Monday, August 6, 2007

Left at Albuquerque

We are at the Acoma Sky City Casino (map), along I-40 west of Albuquerque.

Yesterday's drive was scenic but uneventful. Specifically, in the cooler temperatures and relatively flat high desert, our engine temperatures stayed normal all day. We crossed the continental divide yesterday, so we did spend the first half of the day climbing, with seemingly no ill effects.

It is uncharacteristic of us to stay on the Interstate, but there are few other choices in this part of the country. Old US66 appears in short sections from time to time along this route, but it's not continuous, and following it requires getting on and off the Interstate constantly. We've already done it once, so this time we're just sticking to the four-lane, with the cruise control dialed in at 60. Incidentally, when I zoomed yesterday's map link in, I noticed we were parked right next to the old 66 grade, so I went out in the morning and walked around on it. This stretch is abandoned and not accessible to Odyssey, and the roadbed has degraded down to bare dirt.

Decent stopping options along this section of road are also few and far between, and we set our sights on this casino when we were still in Arizona. In hindsight, we should have stopped in Gallup, as (1) we ended up pressing onwards through pounding rain and the remnants of a hail storm just past the continental divide, (2) we didn't pull in until 8 MDT, and (3) this is among the worst casinos we have ever seen. While Sky City itself (the tribal homeland, atop a nearby mesa) is probably beautiful, the casino is next to the freeway, and has all the charm of a truck stop. And while signs along the freeway proclaimed five restaurants, leading us to believe that, surely, one of them must be nice, it turns out that four of those are fast-food options associated with the "travel center" (a euphemism for truck stop), and the "resort" has but one, which is sort of a combination coffee-shop/buffet/steakhouse.

I chose the buffet for $11, which was fine, but Louise ordered the fajitas, which we reasoned ought to be decent in New Mexico. Ha! They looked wonderful, but tasted like a decidedly un-Mexican chef had made them based only on a photograph of the finished product. When I got the check I discovered the problem: they weren't really fajitas, but "Sizzling Slots o' Beef", causing us to wonder from just what part of the steer "slots" are made. Worst of all, this turns out to be a dry reservation, more and more common on native American lands where rampant alcoholism is an ongoing problem. So we could not even get a glass of wine with our dinner. (Also, it made for an odd scene at the "lounge" across the casino, where a mediocre country-western cover band played to an audience clutching exclusively soft drinks.)

Suffice it to say, we have scratched this place off our list, although it is free overnight parking convenient to the Interstate. They also have an RV park, for those so inclined.

Today's plan is to continue east on I-40, and make a left at Albuquerque (unlike Bugs Bunny, who missed his turn) onto I-25 to Santa Fe -- new territory for Odyssey. Before we leave Albuquerque, though, we will stop at Stewart & Stevenson to have them check the cooling system -- I am hoping they can squeeze us in as a drive-up.


  1. please please please consider (if you have time, and have not done it before) stopping in Ft. Sumner, NM and scoping Billy The Kid's ACTUAL grave.

    A) great roadside attraction
    B) wonderful photo op

    and if you happen to be continuing to Texas? Muleshoe! Joes Boots. Best boot store in all TX.

  2. Are you sure that you want to "continue West on I-40 to Albuquerque?

  3. Thanks, Howard -- it's fixed now.


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