Route 66 NMMonday, May 3rd, 2010 – We knew we will have to stop overnight here in NM, so we wanted at least to pass Albuquerque. We don’t like staying in bigger cities.
Started in the morning in Tucumcari, NM and drove on the frontage road of I-40 most of the time. When we passed smaller towns we saw older gas stations, Cafes and service shops, but what we also saw that was unique to this area are many Trading Posts and Native American arts and crafts outlet. The billboards on the road didn’t let you miss it, and by the number of them you would think this is a world famous place – almost a whole city. Those trading post are nothing but big souvenir shops, so if you want a route 66 jacket, moccasins or a dream catcher – here you go.
The road continued to lead us by I-40 all the way to the city. One this I wanted to mention is those many deserted gas station of the Whiting Brothers, we saw even one still in operations. It looks like they were very successful way back then. but with the change of the route their business drove downhill.
Driving through AlbuquerqueThe drive through Albuquerque was not too bad. No traffic jams and not too many turns. The city is very appealing to the route travelers and advertise the route on its colorful streets. Here, again, we saw many Cafe places with travelling motorist who stopped for a refreshment.
A night on the roadEvening was approaching, and we started to look for a place to eat and sleep. We saw signs on the road advertising some big buffet that was rated the best somewhere and decided to stop. This was a Casino 30 miles west of town and they did have a buffet. A great one! for $24 we had chef style food of any kind you wanted. It was nothing like those fast food mass production places, but a top notch sophisticated dishes. They had Mexican and Southern station. Mediterranean, Chinese, salads and desserts. We ate till we could not put a thing in our mouth anymore. It was just that good. Hit the road again looking for a place to sleep. Looking at the map, and the GPS we realized that there is nothing ahead of us. only back to the town 40 miles or so.
The route itself took a swing away from I-40 and we drove through some alignment in the middle of the sand desert. There was nothing there. So we thought – a perfect place to stop! no one will bother us here! and no one did. We had a perfect peace, complete darkness and absolute quiet throughout the night.
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 – The sun woke us up at about 5:30 or so, and after stretching up and organizing the truck we were on the road again, exploring the western part of New Mexico.
Route 66 took us away from the highway, which was great, since many of the towns along the ‘new’ I-40 were new establishments, you could not see so many of the old time places that characterized this route. Driving through old small quaint town was always a preference for us, and this time was no exception. Shortly after we left our sleeping spot we drove through a rock named the Owl rock followed by a sharp 180 curve called the Dead-man curve.
Some more pictures along the way. In one of those pictures you could see free roaming cows on the road. You need to click “View Full Album”" to see all the pictures.
As we approached the western border with AZ, the terrain changed and you could see many more mountains, creeks, and interesting landscape features. Among those, many Indian (Native American) trading posts, and art outlets were on the way.
A short while before we crossed to AZ, the route 66 guide we are using has recommended a nice side trip. We took that trip and loved it.
A place of Fire and Ice
This attraction is privately owned and is actually a combination of two separate wonders at the same place. The first one is a volcano area with a huge pit, that was created some gazillion years ago. It was cool to see all the lava little stones that made up those huge mountains, and to see how the lava was flowing – I learned that the top get hard while bellow the lava is still flowing, and many times afterwards it collapses or created air pockets. After the burst was over, the whole area just sunk in creating a huge hole in the ground.
And these pictures are of the reception office of this place:
Crossing to Arizona and ending our 66 tripWe did not drive too long on the AZ side. not because the route was not nice – the other way – the views around us were nice, the weather was perfect and we still had most of the day. Our final destination was Flagstaff, AZ – where home is, and tomorrow hopefully we will be all fixed and ready to go. So what was it? We simply decided to take another side trip. This time it was a big side trip to a national park. The Painted Desert and Petrifies forest National Park was on the way, and we could not resist the temptation.
So here are some pictures from AZ before we entered the park
Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National ParkDidn’t want to split this last blog again, and this is a very long one already, considering it covers only 2 days.
So here is a slide show of the park – Push the play button to see it from the start – it worth it.