July 4, 2018, Petrified Forest National Park-
The long journey around the length and breadth of North America is coming to a close today, the 242nd anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. I have re-entered Arizona, my home base for 35 of the past 40 years and, most likely,for 2-3 years to come. A relatively short four hours remain, before I am back in my Prescott apartment, and I will face weeds, a small amount of dusty furniture and four days’ accumulation of dirty laundry.
This morning, however, I embraced Independence Day, first by enjoying a simple breakfast on the patio of Sunset Motel, then taking a short stroll in its small garden.
Moriarty is becoming a bedroom community for Albuquerque, a scant 40 minutes away to the west. I have been to the Duke City, nearly a dozen times, over the past four decades. Until today, though, I had not set foot in Old Town, Albuquerque’s original settlement, established in honour of the Duke of Alburqerque, who was Viceroy of New Spain at the time the settlement was established, in 1706. The statue shown below is of Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, the founder of Albuquerque.
I spent a bit more than an hour, on this early Wednesday morning, taking in the sights of a historical district that is still waking up from pre-Independence Day revelry, last night.
There are many artists’ studios, crafts shops and small restaurants in Old Town. The centerpiece, though, is the Church of San Felipe de Neri.
This is the eastern arch, leading out of the church property, into a pleasant promenade along Old Town’s many shops.
Below, is a view of the west arch.
The promenades led me to a Salvadoran restaurant, which was closed, and to Black Bird Coffee House, which was very much open.
I chatted with the proprietress of the shop, who was pleased that I had made Old Town the focus of this Albuquerque visit and hoped I would feel at home there, on future such jaunts. She told me that the former owner of the shop had headed to Prescott, hoping to open a coffee shop there. I wish him luck, as our town has fifteen such shops, counting the chain franchises.
On the way back to Elantra, I spotted a couple of significant plazas.
Near Sombra, there was a curious silver backed bench.
Old Town was starting to stir, for Independence Day, as I made my way to my car and back to I-40.
I stopped briefly at the first rest area in Arizona, near Lupton, for a short nap, then came here, to the Petrified Forest Cafe, for a quick lunch. Now, it’s time to head out on the home stretch.