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Brethren Road Trips The travel logs of our members. Q- joints, restaurants, entertainment, reviews while we travel around the 50 states. Also, Post here for a shout out to members to meet up with while on the road.

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Old 12-08-2019, 05:39 AM   #1
Gary Tomato
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Join Date: 02-10-14
Location: Preston, Victoria, Australia
Default San Francisco to LA via Sante Fe NM

Hi Brethren,

I’m traveling from Melbourne, Australia with my family (wife and two female teenagers, 15 and 17) for another month long road trip (this will be my fourth). We’ll be staying in the following places;
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Monterey, CA
  • Santa Maria, CA
  • Panamint Springs, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Bryce Canyon City, UT
  • Torrey, UT
  • Moab, UT
  • Monument Valley, UT
  • Farmington, NM
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Deming, NM
  • Tombstone, AZ
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Yuma, AZ
  • Mission Valley, San Diego, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA

I’m looking for some suggestions about great (unknown) places to eat, best bbq joints and any unusual places to visit (stuff that’s not on most tourist lists). I’m going to be a bit disappointed if I don’t get any tri-tip in Santa Maria!

What is it I like driving in snowy areas, I’ve never done it before and we’re bound to see plenty of it.

What sports are being played in any of these major cities? I love baseball but probably won’t get to see any this time of year.

Should be a fantastic, but cold, trip!

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Old 12-08-2019, 09:56 AM   #2
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Can't help you with that side of the country mate, but in regards to driving in the snow, take it easy and anticipate everything. Slow acceleration and braking.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:25 AM   #3
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Try the Whole Hog Cafe in Sante Fe for Q. Caveat - it's been several years since I ate there but everyone I've eaten at has been good.

Lots of history to see around the Palace of the Governors.

Scandia Peak Tramway is about an hour to the South. Nice scenery.

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Old 12-08-2019, 12:52 PM   #4
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Lots to do and see in San Diego. Its got a lot of history. There is so much to do that you wont see it all and you wont get bored.

San Diego has a long history for the US Navy and Marines hoo-rah!. Just sitting along the harbor side of Coronado Island or San Diego you will see aircraft carriers, helicopters and any other number of stuff.

San Diego also has a bunch of museums. I have been to the USS Midway several times and always enjoy it. I combine that tour with some good seafood or a walk through the Gas lamp District. The US Navy Cemetery on Point Loma is pretty unique and brings a tear to my eye. Some of our sailors are buried with a bitchen view of the pacific ocean and some with an awesome view of the harbor. If your there during baseball season the Padres's stadium is right there in the Gas Lamp District.

Little Italy is supposed to be good but I have never been there.

For the family you could also check out the zoo and Safari Park. It has been a while since I was there but its pretty neat, particularly the Safari Park. Birch Aquarium is awesome! There is the San Diego Museum or Art and Man, both excellent. Tons of museums.

In the 1700's the Spanish built a lot of missions up along the coast. Some of those are pretty interesting to walk through.

Seaport Village is my wife's go to spot for shopping. I just hang out and watch the people and enjoy the ocean. Okay, maybe a beer too.

I like to take a 1/2 day for a drive up the Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH) or hang out in Imperial Beach or Ocean Beach. Lots of small shops and small places to eat. Some famous ones from the TV show Diners Drive-ins and Dives.

When I am down there I like to ride my motor bike on the PCH and stop at Pizza Port in Carlsbad for a slice of pie and some good IPA. Pelly's fish market is also a small out of the way place for a good cup of chowder. I really like the north county, particularly Carlsbad. Some great beaches, fishing, and beer. Speaking of beer, there are like 150 micro breweries in San Diego County. Some big and famous ones and some small ones. The smaller ones are my favorite. They generally have good beer and better prices. A lot of the breweries are attached too or have a restaurants inside and can be family friendly. Belching Beavers Peanut Butter Stout is a fan favorite.

My wife's favorite breakfast spot is the Beach Break cafe in Oceanside. Big portions, good prices, and they give you a choice of coffee cake which is the wife's favorite.

Tijuana is just across the border and some people will walk over the border for a day in Mexico. I won't go there. I prefer to stay in the US. Something else I wont do is a cannabis tour. But if that floats your boat...Although I would do a micro-beer tour.

Okay, thats enough for me. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:37 PM   #5
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Location: East Texas, USA

I lived in Tucson for ~15 years so, a couple of my favorites are:

Sparky's in Hatch, NM. It should be on your way to Tucson and will cut off a bunch of Las Cruces traffic (assuming you stick to the Interstate highways, Hatch will also cut the milage since it veers towards El Paso). Green chili hamburgers are very good but, in fairness, you can get them in the Northern part of the state too!

Sonoran Hotdogs in Tucson, AZ should not be missed. El Güero Canelo and BK's are the two 'legendary' places to go. Be sure to visit the both locations on South 12th Avenue offset from I-19 towards the airport between Valencia and Irvington. The area is a bit 'working class' but, I never had any problems there when the Sun was up personally though it can be a bit rough at times. These are the authentic classic Sonoran Hotdogs, unlike some of the newer concoctions sold elsewhere that should be banned for using the Sonoran Hotdog reference (doesn't the EU have an area of origination to cover things like this?).

In Tucson, there is a ton of really great Mexican restaurants and, I mean REAL MEXICAN, not TexMex or any other bastardization. South 4th, North of I-10 and West of I-10 after the turn towards Phoenix, has a ton of really good options. I frequented Micha's Restaurant a lot during my lunch hours. There are some famous places around town as well but, I typically preferred the family-run 'hole in the wall' places near neighborhoods and strip malls.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:13 PM   #6
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Default NM Stops

Silver City NM - Check out Iron Door BBQ, run by brethren Gringo Loco.
Allen & Cruz are killing it down there. Only open Weds - Sat 11 to 3. It's NW from Deming about an hour, worth the trip. I'd stay at the Murray Hotel in Silver instead of staying in Deming

Hatch NM - +1 on Sparky's for a green chile cheeseburger. Pass on the BBQ unless you like raspberry sauce. Open Weds - Sun, expect a line and a wait, plenty of interesting decor inside & outside.
Santa Fe NM - Horseman's Haven, local diner type place, chile is hot. Santa Fe Brewing for excellent beer. Adobe Igloo is the winter seasonal. 7K IPA if you want hoppy. Check out the plaza - Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the USA. Meow Wolf is whole afternoon adventure.
Farmington NM - Three Rivers Brewing, both the food and beer are above average

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Old 12-09-2019, 08:22 AM   #7
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Location: Abq, NM
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Well Frkyrprk, said most of the places I was going to mention. But to add some more...

Santa Fe - Meow Wolf is a pretty cool place. I would say it's an interactive type art gallery. Think Alice in Wonderland.
Tomasita's For some great New Mexican food.

Albuquerque - Sandia Tram, worlds longest tram. Dress warm cause it's cold on top of the mountain.

Silver City - As stated Iron Door Bbq. Open Thursday thru Saturday.

If you're driving south from Santa Fe you could take the scenic route through the Jemez mountains. Beautiful drive. Or you could go the other way through Madrid NM. It's an old mining town that turned hippie town.

Enjoy your trip and be safe.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:16 AM   #8
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There is an unique experience in Albuquerque. In the northeast corner of I-40 and Carlisle is a group of shipping containers stacked and nicely decorated called Green Jeans Farmery. It has a Santa Fe brewing brewpub, a distillery, and several food shops including BBQ. Best ever lobster taco
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:29 PM   #9
Gary Tomato
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Thanks for the suggestions folks, some very good ideas included, thanks for those! I can’t wait to try some of those beers mentioned!!
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:17 PM   #10
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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A few additional thoughts: Not sure when this trip starts, but Farmington to Santa Fe via Dulce and Chama is a gorgeous drive, but can be dicey in winter.

The better bet might be coming down 550 to Bernalillo, then back up I-25 to Santa Fe. Those roads will get more attention if it's snowing. El Bruno in Cuba NM is a good restaurant choice.

Main Street Brewery in Cortez CO is worth a stop.

FWIW, I-25 between ABQ and SF is autobahn like, without skilled drivers...
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:54 AM   #11
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:55 PM   #12

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I've lived in Tucson and Las Cruces and traveled a lot in the area.
If you're getting to Las Cruces, not far from White Sands and Deming, I'd highly recommend the Double Eagle in Mesilla.
Santa Fe has great chile cheeseburgers. They're all over town and pretty good everywhere. It seems to be their thing.
The Mexican food in Arizona has changed a lot and is nothing like it was when I grew up there. I can't really get used to the new stuff. I do still like La Parrilla Suiza. This is not local style (whatever that is anymore), but Mexico-City style Mexican food. It has been pretty consistent the last 5 decades
I'm a bit surprised that I don't see Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon on your list. If you do get there, I have always like Black Bart's. The food isn't the best, but the entertainment is fabulous.
In San Francisco, I try to get to Mission Chinese, it is a fusion restaurant, so don't expect food to taste familiar. There are many places there though. My Chinese friends always bring me to Z&Y and say this is one of the best Chinese restaurants in America.
Also, when you're traveling to Tucson from New Mexico, be sure to stop and see The Thing. It is a true piece of Americana. It might set you back 50 cents for admission. If you don't have exact change, they'll probably wave you through. Get some souvenirs though!
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