Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 6 (Monday)

Sorry for the impromptu day off on Friday, I was off work cleaning the house and cooking for my Annual Knitting Brunch on Saturday! Thank goodness we had company a month ago, so the house was already pretty clean. Next year I am going to remember to make less food!

Monday, Memorial Day, Leaving Albuquerque: We weren’t in any particular hurry to get up and get on the road but of course I was up early. I think I managed to sleep in until 7:00. I got up and worked on blog entries and caught up on Facebook.

Ken got up about 8:00 and we went over to the main building and settled the bill and had breakfast. This morning the Canadian bacon quiche did NOT have green chiles in it (I asked to be sure.)

Ken had asked if I didn’t want to do something that morning, like go see the petroglyphs, but what I really wanted to do was go to more stores with Day of the Dead things. I found one that looked good, but we went over there, and it looked like it would be 10:00 or 11:00 before they were open, so we passed. According to the internet, the Jackalope stores also had Day of the Dead stuff, so we stopped at the one on the way out of Albuquerque, but it didn’t really have much. I will have to look around here in Denver, there are a lot of interesting shops on Federal. Need to add more to my glow in the dark Virgin Mary collection.

By the time we actually got out of Albuquerque (me driving so Ken could nap) it was 10:00. And we drove and drove and drove. We drove TO Santa Fe via Hwy 285, so going home on I-25, we had some different scenery. Drove through some pretty country.

We waited until we got to Trinidad, Colo. to eat lunch, because we were snacking on and off and not terribly hungry, but at that point we needed some time out of the car, and a gas stop as well. We ate at the Trinidad Diner. A sign in the window advertising “Menudo on the weekends” is usually a good sign. Not that I want to eat the menudo. It’s just a good sign.

Ken had the patty melt.

I had the hot turkey sandwich. Quite good. Not real mashed potatoes, but still good. And they don’t get carried away with the portion, you don’t need two scoops for lunch.

Then we got back on the road. We only really hit traffic coming out of Colorado Springs, otherwise it was not bad all the way to Denver. We were home before 6:00, even with a lunch stop. Of course I had a long list of things I was going to get done since we got home so early, but really, getting dinner together, unpacking and sorting laundry, and writing a blog entry, and then I was about ready for bed – especially since I needed to get up early the next morning for work, and go jaunting about the Eastern Plains.

Wrap up of the trip: We had a great time. We tried to do to much in a few days. Next time we will just focus on going to Albuquerque OR Santa Fe. We also need to go to Taos. Ken says we had a relaxing time, and there was interesting culture, and the Day of the Dead stuff was cool. It was really windy, not that we could do anything about that.  Ken’s favorite meals were the brisket in Albuquerque and the steak in Monte Vista. My favorite meals were the three different kinds of soup at The Shed and the country fried tuna at The Standard Diner.  And the huevos yucatecos at Tecolote. Best shopping: Santa Fe, in my opinion. Next time, we will budget more money for shopping and eating. Food cost as much or more than hotels. And we didn’t even eat at the most expensive place on our suggestion list. We need to figure out a different plan for golfing, because if I have to drive him too far and drop him off, it puts a crimp in my time for what I can do while he is golfing. And some things I want to tour with him, and don’t want to do while he is golfing. It will be a while now, because my work is super busy in the summer, and the next trip will be to South Dakota.

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 5 (Sunday)

Ken was golfing at Paa-Ko Ridge at 10:00 and wanted to get up there in time to warm up a bit, so we were up and headed for breakfast at about 7:45. We kept in mind the difficulties we had getting to the golf course in Santa Fe. This one looked easier, but you never know.

The Parq Central has a continental breakfast which was pretty good. You better like quiche if you want some protein. (They have hard boiled eggs too, but I don’t like hard boiled eggs for breakfast.) I talked Ken into the Canadian Bacon quiche, which also turned out to have a few green chiles, which they didn’t mention, so he didn’t think that was a good surprise. I didn’t find any in my piece, but then again I may just not notice them because they are so mild on my chili scale. And we had fruit and rolls, there were cereal and a toaster available, and juice and coffee.

Then we headed up to the golf course, with me driving. I staked out a flea market and a thrift store on the way that I might have to investigate when I came to pick him up. I let him out and listened to the crackling pinon trees. He had noticed the crackling/popping trees at the golf course in Santa Fe, too. He reported back to me that apparently the crackling noise comes from insects – I haven’t been able to find anything on the web about it. But the trees were very noisy.

I headed back to Albuquerque and decided to go to their Natural History Museum. I always like a good dinosaur display, and there have been plenty of dinosaurs found in NM. It is really quite a nice museum, lots of dinosaurs, including the huge Seismosaurus that was found in NM. But as I was walking around I was really noticing my breathing was kind of labored, I think I overdid on the smoke in the air yesterday. So after about an hour at the museum, I headed back to the hotel and my asthma inhalers, and caught up on some embroidery and knitting and listening to the radio.

I got the stitches picked up on the “Can this sock be saved?” sock but discovered I only had the directions along for a top-down sock, not a toe-up sock, so that project didn’t go very far. I started on my Camp Loopy shawl, and then decided I better do a swatch, which was a good thing, because that made me realize I had gone down 4 needle sizes instead of 2 needle sizes, and that was a little extreme. (I knit very loosely, so I usually drop down two needle sizes to get the correct gauge of fabric.)

I headed up the Paa-Ko golf course when it was time to get Ken, not really having had anything for lunch. I had finished the baked snow peas from Trader Joe’s (like crispy green Chee-tos) and started on the baked green beans (even BETTER than the snow peas, which had been pretty amazing). I thought maybe the flea market I saw getting set up would have a food stand or two. Well, the flea market was tearing down (wind, again) by the time I got there, and didn’t look like it had ever been very big to begin with. So then I went to the Thrift Store – it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t find anything I absolutely had to have. There was an Oranga-coo clock, like a cuckoo clock but with an orangutang instead, but I was pretty sure none of my relatives would appreciate me getting that for any of my nieces/nephews.

When I got to the golf course, Ken hadn’t eaten yet either, and he had a meal pass for the clubhouse that had been included with his golf pass, so we ate at their little cafe. He had a grilled ham and swiss and I had taco soup, neither of which I took pictures of. He said the golf course was really nice but the greens were really, really fast. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be less windy, it was still windy enough to affect their golf games. He played with a couple of guys from Dallas, which was kind of funny, because he played with a couple from Dallas in Santa Fe, also.

We headed back to the hotel and just had some relaxation time. It was good to have a kind of quiet day. SOMEONE may have had a nap. We went to dinner pretty late. I wanted just a little more New Mexican cuisine, and someone had suggested Sadie’s as a good spot for margaritas, and from my reading on Yelp, people either love it or hate it, and it seems to be an Albuquerque institution. They told us we would have a 30 minute wait and then it was only about 5 minutes. It is a pretty huge place.

They had the spiciest salsa I have ever tasted at a restaurant. Ken proceeded with extreme caution, just dipping his chip in the juice, and mostly eating them plain. I had the tamale, smothered in both green and red chile.

They smother it so much that you can hardly see the plate. The tamale was fine, a little tough for my taste.

Ken had the brisket, with some green chile on the side which was for ME of course. I really liked the green chile. It was kind of different, as it seemed to have some sort of ground meat in it. It was very tasty. They bring you sopapillas right away with your entrees, so you can balance dessert along with your meal.

And then we went back to the hotel, and I took another bath in the deep bath tub, and we were off to bed. A much less smoky day, thank goodness.

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 4 (Saturday)

I was awake before 6:00 a.m. but persuaded myself to go back to sleep, leading to a really weird dream which then caused me to get up at 7:00 in hopes of avoiding any more dreams about working in bookstores and Monopoly games.

I got complaints about how noisy I was being and Ken got up by 8:00. We packed and headed to Tecolote, a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurant. We got there a little before 9:00, and only had a half hour wait, which was really pretty good for a holiday weekend Saturday, we thought. What a cute little restaurant.  The room we were seated in was dedicated to the family’s Grandma, who had made all of the needlepoint pictures on the walls. Tecolote means owl, so there were lots of owls, both knick knacks and paintings.

I had the Huevos Yucatecos (featured on DDD) and Ken had the short stack of pancakes. I would hate to see the tall stack. You also get a bread basket, with muffins and biscuits.

They were awesome. The jelly with them was delicious. I wish I had a baker to make muffins for me every morning. The Huevos Yucatecos were also great. The fried plantains were also very good.

It was all good; Ken liked his pancakes, too.

Fueled up, we got on the road, with a slight disagreement with General Custer over the way she thought we should go. The trip between Santa Fe and Albuquerque was pretty uneventful. Gas seems to get cheaper the further south you go.

I had looked into things to do in Albuquerque before the trip but hadn’t really organized an itinerary. I lobbied for a stop at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. I am into that kind of stuff. Growing both close to an air force base and in SD, a state which was riddled with missile silos, I was pretty sure, when I was a pre-teen and teenager, that we would be taken out in a nuclear attack before I was 20. So I am interested in the history and pop culture surrounding the nuclear arms race and Cold War. It was a good museum.  They have quite a graveyard of bombers and missiles, which is a good place for them. They call it “Heritage Park.” Here is a list of the planes/missiles/etc:

You can get up close and personal with the rockets and missiles. I believe this is the Titan.

Honey, don’t stick your head in the rocket engine.

These used to be far more common in South Dakota.

Full view of the Minute Man missile. Not one of the larger ones there but still effective.

Honey, why are you in the bomb bay of that plane?

Oh, you’re right, that is an interesting view out of the front of the plane from the bomb bay.

Is there a website for “Geek Travel Destinations”? Perhaps I could create one.

Bought a book in the gift shop – Spy’s Guide to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, which I didn’t think I would be able to obtain easily outside of NM.

We were moderately hungry at this point, and I had decided it would be a DDD day, so we went to the Standard Diner for lunch. I had the Country Fried Tuna, and Ken had the Meatloaf, both of which had been featured on the show. I also tried the Watermelon Tuna ceviche.

The ceviche was interesting, but the endive leaves it was served in added a taste I didn’t really care for.  Plus then I was really full, the fried tuna came with a side of cous cous which the waitress hadn’t know about, so it was plenty of food. They didn’t have the wasabi guacamole because it was too early in the day, but I liked the Country Fried Tuna quite a bit. The couscous was good and spicy (sriracha, I think) if not very evenly cooked.

Ken said the meatloaf “Finer Loaf” was good. The desserts looked great but I had no room at that point.

We went to our hotel, The Parq Central, just a few blocks away from the Standard Diner. It was just off the interstate but you do not hear traffic. This was a former railroad hospital, and they kept the historic building and turned it into a hotel. Our room was actually in the Doctors’ quarters building, behind the main building, which was fine with us.

I think it was one of the smaller rooms, but we had booked a bargain rate, so that was OK too.

There was plenty of room for us.

This tub was short in length but you could get the water up to your shoulders, so I totally approved.

We paid $140 for one night and $227 for the next night, which included a round of golf at Paa-Ko Ridge for Ken, normally much more expensive than that, so it was a good deal.  Very nice rooms and hotel for that rate.

We unloaded the car and unwound for a while, and then we went to Albuquerque’s Old Downtown and Plaza area.  We hit a few stores and art galleries. It was really smoky, from the fires in the west. There was a Sno-cone stand so I had a cherry Sno-cone and that made me quite happy. We decided we should get our shopping done for the weekend so we wouldn’t need to come back downtown – got a really cool Day of the Dead golfing figure for Ken (no picture of that yet, shoot), another T-shirt for me, books (of course), some chili enhanced corn nuts and peanuts, key chains for the nieces in Ames, loteria cards (I have no idea what I am going to do with those but they are very interesting), dream catcher for Ken, and a painted corn necklace.

Those necklaces were everywhere, I am pretty sure they were meant for kids, but I am going to do something artistic with those corn kernels. When I figure out what, I will let you know. I found a “Twist and Pout” lip moisturizer. I had seen someone with one of these a long time ago, looked them up on the internet, and then never got one. So I seized the opportunity when I saw on at a gift shop. It is a round ball that clips to your purse so you don’t have to dig through your purse to find your lip stuff. When I have used up all of the lip stuff, I am going to put little tiny knitting items in there.

Now, it might seem like Glenderella gets more souvenirs than Ken, but remember, Ken also gets two rounds of golf.

It was quite smoky in Albuquerque, because of the wildfires to the west.

I didn’t really have anywhere picked out for dinner since we had two pretty large meals already that day. We decided we would go to the Apothecary Lounge on the roof of our hotel and watch the sunset and have appetizers/small plates there. That was a beautiful idea, except for the 60 mph wind. Occasionally chairs would blow over.

I had my netbook along and was working on this entry, and the computer tried to blow away a couple of times. I had a Pimm’s Cup, which is Pimm’s No. 1, ginger beer, fresh cucumber, a lemon twist and topped with a strawberry.

It was excellent. We stayed out on the roof for a while, taking pictures of the sun getting more and more red as it set into the dense smoke, and enjoying the wind (not) and then went inside to order dinner.

I had the soup of the day, which was Roasted Eggplant Garlic. It was good but a little too heavy on the salt.

Ken had the Kobe beef sliders with fries and chipotle ketchup, which I liked and he didn’t really care for (the ketchup, not the sliders).

I had a Prickly Pear Margarita: El Tesoro Reposado, Agave Nectar, Cointreau, Lime Juice & Prickly Pear Puree shaken together and served over crushed ice with a St. Germain float – very good.

And then we hit the hay, knowing that Ken had to get up to golf in the morning, and it was a bit of a drive up there.