When I left San Diego, Bonnie and Roger suggested I stay at La Posada in Winslow, AZ because it’s a beautiful hotel, and a little more than halfway to Taos.
(You might be wondering why I’d need a hotel room, when I have a perfectly lovely Sadie to sleep in. I have a confession: I left Sadie home for this trip. PLEASE DON’T TELL SADIE. Her little fiberglass feelings are very sensitive, plus I worry if she gets in a snit she might pull tricks on me next time, like locking me out or refusing to light the hot water heater. Thank you in advance for your discretion.)
La Posada is on Route 66, built in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railway, and designed by Mary Colter, who designed other famous buildings including the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge. By the time I got to La Posada my passenger seat was piled with soggy Kleenex, and I was happy to see the hotel glowing in the twilight:
The cheapest room was $120/night, which was a splurge since I’m used to staying for next to nothing in we-know-who. Plus there was no coffee in the room, which was odd. (Maybe the owners think the beauty of the place is enough to perk you up? Or they’re Mormon?)
Artist Tina Mion owns the hotel with her husband, and her paintings were everywhere. I loved them – they’re bright and weird and dark and funny – but there were signs stating it was strictly forbidden to photograph them.
I took that to mean strictly forbidden for people using flash, so I didn’t:
There were lobbies and sitting areas everywhere, even one with a fireplace, though I felt so rotten I didn’t enjoy any of them. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d see a sign stating it was strictly forbidden to heap wet tissue on the furniture and sneeze uncontrollably:
The whole place was like a museum, with one hallway dedicated to sculpture:
I stayed in the Gene Autry room, which had this very uncowboy-like but beautiful entryway:
Bonnie and Roger had also recommended the hotel’s restaurant, the Turquoise Room. When I was checking in and the man at the reception desk finally deigned to help me (Customer service tip: Serve the customer) he sniffed, “You’d better make reservations at the restaurant now,” as if there were nowhere else to eat.
The combo of his bad attitude and my flu-dulled taste buds, which would be wasted on the expensive menu, sent me to Trip Advisor, where I found Casa Blanca. It was exactly what I wanted. I had the green chile chicken enchiladas ($9.95), which came with rice and beans, chips and a tiny carafe of salsa (the best way to serve it), plus a warm sopapilla. I drizzled that heavenly puff of carbo-goodness with honey and pretended it was some sort of flu folk remedy:
A father and son played cards while the family waited for their meals, and my waitress seemed to know them and everyone else in the place. She was fast and friendly, and after I’d taken pictures of my dinner, she came by and asked about the camera. (A refreshing change from Texas, where no one asked about anything.)
We chatted, and she said she’d lived her whole life in Winslow, except for a short stint in Albuquerque, which didn’t stick because it was too big. She said Winslow had 10,000 people when she was born, and 10,000 people now, and “something about drinking the water keeps you here.” Fair enough.
After dinner I stopped at Oasis Liquor for cold meds and met Harold, the owner. Harold was from Chicago but moved to Winslow in 1948. He did a stint with the Airborne in WWII, and informed me he turned 89 on July 4 and weighed all of 115 pounds. He also informed me a few days earlier he’d been held up at gunpoint, but Harold wasn’t afraid and pushed the gun aside, telling the guy to scram. The would-be robber left without the money. When I told Harold he was brave, he grinned and said the .44 under the counter helped just a little.
Heading back to La Posada I spotted a lounge that looked seedy enough for me to consider stopping for another beer and chatting up the locals, but I realized I’d probably had enough fake-folk remedies and tucked myself in for the night. But I’ll go back some day, and bring Sadie. And pretend like I’ve never even seen La Posada.