Day 23: August 18, 2014
2 Motels, 2 Bands, 1 Madonna

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As promised, here's a little better look at last night's motel. The place has essentially been raised from the dead within the last five years. There's a look at my room here. The other pictures are from the breakfast room and require a story. It begins with me walking down to the breakfast room with more curiosity than with plans to eat. I glanced at the nicely set tables then peeked into a pair of cloth covered baskets filled with rolls and bagels and such. OK, I thought, maybe I'll have a bagel and eat it from a napkin so as not to waste one of the place settings. I sliced a very fresh bagel and popped it in the toaster. While waiting for the bagel, I decided I'd like some of the melon in the big bowl and for that I would need a plate. I targeted to table with a single place setting and picked up the plate for my melon. About that time Peter, who restored and now runs the place with his wife Mona, appeared and said something like, "Oh, I see you've found your table." We chatted for a bit as I spooned some melon onto the plate and covered my bagel with a large dab of each jam. Only when he'd gone and I sat down at "my table" did I understand what he meant. This was not a general admission breakfast. This was a reserved seating breakfast with each table marked with one or two room numbers and the appropriate state or country names. Nice.

The pre-1937 alignment through Albuquerque is like an 'S' on its side with Albuquerque at the center and Santa Fe in one curve and Los Lunas in the other. The only time I had driven this alignment was in 2003 and it had been raining. I hadn't even stopped in Santa Fe so had very little memory of the town at all. This seemed a good time to try again. The road through Los Lunas is fairly isolated and a very pleasant drive. It is signed as both Historic 66 and Camino Real.

This was the alignment incorporated in the National Old Trails Road and New Mexico's Madonna of the Trail stands beside it as it passes through Albuquerque.

The road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is largely divided four-lane but it can still be quite pleasant outside of the metropolitan areas.

The El Rey opened, with just twelve rooms, in 1936 so had only a year on US-66 before the route moved. There have been many additions and improvements over the and I have no idea when my room was constructed. But I liked it.

After checking in and relaxing for a bit, I decided to drive downtown for a dry look at what I'd driven by in the rain in 2003. The Plaza is where the Santa Fe Trail ended and that fact is commemorated with a monument. I have a view of the monument's face here. There would be no clear empty background shot of the monument this evening or most other evenings for that matter. There was party going on tonight but it was just one of a hundred Santa Fe Bandstand parties. I didn't mind at all.

There were two bands performing tonight and I must apologize to the first one, La Junta, for having only one picture. I actually only heard their last few songs and was still finding my way around the plaza. They were definitely the better of the two groups musically.

When La Junta left the stage, I strolled around the area outside of the plaza and drank a local beer at a second story bar. I was back at the plaza when Imperial Rooster attacked. They were hardly virtuosos on any instrument but they used an impressive variety. Neither was their vocal work of particularly high quality but they didn't let that hold them back. It looks like the singers are shouting these picture because they are. These guys probably won't be performing at many afternoon teas but I bet they're a lot of fun at a keg party.

Back at the El Rey, I took a couple of nighttime shots. That isn't my room in the second shot (I was in 16) but it makes a better picture.

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