Moutainair, NM is where the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument visitor center is, and it also happens to be home to the Shaffer Hotel, where I was told they serve tasty meals. I’m always up for a tasty meal, so before my drive to Salinas I stopped in.
I asked the waitress what their specialty was, and she said it was the “ghost chile burger.” As in, moaning, see-through, scary chile burger? No, the chile is “10x hotter” than any jalapeno on the planet – no white sheet with eye holes required.
That’s some claim, despite the confusing ghost/heat connection, but since I value the use of my tastebuds, I passed and went for the enchilada/taco combo, which I assumed was a safe bet in a New Mexican restaurant. When I finally got my meal the nice, attentive waitress explained the cook was just learning the new menu, so it took longer than normal. I’d love to say the food was especially worth the wait, but I maybe should have sacrificed my tastebuds and gone with the specialty.
After lunch I walked around and saw this:
Then I drove south to Salinas, and saw this:
Since this Scamp seemed to be all about ruins and rocks in some form or another, I planned to go to Tent Rocks, NM, which is not a National Park, but looked gorgeous regardless. To get a jump on the drive the next morning, I stayed at the Casino Hollywood just north of Albuquerque.
Sam and I woke up the next morning, ready for Tent Rocks. (The sum total of my research into that site was seeing a photo somewhere and thinking, Oh, pretty!) I got to the park entrance with Sadie and Sam, and it turns out you not only can’t have dogs on trail, which is usually no problem since Sam is great in the car or in Sadie while I look around, but they don’t allow dogs in the park, at all. Period. (For reference, please see their website and note the giant, unequivocal notice in the upper right.)
So it was another reminder that road travel is all about Plan B. And in this case that meant changing my day around and heading to Bandelier National Monument, which I’ll tell you about in the next post.
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