Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Think I'll Enter

I've always wanted a customized trip to ABQ:

Seein' as how it's a lot closer than, say, Europe:

I mean... Customized!  And only a four hour drive!  How could I go wrong?


  1. And you won't even have to worry about volcanic ash! Hopefully.

  2. Heh. Not for a few weeks, anyway!

  3. I had the same thoughts as Moogie.

  4. This is the kind of thing you would win. ;)

  5. Be sure and eat at Pancho's Mexican Buffet while you're there.

    I doubt they have a Pancho's in Portales, so enjoy the high life while you can.

  6. Highway 60 and the Old Santa Fe RR on the Clovis Subdivision. I know it so well.

  7. Moogie beat me to it...at least it would take less time to get there than you would spend dealing with the TSA and baggage claim.

  8. Man, that brings back a few memories. I used to make that drive on Sunday morning to see a girl, then drive back Sunday night. Gas was about 50 cents a gallon then, which seemed outrageously high compared to the 33 cents it had been a couple of years before.

    If you want to see a whole lot of empty, try the stretch of 285 between Roswell and Vaughn. Vaughn was a bustling little town at the crossroads, until I-40 changed the way folks got to Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

  9. Gordon, Roswell to Vaughn is indeed empty. A little out of the way for this trip. Vaughn to Clines Corners is nearly as empty, but it is (as is much of 285) part of the "WIPP Route."

    The WIPP Route(s) is/are a very improved bunch of roads that are underused but overbuilt so that Cold War "radioactive waste" can travel more "safely" to Carlsbad. Vaughn to Clines is four lanes of quality strip. I've been WELL over the speed limit there. Fun.

    Buck, Ms. Zuki (Cobalt Cheval) would love that stretch, though not in the same way my Goldwing would've. I've seen your pictures of (was it some ghost town near Elida?) the county line bar, so I know you know this.

    You come to ABQ, lemme know at the Concentric addy. I'll give you a windshield tour of what I know about KAFB and SNL-- the less fenced parts (access similar like you have at Cannon). Also, the National Nuclear Museum or whatever they call it now is up and running, though probably not what they envisioned before money got thin.

    And I think you know where El Pinto is. If not, ask the nipper.

    Pancho's isn't what I remember as a child, but I haven't been there in years (at the time a different location-- Central and Wyoming). Gotta give it a try on Andy's recommendation.

  10. Lou and BR: Yeah, volcanic ash and the TSA... two things I want NOTHING to do with.

    Kath: Heh. Yeah, I've won a lot of inconsequential stuff in my life. ;-)

    Andy: I'll take you at your word, but the concept of a Mexican "buffet"... or ANY buffet... is off-putting to me. That's what experience does for ya. ;-)

    Glenn: And you also know that the SFBNRR route thru Clovis (and this part o' the world, in general) is VERY highly traveled!

    If you want to see a whole lot of empty, try the stretch of 285 between Roswell and Vaughn.

    You got THAT right. A classic case of "nothing to see for miles and miles" except miles and miles.

    The WIPP Route(s) is/are a very improved bunch of roads that are underused but overbuilt so that Cold War "radioactive waste" can travel more "safely" to Carlsbad.

    Yup. US70 is another example, i.e., way overbuilt for the traffic it gets. But you're right, Bob... you can REALLY haul ass on these roads. They're lightly patrolled, too.

    And thanks again for the offline note; that was some seriously good reading. I'll definitely let ya know the next time I'm headed up your way.

  11. You just have to go to Pancho's. Anytime I'm even near Albuquerque I will divert to make a stop.

    It's not as much fun as it was when I was younger and could eat a lot more, but geez, it's a tradition!

  12. Yeah Gordon, I grew up around the corner from a Pancho's here in the Shreveport area. It was always great.

    When I moved out West, our kids really missed Panchos (and we did, too). Our first trip south to ABQ, we were looking for grub...there it was! Aaaaahhhhh...made the kids feel like they were back here at home for a little while.

  13. Buck,your comment about "Mexican buffets" was hillarious. But I remember Pancho's as very fun and quite a treat. It wasn't like a Vegas buffet in those days (won't know about these days until I try it again). What you did was "run up the flag" (A Mexican flag of course) when you were ready for more. They'd bring you (quickly) whatever you want, all you can eat, and Gordon claims he could eat a lot. "And the kids will love the sopapillas!" I feel like Lileks describing his 1970s drugstore fountain.

    Andy, for gosh sakes, who knew they had a Pancho's in Shreveport?

  14. Reese, they opened a Pancho's in Bossier City (my hometown) when I was about 6 years old. So, that was about 20 years back...Nyuk!

    Yeah, we've had 'em here for over 40 years. Shreveport, and Bossier City (my hometown) have three locations I think.

    The food is really nothing special. Just plain old Tex-Mex. But, you still run up the flag when you need refills of anything you caught coming down the buffet line.

    Let me amend my remarks. They STILL make the very best Spanish/Mexican rice you would ever flap a lip over. And their Sopapilas with honey are to die for.

    Just as a last "remembrance," they no longer have the enormous Ceramic Mexican in a Sombrero with "candy canes" in his mouth like when we were kids.

    But, they do have an ice cream machine. Kinda' makes up for it, I'd say...

  15. If only someone would slip a Pancho's onto a barge and push it up here....it's only 900 river miles!

  16. Got a vision, Andy, a lasting remembrance-- the Pancho caricature with candy canes-- sort of a "Big Boy" or "Sambo" icon. Thanks.

    Gordon, will be loading the barge momentarily.

    So..., Andy..., You're from Bossier City?

    (See inset. Grabs magnifying glass.) Ah. Shores of the Red. That "Ark-La-Tex" Museum of Antique Vehicles looks interesting. And "Sci-Port Discovery Center." But definitely the Barksdale visitors' center, if they have one.

  17. Dumped a lot of ballast from Clovis going West on the BNSFRR. All the way to Belen.

  18. Blogger ate my comment. Yes, Reese, Bossier City boy I am. Moved away, and came back home.

    The car museum is no longer, but it was a real treat to visit. Sci-Port is an outstanding facility, and worth seeing.

    Barksdale AFB is about one mile from my house. They have an 8th Air Force museum that I understand is worth a look, but to my shame I've never been there.

    I might go this weekend. The Air Show is this Saturday & Sunday. Thunderbirds are here, and it's always a first class, high class air show.

    There is a lot to do around here. And, we have a Panchos...


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