New Mexico, Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today was dedicated mostly to photographing Route 66 ruins between Albuquerque and Winslow, another short day allowing for some neon shooting at night. I began the day with breakfast at Mac's La Sierra Coffee Shop, hoping that my first visit wasn't a fluke. I came here a few years back and remembered a great meal with terrific service and, something that seemed exotic to me, sopapillas in place of "dinner rolls," and I knew I had to come back. Sitting at the counter I fell back into the vibe from my first visit, enjoying classic southwestern roadfood where coffee goes well with everything. It's a place where you just want to chat with folks sitting on the stools nearby. When you're next in Albuquerque, definitely go to Mac's. You won't regret it.

Hitting the two-lane, I drifted west in search of abandoned Whiting Brothers gas stations, decaying tourist courts, and diners long gone to seed. For some reason, relics have always attracted me, inspiring a wistful but sad sort of time travel. I imagine that folks who opened these places envisioned businesses they'd pass down to the kids; they hoped that towns growing up around them would thrive. But the coming of the interstate dashed those dreams and left dusty places strewn with broken bottles and barking dogs. I visited Budville Trading Company and the ruins of the Mt. Taylor Motel in quick succession. On that latter place, advertising "Modern Cabins," some dude had spray-painted, "Who shot me you punks dint finish." I didn't stay long. In Grants, I'd hoped to stop at the Uranium Cafe with its unearthly green neon sign, but the brothers who most recently had a go at running the place put the cafe up for sale a while back. A quick pass through Gallop, stopping to photograph the Blue Spruce Lodge, and I was headed for Holbrook, Arizona. [Continue...]

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All text and photos copyright Andrew Wood