I just had the chance to come down this scenic highway (NM-14) simply because my meetings got finished in Santa Fe at noon and my flight out of Albuquerque wasn't until 7:00. Flat out, I suppose I could have come down I-25 in about an hour, while taking this back road, making a number of stops, and enjoying the drive cost all of 4. Along the way a colleague and I passed the old New Mexico State Prison that was the location for the original Longest Yard film but made our first stop in Madrid. If you've ever wondered where all the hippies went, the answer is: Madrid. We were looking for a place to eat and thought we found a great spot at Maggie's Diner. In contrast to every other building in town which was in some varying state of disrepair, Maggie's looked freshly painted and well kept up. That should have been a dead giveaway. When we got up to the door, there was a sign explaining that "Maggie's" was closed, indeed had never been open. It was a movie set. We did find a great little restaurant a little farther down the street. One oddity - Madrid has severe water problems and as our waiter explained to us, they can't afford to waste water on flush facilities for all the tourists, so the 'rest room' consisted of a port-a-potty out back. As we walked the town later, we noticed a lot of these. We also noticed a little coal mine museum and local melodrama theater, but the bulk of the buildings in Madrid are artist's workshops and galleries.
From Madrid, we continued south and made a brief stop in the town of Golden, which is half a ghost town, but does have a very picturesque chapel up on a hill overlooking town. The last stop we made was when we noticed a small sign (one of those official brown and white informational signs) pointing off to the Museum of Archaeology. We headed down a dirt road, and back in a ways there was a combination campground, RV site, and the museum. It was just a few small buildings, but the admission was only $3.50, so we decided to go on in. Great decision. The museum turned out to be the private work and collection of the owner of the land (and campgrounds) and traced the history of the native Americans from around 12,000 years ago to the present from the perspective of how they have been studied through archaeology. Turned out to be very well done and a pleasant way to spend an hour or so and learn a few things. From there it was a short stretch down to join I-40 into Albuquerque and catch the flight home. All in all, a very scenic and enjoyable little trip