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Tag: new mexico

If only the real “Bachelor” was this good

A New Mexico animal shelter has produced a pretty brilliant two-minute parody of “The Bachelor” with women vying for the attention of a handsome cur named Stewart.

“… With Valentine’s Day it just seemed like the perfect time to do that,” said Jamie Merideth, a former TV news videographer who went to work last year as a videographer for the Santa Fe Humane Society.

“We’re trying to find these animal forever homes and it just seemed like a good platform to do that,” she added.

The video’s message, of course, is that the love of your life may be waiting for adoption in an animal shelter.

But the video’s beauty also lies in its highly professional, and highly hilarious, execution.

Most of the “actresses” work at the humane society.

They play the roles of a hair stylist, an art therapist, a professional dog walker and an attorney — all oozing drama and reflecting the kind of cattiness the program is known for as they compete for Stewart’s affections.

Stewart, the ever so hunky bachelor, was a shelter dog in real life. His owner (who’s also in the video) adopted him from the Washington Humane Society before moving from Maryland to Santa Fe.

He represents the 100 or so dogs available for adoption at the Santa Fe shelter on any given day.

“He’s an amazing bachelor. He has the look, just very handsome,” Merideth told KRQE.

The video was posted Friday on the humane society’s Facebook page.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, located on a four-building campus on a 100-acre lot, has long been regarded as one of the most progressive in the country.

Now we know it’s packed with some pretty talented humans, too.

Two charged with dog’s chainsaw killing

Two New Mexico men will face felony cruelty to animals charges for cutting a dog’s head off with a chainsaw, sheriff’s deputies say.

The act came to light after children, in the residence at the time, told authorities about nightmares they were having in connection with it.

Teddy Sexton, 32, and Corey Bowen, 31, face charges of fourth-degree felony extreme cruelty to animals, which carries up to 18 months in prison, San Juan County Sheriff’s Lt. Dwayne Faverino said.

The men allegedly were trying to put the 2-year-old pit bull down because it previously bit a 9-year-old girl who was visiting the residence, according to the Daily Times in Farmington.

“Sexton said this was the second time the dog has bitten someone and he felt it needed to be put down,” Faverino said.

He and Bowen, who live on the same property, attempted to use the knife to cut the dog’s throat, but they were having difficulty and grabbed the chainsaw, Faverino said.

A Children, Youth and Families Department investigator told deputies about the incident after being notified by several young children suffering from nightmares stemming from the incident.

Sexton told deputies the children were in the house when he killed the dog.

(Image: Google maps)

Roadside Encounters: Alex and Run

 

Names: Run (above) and Alex

Ages: Run is 13, Alex is 2

Breeds: Run is a shih-tzu; Alex is a Maltese

Encountered: Outside a convenience store in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Headed: To Santa Fe and Taos

From: Lawton, Oklahoma

Travel Habits: Run and Alex are perfectly content in the back seat of their Buick as they travel with their owner, Marty, and her friend, Chris. “They always go where I go,” Marty said. In the backseat, she added, they’ve got everything they need: something to chew on, water, food and each other.

Tucumcari tonight

Route 66 through Tucumcari is like Route 66 through a lot of places — a step back into the past that leaves you wondering if the old road and the motels that line it have much of a future.

Bypassed decades ago by Interstate 40, they fought to survive — and many have managed to do so nicely — but the economic downturn has made that a far fiercer fight.

Some, like the Blue Swallow (above) seem to be hanging on, thriving even. For others, the neon has burned out, the windows have been boarded up and weeds rise waist-high in the parking lot.

The Relax Inn, for example, is a ghost motel — and I’ve seen at least a dozen of them in my travels on Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona: Its outdated sign remains, but glows no more.

Route 66 was established in 1926, originally running from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending in southern California – 2,448 miles in all.

It served as pathway for migrants moving west during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Mom and pop businesses began popping up along it around then – restaurants, gas stations, motor courts, curio shops and more. Most of those businesses managed to survive the Depression, even prosper from it, catering to those moving west in search of a better life. World War II led to more westward migration, further bolstering businesses along Route 66. By the 1950s, the road served as the main highway for vacationers headed to California, or to see the sights of the West, and Route 66 thrived.

It would become a cultural icon in the decade that followed – featured in songs, TV shows and movies. It was distinctly American – and even today, some of the motels tout, in addition to their color cable TV and Internet connections, their American-ness.

The Tucumcari Inn, for example boasts that it is “American-owned”, but right next door, the sign at The Historic Route 66 Motel — as if casting aspersions on whether its neighbor is true-blue American — reads “Genuine American.” (Apparently, genuine American-ness, is worth an extra $2 a night)

The beginning of what many thought might be the end for Route 66 came in 1956 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. Interstate 40 offered a speedier alternative, one in which motorists wouldn’t need to go through or slow down for towns like Tucumcari.

Instead they could avoid places of character and, eventually, fulfill their needs at lookalike, chain motels and restaurants conveniently located at the exits.

Despite the opposition of business and civic leaders in many of the bypassed towns, I-40 stretched on absorbing some parts of Route 66, sidestepping others.

In 1963, the New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation that banned the construction of interstate bypasses around cities by local request – but that didn’t fly. The federal government threatened to withhold federal highway funds. Instead some towns, Tucumcari included, worked out agreements with the federal government, in hopes that the new Interstate would at least come close to their businesses.

By the late 1960s, most of the rural sections of US 66 had been replaced by I-40 across New Mexico, and in 1981 the section bypassing Tucumcari was completed.

Route 66 would be “decommisioned” in 1985 when the federal government decided it was no longer “relevant” – given the presence of the Interstate Highway System.

Since then, there have been many efforts to preserve Route 66, and the businesses along it. In 1999 the National Route 66 Preservation Bill was signed by President Clinton, which provided $10 million in grants for preserving and restoring its historic features.

But the economic downturn has made the struggle to survive along Route 66 even more intense. Two years ago, the World Monuments Funded placed Route 66 on its list of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

Today, Tucumcari, whose billboards attempt to lure travelers off the Interstate and into town — “Tucumcari Tonight,” they urge — has fewer motels, fewer restaurants. It’s down to one bar, and the signs of struggle are apparent in boarded up buildings, bargain rates and beckoning neon.

Some of it, like hope, flickers at times, but it still shines bright. Long may it do so.

(Photos by John Woestendiek)

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Santa Fe’s dog-friendly eateries

Santa Fe is big on rules and restrictions.

It’s also big on dogs.

And, in more than a few cases, dogs have won out.

During our time in Santa Fe, we visited three dog-friendly restaurants (at least one, bird-friendly, too) — where dogs are permitted on leashes in the outdoor dining areas.

We stopped by one more that’s listed as dog-friendly on numerous websites — Bobcat Bites — but they’ve apparently stopped allowing dogs, after a customer either got bitten, or almost got bitten. This isn’t an inclusive list (feel free to add your dog-friendly Santa Fe restaurant to this post through a comment), it’s just where we went.

For starters, we tried Louie’s Corner Cafe, which was our favorite — partly because of the build your own omelette, which has very little to do with dogs, or, in this case, dogs with it. It was too good to share (though Ace did get some toast.) 

The waitress was quick to bring Ace a bowl of fresh water, and the umbrellas over the tables supplied much in needed shade, which in Ace’s view, is the second best thing to dropped food.

The Atomic Grill has limited dog friendly seating and, interestingly, only one table at which one can both be accompanied by their dog and drink an alcoholic beverage. I opted for that one, as the other two were kind of on the entrance path and I worried about Ace — given his size — blocking the view of patrons. While there’s a full patio, the part with a roof isn’t open to dogs because of some silly rule, my waitress said. The food (I opted for fish tacos) was great, and the waitress adored my dog, which is always worth some extra tippage. I had to answer the “What Kind of Dog is That?” question about ten times during my meal, but I didn’t mind.

Our final dog-friendly stop was Counter Culture, which has a spacious and shaded outdoor dining area with trees, and birds everywhere. It’s more off the beaten path than the other two restaurants — not right downtown, which, in many ways (given parking and traffic) is a plus.The only inconvenience there is that you have to go inside and order first. Fortunately, Ace is well-behaved enough to stay, and, just in case, anchoring his leash to the iron chair was easily accomplished

Ace and the birds competed for the bread crust I tossed. And one of the little birds was courageous enough to step all the way up on my plate, fortunately after my grilled chicken sandwich was gone.

 (“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)

The cattiest bar in New Mexico

Plenty of bars have gone to the dogs.

Here’s one that has gone to the cats.

Veer right off Highway 14 before you get to Madrid, New Mexico, and you end up in a little town called Los Cerrillos, according to some of the signs; just Cerrillos, according to others, on which the “Los” has been lost.

In the once-thriving mining town, the paved roads turn to dirt — even Main Street is dirt. But if you come down Main Street and hook a right at the first stop sign, you’re at the front porch of Mary’s Bar, one of a handful of business enterprises in town and one where, on the day I visited at least, there were more cats than clientele.

“They keep me company when we don’t have any customers,” said the bars’s owner, 95-year-old Mary Mora, who sat at a table next to a wood burning fireplace.

Mary runs the bar with help from her daughter, Kathy, who is responsible for bringing in all the cats.

Not too long ago there were six. Now they’re down to five — Sashi, Stringbean and Lucifer among them.

All were unwanted, and some had been abused, Kathy says. One had been wrapped in Christmas lights by children. One was being held up outside a PetSmart by a man who said his pit bull was eating the litter and he had to get rid of him. Another was being forfeited because he scratched a family member.

Kathy, who can’t understand such behavior, took them all in — most are from Albuquerque — got them checkups and shots, and gave them new homes at the bar, which the Moras live in as well. She doesn’t try to find them homes. She just gives them one.

Originally built as a general store in 1918, the bar was known simply as the Cerrillos Bar until a crew filming the 1998 movie “Vampires” used the town as a set for part of the film.

The crew put up the “Mary’s Bar” signs and nobody ever took them down, photographer Christopher Crawford relates on his website, which features a fine collection of Mary’s Bar photos.

The bar was also used for the “Young Guns” movies as well, and Mary, the daughter of Italian immigrant, says she cooked spaghetti and meatballs for Emilio Estevez and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Los Cerrillos was once a thriving gold and turquoise-mining community — lead, zinc and silver as well — and it is said turquoise from here made its way into the Spanish Crown Jewels. At one point, the Spanish  considered making Los Cerrillos the capitol of Nuevo Mexico. During the 1800’s, the town sported 4 hotels and 21 saloons.

Now, it’s a sleepy little community, home to a Catholic mission, some artists, a trading post/junk store that features a petting zoo and a “scenic view” that, to be honest, is not too extremely scenic, and Mary’s Bar, where the proprietor is approaching the century mark, customers are few, clutter rules, and cats are king.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog, spending six months criss-crossing America.)

Giving dogs a brake in Madrid

Madrid — the one in New Mexico, pronounced MAD-rid — wants you to slow down.

It’s not just to make you less likely to run over a valued tourist; and it’s not just to make you, if you are a tourist, more likely to stop at one of the galleries in the funky artists’ colony and make a purchase.

No, the advice — to many, at least — is aimed at protecting dogs. Because, as the sign says, Madrid loves its dogs.

In addition to the official 25 mph speed limit signs posted throughout town, I spotted a couple of these — hand-painted pleas (it is an artists’ community, after all) reminding motorists to be on the lookout for dogs.

Madrid, which turned into a ghost town when the mines closed in the 1950s, has been enjoying a revival since the early 1970s, when artists began moving here and opening galleries and shops. It’s home to what’s purported to be the longest bar in New Mexico, at the Mine Shaft Tavern, and dozens of galleries featuring paintings, photography, sculpture, crafts, pottery, textiles and more. A haven for motorcyclists, it also served as the setting for the movie “Road Hogs.”

It’s also home to some road dogs — pooches who, though owned and loved, are of the free-range variety. I saw a couple of them walking alone along the road, and generally doing a better job of avoiding traffic than the tourists did.

I’m proud to report that I made it through Madrid — at 25 mph — without running over either.