Day 18 – 4461 Miles

SANTA ROSA, NM to GALLUP, NM – 366 Miles

I had an itch to see Santa Fe, all because of a childhood vision of a trip to visit my Aunt in New Mexico. She and her husband took us through tunnels of adobe buildings (or so it seemed to the mind of a kid) to an old dirt plaza with a restaurant at the far end that supposedly had the best Chile Relleno in the world. I had no idea what a relleno was, nor did I want to after I found out it had egg wrapped around it (don’t worry, I’ve changed my mind since), but visually, the place made an impact.

Since we hadn’t yet passed Route 66’s 1937 alignment heading north to Santa Fe, we slightly altered our plans to include that loop. For once we got an early start, although we did spend some time talking to Bob from Georgia who rides the heck out of his Road King! He shook his head when he heard how far we’d ridden the Sportys (or as Brian calls them, Little Hoss’s), and we, as always, defended their roadworthy-ness. He was a heck of nice guy who hopefully will come visit us at the Motor Palace someday.

We’d been hearing a lot about Las Vegas New Mexico from the Europeans and since it was only five miles off 66 en route to Sante Fe, we swung by to check it out. The historic Plaza hotel will most definitely be a future destination.

Driving toward Santa Fe, the terrain didn’t match the picture in my head. I remembered desert, not mountains, although once we got into old town and drove through the winding streets full of adobes, I felt sure this was it. We made our way to the historic plaza and yeah, it looked right, kinda, but also different, paved, not dirt.We took just this one picture (Brian thought he was the only guy with a Mexican blanket on a BMW… Surprise, surprise!) then after about five minutes at a meter we paid over an hour on, we took off, never finding the restaurant of my memory. I’m sure Sante Fe would be fun to explore, and is certainly visually interesting if not bizarre, but it seemed awfully touristy and not what we were in the mood for. We did find a mighty good relleno a couple miles away at a cafe called TuneUp.It was there we figured out I was wrong. It wasn’t Santa Fe I went to as a kid! It was Las Cruces. La Posta restaurant to be exact, one of Brian’s favorites! Oops!

Still, the ride through New Mexico was as always, stunning. Red rocks and bright blue skies.

Much of 66 in New Mexico needs to be traversed in 4 wheel drive, so we’ll have to come back to do that, but the sections we could ride were fantastic.

The only other stop we made before Gallup was at the continental divide…

Brian has it in his head to get a poncho like the one he got me, but the trading post there didn’t have one. Poor Brian!

For the third time this year (fourth for Bri) we found ourselves at the Historic El Rancho in Gallup, and this time, we got John Wayne’s room! The room where he actually stayed!

After a nice dinner and a much-too-cold swim for Brian we called it a night. Starting today, we’re back in familiar territory, which is kinda sad. Just two days and vacation is over. But let’s not think about that yet. Let’s just enjoy the ride.

Until tomorrow,

Later Gators!

Check out Brian’s perspective on his blog!

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