Has anyone ever told you that you can’t see everything on Route 66 in two weeks? Well, It’s true! I learned that during my recent trip from Springfield, Missouri, to Winslow, Arizona. Two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time on Route 66 to see everything I wanted to between those cities. While I mainly focused on seeing New Mexico and a small portion of Arizona, I was finally able to see a few sights along the way that I hadn’t seen yet, including the “Sand Hills Curiosity Shop” in Erick, Oklahoma, as well as Lile Art Gallery and Texas Ivy Antiques, both in Amarillo, Texas.
Richard traveled with me during the first half of the trip, however, he rode his motorcycle and I drove our car. We decided to spend our 10th Anniversary on Route 66, specifically at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Needless to say, our stay there was beyond our expectations. Besides our clean, comfortable room, there was amazing neon, and best of all, friends! The owners of the motel made us feel at home. Each night, everyone sat outside and visited with each other, even though a few people were strangers. That didn’t matter, because all of us had a common love for Route 66.
Richard drove me around so I could take photos. At night, I was able to photograph lots of beautiful neon. During the day, we drove around on Route 66, exploring and taking photos. Sometimes, our friend, Dean Kennedy, went with us on our drives. Richard and I stopped and visited with the owners of the Safari Motel, (Dean advised us they had the most comfortable beds on Route 66) and we also stopped and visited with the owners of the Roadrunner Lodge Motel, which is a fantastic work in progress. They allowed us to see their most recent renovated room; beautiful! While in Tucumcari, we saw an awesome car show with numerous classic cars and trucks. I never get tired of seeing those old rides!
After a week had passed, Richard and I kissed each other goodbye. While I was sad he wasn’t traveling on west with me, I was excited about the adventures of the coming week. I drove on to Albuquerque. Luckily, our friend, Dean, graciously allowed me to stay with him and his elderly mother, while I was there. I was thrilled when Dean offered to drive me from one end of Central, also known as Route 66, to the other, so I could take photos. He probably deserves a medal, because he took me out again after sunset, so I could photograph the neon on Central. The 4th Street portion of Route 66 will have to wait until another trip…there was just not enough time.
Dean and I met with some of our Route 66 friends the next morning. We were going to climb La Bajada Hill, which is an old alignment of Route 66. It was an amazing hike, made better by being with friends who were also excited about the making the journey. The views along the hike were spectacular!
A few days later, Dean and I traveled to Gallup, New Mexico. Of course, an over night stay at the El Rancho is a “must” when in Gallup. The El Rancho is a beautiful historic hotel where movie stars once stayed when they were filming westerns, years ago. Each room is named after a movie star from that era. At night, the pink glow of neon on the exterior of the hotel made it feel even more glamorous.
The next day, Dean and I traveled to the Painted Desert National Park, where we met with two Park Rangers and several other Route 66 lovers. They took us on a bus ride and showed us lots of relics from Route 66; at one time, the Route went through the Painted Desert. The highlight of the tour was the trip to the Painted Desert Trading Post. The trips to the trading post are few and far between, so if you ever have the chance to see it, please do! It’s on private property, but the Park Rangers received permission to take us there.
The next day, we traveled to Holbrook, Arizona, and had a great stay at the Globetrotter Motel. My room was decorated differently than Dean’s, but they both were homey, adorable, and very clean. After a couple days, Dean and I made a few stops at popular Route 66 sights as we drove to Winslow, Arizona. We “stood on the corner” for a few minutes, then ended our trip west before returning to Albuquerque. The next day, I hopped in my car and made the long trip home…on the interstate. Not that I didn’t want to see more of Route 66, but I had run out of time. It seems there is never enough time when you’re on Route 66.