Our first hotel and restaurant review…


This quaint old fashioned motel, the Sandia Peak Inn Motel run by the most charming woman on the planet was well worth the $100 (plus 13% tax) nightly rate.

Halfway to Albuquerque by 1:00 pm, we searched for a hotel on my Android smart phone during the intermittent times we had a signal. Driving across the barren lands of Texas we expected to settle down for the night around 5 pm after another 525 mile day.

Only one day from Scottsdale, our destination for the next two months until we leave the US, we were pleased that we had traveled about 1300 miles in a little over two days.  

Our original plan had been to take our time getting to Scottsdale by the 4th, the day our vacation condo is ready.  On a whim, the day before we left I called Spencer, the real estate agent, asking if we could get in a day early.  We could. 
Searching for an Albuquerque hotel was slow and laborious, continually losing the connection as we traveled across Texas and New Mexico. Anxious to ensure we had a comfortable place to stay when we were able to connect, I selected an old fashioned motel a few minutes from  Highway 40 in Albuquerque’s Old Town. 

We agreed that the price of $100 for a motel, the Sandia Peak Inn Motel seemed on the high side but the reviews online were astounding, as high as a 9.5 at Trip Advisor.  We signed up online for the $100 king room.  
Delightful Kate, manager of the Sandia  Peak Inn Motel, hugged me when we checked out, moments later running out to our car to hand us a crisp red apple along with well wishes.
No words can describe the delightful property manager Kate, other than “wow.”  She couldn’t do enough for us!  Her charming demeanor and concern for our comfort reminding me of times past.  
The adorable motel and our king room, not a disappointment in any manner, was reminiscent of the 50’s and yet updated with modern conveniences including HD TV, working wireless Internet and a newer over-sized Jacuzzi tub . Our room was spotless, spacious and comfortable. We couldn’t stop smiling over this surprising find. My painful shoulder thanked the Jacuzzi.
Starved by the time we were situated, Kate recommended a Mexican restaurant that we hesitated to consider, based on it’s 9.5 miles from the motel.  She insisted we wouldn’t be disappointed. Easy to locate using “Maps.” we found our way there in less than 15 minutes.  

Kate was right. Garduno’s of Mexico, Restaurant and Cantina was exactly what we needed; an extraordinary environment, fresh succulent Mexican fare, cold beer, and yes, we cheated…all you can eat  homemade crispy corn tortilla chips with lip puckering salsa.  

The atmosphere was astounding, a cleverly designed replica of a Mexican restaurant in a warehouse district with high ceilings and a tasteful decor.  The servers, although busy, were pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu, doing their best to accommodate their multiple tables, mostly occupied by seniors, like us.  

Us old-timers can be quite demanding at times. Tom and I made a pact to make every effort to be gracious wherever we may be, the US or abroad.  The old stereotype of the “ugly American” will not apply to us!

Determined to stay as close to our limited diets as possible, I ordered the shrimp fajitas, skipping the tortilla.  Although I don’t normally eat starchy foods, after a few handful of chips and a cold light beer, my reserve went out the window resulting in my devouring half of the re-fried beans.  It was well worth it!
My fajitas dinner minus the tortilla. Fabulous!

Tom had the tender pot roast stuffed corn tacos, although “Mr. Picky” won’t eat Mexican beans or rice.  What a waste.

After a good night’s sleep in the comfortable king bed, we decided to hit the road early this morning while it was still dark.  

An hour into the drive on Highway 40 we were rerouted to famous Route 66, when a tanker truck overturned ahead of us spewing a dark cloud of some toxic chemical requiring  Hazmat trucks, fire trucks, police cars and ambulances speeding to the scene.  Luckily, we made it safely out of the area with only a half hour delay.

Another productive day of driving behind us, we made it to Scottsdale around 2:00 PM.  We were confused about the time change, referring to our phones for accuracy.  Arizona, (most of it) does not acknowledge Daylight Savings time.

There’s a one hour time difference between New Mexico and Arizona. Plus, the clocks change tonight but, not here in Scottsdale.  In our tired condition, it was difficult to figure out the time. We’ll go with whatever our phones say in the morning.

The last time we changed clocks was the first time I wrote this blog, March 14, 2012.  If you’ve yet to read from this blog from beginning, this date is listed in the archives on the right side of this page.  
Contained in those archives since March 14th, we share with our readers the long process of getting to this point. Today, we are exactly two months from the date of January 3, 2013 when we officially leave the US.  

I deleted the Retirement Countdown Free app on my phone.  We no longer are counting the hours, the days, the weeks and the months.  Every moment will be treasured now that we are free, together at long last.