Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 58/60: Amarillo to Albuquerque

By the time Dan gassed up the car and made a reservation for our last night on the road--negotiating a freebie from Choice Hotels based on points--it was 9:30 when we left. The sky was clear and the temp was 51 degrees.

We passed a little more cattle country in Texas, but as we approached New Mexico, the land became pure desert with little vegetation or economic use, beyond the occasional unhappy cow lying in the shade of a billboard. We soon crossed into New Mexico and changed to Mountain time, rolling the clock back again. Keeps me busy changing all the clocks. Red earth. Mesas and reefs. In the high country there were piƱon pine and juniper.

The highlight of the day was an excellent meal in Moriarty. Because a satellite with many spokes was perched over it on a tall post, we spontaneously pulled into a restaurant called El Comedor de Anaya. The menu said the restaurant had been a family business for a few generations. Dan ordered brilliantly. Seeing tilapia tacos on the menu, he asked if he could have that without the taco shell; I followed his lead. We got beautifully grilled tilapia with authentic New Mexico style rice and beans, and a little salad and guacamole. It was great. I couldn't quit eating. Finished with sopapilla and honey. A winner of a meal! But it puzzled me because the waitress was 'white' non-Hispanic, and when the cook emerged from the kitchen she also appeared to be non-Hispanic. Could a middle-aged white woman cook authentic New Mexico style? When I inquired, the waitress said the cook was the daughter of the restaurant's founder, and that one of her brother's had been governor of New Mexico for awhile. So the food was good because the cook knew what she was doing, and she cared.

It was only another hour's drive through the Sandia range to Albuquerque. We got in about 2:30. The temperature was nice, low 70s.

Our first room had a so-called Murphy King, meaning the bed could be folded into the wall. Eh? Apparently some people fold the bed and use the room for meetings. The Murphy bed took up too much room when it was down, so we got the desk clerk to give us a regular king, which is much more comfortable.

Dan had dinner with an old friend of his that I've never met for various obscure reasons. Anyway, I didn't need any more food. I stayed in and worked on the blog.

When I was brushing my teeth before bed, I noticed the water was brown, both in the sink and the tub. I called the front desk. The clerk sent a maintenance guy up. He said the city had done something to the pipes that day and the water was running brown in some of the rooms. He and I ran the water for a long time, then he started getting calls from all the rooms with the same complaint. What a nightmare, for him and for us, too.

I ran the water in the sink and tub for over an hour, and flushed the toilet repeatedly. For a long time the water was very dark brown; sickening. When the maintenance guy came back, he said the city had experienced a rain water leak, which they repaired yesterday. I think he was planning to open a main line to drain the brown water. Eventually the water cleared up pretty much, but when the tub and sink drained completely, I saw they were black with filth. Oooo, yuck. What to do. I couldn't clean it with hand soap and a wash rag. I called the front desk twice asking for cleaning products. I got different answers but no action. Finally I got dressed and went to the front desk, begging for cleaning products. I really didn't think I could sleep with that filth in the bathtub; like a boogie man. For some reason there was still a housekeeper there at 9:45 and they got her to come up and clean up the mess. So I could relax finally and have a sleep. Dan, by the way, slept through the whole crisis.

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