Monday, October 21, 2019

Gallup Tucumcari

Waning Crescent Moon

This was supposed to be the day I finally went to Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico. I have always wanted to visit this famous culture center, but it seems like every chance I get, there is some sort of obstacle.

This trip, the obstacle was a cold front ripping down the Continental Divide toward northern New Mexico. High winds and temps in the low 20s were forecast. So I babied out. In my gut, I was confident in my decision, even though it's a big disappointment. How many more chances will I get to see it?

So today turned out to be simply drive across NM day. I made one stop for breakfast at Gordo's in Gallup - the chili verde is so good it is alarming. Fiery good. I thought my lips had burned off after the first bite. What would I do for the rest of my life without lips? Everybody else I know has lips. I'll be a freak, driving around lipless in a truck without paint!

Of course, that didn't stop me from cleaning my plate. I left beating my chest and breathing fire like a happy go lucky cartoon dragon. Lips are okay, no permanent damage.

Next year will be Gordo's 50th anniversary.

I also stopped in Albuquerque for a picnic-lunch-in-my-truck at the Bataan Memorial Park near U. of M. The memorial to New Mexico's fallen soldiers, like all war memorials, is sad and sobering. At the same time, it was beautifully and respectfully arranged. A quick walk around the park loosened me up for the rest of the windy way along I-40 to Tucumcari.

Part of the Bataan Memorial

I had one goal in mind for Tucumcari. That was to stop at the Palomino Motel and get out of the cold wind overnight. I have several photos of this place from previous trips and friends have sent me a few more. It was high time I sampled this regal establishment's hospitality. As you can see, this joint was custom made to showcase the bold lines of a Spectacularly Ugly 1987 Mazda B2200.

Loli the proprietress has been doing business here on Route 66 since Hector was a pup. Originally from Maine, she grew up on Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. When telling this story, Loli hints that teenhood at the beach may have been a little too much fun haha. A trip west settled all that out, I guess.

You may be wondering about my accommodations. The Palomino Motel is nothing if not classy.

A touch of Hampton Beach perhaps?

As the Sun was setting, the neon lights came on. This could be any decade of the last seven - time makes no difference when that sign gets lit.

Dean Moriarty might have slept here.

Peace, Love, and Neon Palomino,

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