Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Heading for Home

The last day of our trip was spent behind the wheel, driving from Albuquerque back to Las Vegas. (At one point, we passed a truck delivering what appeared to be car washing equipment, detail above.)  We began and ended the day at sites of interest and made a couple quick stops along the way, but mostly we drove hundreds of miles to avoid a financial penalty for returning the rental car someplace other than where we picked it up.

Breakfast at the Church Street Cafe en El Pueblo Viejo, purported to be the oldest residence in the city, was near a carving of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a tree behind the San Felipe de Neri Church. (Section below approximately 40 inches in length.)

The carving was made by Toby Avila, a parishioner, to fulfill a vow made if he returned safe from the Korean War.  It took Mr. Avila a year to carve the figure, after work using a kitchen knife and a flashlight.  He died two days after he finished and had blue paint on his hands when laid to rest. Old Town is relatively close to I-40, and we were off.

Melvin, Norton and I had identified various potential destinations along the way—the Uranium Mining Museum, various dinosaurs, a meteor crater—but stopped only for gas or a restroom until we were confidently ahead of schedule. Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-in is located on a vestigial section of US Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona.

Photograph by PMD1061 used through Creative Commons license

The restaurant capitalizes on nostalgia for the "Main Street of America," or the "Mother Road," memorialized in song and on television, but Juan Delgadillo built it in 1953 as a roadside attraction. The menu still features "cheeseburger with cheese" and "dead chicken" but reviews on yelp recount "mediocre food and oodles of charm ."  We did not have so much as an ice cream cone.

We also made a detour to Chloride, Arizona, billed as a ghost town.  There are some structures that date back to when the town was a mining camp, but they are interspersed with more modern buildings that make Chloride just seem run-down.

Even with the two side-trips, chosen largely because they were quick, Melvin, Norton and I were back in Las Vegas by 5:00. We drove around a bit but did not have enough information to find the Hanshiktaco Korean-style taco truck (yelp). Instead, we wiled away an hour at the Pinball Hall of Fame. It aspires to be a museum—there is historical data on some machines, including the provenance of individual models—but it plays like an arcade, albeit one with old machines. A half-dozen have baseball themes.

We returned the car (2,038 miles total) and checked in for our late-evening and early-morning flights.  Norton went to work on Thursday; Melvin and I did not.

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