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Old Posted Nov 14, 2016, 2:21 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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xzmattzx's trip to New Mexico & Arizona, Part 2 of 10: Urban New Mexico


I arrived in Santa Fe. After flying over Santa Fe two years ago on my way to Phoenix (pictures HERE, HERE, and HERE) and getting a recommendation to see Santa Fe, I started researching the city. I read about how building after building was built in the 1700s and 1600s. My curiosity was piqued, and when I looked for airfare all around the Southwest and Albuquerque became the frontrunner to fly into, a side trip to Santa Fe looked like it could happen. I was excited to cross off another state capital, and state capitol building!

Here's a little tour of Santa Fe. Many of these pictures are from the cutting room floor. I have dupicates that are slightly different, and I saved the better ones for the Santa Fe phototour that will come at a later time.

I wanted to make sure I got a picture of typical housing in Santa Fe. Sometimes the most mundane things are interesting. In this case, I expected regular housing to be so much different than in Delaware or anywhere on the East Coast, with the adobe or fauxdobe and all. This might seem trashy to locals, but it was interesting to me! This was from St. Francis Drive (US 84/285) and San Mateo Drive.

I parked in the lot for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

The interior of the cathedral is pretty modern.

History abounds everywhere in Downtown Santa Fe. Across the street from a park along the side of the cathedral are plazas, built in the 1800s in the traditional Spanish style, with a courtyard in the middle.

To the west of Santa Fe were the Caja del Rio, a dissected plateau.

The Scottish Rite Temple was built in 1912 and is in the Moorish Revival style, which was proposed for New Mexico before Pueblo Revival style came in vogue.

The Federal courthouse on Federal Place is a rare example of a building not in the Pueblo or Pueblo Revival style in Santa Fe.

The El Dorado Hotel is one of the many old hotels in Santa Fe in the Pueblo Revival style.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains provided a great backdrop throughout much of Santa Fe.

This building is the new Santa Fe County Courthouse.

The old New Mexico State Capitol building, now the Bataan Memorial Building, is along De Vargas Street, between Galisteo Street and Don Gaspar Avenue.

From the old capitol building, you can see the Cross of the Martyrs on a hillside.

But the Sangre de Cristo Mountains farther off in the distance take center stage at this spot. You can see the Cross of the Martyrs over on the right.

The current New Mexico State Capitol is down the street from the old capitol, and it's uniquely circular in footprint.

An atrium is in the middle of the capitol.

The San Miguel Mission is down De Vargas Street. The church has the distinction of being the oldest church in the United States, with lower walls being built in 1610, although much of the rest of the church dates to 1710.

Literally around the corner from the mission is the oldest house in the United States. Unfortunately, I know this to be untrue, because this house dates back to 1646, and I know of a house in Dedham, Massachusetts, that dates back to 1636. The Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, Connecticut, dates back to 1639. The pueblo villages in Santa Fe's very state date back to 1200 AD. Nevertheless, the house is old.

The house has many artifacts, like this fake body inside a coffin.

The house has two parts, and this part here has been modified over the years, sometimes having two stories, and sometimes having one story.

The Loretto Chapel is another famous site in Santa Fe.

The Loretto Chapel is most famous for its "Miraculous Staircase," which legend says was built by St. Joseph himself after a nine-day Novena to him when the architect of the church died during construction, and no way to get to the choir loft had been built yet in the tiny church. This all happened in 1877, before electricity made any construction easier.

The La Fonda Hotel, on Old Santa Fe Trail, is Santa Fe's preeminent hotel. Built in 1922, it became a stop on the "Indian Detour" for the Fred Harvey Company, and was one of the "Harvey Houses". The success from the Harvey House concept resulted in an addition designed by Mary Jane Colter, famous for her buildings in Grand Canyon National Park.

After passing the La Fonda Hotel, I was back by the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It was now time to start heading back to Albuquerque.

First, I wanted to quickly drive down Canyon Road and see some of the art galleries.

I took Canyon Road to the end, and then found myself driving down Camino Cabra farther away from I-25.

The prescribed burn, mentioned in Part 1, was very close to Atalaya Elementary School, where I turned around and headed back to Downtown.

Driving along Alameda Street, I slowed down to take a couple pictures of the park along the Santa Fe River.

There wasn't any quick way from I-25 to Downtown, and vice versa. Even though my experience with Santa Fe was just a few hours, I tried my hand at finding my way around the congested and traffic-light-laced US 84/285. My solution was Don Diego Avenue. It appeared that there were no traffic lights; just stop signs. Cross traffic at intersections ended up not being bad enough, and I think I saved some time to get back to Albuquerque. On the street, I had to slow down for speed bumps, so I took a picture of typical Santa Fe housing again.

I could see that prescribed burn as I took US 84/285 to I-25.

I had to high tail it back to Albuquerque, because I was clearly losing daylight, and I just needed to see Old Town. But, I managed to get some pictures while I was driving. This is Cerro Bonanza.

Off in the distance were the Ortiz Mountains.

At around Exit 264 on I-25, I went down the same plateau I drove up earlier. You could see out across the Rio Grande Valley from the edge of the plateau.

I entered the Santo Domingo Pueblo.

You could see the Ortiz Mountains a little better afterwards.

At Exit 252 on I-25 was a grandstand for a dirt racing track.

Also at the exit was the San Felipe Casino, on the San Felipe Pueblo.

South of that was a sign for cities south on I-25. This is the first time I've seen a Texas city as a control city; I've never driven around in the central US before.

I knew I was getting close to Albuquerque when I saw the Sandia Mountains.

Even though I was going 90 mph, which is apparently par for the course here in a sparsely populated area like that between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, I was still taking some pictures from the car.

I thought this picture of the moon and mountains turned out particularly well!

I got into the Albuquerque metro, and got ready to take I-40 east towards Old Town.

I got on 12th Street NW from I-40, and got a decent picture of the skyline.

I had to hurry. Night was falling and I wanted to get a phototour of Old Town in!

I finally made it into Old Town. The centerpiece of Old Town is San Felipe de Nero Church, right on the plaza. The church was built in 1793.

I was able to get a bunch of pictures of Old Town. Here's pictures from the cutting room floor, including a couple that are a little blurry. There will be a thread for Old Town later.

On the edge of Old Town, as far as I know, is the La Glorieta House, a hacienda dating back to at least 1803, and possibly 1690. It is now incorporated into the Manzano Day School.

I drove a little farther down Central Avenue. I don't know if Central Avenue east of the split with Lomas Boulevard is still considered Old Town or not. In any case, I took a few pictures of the Route 66 neon.

I sidetracked into the nearby residential neighborhood. I never watched "Breaking Bad", but I looked up a few of the locations in the show so I could tell friends I saw them. This is Jesse Pinkman's house, at 16th & Los Alamos.

This is another house in the neighborhood.

I got back on Central Avenue and killed two birds with one stone, by getting a picture of the neon of this location used a couple times in Breaking Bad.

I headed west on Central Avenue, past Garcia's Cafe again.

There were quite a few historic motels on Central Avenue in Old Town.

I left Albuquerque to drive down the "Musical Road". The road is located west of Tijeras, on the old Route 66 in the pass through the Sandia Mountains. On the way, after I exited I-40, I got a great view of Albuquerque at night. Just like the view across the valley when I landed reminded me of Las Vegas, this scene reminded me of Las Vegas at night, where you could see bright lights across the desert floor, and they pop up out of nowhere.

After the pictures, I headed east on the old Route 66 to drive on the Musical Road.

There are two signs telling you when you're coming up on the Musical Road. This is the first...

... and this is the second. If you want to hear what the Musical road sounds like, I uploaded a video that I took.

Heading back west on NM 333, I got another picture of the Rio Grande Valley, from Carnuel.

My next stop was the Uptown neighborhood in Albuquerque. Uptown appears to be Albuquerque's alternate skyline, like University City in Philadelphia, Back Bay in Boston, Mid-Wilshire in Los Angeles, Midtown in Phoenix, or Buckhead in Atlanta. I was in Uptown to pick up some beer for myself. I had a coupon for Total Wine that was expiring the day before I was arriving. I ordered some 6-packs and 4-packs online of beers from New Mexico that I wanted to try. I ended up ordering some World Beer Cup medalist beers (or something else from WBC medalist breweries): Red Ale by Marble Brewery; Elevated IPA by La Cumbre Brewing Company; Malpais Stout by La Cumbre Brewing Company; BEER by La Cumbre Brewing Company; and Dougie Syle Amber by Canteen Brewhouse. It was ordered for pick-up at Total Wine's Uptown location because I knew that it was close to I-40. While picking up my beer, I also picked up singles of Imperial Java Stout by Santa Fe Brewing Company, and Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza by Rio Grande & Sierra Blanca Brewing Company. By the way, the original Total Wine location is this one on Naamans Road in Claymont, here in Delaware. It opened in 1991.

I had been to Twisters for lunch, and now I needed dinner (finally). Whataburger was the next exit over, on Carlisle Boulevard. I had to get help from the people working in there on recommendations. The place was dirty and trashy, but a couple workers were very friendly, and wanted to make sure I enjoyed my first Whataburger experience. (Either that, or they spit in my food and wanted to keep a conversation going as an inside joke.)

After getting gas after Whataburger, it was FINALLY time to get on the road to Flagstaff. I had a motel room reserved! It was almost 9:30 PM when I got on the road for good. As much as I wanted to stick around in Albuquerque, and maybe even stay the night in town and blow off my plans for the next day and explore on my drive over the next morning, it still made more sense to head west.

I liked how this bridge as you leave Albuquerque to the west it lit up with LED lighting. The rainbow colors really jumped out. The rainbow colors reminded me of this pedestrian tunnel in Downtown Pittsburgh, or one of the LED light shows I've seen on the Peace Bridge between Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario. I don't remember where exactly this bridge is, unfortunately.

It just doesn't work to take bright pictures at night from a moving car. I tried to take a couple pictures of the Route 66 Casino, located about 18 miles west of Downtown Albuquerque. It was like a neon oasis in the nighttime desert.

I was so exhausted at this point. I had been up since 4:30 AM EST for my flight, and now I was on Mountain Time. I had to pull over in Grants, and planned on a 30 minute nap at this Denny's parking lot, but I ended up sleeping for 75 minutes, using my light jacket as a blanket in my rental car. Oh, and I had flown over Grants back in 2014 the first time I was in Arizona.

After my long nap, I got on the road again. Now I didn't feel like I was going to fall asleep on the road, like I did earlier. But I wanted to teleport to Flagstaff and be in my motel bed. Anyway, I had planned on seeing the Continental Divide before dusk, but I was about 4 hours too late for that. Here's a picture of the exit ramp for the Continental Divide on I-40.

I took a picture of the "Welcome to Arizona" sign as I crossed the border. It looks just like the one by Hoover Dam.

There wasn't anything to take pictures of afterwards, even with a full moon. I saw a power plant by Joseph City, but that was it. It was just scrubland the entire time. One thing that was interesting was that the scrubland turned into trees almost in an instant right by Exit 204 on I-40 east of Flagstaff, at the exit for Walnut Canyon N.M. Anyway, two years ago, I took a picture that turned out pretty cool of signs for I-40 east and west as I-17 ended, with Los Angeles and Albuquerque as control cities. I figured this time around, I would get a picture of that same intersection, with the opportunity to either continue west to Los Angeles, or head south to Phoenix. For the record, I've never been to Los Angeles. But that could happen next fall!

My plan was to explore Route 66 in Flagstaff and take pictures of the neon both east and west of Downtown, but I wasn't going to do it at 2:15 PST (with Arizona's quirkly not following Daylight Saving Time or whatever, I had gone back an hour). It was 5:15 AM EST, and some of my friends and family were up already back home. With the exception of interrupted naps on the plane, and the 75-minute nap in Grants, I had been up for 24 hours. Plus, I didn't want to waste the entire morning sleeping and lose time for the Grand Canyon the next day. So Route 66 would have to wait. But here's an unfocused picture of a motel on Route 66 at Milton Road. You'll see this later.

Here's another unfocused picture, from my motel at Milton Road, Mike's Pike (the original Route 66 alignment in Flagstaff), and Butler Avenue. I arrived and checked in at 2:30 AM local time. Can you tell from the blurry picture that I was tired?

Up next, Flagstaff and the drive to the Grand Canyon!
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2016, 7:12 AM
plinko's Avatar
plinko plinko is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Santa Barbara adjacent
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Sadly, you didn't get to stand 'on the corner in Winslow, Arizona'. It's worth getting off the freeway to do. A few nice old buildings there. Also some of the old 66 ruins. There's a really nice old bridge in Two Guns.

If you ever get back to Santa Fe, spend more than a day there. It's a special place. ABQ is interesting but to me it's Tucson with more trees.

Cool thread series.
Even if you are 1 in a million, there are still 7,000 people just like you...
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2016, 3:50 PM
Leo the Dog Leo the Dog is offline
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Location: The Lower-48
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I'm enjoying this road trip! Looking forward to the next set.

Too bad it was dark on the drive from ABQ - Flagstaff. Some very interesting points of interest, geological features in NE AZ. The welcome to AZ sign is surrounded by some really cool rock features on the right (north) side of the freeway. Gallup, NM is a gritty Indian city.
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Old Posted Nov 18, 2016, 3:01 AM
xzmattzx's Avatar
xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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You guys jumped to conclusions! I had to drive back to Albuquerque, and I got some stuff in in northeast Arizona.

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Old Posted Nov 19, 2016, 12:40 AM
AviationGuy AviationGuy is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
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Very nice photos!

This time last year when I was there, the Sangre de Christo Mountains at Santa Fe were very snowy and the ski runs were open. I don't know whether the ski runs at Albuquerque were open yet. It was really cold in Santa Fe, at 7,000 ft elevation even down in the city. I would move there in a minute but I keep reading that residents have to drive to Albuquerque a lot to see medical specialists. That surprises me, since Santa Fe is a pretty good sized city.
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