The frustration continued yesterday morning as I finalized my application for social security disability. Shannon, feeling the brunt of it, was ready to polish me off before my time. In the Control Room at Ginna, I used to tell the crew that she was trying to kill me when I would find the occasional bone in my chicken sandwich, now I have this proof from a hidden camera!
Narrowly surviving the assassination attempt, we made the trek from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Mom and Shannon sold this route to me as a beautiful mountain drive; it wasn’t until we were in route that I found out it was called the “turquoise trail” due to the abundance of turquoise jewelry shops along the way. I spent more time standing in jewelry shops than any guy with cancer should be exposed to. I’ve begun to view turquoise like kryptonite. Fortunately it was in fact a beautiful scenic drive as well.
One of the best stops along the way was Madrid, a small town used for the recent movie “Wild Hogs” staring John Travolta, William H. Macy, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence. The fingerprint left from the film was clear with photos in the shops of the owners with the cast, and the set for Maggie’s Diner, a non functioning diner built specifically for the movie. Fortunately the Del Fuegos kept their distance while we were in town.
Madrid still carried the feeling of an old mining town from the wild west with small old wooden homes with carriage wheels incorporated into their landscaping, and the town itself set against the desert mountains. The town seemed to survive solely off tourists making the commute along the turquoise trail, with great arts and crafts shops and restaurants. Mom and Shannon did a lot of looking, but neither snapped. I kept convincing Shannon that she should wait to see everything before making a decision, until it was finally too late.
When we arrived in Santa Fe, we were all impressed with the amazing architecture that seemed common to just about every building in the city: tan stucco, old wooden posts, and fences made of sticks woven together. We headed for the Plaza, the center of town with more shops and restaurants. In our short time there, I got the impression that this was a shopping area for the wealthy; windows displaying exotic fur coats, museum quality art, and jewelry pimped out with expensive turquoise. If Shannon developed too much interest in any one item, it could have meant the end of the road trip. However, we did find a small flea market where native Americans were selling their own jewelry at reasonable prices. Mom picked up a ring here to serve as a token of our trip.
The hotel had a dining guide that described many of the great restaurants in Santa Fe and gave associated cost ratings. We were pleasantly surprised as they described some of the best restaurants in the city with dinners in the range of $15-20. We headed to The Old Inn and then The Coyote Cafe before realizing that the book was fairly misleading; prices for both places was more in the range of $35-50. We strolled through the Plaza until we came across The Atomic Cafe which was much more our pace, with some great salads and pastas at very reasonable prices and a waitress with the character we always enjoy. As we ordered our drinks, I asked the waitress if she had any favorites on the menu, and she replied “I don’t know, I’ve been eating a lot of rice and beans.” I used this helpful information to order a tortellini dish. Although not at all an avocado fan, Shannon’s dinner was the most interesting, a lightly fried avocado stuffed with crab meat aside mixed greens. All three of our dinners looked and tasted great.