We slept in a bit this morning, but eventually got up and around and downstairs for our workout. (Great fitness center at this hotel!)
Since we were staying in Albuquerque an extra day, our plan was to get into a place that had laundry facilities so we could get that done. Despite the great workout area, they didn’t have guest laundry, so we headed out in search of a laundromat. Neither of us were looking forward to it, because I recall laundromats being hot, creepy places. But I’m happy to report that it was a relatively pain-free experience, and we were out of there in about an hour with two carry-on suitcases full of clean clothes. Yay!
Then it was time to grab a bite to eat, and we found a place called Kelly’s, which is in a ‘30s-era Ford dealer building. Decent food and local brews in a neat building.
We took another drive down Central Avenue so that I could get some of the signage in the daylight. The skies were overcast, so I didn’t get that beautiful blue sky background that looks the best, but I still got some great sign shots (at least I think so!). Some of these are from last night, with the gorgeous neon blazing. The sign that heads up this blog is not a new one, but it is a fantastic addition to the great signs along Central. This is the mascot of the Octopus Carwash, and is that the cutest (and most helpful) octopus you’ve ever seen, or what??
The Premiere has a nicely lit sign, and notice the “No Vacancy” is lit! A lot of these little places are now used as weekly or monthly rentals, and are not places you want to stay at.
The Tewa Lodge has a great sign. I love the jagged red additions on the side!
This is not a great picture (pardon the blurriness), but I’m posting it for two reasons. It was a blinking sign, and it took me four tries before I got a shot of the whole thing lit up! Ken was like, “Okay, NOW!” And I’d miss it. He said, “NOW!” And I missed it. When I finally got it, I said, “Take that, Kurt’s Cameras!” I also noted the “Camera Corral” in smaller size, and shame on Kurt for not going the K route. It should be Kurt’s Kameras, with “Kamera Korral” in the smaller font. Kome on, Kurt!
I don’t recall the name of this motel, but the starburst at the top is great, as are the alternating colors and circular letters that spell out ‘motel.’
I also love the Desert Sands sign. Note how the yucca (I think that’s a yucca) at the top is echoed in the vegetation at the bottom of the sign!
The Pioneer has a great sign with a nice, swooping arrow. It lights up nicely at night, and left turns are okay!
The Zia Motor Lodge sign has both a wonderful starburst at the top as well as the New Mexico sun symbol. You see this symbol everywhere out here, and I think it’s neat. I don’t know the origin of it, and I’m guessing it’s a Native American symbol of the sun. If anyone knows, feel free to leave a comment!
I’m sorry to report that the Aztec Motel has been demolished. I’m not sure exactly when that happened, because my guidebook (the latest edition) mentions the motel’s “funkydelic” exterior and paint job, and its great neon sign. It is indeed a great sign, but it is no longer lit, and it stands in front of an empty lot. I understand that sometimes these older motels are no longer structurally sound, and cannot be renovated. I hope that someone will preserve the sign, though.
On a happier note, the De Anza Motor Lodge is a different story. I read an article in the weekly newspaper, Alibi (great name!) about the efforts to preserve this motel. Apparently what saved it from demolition is the murals in the basement by a Native American artist. (The newspaper is packed away, so I can’t check the name.) These are rare paintings, and because they are on the cement block of the basement, they cannot be removed without great expense. The tribe is partnered with the city of Albuquerque in preserving and renovating this motel, and both will share in the profits.
Oh snap! I just found the article online. I highly recommend this very good article about saving the De Anza Motor Lodge and about the guy who built it. It’s a fascinating story, and things are looking promising for its rebirth. I was able to get a shot through the fence that surrounds the motel, and it looks like a very cool place. These old motels are architecturally and historically significant, and need to be saved if possible.
This evening, we strolled back down to Central Avenue (definitely not as busy on a Monday night) to grab a brew, a bite to eat, and to watch the Oklahoma City-San Antonio game. It seemed like most people were cheering for OKC (as were we), and we had a nice chat with one of the guys who was also very involved in watching the game. He was really nice, and wished us a safe trip! Awww! A nice way to end our brief sojourn in Albuquerque, and it’s been such a nice place both as a city and in our dealings with people that I really will enjoy coming back here eventually.
Tomorrow’s destination is another city in the song, Gallup, New Mexico. I am really loving New Mexico so far!