I Knew I Should’ve Taken That Left Turn At Albuquerque

29 Aug 2009, by Brian in Uncategorized

I didn’t really need the alarm set for the crack of dawn to wake me up on Thursday morning. The temperature had dropped over night in Yellowstone. The cabin was a sauna when we went to bed, so I had cracked open the window to cool down. It worked.

We didn’t waste anytime and grabbed a quick breakfast before getting back on the road at about 8am.  The road out of Yellowstone and into Grand Teton National Park was under heavy construction, delaying us quite a bit.  The road out of Grand Teton, highway 287, was even worse, and we slowly rolled southeast through Wyoming.  After we got through the construction we pretty much flew through the beautifully barren countryside.  We drove for at least an hour without seeing another car on the road.

The road work cost us a lot of time.  We had planned on meeting friends in Denver for dinner, but the new ETA put us there at about 9:30, and we needed to get as far south as possible, so we stopped for a super quick bite in Fort Collins and pressed on until about 1am.  We made it to Trinidad, pretty close to the state line with New Mexico, and crashed for the night at a Super 8 motel.  Super 8 was actually pretty awesome… free WiFi and breakfast, clean room, and super cheap.  I uploaded my last batch of photos and made the previous posts and went to bed.

The next morning we slept in a little longer and weren’t back on the road until almost 10am.  We wanted to see both the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos and visit Santa Fe, which was pretty ambitious.  The drive to Taos was very curvy and slower than we expected, but we did beat Si’s navigation unit estimate and arrived at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge around noon.  It’s pretty impressive… you are just driving along what looks like a perfectly flat plain, and then the earth opens right up into this bottomless pit. Ok, it’s not quite bottomless… but deep nonetheless.  I think it’s actually around 500 feet.  We knew we didn’t have much time to spare so we quickly made our way to Santa Fe.  It’s at this point I feel I should say that describing drivers in New Mexico as aggressive would be selling them too short.  Everybody here drives like a homicidal maniac. Speed limits don’t exist, tail gating is a past-time, and I think every turn signal is broken (especially when they are cutting you off).  So I consider us extremely lucky to have made it to Santa Fe at all.  We stopped for lunch and walked around town for a few hours.  Kim was on the hunt for jewelry and picked up a silver pendant with a gaspeite stone (looks like green turquoise).  There was a car show going on all around the city square, even the cops were showing off their Corvette police car!

We braved the wild west roads of I-25 again on our way from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, escaping alive and arriving at our hotel.  Unfortunately I can’t give the same praise to the Doubletree Hotel in Albuquerque that I had for the Trinidad Super 8.  The girl at the front desk was lackadaisical, and forgot to code the key to our room, so I had to go back down to the front desk to get the key to work.  Then, when we returned to the room they had given us and opened the door, we were very surprised to find it was occupied!  Fortunately, nobody was in there, just their luggage… but you can only imagine how badly that could have turned out.  I called the front desk to get us an unoccupied room and they promised somebody would be up in 2 minutes to take us to the new room.  2 minutes was really 10.  The bellhop they sent was the most helpful person we met in the hotel… the front desk even screwed him over.  They gave him new keys for us, and he took us to a new room on a different floor, but the keys didn’t work for the room number they gave him either!! He called back down, and was told to try another room, which also didn’t work.  Finally, on the 4th try, we found a room that the keys worked for, and thankfully it was empty.  I mean, seriously, isn’t this hotel 101? Keep track of who is staying in your rooms? Give empty room to new customer? Make sure keys work?  The only person to apologize for the inconvenience was the bellhop, the front desk didn’t seem to care when we talked to them.  I really wouldn’t have been that bothered by it, except we were now running late for my cousin’s rehearsal dinner and we still had to clean up and get changed after being in the car all day.  We arrived for dinner at El Pinto about 45 minutes late, just in time for the speeches to start. The food was excellent and we caught up with a lot of family we hadn’t seen for a while before heading back to the hotel to sleeep.

My cousin’s wedding is this afternoon, so we’re taking some needed downtime to relax until the ceremony starts.


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