May 4, 2010

Route 66 – Last Episode

So much to tell and so much to show about this historic route 66. It has been over a week since we arrived to AZ and I am still documenting that trip. This last leg we visited a national park and a mix of fire and Ice. lots of pictures – enjoy.

Route 66 NM

Monday, 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.
Route66_NM 045Started 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.  Route66_NM 046 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.

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Route66_NM 061 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. Route66_NM 068It looks like they were very successful way back then. but with the change of the route their business drove downhill.

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Driving through Albuquerque

The 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.
Route66_NM 111 Route66_NM 113 Route66_NM 114 Route66_NM 116 Route66_NM 118 Route66_NM 122 Route66_NM 126Looking back at the city as we leave westboundRoute66_NM 128Preserved old bridge part of route 66 not in use anymore

A night on the road

Route66_NM 008 Evening 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.
Route66_NM 134The 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 – Route66_NM 005The 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.
and here are some more. Hey – I took’em, uploaded them to the computer, sorted them and selected, put them in the blog… All you need to do is to look :)

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.
Route66_NM 293 Route66_NM 302 Route66_NM 303 Route66_NM 307A 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

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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.
Route66_NM_stitch2No way I could take one shot of the whole mountain – this is a stitch of over 20 of them
The other attraction was a cave underground that had a constant temperature bellow freezing. The ice there is getting thicker and thicker, and the bottom of it froze thousands of years ago.
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Route66_NM 241 Route66_NM 244And these pictures are of the reception office of this place:
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Crossing to Arizona and ending our 66 trip

Route66_NM 309 We 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 Park

Didn’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.

1 comment:

  1. You started by saying that you do not like most big cities, and we certainly agree. It is beneficial to the big city people that most of us RVers don't like big cities, so the big city people can have them all to themselves. Make sense? I don't know, I often don't make sense! But I think you know what I mean. It's a different and more complex way of saying "different strokes for different folks!" Nice pictures of your tour, and the side trips were great!