& You never know what you’ll encounter driving down the Turquoise Trail, otherwise known as New Mexico 14, south of Santa Fe. Usually, on a warm Saturday, it’ll be lots of the weekend knights of the highway, bedecked in black-leather & bandannas, rumbling along on their pampered two-wheeled playthings toward the Mineshaft Tavern in the old coal-mining-town-cum-movie-set called Madrid.
And you’d better not pronounce that like the Madrid over in Spain. You’d better put the accent on the first syllable — like you’d refer to a shirt from India — or the dude who once owned most of the town and laid down the law will roll over in his grave. But that’s another story…
Anyway, I was rolling down 14 the other Saturday, hauling a load of hay, and stopped at the San Marcos gas station & grocery to whistle some wet and wet my whistle, if you know what I mean.
Holy Convenience Store, Batman! What’s that in the parking lot?
Why bless my soul, it’s a Batmobile, full-winged and shiny black, its cockpit dripping with doodads and gimcracks and blinking lights that would put a Stealth bomber’s control panel to shame.
And there standing beside it, proudly polishing the paint to an even grander glint, was a guy named Mike from Albuquerque, who said he picked up some sort of machine about eight years ago from an unpronouncible Italian car manufacturer, and started modifying. He says he’s still at it, but one wonders what else could be done. Not even the famous body-sculpting, top-chopping, chassis-channelling, low-riding artistes from Espanola, it seemed to me, could improve upon this creation — precisely crafted in every aspect, right down to the license plate.
After Batman Mike had fended off a number of questions and posed for a number of pictures, he and his son — I didn’t get his name, but I hope it wasn’t Robin — climbed in and cranked up the 460 cubics under the hood, and slid off toward Madrid at the stately rate of 8 miles to a gallon, enveloped in a rich low rumble that would be the envy of many a muffler manipulator.
The last time the whole town of Madrid (pop. 149, give-or-take, and home to Oscar Huber field, the first lighted baseball field west of the Mississippi*) turned out en masse, probably, was in 2007 when Hollywood invaded to film Wild Hogs. It’s doubtful that Batman (maybe his last name’s Wayne and his brother’s name is Bruce?) and Robin attracted the entire populace when they rumbled into town that Saturday afternoon, but you can bet your black engineer’s boots that more than a few of those good ol’ boys in bandannas climbed out from behind their Budweisers and came out of the Mineshaft to take a look.
I didn’t get a chance to go see; had to unload some hay. The horses, I guess, were appreciative.
& Pleased to learn that over the years, the Madrid Miners brought several AA minor league pennants home to Oscar Huber field, I’m outta here.
*Isn’t it interesting what types of inconsequential trivia you can learn by reading meaningless blog posts?