Route 66 Honeymoon Day 7 and 8 – Amarillo, TX to Acoma, NM
(The photo upload feature was acting wonky with these photos, so some are huge and some are regular size. Sorry about that!)
In Amarillo, some of the sides of Route 66 aren’t as favorable as the next. We woke up early, while most were still passed out, to take these shots.
We discovered 6th Street in Amarillo, which has evidently had a Route 66 awakening. They own it, down to the last antique shop. While the Big Texan was so much fun, I wish we would have discovered this section of town prior.
Cadillac Ranch! One of the most famous features of 66. A guy back in the day decided a bunch of Caddies nose-deep in the desert was a great art statement…and there you have it. Guests are encouraged to write and spraypaint the cars as they want, and luckily, many wannabe graffiti artists have left their excess paint for others to enjoy…
Just outside the Cadillac Ranch. I’m going to hope this was for a haunted house and leave it at that.
Route 66 era Magnolia gas station in Vega, TX. Effort has been put in restoration, which is only the norm about 50% of the time on Route 66.
Back in the day, Route 66 used to run by Dot’s Mini-Museum. Dot used to collect tons of 66 memorabilia and she compiled it all into a museum. Since then, Dot has passed and the route has ended right at her house. Her family, however, has restored her legacy. The Mother Road may dead-end at her home, but the museum still stands. It was rerouted luckily so we still had our trip ahead of us!
Some leftover remnants of its Route 66 heyday in Vega, TX. Note the biker staring at me in one of the photos…he was part of a Dutch group doing the length of 66. I know because we ran into them again several times that day.
More wind turbines. I just thought they were so cool.
Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, TX. It is supposed to be the halfway point on Route 66 between Chicago and L.A. The food is to die for – I had the best coconut creme pie ever – but I almost lost my appetite when we pulled up and saw 5 shirtless Dutch guys in cowboy hats…guys who should never be without every item of clothing possible – walking around taking photographs. Luckily they left, but literally, we were the only Americans in there. While it’s awesome that other countries take such an interest in our history, I have found it sad how few Americans seem to be willing to take the time to explore this important slice of Americana.
The Fabulous 40 Motel next door was originally called that because it was supposed to have 40 rooms. They only wound up having 20 but the name stuck. It’s up for sale if anyone would like to restore this piece of history!
Brody the dog hangs out at the Sunflower, on the other side of the Midpoint, with the previous owner of the Midpoint, Fran Houser. She had some great stories to tell…very cool getting to chat with her!
Abandoned roadside tourist stops in Glenrio, TX. Very much a ghost town.
New Mexico! I have always wanted to visit New Mexico. It’s called the Land of Enchantment and truly, I’ve never seen any place like it. I fell in love the second we crossed the state line. These next photos were some cool gems we found in Endee and San Jon, just across the state line.
There were signs off the interstate for miles (Route 66 and I-40 are bedfellows for quite some time throughout the trip) shouting “Tucumcari Tonight!” It was a hugely popular stop back in the Route 66 heyday. We were lucky enough to get to stay at the Blue Swallow Motel, lovingly maintained by Kevin and Nancy. The attention to detail is incredible. Kevin showed us two possible rooms and explained the history of each. The room we chose had been occupied once by Michael Wallis, who wrote the first recognizable guide on Route 66 – which was the book that really piqued my interest in this trip 5 years ago and is one of our travel companions. Very cool. Tucumcari has fallen on some hard times, but the residents are so warm and welcoming to tourists. We were told “Congratulations” by strangers more times than I can count and everyone smiled when they spoke. They recently restored their movie theatre downtown (still charging only $5.50!) and the entire town is covered with murals and cool old motels. Oh, and they have the Mesaland Community College Dinosaur Museum. What else do you need?
Tumbleweed! It got stuck. Adam kicked it out of its corner so it could tumble freely.
The Blue Swallow Motel is one of the most perfectly preserved motels on the entire route, including the phenomenal neon sign and the neon birds decorating the walls. We met two older couples from Mississippi who were traveling north to south, opposite of us. They had gotten stuck in a snowstorm in Colorado just one day earlier. They took the photo of us, and then we sat in the provided outdoor chairs for about an hour and just chatted. The owners had two retrievers that the young British couple staying a few doors down from us fell in love with…they had a retriever themselves that they miss very much. I’m debating whether we miss our nightmare cats. The author of the book we are using for our trip stayed in the exact room we stayed in, so we took a photo. Apparently the owner at the time didn’t care for the motel as much as Kevin and Nancy do. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend dropping in.
More Tucumcari relics.
Many of the roads that pass through the interstate don’t bother with overpasses or even fancy bridges. “Here is a one lane tunnel! Roll the karma dice!” Hence the practice of honking your horn while entering a tunnel. And here I always thought it was due to camraderie and a shared love of honking your car horn.
More relics of 66 near Cuervo, NM.
We ate at the Silver Moon in Santa Rosa, open since the 1950s. I had my first taste of real-deal, “we put peppers in everything” Mexican breakfast here. There are also several tourist traps and remnants thereof to remind the Route 66-er that this was once a huge stopover for travelers.
Random coffee shop…we aren’t sure if it’s still running or not…on the way to Santa Fe, along with other shots on the long, beautiful stretch of Route 66 desert and mountains leading up to the city.
So I am fully aware that a lot of people dig Santa Fe. We weren’t overly impressed, although most of the people there were…with the fact that they were in Santa Fe. There was a very snobbish, more-granola-than-thou vibe that we got, as exemplified by the brunette college girl who walked past me and made a loud, snide comment about me being “a typical blonde Barbie.” I’ve always wanted to visit, but now I know…no intention of going back. On a positive note, our waiter at Atomic was very cool, and the beer was tasty. This was part of an older alignment of Route 66, however, and next time we have decided to head straight to Albuquerque on the 50s alignment and bypass Santa Fe.
Beautiful country between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Albuquerque, on the other hand, was amazing. They OWN Route 66. We have made that comment about several towns and cities…that they are willing to love Route 66 and make it part of their culture, as opposed to accepting and moving on. Albuquerque loves it. Everywhere you look on their main drag – even in the hipster section of Nob Hill – there are signs announcing, “We are Route 66!” The food was delicious too, by the way, and the vibe was chill and friendly. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Albuquerque like I did.
Route 66 follows all the way through Albuquerque, past the Rio Grande. The city offers a park area where you can pull off and snap photos – still announcing you are on 66, of course. We happened to be there at the perfect time of day.
There is nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – for about 60 mile past Albuquerque. You are on straight interstate with no hotels in sight. We lucked into a Native American casino in Acoma called Big Sky that had some of the lowest rates and nicest accommodations of anywhere we had found. It was getting dark and we didn’t want to miss any more of Route 66, so we stopped and stayed. What I found interesting was that there was no alcohol allowed anywhere…there wasn’t a bar and you couldn’t bring it in. Good for them. It was very quiet and we stayed in our room the whole time – we were cranky and exhausted. We both agreed this was one of the nicest places we stayed. The below photo was a view from the casino.