Took a right in Albuquerque....

Albuquerque Travel Blog

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Madrid, New Mexico

Flew into Albuquerque early in the morning and with the hour pick-up for moving from Central to Mountain Time, we had a full day to head for Santa Fe.  New Mexico has always resonated with me and this excursion ended a fifteen year absence.  There are a myriad of mystical landscapes here, but what I like best are the extended stretches that have no telephone poles – the simple deficiency begging that modern people have yet to muddy nature with ‘progress’.


My wife was fortunate enough to visit New Mexico just a year ago.  Her friend (Sandy) has a sister who lived in Taos until recently and the plan was to rendezvous with Sandy that afternoon in Santa Fe.

The main street of Madrid, turned into a studio – the “Chile Festival” exists only in the movie (though I’ll bet they start one up!)
  Scored rental wheels and my delightfully impulsive wife upgraded us to a convertible!  Enthused to be hitting the road, I suggested taking the Turquoise Trail up to Santa Fe rather than the interstate.


The interstate is quicker, but taking the Turquoise Trail (route 14) is not a significant time loss and much more relaxed and scenic.  The best part for me, though, was getting to visit Madrid again.  A ramshackle artist community, this teensy town impressed me as a western Woodstock during my first encounter because I spotted no less than three VW micro-buses parked along the street!  I guaranteed my wife we’d see another despite the passage of time (Madrid never impressed me as a place intent upon evolving), and so off we went.



Reaching Madrid, we were surprised to encounter a roadblock.  They are shooting a movie starring John Travolta, Tim Allen and William Macy titled Wild Hogs, which from our subsequent chat with the locals is literally set in Madrid and involves a foursome of middle-age-crisis dudes embarking on a Harley adventure and running into a town occupied by a biker gang.  I was bummed that the entire downtown (about fifteen buildings, lol) seemed shut down and actually inquired of one of the burly biker-actors if it was okay to walk along the side of the street.  Still in character, he muttered “sure, but run like hell if the Director yells ACTION”, lol!

We plowed along the muddy road and entered the only noticeable café.

Interesting Beetle in the garage where we parked!
..which we quickly acknowledged was a charade…the café had been built solely for the movie!  Thus we backtracked to the south end of town (between scenes) to enjoy a meal at the Mine Shaft Inn…which is a fun joint in spite of it’s rough appearance.  Although the menu is a bit limited to meaty choices (I had the buffalo burger, lol), we found the service exceptionally pleasant.

Afterwards we visited a few shops.  Madrid is replete with funky art shops and we had as much fun gabbing with the proprietors as anything else.  After making a few purchases we continued winding upwards through the beautiful hills and made Santa Fe early afternoon.  Directions to our accommodations were sketchy, so we opted to plant the rental wheels in a parking garage and strike out on foot.  Good fortune smiled upon us as our hotel was literally across the street!

We checked in and after calling Sandy to pin down her location, met up with the girls.  Sandy and Patty where wrapping up a week’s grand tour: they had been to Mesa Verde and a lot of other neat places around the area that had me totally jealous!  I was a good husband and escorted the ladies on a Santa Fe shopping spree.  Santa Fe has a lot of places to plunk down bucks and we looked at jewelry until my eyes glazed over.  I own a few pueblo pottery pieces and love to simply enjoy the beauty of pottery and Navajo rugs set out at these venues…but I was a bit disappointed at the absence of traditional pieces.  Since my last visit, the pots and rugs on display all seem to feature vivid colors that make everything look more like an Elvis laser print than native artwork…oh well.


After disbanding to clean up for dinner, Kim and I returned to the Plaza (heart of downtown Santa Fe) and enjoyed some brilliant live music.  But storm clouds where rolling in and we abdicated to make for the Coyote Café for dinner.  On the way we called the ladies to advance dinner time and met them shortly thereafter.  Deciding to live on the edge, we opted for the patio seating despite the ominous clouds and thunder claps.  The storm eventually broke with exceptional fury and the waiters scurried about rolling down tarps to effectively convert the outdoors into indoors.


Said good evening to our friends and returned to the hotel for a nightcap at the bar.  An absolutely splendid guitar player was dishing out fabulous tunes and we were delighted.  The breadth of his play list challenged me to challenge him, so I requested some Astor Piazzolla (the guy who re-defined tango music…even though he didn’t play guitar, a lot of guitarists play his songs).  Of course the dude recognized whom I was requesting and replied “certainly, if you will tango.”  Of course I don’t have a clue how to tango, so I submitted a new request for some Strunz and Farah – a brilliant jazz guitar duo.  Kim & I were both astonished that he performed one of their songs we knew…and armed with an echoplex, actually did an admirable job of simultaneously playing both guitar parts!

genetravelling says:
i've always wanted to go to Albuquerque to turn left... but have no idea what the history behind that Bugs Bunny saying was...
Posted on: Jun 08, 2008
WaltJake says:
Ya know, Bugs, you were supposed to take that LEFT turn in Albuquerque!
Posted on: Jul 10, 2007
jazphoto says:
Was the Coyote Cafe good? I have Celiac Disease and they were listed in one of my books as being gluten free. I'm trying to find reviews on the gluten free places!!!
Posted on: May 18, 2007
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Madrid, New Mexico
Madrid, New Mexico
The main street of Madrid, turned …
The main street of Madrid, turned…
Interesting Beetle in the garage w…
Interesting Beetle in the garage …
photo by: vances