“This is a roadside attraction,' said Wednesday. 'One of the finest. Which means it is a place of power.” Neil Gaiman, ‘American Gods.’
I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. ‘American Gods’ is a particularly fun, trippy favorite book of mine. He takes the roadside attraction and makes them into mini shrines to Gods long forgotten that people are unconsciously drawn to. The stone houses, the Mystery Spots (the place, not my boob), the bizarre museums. All very significant places. Not dusty, forgettable side shows that they seem to be.
So everything yesterday got started right on track … with a few hitches. Hitches are always expected when I’m in charge.
My friend Carrie and the kids went out and got us Voodoo Donuts for breakfast. Somewhere around three am there was some strange rustling downstairs and, damn it, Ruby tipped over the donuts and was enjoying her first maple bacon bar. Seriously??? Wicked dog!
We got on the road and all went very well. Great music, great conversation. We got started early enough to miss any traffic through Colorado Springs. My car is an absolute dream to drive so we zipped right into New Mexico in a blink.
First stop …
Springer … The Santa Fe Trail Museum - home of The Electric Chair and the shoe of the world’s largest man!!!
Closed. Huh, how about that?? Poor Elizabeth was visibly upset. We walked around the building peeking in windows, there was a dusty miasma of mining equipment and dioramas. But not for us.
The building was cool. There was a war memorial on the grounds that we tromped around. We then decided to drive the main street and found a very cool and creepy flea market where Elizabeth’s spirits were lifted exponentially with this find.
Across the street we checked out this eerie old livery stable (again peeking in windows). It was packed with old, filthy relics. We found the place fascinating until Evan spied an aquarium packed with doll parts. Oh, dear god!!! Time to go!!
And so we went.
And there was a whole lot of nothing to see! And tumbleweeds and antelope, and tumbleweeds and antelope. We were all perfectly happy. Elizabeth talked us into playing the soundtrack to ‘The Muppet Movie.’ There was much out of tune singing.
Next stop Albuquerque. I’m a big fan of ‘Breaking Bad.’ There’s a ton of location sites to pick from for a little geek out. I even found out where Walter White’s house was. But, as someone lives there, I thought it best not to stop by.
My choice? Lunch at The Grove … which featured prominently in the final season. Those of you who know the show, it’s where Lydia and creepy Todd commiserated … and you know what happened next. We had to take a little dork pic. I also had to snag a packet of Stevia.
And further south we delved. Next stop Socorro which we made but the skin of out teeth for poor Evan had a headache and needed to hurl. We screamed into a gas station, he did what he had to do and felt much better. Yep, that’s my boy. We headed west in search of The Very Large Array.
You’ve seen the array before … ‘Contact,’ ‘Independence Day,’ ‘The Terminator’ …
There are 27 impossibly huge dishes in an old, dried lake bed. These behemoth radio antennae pulse signals into space which is used to map the galaxy. So very, very cool.
We were prepared to find something neat. But this place just knocked us flat on our butts. Jaws gaped we pulled into the visitor’s center. These things were impossible … and went on forever. You really get an eerie sense that you’ve stumbled into a place where you really shouldn’t be. They really were stunning.
The day was fading fast and we had to leave the array behind. Our plan for dinner was to go to Sparky’s in Hatch but time just got away from us. We high tailed it to Truth and Consequences for a rather forgettable dinner and made it to Las Cruces for the night.
The hotel was very nice. We got the kids settled in and Susan and I hit the bar for some well deserved drinks and dessert. And we called it a night.
So good morning and away we go again.