I have been there a number of times, including my first visit to NM about 15 yrs. ago (also in Autumn). I also loved the ride thru back roads. I thought it was fairly easy to find, and so worth the effort. I have also driven the road a few times on Good Friday before Easter when the locals make the pilgrimage walk to the Santuario. One year it was in a total snowstorm, the next year everyone had on shorts and T-shirts. And yes, people carry large crosses on their backs on the walk. If you haven’t been up there on Good Friday it is quite a memory. A mixture of somber and picnic.
Last time I went to the restaurant I ordered a new dish: shrimp enchiladas. What a flop!!! Shrimp is not exactly NM food, no? They were having their 40 annivesary weekend and serving specials at 1960’s prices (like $2-3 a meal). That was great. So next time, back to carne adovada, yes yes.