Plan B, Once Again

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.

Plan B, Once Again

The ceiling in the dining room.

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:

Plan B, Once Again

I presume they also used wrenches to fix cars.

And this:

Plan B, Once Again

Take the train to your haircut or spa treatment!

Then I drove south to Salinas, and saw this:

Plan B, Once Again

I can’t get enough ruins.

And this:

Plan B, Once Again


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.

Plan B, Once Again

I don’t gamble, but I do love good beer and people watching. And I’m always looking for interesting light, like this.

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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  1. Martha August 29, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    I think all National Parks allow dogs in the campgrounds but most don’t allow them on trails. It does gives you a better chance to see the wildlife though. The ceiling in the Shafer Hotel looked pretty interesting – too bad about the food.

    • deonne August 29, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Martha – Yes, mostly allowed in campgrounds and sometimes on trails near the visitor center, but usually not allowed elsewhere. With good reason, I respect the rules, and you’re right, without Sam it’s easier to see wildlife.

      The food at the Shaffer was basic, but the ceiling was not! Ha.

  2. Sherry in MT August 29, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Bummer huh?! I noticed the no dogs issue too but since I wasn’t there with my dogs I went anyway and I’ll say – if you get the chance to go without Sam – definitely go. You can take about 4 hours and hike all the way up and back and be back for lunch. Look on my blog for photos I took a few weeks ago.

    • deonne August 29, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Sherry – It was a bummer, but it’s fine because I live so close it would be easy to go back and do what sounds like an amazing hike. Your photos are wonderful!

  3. Manisha September 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I like that you respect the rules about dogs. I know far too many people who think the rules don’t apply to them. That train is awesome! Also, I’ve heard about this ghost pepper and it scares me.
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    • deonne September 2, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Manisha – You’ve heard of the ghost pepper? I hadn’t, but I do know it’s chile roasting season in Taos, and I need to get back there and buy a batch!

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