Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Day: Las Cruces to Albuquerque

Our vacation began with a trip by car up I-25 to San Antonio, New Mexico. Anyone who knows Beez also knows that he never passes San Antonio without stopping in at the Owl Bar and Cafe for the world's best green chile cheeseburger. 

Our ultimate destination for the day was the Courtyard Marriott in Albuquerque. The hotel will let you leave your car in their lot as long as you stay one night at each end of your trip. Since parking would have cost us $8.00/day elsewhere, this was a great deal for us, and it ensured that we had a leisurely beginning and ending to our journey. 

We took advantage of another great Albuquerque deal, and stopped by the Albuquerque Public Library to sign up for library cards. They will issue a card to anyone in the state, so we each brought in an application (printed from their web page before we left home), picture ID, and proof of residency (our car registration worked just fine, as it had our home address and was in both of our names). I don't plan to stop in at the library much, as it is a three and a half hour drive from home. However, I can download free e-books for my Nook digital reader from the library website, and they have some great titles in a much larger and way more up-to-date database than our local library offers.

Then we stopped by the train station to print out the tickets Beez had already purchased online at home. I've said it before--he did a beautiful job of planning this trip. Everything was thought of and everything was done ahead of time. He had even programmed each destination into his smart phone, so a little voice in his pocket told us each turn for everywhere we wanted to go.

Amtrak Train Station
With all our business done, we headed up Route 66 to act like country mice, snapping photos right and left. I loved the tiles on this building...

... and there were murals everywhere I looked.

 What librarian wouldn't be thrilled at the sight of the Library Bar and Grill?
Be sure to click to enlarge so you can read the book titles

Intentional mural or graffiti? You decide...

Independent film studio

After checking in at the Marriott and freshening up, we headed back down Central Ave. for an elegant supper at The Standard Diner. Nothing standard or diner-ish about it at all, unless you count the fact that they serve meatloaf, and even that is prepared and presented with panache. You can see their menu here. The Standard was featured on The Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," which we had seen on TV about a month or so ago. Watch this video, and you'll be craving some upscale diner food.

Then we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the sunset from our little balcony and to get all rested up for our train journey in the morning. Next stop: Chicago!


Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Were all of these photos taken in Alb? If so, I'm going to have to revise my erroneous impression of Alb. being a collection of sterile strip malls. I absolutely love the mural, esp. the graffiti mural. Absolutely beautiful.

clairz said...

Yes, all photos are from Albuquerque. Most of these were taken on Central Ave. (Route 66). The graffiti wall and the hotel were up on Yale Southeast, and the Amtrak Station on 1st St. SW.

Nob Hill and the University neighborhoods would change anyone's mind about the city. Things were very beautiful, eye-catching, and colorful.

turquoisemoon said...

Yummmm...The Owl!!! I love that place. drooling..

the7msn said...

I just learned two very important things about Albuquerque - the library downloads and the Marriott parking deal. You can bet I'll be filing away those tidbits for future use.

When Danni was here last spring, we tore ourselves away from Patrick to go have lunch at the Standard Diner. We each had the Kobé beef hamburger with truffle oil french fries. To die for.

Ms. Becky said...

this was a fun start to your adventure. I love that facade of the Library Bar and Grill! this is the second time I've heard mention of a green chile cheeseburger (Becky's Blog) and now I know I must have one some day. I'm thinking I need Beez on loan to plan my next trip. happy day to you Clairz.

Joyful said...

Looks like a great start to your adventure. I'd love to stop at the Standard Diner and that Library Grill looks good too.

Linda said...

How bright and colourful and zingy it all is.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Nice post. I have relatives in Albuquerque now, and I'm way overdue for a visit... your blog has motivated me!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Yay for your vacation, which started beautifully and I can't wait to follow along. Bill is our travel planner and isn't wonderful to be married to one? We loved Albuquerque but I didn't see the Library Bar and Grill -- I want to stop there just for the wonderful picture. But the place you ate (which we also missed) sounds wonderful. We have to come back.

Quiet Paths said...

This is awesome that you are documenting your trip here. I would love to see all that color.

Val said...

I knew you had to be doing something really cool if you were taking time away from the blog. Love these posts. Traveling by train is my dream!

becky said...

Hmmmm, is the owl bar better than the buckhorn for green chile cheeseburgers??? i am due for another one as i haven't had one in weeks! looks like a great trip so far, and you're just a few hours from home!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

So funny for me to see your photos of all the familiar places that I see on a frequent basis. You really should have done a full facade photo of the KIMO Theater. That would have really blown everyone's socks off. Lots of fascinating history to go with that building, too.

There are hundreds of beautiful murals all along Central from the mountains to the West side. I love to stop and enjoy them every time we drive down Central.

For green chile cheesburger, I love the Owl Cafe, but I also like the Buckhorn, too.

But for a little known, local place with green chile cheeseburgers that easily compete with those two well known establishments, and have won awards for the Best Green Chile Cheeseburgers in New Mexico, you and Beez should try Burger Boy on N. 14 in Cedar Crest on the Sandia Mountains, east of Albuquerque.

Family owned with just a tiny dining room with a cozy wood stove, they grind their own beef daily and only use the best Hatch grown green chile.
We try to eat there at least a few times each month.
If you ever make it back up to Albuquerque, let me know, and I'll take you there :)


clairz said...

Lisa, I was at the mercy of the driver when taking these shots. He hadn't quite unwound into vacation time at this point, so we were kind of whizzing through.

You have done such wonderful posts on both the KIMO theater and on Burger Boy, if I recall correctly. I hope anyone reading this heads over to Laughing Orca Ranch to read about them there.