Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 03

We slept in until 7:00 a.m. this morning. Remember that the three of us just lost an hour when we came into New Mexico. So, our bodies thought it was 6:00 a.m. We were delighted to see an overnight email from one of our loyal fellow travelers. It's apparent that at least one person traveling with us has a remarkable interest in our writings and reads them soon after they are published. She pointed out that since Pancho's Mexican Buffet was a Mexican restaurant, the sign on the door would have been more appropriate if it had read "Cerrado" rather than "Closed". Incidentally, John has emailed Pancho's Mexican Buffet HQ inquiring about the health and well-being of their other restaurants along our route of travel. We have plans, you know!

After John showered, he spent time, lots of time, figuring out how to set his watch for the correct time zone. He has one of those solar, atomic watches that sets itself every morning at 3:00 a.m. while we sleep. He never has to fool with it. Until now! He downloaded the manual from the internet, found the correct watch module and finally figured out how to change the time zone. Note: he will have to do that again when we get into Texas. Hope his memory is good so it won't take so long.

Next we took the pooch out for a morning leak, then we went to our complimentary breakfast. John feels really bad about not calling it the right name. At La Quinta, it isn't the "Sunshine" breakfast, it's the "Bright Side" breakfast. You know....look on the bright side (gag). They had two of the universal waffle makers. John made a waffle and topped half of it with sugar-free syrup. He also had a raspberry low-fat yogurt, a tiny glass of orange juice and a cup of milk. Linda had coffee with a bit of Swiss Miss, orange juice, part of a peach yogurt and her raw bits (twang twang).

Something was going on with the AC power during breakfast. The circuit breaker blew a couple of times. Took out the microwave, waffle makers, toasters and television every time it went.

We left shortly before 10:00 a.m. to drive down to Old Town Albuquerque. Thank goodness for Wilma's navigation system. Found a public parking lot ($1 for each 1/2 hour). Fannie Mae (the brat) was with us. Unfortunately, we neglected to put her training shock collar on her. She pretty much barked and growled at everything that moved. She was doing her absolute best to protect us from anyone and anything. She just doesn't understand. But, after all, she's just a dog. And, remember, dog spelled backwards is...... We won't forget her "appliance" next time we're taking her where she'll be out among the natives and fauna. Either that or we need to be have Danielle (the dog whisperer) with us.

Linda did some shopping in Old Town. She got arrowheads and jumping beans. We walked around the square and wound up in the plaza next to a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. John gave some money to Linda and sent her to get one piece of chocolate for each of them. She returned with dark chocolate pecan bears for both. John consumed half of it on the spot and conserved the other half for a snack tonight if there are enough left over calories for today. Linda is still saving hers.

We got back to the motel room about 11:30 a.m. and John processed the images from the visit to Old Town. He then tried calling to make our motel reservation for tomorrow night in Canyon, TX, home of Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Our plan is to visit the park on Friday morning before heading for Plainview and Lubbock. He called the number for the Knights Inn in Canyon where we had planned to stay. The lady answering the phone spoke only broken English and clearly did NOT understand John's name (even the John part). After a few minutes of getting nowhere fast, John did the one thing that would rescue us for sure....he hung up.

Back to the internet! Amarillo, TX is right before we get to Canyon, TX and has a wider selection of accomodations. So, John spent time searching and found an America's Best Value Inn (ABVI) on Interstate 40 just east of Amarillo. He made reservations for us there. We stayed at an ABVI in Needles on our first night out and it was just fine. From Amarillo, it's just a hop, skip and a jump down US Hwy 87 to Canyon and the state park. Should get some nice photos there.

Having that task accomplished, we headed out for lunch. John had seen an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on the food network where they visited the Standard Diner in Albuquerque. He had already researched their address, so we plugged it in to Wilma's nav system and took off. This restaurant was originally a Standard Oil gasoline station. It was later converted into a diner and has some pretty neat art deco styling. It's a really cute place and there are a couple of images of it in the photo gallery for today. They have a very interesting menu. One item that was featured on the Food Network show was a bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Their little promo sign on the table for this item has a picture of the plate and a headline of, "Bacon, Meet Loaf". Linda got a cup of bisque made from three different kinds of squash and some fish tacos(actually scallop tacos). The tacos were pretty spicy and came with a side of couscous. John got a Western Cobb Salad. It had grilled peppers, corn, grilled chipotle chicken, corn, pepper jack cheese and of course, tomatoes, eggs, avocado and lettuce. A little bleu cheese dressing (with loads of garlic in it) made it even yummier. From piecing together the items, he came up with a calorie count of 694 for the salaed. You can visit the Standard Diner website and peruse their interesting menu.

After lunch we went back to La Quinta. It is really threatening rain and the forecast is for likely thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. So we're going to hunker down, hang out here and work on the travelogue. Linda and Fannie Mae had time for a nice, long walk and Fannie met up with a terrier (named Dakota) about her size as they got back to La Quinta. Fannie and Dakota got to have a 10 minute wrestling session that they and their "rents" thoroughly enjoyed. In spite of her obnoxious behaviour around others, she really is a good pooch and is a great traveling companion. We'll keep working on that growling and her distrust and fear of other people and things (especially wheeled things like bicycles, roller skates, skateboards, wheelchairs, walkers etc.)

We see them advertised on TV all the time, but don't have one in our neck of the woods at home. We're speaking of the Golden Corral Buffet. There is one of those just down the road from us and we're going to try it out this evening. Probably wait until pretty late to go. We're both full from the nice lunch.

Left for dinner at about 6:40 p.m. and headed for the Golden Corral. It was sprinkling and we were lucky to find a parking place near the door. The first thing John noticed was that they will grill your seafood to order. They had a really nice selection of food. At the grill stand, they also had beef (not your typical roast of beef, more like a large steak) from which they would cut you a slice. John got carrots and broccoli for veggies. The broccoli was still firm and the carrots were cooked just right. Much better than Furr's cafeteria. We like Hometown Buffet just fine (go there for Thanksgiving dinner), but have to say that the Golden Corral is better. Linda had a nice salad, steamed cabbage & broccoli and broiled talapia. For desert she had some tastes of volcano cake, bread pudding and a sugarless chocolate cookie. Everything was very fresh and yummy. And our server brought us complimentary coffee.

As we left the Golden Corral, we pulled across the street into a Circle K and topped off the gas tank for tomorrow's journey. Very nice price at $3.04.9 per gallon.

The funniest sign Linda noticed today was in one of the souvenir shops in Old Town.  It said "CAUTION: Attack Armadillo on Duty". If you have ever seen a live armadillo motate, you know that it is hard to imagine them protecting anything other than their own belly.

John is under his calorie allowance again today, but this time only by 383 calories. Going to both the Standard Diner AND the Golden Corral in the same day is difficult when you're watching those calories. However, the really good news for John is that the 383 calories allows for him to finish the other half of his dark chocolate pecan bear for a bedtime snack.

Some nice photos of Old Town, the Standard Diner and the Golden Corral in today's photo gallery which you can view by clicking here.

Happy trails to you until we meet again...

1 comment:

  1. The photos are great, but those pepper braids.. wow, gorgeous! Are they decorations for a shop or for sale? I want one, go back, I'll wire the money. ;-) Honestly, I was surprised at the prices on the diner menu. I hope you continue to enjoy your tour and John, I'm proud of you. Keep up the good work. Be safe you three, oops four, sorry Wilma.