I am still driving; however, I am more and more uncomfortable driving on freeways, especially through unfamiliar cities. And, at my age, the journey is more important than the destination; I am aware of the ultimate destination, and am not quite ready to arrive. I am curious and have exhausted my interest in freeways. I don’t need 70 miles an hour, irritable drivers and large trucks.
I drive frequently to Tucson; grandchildren, you know. I am a member of AAA. Last Saturday I asked for a “TripTik” from Albuquerque to Tucson without driving on freeways. AAA and their skilled staff provided a “TripTik” route with only 14 miles of I-25 or I-10. It tracks the Mexican-US border and takes me to new places. My journey will take 10.3 hours instead of 7.5 and will be 126.9 miles longer. It may require an overnight stay; however, AAA provides a list of motels and restaurants. I also got an electronic version of the “TripTik” which is on my i-Phone.
I can afford the extra time. I can use the stimulation. I need a topic of conversation other than aging.
It’s the journey, not the ultimate goal, even though, I am statistically 20 years away from my “ultimate goal.” I will let you know how the trip turns out.
Another simple way to plan your trip is to go to Google Maps, click on “show options,” check “avoid highways,” and print out a map that avoids freeways.
Sparky’s is the place to stop in Hatch, NM. It is just off I-25, 185 miles South of Albuquerque, NM and 38 miles North of Las Cruces, NM. The population is 1673; with 12.3% over 65. Thirty Thousand people show up on Labor Day for the Hatch Chile Festival. Hatch green chile is known throughout the Southwest and can be found in any New Mexico grocery store.
Sparky’s is a great stop if you are going from Albuquerque to Tucson and taking the Hatch-Deming by-pass to I-10. The by-pass passes huge dairy farms, a solar farm and a wind farm, not to mention cattle ranches and fields of green chile, and of course the omnipresent immigrant check-point.
Sparky’s has collected every large fast food statute that you can imagine and has placed them along the highway and around Sparky’s.
You can order the green-chile cheese burger and have it cut in half if you are old; or, even if you are not. The geezer is a big advocate of shared plates. You order/pay at the counter and find your own seat. It may be outside or next door where there is a stage, sound equipment and the largest collection of cookie jars that I have ever seen. If you are over 70, it is nostalgaville. Things you haven’t seen since the 40’s.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they have bands you never heard if you are over 70, playing country and the blues. It is closed on Mon, Tue and Wed. so plan your trip carefully.
You might think that you would be out of your comfort zone at Sparky’s; but take it from the Geezer, you will feel right at home. The Geezer is an advocate of leaving your comfort zone, as long as it doesn’t hurt. Beats the usual turnpike fare.