The Turquoise Trail

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.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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8 Responses to The Turquoise Trail

  1. Carol burke says:

    Hey! Been enjoying your journey. Look forward to getting your post everyday! Have fun.
    Love, Carol Holly

  2. Dad says:

    Bret – I’m counting on you to watch your Mom’s spending too. Don’t fall for her eye for bargains – she finds them every 5 minutes!

  3. Cousin Nancy says:

    I love your blogs Bret. If you are headed to Taos there is a nice diner there for breakfast . The Taos Diner on the left as you are leaving Taos. Just a little diner that gives you a lot of food. You should check out the earthship houses too just outside of town.
    You can reach me on facebook if you plan on coming up to Denver. Have a great time.

  4. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    OK I totally LOVE avacado’s….. but not really sure about that fried looking one!?!?!

  5. Crissy Kid says:

    So, what can I say Bret? You just happen to be married to the A, Number 1, Top, Grande, Super Jewelry Junkie!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. NM looks fab and you have a way of writing about things that makes EVERYTHING seem like an adventure we are ALL sharing. Hugs, kisses and nite to you two!!!!!

  6. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Hey Shan and Bets,
    I can totally understand the lure of the turquoise. My Aunt Florence and Uncle Everett used to spend their winters in Arizona and my aunt would always bring the turquoise “jewels” back to us as gifts. I have a ring similar to the one modeled in your picture. I never quite understood what was so special about them back then except that they were very popular out West and definitely a must have token souvenir.
    Bret, glad you survived filling out all those crazy SSD forms! I’m surprised your head isn’t spinning around after dealing with those forms! At least you got to enjoy a beautiful scenic drive afterwards and hopefully clear your head from all the paperwork. Glad Shannon had mercy on you too! 🙂
    Loved the presentation of your dinners at Atomic Cafe – in fact, I also think you all should consider becoming food critics – you’ve sampled (and probably sometimes daringly, at times) so many new, interesting foods and have a new appreciation for the number of ways different dishes can be prepared and presented. Look out Food Network…….. here come the “Food Warriors”!
    Here’s wishing you warm, sunny days and fun, safe travels as you forge ahead. Our love always continues to follow you as you head in that good direction down the road.

  7. Dick Frederick says:

    No man should have to suffer all those side shopping trips. The food still looks great. Bet your mom is still grinning ear to ear because she got “Carded” (not)! Good to see that we still have the double standard going strong in the old US of A.

    Keep heading south….winter has hit hard and often in Upstate NY.

  8. Debbie says:

    Hola Road Warriors!

    I’ve been lax in posting and for that, my sincere apologies. I think I’m still crying a bit from seeing you two in the Atlanta airport. First of apologies AGAIN–it seems Shannon learned at the knee of a jewelry junkie, namely moi. I was dressing her up in as much bling as I could find when she was just 3 years old.

    In my estimation–it is never too young to learn the ability to accessorize:)

    And I do hope my darling sister picked me up something spectacular on her little shopping jaunt. Hmmm? Pretty please! (ring size is 7, by the way).

    But I must ask!—Is that a ZEBRA stuffed animal I see in the reflection of the windshield? At first, I had thought you guys had ran over an exotic rug.



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