Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Day in Albuquerque... Then On To Farmington

Thursday morning we made a couple of quick stops in Socorro, NM after leaving the Bird Watcher's RV Park, just outside of the Bosque del Apache before heading on to Albuquerque.

You can't get Green Chile Cheese Bagels just anywhere...
Smith's grocery, in Socorro is where we shopped when we lived here, so of course that was a mandatory stop before heading on.  

Driving the 81 miles north on I 25, we crossed back over the Rio Grande River...
Looks so low you could almost walk across it here.  We'll cross over it again north of Albuquerque when we head up to Farmington on Friday.

Much of the land in New Mexico belongs to either the government or is Indian Reservations.  Quite often there are casinos on the reservations...  many are huge, resort-type establishments with hotels, restaurants and top-name entertainment playing on a regular basis.  Some have golf courses and other recreational facilities.  Gasoline and cigarettes are usually sold... always at a lower cost than off the reservation because they do not have to pay the taxes that non-native Americans pay.

The Isletta Casino and Resort has been steadily growing since we stayed in their parking lot overnight in 2001.  (they even had a few electric hook-ups that were free back then).  Now, we stay at their very nice RV park, which cost us $37.50 for one night.
The railroad tracks run alongside the park, which is kind of nice if you like to hear the trains go through at all hours of the day and night.  There is a commuter train that runs from Belen (about 30 miles south) up to Santa Fe (the State Capitol)....  stopping at various stations along the way.  The RailRunner is very inexpensive to ride, but we didn't take it to go into ABQ because the scheduling is obviously for working folks...  several early morning runs into ABQ, but no return runs until late afternoon.

As we had a few errands to run in ABQ we drove in.  We've always found ABQ easy to get around.  I 25 runs directly north and south, kind of dividing the city east and west.  Then I 40 runs across east and west,
making it fairly easy to head to whatever area you want to go.  The place where the two interstates intersect is called "The Big I", and when we were here in 2001 there was a lot of construction making travel slow and tedious.  Now traffic flows freely with very little delay.

We were heading  downtown...  Central  and 5th Streets...
The Man's Hat Shop
This is where Bill likes to buy his hats.  He has a lovely "fawn" winter hat - it's his "dressy" hat.  His everyday hat is one of those Stetson's you see on cowboys everywhere.  That was the one that was worn out and needed replaced.

The Upper Left:  The new and the old.  I might add that that old one was put in the trash bin at the store.  The Upper Right...  making a choice.  The lower middle and right...  All those choices!  And...  the lower left...  Bill in his brand new Stetson.  I love it!

We cannot go to Albuquerque and not visit our favorite Mexican food place....
 El Modelo is anything but a fast-food joint!
It's not a sit-down restaurant, although there are picnic table outside at the right if you'd like to eat there.   
They make all kinds of Mexican dishes...  everything from menudo to tortillas...  but....
The tamales and the chili rellenos are our favorites.
The tamales are HUGE!  So big that while they are made in corn husks, they put waxed paper over one end to hold it all together.  And the chili rellenos are to die for!  (maybe literally as we are NOT talking health food here...  grease just drips off them as you're eating...  could be lard, for all I know)  I can only say that a person probably wouldn't want to indulge in this fare every day.  But... once in a while...  YUMMY!

We spent Thursday night at the Isletta RV Park and headed north again on Friday morning.
 Farmington, New Mexico is about 175 miles north of ABQ.  Much of the land is under BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is Reservation.  You'll see the occasional small town or pueblo, but for the most part it's high desert.  At 4,500' to over 7,000', Rt 550 is very scenic.  When Bill was a kid the road was NOT a 4-lane highway.  It took HOURS to get from Farmington down to ABQ.  Now it's a beautiful 4-lane with speed limits of 75 mph.  

Just north of Cuba we cross the Continental Divide.  During the winter months it's always a relief to get over and to the other side as snow and icy roads are likely.

We took a lunch break (upper left)...  had sandwiches of those bagels with a filling of roasted green chilies, fresh cheese and avocados.    We never saw the elk ... but then, never saw a deer or a pronghorn either.  The lower left is a homestead at the base of a mesa.  The lower middle is of a truck that passes us...  that load of trusses was sticking out REALLY far on the right.  I think the driver forgot that as they barely missed our rig and side mirror on the left.  The lower right......  if you read Tony Hillerman, one of his books talks about a mailbox at one of the trading posts...  that green box is that mailbox mentioned in that book.  It looks like this trading post is closed now, maybe the 4-lane has made places "closer" and folks shop in the bigger towns now.

It was really hazy and visibility wasn't good as we're driving into Farmington.  Usually we can see Shiprock (a sacred volcanic core) way out in the distance.  We barely saw the Angel Peak at that recreation area.  And the San Juan Mountains, over in Colorado were just an outline on the horizon.

We got into Farmington Friday afternoon.  This is where Bill was born and raised and where his sister still lives.  Every time we are here we see it continues to grow and expand.  But I'm sure, to Bill, it's still his hometown...  where his parents and grandparents are buried, where thousands of memories were made.

 Alberta (Bill's sister), and Ernie....
It's always good to be with family again.

That's All For Today!


  1. I wouldn't want to be riding a bicycle along that road when that truck with the side overhang went by. I then might be the headless rider. . .

  2. That had did need replacing.

    Tools seem to run in Bill's family!

    Safe journeys.

  3. Love the new hat and it was definitely time for it. I don't think that truck should be passing anything or anybody.

  4. Busy, busy. I'm not sure I could sleep with trains passing that close all night long, but I suppose it's all in what you're used to.
    You covered a lot of ground, but it sure is nice to hang out with family from time to time.

  5. VEry handsome new Stetson and beautiful pictures of a beautiful part of the Country. I headed home to California from Mexico going West on I-10 and really enjoyed NM. Have a great time in Bill's hometown. The food looks yummy too!

  6. Sure loved the looks of that Green Chile Cheese Bagel.

    That truck was seriously unbalanced.

  7. What a great drive and great stops along the way. But I am so glad "you can't get Green Chile Cheese Bagels just anywhere..." They don't sound "kosher"!

  8. I like traveling along with you vicariously! New Mexico is one state we've always wanted to visit. Maybe someday . . .

  9. Love your header photos. Chili rellenos are Michael's favorite!