creperie) but the shelves were pretty well picked over this late in the afternoon (and two of us were diabetic). We visited the Loretto Chapel and its Miraculous Stair. We walked through an amazing gallery which was just one of many amazing galleries. This was a very upscale place.

Scenes from Old Town Santa Fe

Back at the car, we decided to head back to the hotel. On the way, we had to wait while a New Mexico Railrunner Express (NMRX) commuter train went by. The equipment was colourful and looked to be in good repair.

New Mexico Railrunner Express

We drove down and looked at the Mexican restaurant with the intention of having supper there later on. Then we used the GPS to find a Dairy Queen in a mall where Sandy had a Blizzard. The Santa Fe Mall looked like it was being revived. It had a large area with a carousel to attract the kids.

Carousel at the Santa Fe Mall

A Santa Fe neighborhood

We were back in the room at 5:00. I worked on the books and the blog for a bit and then we went on out to have some New Mexican food. It turned out that the place was not the Taquieria, but rather El Comal Cafe two units down in the same mini-mall.

Sandy does not like Mexican food. She suffers from acid reflux and, even if she has a mild selection, does not like the texture. She decided that the Blizzard had been enough and just watched us chow down. I ordered two soft ground beef tacos which came with a lot of things I had not expected but was all very good. Sherm had some monstrous concoction and brought some of it back to the room for breakfast tomorrow.

Found it! Sherm is thrilled. Sandy, not so much.

This cloud spit rain on us

Ordered and waiting

My foray into Mexican food

Back at the hotel, we hooked up the trailer and went to the room. Our blog was now four days behind so I worked steadily until I managed to complete the Boscobel Saturday hi jinks post. The photos go up every day but the words are real work. Then it was off to bed with my Kindle and, soon after, off to sleep.

Today's Route (236 Equinox miles):

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