Friday, January 21, 2011

Standing on the Corner

On one of our adventures (drives with destinations unknown at the time of departure) around Albuquerque, we came upon the Aztec Motel.

Built in 1933, the Aztec was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 as one of the best examples of a relatively unaltered pre-World War II tourist court on Route 66 in New Mexico.

Phyllis Evans, a professor at Michigan State University, lived at the motel and decorated the exterior in 1994 as a retirement project.

Evans covered the building with multicolored Mexican tiles, perforated metal crosses and plates, Mexican and American Indian paintings and wood-carved musical instruments. There are tables with candles outside each unit, too.

"One visitor called the 'architec-tural art' of the Aztec, 'a cross cultural mélange of broken pottery, old coins, and disparate figurines--all ordered in a manner too artistic to be random, too creative to be mass-produced.' The Aztec is truly a unique work of art" (National Park Service brochure).

As of January, 2010, the motel was occupied by long-term residents, but it seemed as no one was living there today.

Thinking that I had had all the uniqueness I could expect from this stop at Central Avenue and Aliso Drive, I turned to leave and faced this building on the northeast corner of the intersection.

I wasn't able to find information about Love Tech, so one can only guess what the mission of this business was. Nice touch, though, with the substitution of lips for the zero in the address "3901" of the operation.

Next door was Absolutely Neon, Inc., a business that an any other day would have piqued my curiosity. Today, however, conditions just didn't seem right for a "just browsing" visit.

Perhaps just as well, because next door was another unusual-looking building. I didn't even notice the entrance on the far left until I looked at the photograph. I have no idea what the exterior represents.

Nor was this the end of discovery on my little corner of Central Avenue. On the southeast corner was this sign (below). I took this photo because of the interesting contrast between signs for a tattoo parlor and Abitha's Herbary (billed as a "one stop metaphysical shoppe," carrying bulk herbs, essential oils, incense, books, jewelry, and alter supplies).

Once again, it was the sign in the middle that added an unusual touch to the scene--Self Serve: Your Sexuality Resource Center. As their web page notes: "Self Serve provides a positive, educational and empowering shopping experience."

With increased curiosity, I turned to the southwest corner of the intersection. The sign of the Premiere Motel caught my eye. The neon sign has been restored, and the construction equipment in the parking lot indicated that the renovations were nearly complete.

Sometimes adventures are brief and cover a small area.

Travel Up-date: Yesterday we drove from Albuquerque to Las Cruces, NM; today we drove from Las Cruces to Ft. Stockton, TX; tomorrow we will be driving to San Marcos, TX, (between Austin and San Antonio) and will be there for three weeks.

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