August 18, 2004
LOTS OF ROOMS AVAILABLE
Rain and roadworks slowed me yesterday, so I arrived in Albuquerque too late for any interactive reader/drinky fun. Apologies. Here's a timeline of my night:
10.50 pm: Arrive. Exhausted. Seek out first downtown hotel with lights on.
10.55 pm: Check in to the Desert Sands, the early '60s grandeur of which has not so much faded as been Photoshopped entirely out. Heartbreakingly, an aerial photograph of the hotel in its prime - back in the days when they bothered to fill the swimming pool - hangs in the lobby.
11.15 pm: A disturbance downstairs; two tenants are being thrown out over some violation of Desert Sands rules. The night manager shouts something about "beer" and "the dumpster".
11.17 pm: Police escort the former tenants from the building. When one attempts to return, the night manager confronts him with a can of mace and yells: "Want to find out what this is?"
11.18 pm: Make note to self: avoid beer and dumpsters.
11.27 pm: Returning from an ATM, witness a third occupant being asked to leave. "Not so funny now, is it?" the busy night manager tells him.
11.35 pm: You know, I could really use a drink.
11.45 pm: Step into Sonny's, a biker bar minus any bikers. Group of stoners discussing the ideal housewarming gift decide on two options: "bread" and "lunchmeat".
12.10 am: Decide to poll stoners on their election choices:
David: "Kerry. Because Bush is a fuck."
Matt: "Kerry, because Republican trickle-down theories are pure crap." (Matt adds: "I also don't trust Kerry, because he's a lying son of bitch."
Brittney: "I'm not voting. I don't know enough about politics, and I wouldn't want to make the wrong choice."
12.25 am: Polling is interrupted by a waitress who places a crescent head screwdriver on the bar and tells patrons: "This was on the pool table." Nobody steps forward to claim it.
Chris: "Kerry, because the bigger concern now is education." Chris, 21 and extremely articulate, turns out to have an Australian adoptive parent and is very aware of Australian politics and history.
Ashley: "I haven't decided. I'm not really for Bush, but I don't think Kerry will do much better."
Kevin: "Kerry, because he's the lesser of two evils." Polling is subsequently suspended while Kevin, a noted local chef, explains his current speciality dish: Green chilli and cream cheese stuffed pork chops with orange/pineapple/jalapeno glaze.
1.10 am: Return to the Desert Sands. Yet another eviction is taking place. Discuss matters with the night manager, who reveals that he once unloaded an entire can of mace at a hostile customer only to have the man bust a postcard stand over his (the night manager's) head.
1.12 am: The postcard stand, in two pieces, is presented for examination.
1.15 am: What are these people doing to get thrown out all the time? "Let me show you," says the night manager, and we inspect the room from which three were earlier booted. There are perhaps 80-100 syringes on a bedside table, piles of empty beer cans on the floor, and an electric frying pan, showing recent evidence of attempted meal construction, lying next to a broken bicycle. If the Smithsonian ever displays a "Rolling Stones in 1972" retrospective, they could use this room as a life-slice exhibit.
1.20 am: Back in my room, I notice that while I was out the night manager has installed a brand-new security chain. God bless him.
Tonight, in Oklahoma City, the recommended bar is called Edna's. I have no idea yet where Edna's is, but will try to be there by 8.30pm. Presently in Tucumcari.
Posted by Tim Blair at August 18, 2004 07:50 AM
What is this Kerry for education crap? I haven't heard anything about Kerry that Bush doesn't have the one-up on him.
Our public schools are going to shit and Kerry is talking about higher education. Fucking moron. One of our current problems is too many un-employed college grads.
OMG! That sounds exactly like what happened to me the last time I was in Abq! What are the odds?
Tucumcari? Think quick -- For A Few Dollars More or Little Feet?
Albuquerque certainly sounds like one hell of a town. You should have gone to the Albuquerque Museum to see the hand-painted photographs. No, really. Hand-painted photographs.
David S. - are you talking about The Flying Burrito Bros.?
"Albuquerque certainly sounds like one hell of a town"
Ya got that kinda inside out - it's a town in hell, a suburban hades. Tim's hotel adventure is exactly as I would have predicted.
"Tuscon to Tucumcari,
Tohachipi to Tonapa..."
Take the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed...
Polly, no - Little Feet. Tehatchapee to tucumcari. Hey Dave, what's the name of the song?
Sorry, Album - Waiting for Columbus.
Name of the song is Willin'. Don't know why, but I've always associated that with Burrito Bros. What do ya know!
This is why people stay in Holiday Inns, bland as they may be.
Tucumcari has internet? Wow.. things have improved since I drove through in October 03.
Actually I once had a similar experience in the Holiday Inn in Albuquerque.
Ah, majestic city of my youth. You think it's bad now, you should have seen it in '77. At least now you can buy beer on Sunday.
Jeebus, Tim, nice job finding the postcard-perfect Albuquerque experience. I've only seen Albuquerque from the comfortable splendor of mooching at a friend's place in Sandia Heights, where the city seems mighty nice. Now I know why she always dissuaded me from wanting to explore the city.
Polling slackers at a bar around midnight on a weeknight might not be a representative sample. You would have loved Santa Fe, where the combined length of grey male ponytail hair could circle the earth a dozen times. Last time I was there, people wearing Kerry buttons were getting stopped on the street by aging hippies and complemented on their political affiliation.
I've contended that New Mexico isn't really a western state in the way that, say, Wyoming or Nevada are. Like Wyoming and Nevada, New Mexico is dependent on federal largess, but in NM they seem resigned it. It's a state that seems overwhelmingly populated with the kind of poky, bitter people who work at the Post Office. Catron County is the glaring exception.
Sort of, Matt. There's definitely that element here, but there's also the Spoiled Artistic Hippie element, the Irritable Rancher element, the Military Element, and what we in Los Alamos call the Conehead element, i.e. the unbelievable number of PhDs who work at Los Alamos National Labs and down in Sandia National Labs.
Either way, the Albuquerque Experience is why *we* live on top of a mountain surrounded by an agreeable mix of scientists and rednecks.
You must pick motels on the same basis as my mother-in-law used to, God bless her. Of course she was a child of the Great Depression. What's your excuse?
Tim, you seem to have accidentally driven on to a Coen brothers set. You were supposed to take a LEFT at Albuquerque dammit.
What is a "crescent head screwdriver"?
Well, I warned you about Alberquerque. No, wait - I meant to warn you.
I stayed there overnight once, on the way to San Francisco, and the distinct impression I got was that it was exactly the sort of place where the police could be found helping to evict tenants from dubious hotels on any given night.
This has all the makings of an episode of Cops.
Incidentally, I also stayed in Oklahoma City, as part of the same trip. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were stalking me. Only in reverse. And 2 and a half years later. What a strange thing to do.
Anyway, OKC was much more uneventful and, as I recall, there's much better food to be had there as well.
Hmm, that should say Albuquerque up there. Stupid American educational system.
The album was Sailin Shoes guys. One of Little Feats best.
Reese is suspiciously quiet. Is it because all of Australia and beyond have a bad impression of his hometown?
Albequerque has lots of gangs, tho' you might not think it. Think 'hick Bloods vs. rube Crips'. Cactus league goblin farm teams slugging it out for control of local drugs & prostitution. I remember being surprised by the number of (cute!) streetwalkers out there under those gorgeous old neon signs on Central. I like the town but it's not all green & red chile.
I guess you really CAN get your kicks on Route 66.
There aint such a thing as a crescent head screwdriver. Maybe its some sort of in-joke.
Blair-ologist, I don't suppose there's even the slightest chance of you making your way up to Maine? Might-ay nice up here in August.
Who's this David Stratton guy who's impersonating me?
Little Feat - Sailing Shoes it is.
But how about a vote in favour of For A Few Dollars More?
Spaghetti Western Shlub: "Excuse me. This train doesn't stop at Tucumcari."
Lee Van Cleef: "It'll stop."
And PEOPLE?!? What about Neil Young's Albuquerque?
Well, they say that Santa Fe is less than ninety miles away,
And I got time to roll a number and rent a car.
One of the best songs from his best album.
Edna's Restaurant and Club
5137 N Classen Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Tel: (405) 840-3339
Courtesy of: Microsoft MapPoint 2004
Hmm. I got declared a Mexican once by the INS in Albuquerque...
Tim: You're traveling the way all men should travel the southwest at least once. Way to go. Hehe.
Straight up Classen Blvd. from the west side of downtown to Northwest Expressway (Horn Seed Company and First Fidelity Bank will stare you in the face), then 45 degrees to the right toward the I-44 onramp. Edna's is the last building on the left before the actual ramp.
Tony T. What Neil Young song and albul was that.
With respect to Lee Van Cleef and Sergio Leone (and I DO mean RESPECT). I was reading an article about them on a website run by Cenk Kiral about Leone just yesterday. He is paraphrasing a discussion with Leone biographer Christopher Frayling:
"According to Prof.Frayling, Leone had only a week to go before he started the “For A few Dollars More” shootings. When Lee Marvin’s agent told him that Marvin had just signed the contract for the “Cat Ballou”, Leone had to find the actor to play the Colonel and get him on the set in about a week period. He searched one of the film encyclopedia and found out Lee Van Cleef as being one of the second rate actors of the time who appeared as baddie in various Hollywood pictures like High Noon, The Man who shot Liberty Valance. He immediately got in touch with Van Cleef’s agent but the agent didn’t even know what Van Cleef was doing since he had been away from the film world for quite sometime. Finally they found out that he was working as a freelance interior home designer at California. Leone and his crew flew to the USA (first time in Leone’s life) to meet with him with a bag full of cash Dollars. When Van Cleef came to see them at a hotel room they stayed, Leone saw him at the door of the hotel room some distance away. Van Cleef was wearing a black overcoat and exposing a strange silhouette. As soon as Leone saw Van Cleef first time at the doorway, he ordered his men to make the deal without going through any further discussions. Van Cleef was offered a cash money right at the spot, which surprised him a great deal...[snip]... The next day Van Cleef was in plane to Almeria, southeast Spain, reading the script in the plane for the first time. The scene of “For A few Dollars More”, where Van Cleef was looking out the El Paso streets via binocular from his hotel window, was the first shot of Van Cleef and marks the beginning of the career of a world-wide famous star, “The Man with Angeleyes”. "
James, it was Albuquerque from Tonight's The Night. Great, great album. Recorded in one hit in the middle of the night when Neil and the band were all on the sauce.
Now I'm off to check out that website. Many thanks for the tip.
PS: I love Leone. But I love Morricone more.
You could have requested info in advance on where to stay. No one who knows two things about Albuquerque would ever stay in a motel on East Central. Yes, you can get your kicks there, and your chicks and your transvestite hookers and your drugs. And your AIDS. This doesn't mean you need stay at the expense-account hotels.
I hope it's not too late.
Tucumcari has the worst Denny's in the world.
Not to mention the dumbest patrons.
You should've gravitated over toward the university side of town. I've had some good times there. Trendy restaurants, cute girls...
LabRat: nice that you can afford Los Alamos on my tax money. Big Brother wants you there in a very tight community so word can easily get back that perhaps LabRat is buying a wee bit too much hooch or renewing a few too many prescriptions and should be watched. Now, if only He would watch the activities inside the lab, which can probably compete -- on a grad school level, of course -- with the Abq motels and biker bars. Slipped discs. Chinese take-out. The megillah. But aping upper-class manners all the while. You'll be voting for Kerry, I assume, and are just slumming here?
So your next stops are from Tahachapi to Tournapaw. Reckon that hotel room would have seen its share of weed, whites and wine. And keep off the back roads, where you won't get laid.
On East Central some of the motels are okay. I tried to steer Blair to the Hiway House next to Kelly's Brewpub on Nob Hill or as Reid said, "to the University area." In fact I checked the place out. Seemed okay to me, and I called them to make sure they had a room, and to watch for an Aussie about 10:30 local, give or take 30 minutes. Plus as Brent from Rio Rancho will back up, Kelly's was really nice. Would have beat a biker bar with no bikers.
Then I called Blair when he reached cell service to inform him of this. I had warned him (as someone who knows a little about Albuquerque) that many motels on Central are drug-ridden dives. I also told him we had all the major chains.
Then, as the timeline says, he pulled into the first downtown motel that had its lights on. Hey that's his adventure. And he was "exhausted" after the SLC to ABQ drive.
Sorry he had a bad experience here. If not for the hightailing cross-country schedule, it could have been a swell experience. I would really have liked to have seen to it.
Maybe a "crescent-headed screwdriver" is a claw hammer.
I've heard that a 10lb sledgehammer is referred to as a "mexican speed wrench" in the car racing fraternity.
Iain, I suggest you pay a visit to such learned blogs as "Curreny Lad" and "Slattsnews" for your fix of ass-whippin. (Yours I would suggest.)
Tim seems to be bit busy at the moment.
Maybe a "crescent-headed screwdriver" is a claw hammer.
The "crescent" could be an Islamic reference. Maybe it's a Muslim screwdriver: vodka and orange juice, hold the vodka. No wonder no one claimed it.
Ok folks, it's Little Feat. The studio album was Sailin' Shoes and the live album was Waiting for Columbus. Enough already.
Now I guess we'll be reading comments about Merle Haggard tomorrow as Tim passes through Oklahoma.
Thanks for the info Tony.
You are right about Morricone. At the Leone site you will find some interesting stuff on how they worked together. Leone briefed Morricone scene by scen and frequently the music was ready to be played for the actors when making the scene.
I have Sunday lunch in Kelly's about once a month. The beer is fine, though the food is declining and I never see Janice the owner there any more so I can give her a heavy-handed hint. When I was first scoping out New Mexico, I tended to stay in La Quinta, which, while not The Crillon or The Connaught, was perfectly clean, quiet and more than adequate. I never knew anyone who stayed at Hiway House, and I do know the owners, or at least the previous owners, set terms for Kelly's so onerous that they moved next door to the much better quarters. Tim could have eaten at the Korean BBQ which succeeded Kelly's, had a true NM experience even with kimchi, then washed it down with Kelly's ale and crawled off to bed without getting into a car. It would have been much too easy and no fodder for the autobiography. He failed, as my anthropologist friends say, to make use of his privileged access to native informants.
Thanks, Oss, today's been a rough one and I really needed that laugh!
Tim, it's nice that you have your road trip but things are getting silly here in Oz. Need your input
Iain, others. Tim is basically only holiday. He's not going to blog on demand.
Others are covering the story you seem to be obsessed with.
See: http://thecurrencylad.blogspot.com/ for example.
And grow the fuck up.
Letting me know was a prodigious feet, in and of itself. It's been an extended number of years since I've heard the live album, but I can still remember the Spanish Moon. I think?
DaveACT & Angie S.,
I think the crescent headed screwdriver would be a claw hammer - no other tool comes to mind. My personal favourite hardware slang would be "18 pound key" for a sledgehammer.
BTW, I recently found out the definition of "expanding reamer" - a half-inch hole, a nine-sixteenths bolt, and a BIG hammer.
An update for Karl: Professor Bunyip has proved Scrafton's polygrapher to be a serial plagiarist.
Time for the ALP to throw Scrafton overboard?
Al Unser, Jr. isn't staying at that place, is he?
Hans Blix? He's about as credible as Scrafton.
How are you going to handle Labor losing the next election, Iain? Are we going to have to suffer another four years of the crybaby Left, or are you going to deal with your failure?
Iraq - saved by a coalition of national governments with spine, determination and the knowledge of what is truly right and wrong. Hello, USA, the United Kingdom (special mention Royal Scots Dragoons), Australia, Italy, Poland and all the rest. Including Micronesia - because we never forget our smallest friends unlike the Left who have historically abandoned their grandmothers at the merest threat of danger.
The Left - saved by a succession of itinerant and total losers, the latest of whom is a squeaky-voiced weekend pornographer by the unlikely name of Scrafton.
Troll all you like, lefties.
Your moral position is as empty as your brains.
...our PM lacks credibility...
It's Scrafton who lacks credibility, Dan. And courage: 'I said nothing for three years because I was frightened for my mortgage.' What a wimp.
Guys, I've deleted most of the off-topic posts -- all of the trolls', I hope, and some of yours unfortunately. (I left a couple because I like them; yes, I am totally arbitrary!) Karl, Iain, Darp, and whichever other trolls are out there, this is the way ALL of your posts will be treated from now on.
Godwin's Law should be kicking in any minute now.
Blair's American travels are much more interesting. I would like to hear what he does for LUNCH over there. Stuff the politics. I want to know what sort of car he's driving, who he's meeting etc.
Well maybe a bit of politics. Of the 50% Americans who don't bother to vote what are some of the POVs there?
And, since I see that certain people can't grow up, I've closed comments to all posts except this one.
You say 50% don't vote. Thats a lot less than the 100% at the last general election in Iraq ( tangent- let me return ) So what if we could vote via SMS and a special code or email or by phone. Might that change the landscape ?
Help Desk Software Consultant
OT post here:
Tim, if you decide to visit Orlando, I'm buying the drinks. If you've got Layne with you, though, he's going to have to buy for himself. Funds are a wee bit low, what with roofers seeing a quick buck to be made. Really: $14k to redo my roof? You'd think I going with the golden-dome kind of thing.
That's definitely an ON-topic post. (And oh good, you're buying the drinks -- I think I have enough to purchase maybe one small can of tomato juice right now.)
Then we have to take Tim to Gator-land. Mwahahaha!
Sonny's! I wasted my early twenties in that bar. What a dump....
Tim — I know you're a stranger and unused to our exotic American ways, but a tip — when you pull into a motel and the first thing the check-in guy says is, "Boy, you got a real purty mouth..." find another motel. Just FYI.
Group of stoners
Tim, they're called "pot heads" in Australia.
Tim, don't forget to stop by the Cowboy Hall of Fame in OKC (actually, Norman). While there, you are required by local custom to hand roll a cigarette and smoke it in the presence of THE Statue. In so doing, all your sins will be erased.
Doc, I don't know which Cowboy Hall of Fame you're refering to, but the only one that I am familar with is down the street and around the corner from me. I live about three miles north of the state capital building on the north side of Okc. Norman is about 17 miles south of Okc. The Hall is a fun trip. A couple of us had drinks with Tim at Flip's last night.... that was "funner."
Memorable motel! One of these places was so hopelessly un-reformable the city had it bulldozed. It turns out to be impossible to figure out who actually owns some of these motels, the chain of ownership is so convoluted and ambiguous. I once stopped in a gas station/quick mart on Central Avenue after midnight and thought I'd stumbled onto the set of a Felini movie. Bleached-blond Mexican hookers, pimpmobiles bouncing on their hydraulics and stereos booming in the parking lot, even a whole family of dwarfs inside. A local radio guy once said if you see a good-looking hooker on Central, you can be sure it's either a cop or a man.
"Ah, majestic city of my youth. You think it's bad now, you should have seen it in '77."
Hey, do I know you? In '77 you could know everybody in Albuquerque, and I did. Crazy shit you couldn't get away with now. I think/hope the statute of limitations has made virgins of us all by now.
It’s a little off-topic, but Cumberland Wrestling is one of the most scientific forms of close combat known to man. It is thought to be of Viking origin, though many of its holds are to be found on ancient friezes.
probably a crescent headed wrench.
Or a crescent headed wench. It was a bar, after all.
I know what you mean Ned. I knew a girl named Candy who would order a large cup of ice from McDonalds, fill it with beer and then drive around in her Camaro and drink the beer. How's that for a typical Albuquerque story?
Even if our paths did cross, I don't know if I'd remember you, you might be in a brain cell I killed.
As a current Albuquerque resident and homegrown Okie from OKC, Tim must have a steak at Cattlemen's Steakhouse on S. Agnew. And, if possible, in addition to the Cowboy HOF, a visit to downtown and the Murrah Memorial is well worth the time.
Albuquerque should have seen Tim at the Frontier for a 2 AM burrito and cinammon roll, btw.
Andrea, after Gatorland, take him to the mineral spring place where you can swim with the dugongs. Or whatever you call them. Manatees? Very back-to-nature.
Thanks, Bernard (way up there on the scroll). You made me feel a little better about Blair's experience here. His timeline was definitely better than that he would have posted had everything been fine:
10:30 PM: Found decent motel.
11:00 PM: Had a beer. Conversation nice.
12:00 AM: Slept.
By judging this thread, Albuquerque bashing is providing theraputic (sp?) entertainment. Heck, we do it to Espanola. Oh and Texas, especially Aggies.
As for "Willin'", one of my faves-- when sung by Linda Ronstadt. (Nutty politics, but she can sure sing.) Another geography-rich song she sings is "Talk to Me of Mendocino." Love it.
Tucson: Made a special trip there a few years ago to see Terri Nunn and "Berlin."
Tucumcari: Had a flat fixed there once.
Tehachapi: How 'bout those windmills. Subsidies, anyone?
Tonopah: I travel there too much on business. The town's fine, it's the business that's a drag.
All town spellings courtesy of Rand-McNally.
Another geography-rich song she sings is "Talk to Me of Mendocino." Love it.
More Mendocino. Sir Douglas Quintet ...
Teeny Bopper, my teenage lover
I caught your waves last night
It sent my mind to wonderin'.
You're such a groove
Please don't move
Please stay in my love house by the river.
Fast talkin' guys with strange red eyes
Have put things in your head
And started your mind to wonderin'
I love you so, please don't go
Please stay here with me in Mendocino.
Where life's such a groove
You blow your mind in the morning.
We used to walk through the park,
Make love along the way in Mendocino.
(Ah, play it, Augie! Yeah!)
Like I told you, can you dig it?
If you wanna groove, I'll be glad to have you.
'Cause I love you so, please don't go,
Please stay here with me in Mendocino,
Where life's such a groove,
You blow your mind in the morning
We used to walk through the park,
Make love along the way in Mendocino
Mendocino, Mendocino, Mendocino
Giuliani for president!
Is'n it time to sort the scum out?
I suppose it should start with shooting all the "human rights activists".
Tim Blair's blog, the home of free speech, as long as you don't criticise hoWARd. Hey Tim, don't forget to see outfoxed when you are in the states, you will learn how to "shut up" anyone not sharing your opinions.
How will he manage to see Outfoxed, since it's been ruthlessly suppressed in the States?
Free speech? A wonderful concept. You could start by constructing a coherent sentence or two.
Guys, I've deleted most of the off-topic posts -- all of the trolls', I hope, and some of yours unfortunately. (I left a couple because I like them; yes, I am totally arbitrary!)
Only, one of mine remained. I guess when we have our next troll-infestation I'll have to be more cruel and much funnier.
Get it? There's WAR in the word, and the word is Howard? Oh, ah, hahahahah!
How about LatHAM...
No, no, no...
KERry. bEASleY. ChIRAQ.
Oh, I'm done.
Having spent the first sixteen years of my life living in New Mexico (Los Alamos to be exact, famous primarily for nuking stuff) it's now hard to believe that at the time, Albuquerque was pretty much modern civilization to us (Well, as close as we got anyway (of course, we practically had to go 35 miles to Santa Fe to do our grocery shopping...) Los Alamos is one of these towns that's fought tooth and nail for years to keep Wal-Mart from building a store there, then wonders why everyone goes to Santa Fe to shop (here's a hint: There's NOWHERE to shop there.) If you wanted real actual modern civilization you'd have to go to Denver or Phoenix.) Of course, five miles beyond the city limits is pretty much the middle of nowhere. Sixteen years of living in New Mexico, and the green chile is about the only thing I miss about the place.
My husband, who was born in Los Alamos and has never been out of the state longer than two weeks since then, wishes to make it known that he loves you and also wishes to know where you live now that you only miss the *green* chile.
Hey Quentin some others
rex CONner,neville wRAN,tanya pliBERSERK,
I'm done they are all just faceless cogs of a clunky machine anyway.
Glad you made it through the day - a real spinner.
Re: The Denny's in Tucumcari...
I would have to agree that it is the worst ever. However, despite the fact that it is the only place I have eaten breakfast in the shadow of a large man-made dinosaur, it was very apropos of the entire feel of the town. It really does feel like a Cohen bros. movie. I think I stayed in the same hotel Tim was in, too. We did not venture from our room.
Re: If you visit Oklahoma City...
Only go to the Cowboy Hall of Fame if you are from the Northeast part of the country and you drive a minivan. The only reason to see the Cowboy Hall of Fame is if you have children and you think Oklahoma is the way you saw it in an old cowboy movie. Even though Cattlemen's steak house is a virtual historical landmark, it is sub-par at best. They use Mayonnaise with paprika as salad dressing.
If you want to get a true feel for Okc, here are my recommendations:
DON'T go to Edna's. I always heard fantastic tales about the place, including that there is a lady on a swing that performs or something. I have never been to Edna's when there wasn't more than Edna and a biker sitting in an empty bar.
DO go to Eichen's. It's just NW of the city in a town called Okarche. It's the oldest bar in Oklahoma and it serves cold beer and THE BEST fried chicken I have ever had. It's $8 per chicken (you have to order in whole chickens, they don't sell by the piece) and it comes with white bread, sweet pickles, and onions, served on newspaper. You put the pickles and onions in a folded piece of bread in one hand, a piece of chicken in the other and you alternate bites. If you make an order "to go" they wrap it all up in foil and give it to you in an empty beer box. If you go on a weekend, go early... the line is out the door.
Forget the museums, monuments, etc. They're all lame. If you want real Okie-style amusement, take a drive in the country. I recommend heading South from Okc on I-40 until you start seeing miscellaneous barbecue stands on the side of the road. Then head East, which should land you in some very interesting small towns. These little trips will get you more Oklahoma culture than any other attraction. The last one I took was good enough to make into a dark comedy film. First I wound up at the Braum's milking plant where a man in a woolly hunting cap (this was in June, mind you) offered my fiancée to personally check out the new milking machines. Then we ate at a roadside diner where halfway through my meal I noticed that one of my french fries had a deep-fried fly attached to it. When I complained the waitress removed the fly-tainted fry from my basket. That night we ate dinner in a restaurant where our waiter was the owner and all he wore was a pair of overalls... no socks, no shoes, no t-shirt, and unfortunately due to the fact that his overalls were cut low on the sides, he obviously wasn't wearing any underwear either. Best damn fried catfish I ever ate.
Well, about ten years ago I joined modern civilization, and now reside in the Seattle metro area. It's defnitely got its charms (as long as you can manage to get past the whole "Seattle Liberal" bit. It seems these days making a big mess of things as the mayor of Seattle is the best way to get yourself elected governor around here.
And I guess I should take my statement back. On occasion, I miss the red chile too. At least we have connections down there that can procure tubs of the frozen green chile for us every once in a while. And Los Alamos really isn't a bad town when it's not on fire. The whole "Land of Enchantment" thing wears out pretty quick when you're actually living there, especially if you wander too close to Espanola (famous primarily for giving the world Lowriders, but at least they have a Wal-Mart. A person I knew who lived in Los Alamos recently described it as "Not a fun, happy, rolling back prices Wal-Mart, but a "Notify your next of kin you're shopping here" Wal-Mart.)
One of these days I'll have to take a trip back there (if only to make stops at Little Anita's and Gardunos,) grab a load of chile and maybe go visit Los Alamos and see the nice new homes that replaced the ones that got burned down.
I rather enjoy it up here, mainly because I grew up in big cities and really, really like being able to drink water straight from the tap that I don't have to worry about having near open flames. That, and I'm one of those types that finds "lack of normal human contact" to be a plus in scientific fields, so I don't miss the nightlife of Phoenix or New Orleans.
You're right about Espanola, though. We're familiar with the Wal-Mart and arm ourselves to the teeth every time we go. I'll always cherish the memory of overhearing the loud conversation of the girl who looked about sixteen about her baby's case of AIDS with a passerby there. Recently, Espanola has accomplished "heroin capital of the nation". Given the town's weight class, New Mexico should be proud of such a notable achievement.
The new homes ARE nice. Local consensus is that we should have another fire so we can get rid of the rest of the postwar duplex nightmares.
Sandina: It's either East of OKC on I-40 (to Shawnee), or South on I-35 (past Norman).
If I had known Tim would have time to hit somewhere like Eischen's, of course I would second your motion. Cattlemen's still has the best Porterhouse or T-Bone (named after George Bush 41) around.
Favorite Sonny's story from my time in Albuquerque: I used to play rugby back in the mid-90s in ABQ and one of the bars we used to have the postgame parties in was Sonny's. One Saturday, after drinking enough beer to float a destroyer, the two teams (Kirtland AFB Coyotes and the Albuquerque Brujos) decided to have a strip-off, danced to the tune of 'Father Abraham'. So my girlfriend and all the other women in the bar get to watch about 30 totally blitzed rugby players get buck naked while singing a children's Sunday School song. Thank God they don't enforce public nudity laws in that town. Won't be forgetting the name of that bar anytime soon. . .
Let me guess, Ohio?
In spite of the tragedy involved in the whole Cerro Grande fire, I have to say it's probably one of the finest acts of unplanned urban renewal that could have happened, As you said, the vast majority of what got burned down there was the drab old 40s government duplexes. I know of at least two of the houses I used to live in that got burned down, and both were utterly forgettable.
Oh yeah, and as long as I'm planning a trip out there just to eat, I suppose I should swing by Bella Vista out in the Sandias and hit the all-you-can-eat chicken and fish too... Not exactly native cuisine, and you've got to drive through a few hippie colonies to get to it, but that's another of my favorites there.
"New Mexico: What are you taking pictures of?"
[OT ADMIN] Quentin, DaveACT, I apologize for removing your responses to Karl's latest troll but it would have been silly to leave them after I had deleted his latest post. I will assume he has already read your responses. By the way, Karl and the other trolls -- I am removing off-topic posts not because I want only "Tim lovers" to post here but because I don't intend to let the comment threads be derailed from the topic by obsessives with boundary problems. (That's the nice way of saying "rude assholes who think everything revolves around them and their concerns.) Don't like it? Tough.
Ooh. Sorry, Bella Vista went out of business. The building couldn't be economically "brought up to code." Dang.
I seem to recall seeing that they did eventually manage to reopen, although it took several years to do so.
Nope, like I said, Phoenix and then New Orleans. New Orleans forms a lovely blob of clustered cases of bladder cancer on the map thanks to being at the ass end of the Mississippi, and Phoenix water is more heavy metals than H2O.