The Route 66 journey has hit high gear as my dad and I cruise into New Mexico.  After crossing the midpoint in Adrian, Texas it’s getting hotter, weirder and better with every roadside relic.  We woke up to a hot and hazy Albuquerque morning and decided to spend a little time in this interesting city before putting the Mustang westward again.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2250No better way to start a Route 66 day than with a artery busting mexican breakfast.  Juanita’s is reputed to have some of the best tacos in Albuquerque and it didn’t disappoint.  I am so addicted to coffee that I insisted on drinking it while also eating their super hot salsa.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2261After breakfast we headed over to Old Town, the heart of historic Albuquerque.  There are scores of restored old buildings, shops, and restaurants.  It’s tourist central.  The standout landmark is the San Felipe de Neri Church, built in 1793.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2265You can’t swing a dead armadillo in Old Town without hitting a gift shop selling Breaking Bad t-shirts.  I’ve seen every episode.  And all of a sudden, I had an idea.

puppyknuckles-7847Fans of Breaking Bad will know exactly where I’m standing in this picture.  There was no pizza on the roof, nor was Skyler’s Jeep Wagoneer in the driveway, but I still felt like I was getting a contact high.  I wasn’t the only one either.   In the approximately three minutes we were there, another car pulled up to snap pictures.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2293In reality, there’s only one good way to get really high in Albuquerque, and it was my dad’s idea.  The Sandia Peak tramway is the longest arial tramride in the world, carrying amusingly terrified passengers from a base elevation of about 6,000 to over 10,000 feet in about 15 minutes.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2280These people are all wondering if they are about to die.  The Swiss-built tram would swing and dip when it went over the major towers.  People screamed.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2314A little hazy that day, but the view was still totally amazing up there.  A bonus of extreme elevation is that one beer feels like two.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2317My dad has never seen Breaking Bad, so I wouldn’t expect him to understand why I was so pumped that we saw the house.  But someone on the tram was also a fan and told me that Bryan Cranston (Walter White) considered the restaurant at the top of the peak to be his favorite in town.  Cool.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2343We could have stayed in Albuquerque all day but soon we realized the day was slipping away.   We had to jump in the Mustang and make some miles.  In New Mexico some of Route 66 is really just I-40, but the views are great.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-There are plenty of opportunities to pull off though and grab some gears on the old road, however.  We went exploring and wound our way through amazing landscapes in the Native American communities of Laguna and Cubero.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2344“Hey man, why don’t you take my picture?”  Sure.  We were just outside Grants, New Mexico.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2375Ahhhhhhhh!  That sky!

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4--3Sometimes the old Route 66 runs right next to I-40.  The speed limit is lower and sometimes the road surface is dodgy, but it’s great to be able to just stop or pull off nearly anywhere to grab photos at at any moment.  The weather was disgustingly perfect and we were enjoying the crap out of this windows-down evening cruise.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2479Here’s another Route 66 legend: the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup.  This place hosted every single pre-1950 movie star you’ve ever heard of and then 7,400 more you haven’t.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2489The lobby of the El Rancho is even more fun than the huge neon sign outside.  The player piano bangs away and you could spend hours just poring over all the history on the walls.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2505We almost spent too long loafing around in the El Rancho however.  We still needed to eat, and just about the only place left in town that was still serving was Sammy C’s “Rock N'” sports bar.

Puppyknuckles-Mustang-USA-4-2499I wasn’t expecting much from the outside of Sammy C’s.  But it turns out it’s the most insane sports bar I’ve ever seen.  It’s more or less a memorabilia museum with a huge bar and restaurant shoved into it.  We ate our burgers under Muhammad Ali’s robe.  It’s great when you’re on the road and you just find yourself somewhere you would have never planned and it turns out to be great.

Tons more to come as we get closer to California.  Stay tuned.


From New York To LA, And Back Again: A Mustang Road Trip

This July, I am going to drive from my home in Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles and back again.  It's just something I've always wanted to do.  It's a…

Mustang USA Part One: Into The Land Of Lincoln

It has begun.  The drive from the east coast (Brooklyn, to be exact) to the west coast (California, then up to the top of Idaho) and back again, in this…

Mustang USA Part Two: In Search Of Levi

In part one of the Mustang USA road trip, I drove straight from Brooklyn to Chicago to pick up papa Burnett and we headed down Route 66 in search of fun and/or…

Mustang USA Part Three: Crossing The Midpoint

After my dad and I took a detour into Kansas and found the gravesite of our civil war fightin’ ancestors, we again cracked open our Route 66 guidebook and realized we had a…

Mustang USA Part Five: Standin’ On The Corner Of Holiday Road

In part five of the Route 66 journey, my dad and I were kicking up dust out of Texas and gobbling up Americana in the New Mexico desert like it was…

Mustang USA Part Six: Rust, Dust, And Spectacular Route 66

Following an incredible drive from Sedona into Flagstaff the previous evening, I feared that we had perhaps had reached the zenith of our trip.  Can it get better than a spectacular winding…

Mustang USA Part Seven: Finishing Off Route 66

My dad and I have been on the road together for eight days and well over 2,000 miles.  We have had such a good time that we wish that Route 66…

Mustang USA Part 8: Cruising The Pacific Coast Highway

Hey, here’s a fact for ya: California is really far away from New York City.  It’s easy to forget this.   Anyone can chug a margarita (or four) at Sammy Hagar’s restaurant in JFK, pass…

Mustang USA Part Nine: Wine Country To Mendocino

If you’ve been following the Mustang USA narrative, you’ll know that I wrapped up the Route 66 drive with my Dad and now a whole new Puppyknuckles crew has assembled…

Mustang USA Part Ten: From The Redwoods To Crater Lake

It might be borderline offensive to reveal this to those of you who are reading this at work, or facing the prospect of work, or aren’t near a bed, but upon…

Mustang USA Part Eleven: Rattlesnake Grade, Heading For Zootown

Part eleven?  Yes, friends, we are up to part eleven on the coast to coast Mustang USA road trip and Margo and I are still trying to get our asses…

Mustang USA Part Twelve: Yellowstone And Bluegrass

Welcome back to the absolute best dang road trip blog featuring a Ford Mustang you’re going to read all day, I presume.  Time to get into some real cowboy country, and that means…

Mustang USA Part 13: The Badlands And Beyond

Driving with my mom through Wyoming in part 12 of Mustang USA was pure entertainment.  It was like watching a prize fight between Yellowstone and the rest of the cowboy state for the title of…

Mustang USA Part 14: Racing Back To Brooklyn

Welcome to the final chapter of Mustang USA.  If you’ve been reading all 13 entries prior to this (get a job), you’ll know that nearly all of the 8,000+ miles…



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