Route 66.

My intention was to drive across New Mexico and a portion of Arizona on old US Route 66, at least where the road was still viable and hadn’t been completely replaced by Interstate 40.

After taking a detour to grab a bit to eat in Adrian, Texas (and one last pass up on the plains before descending into the desert on my way home), I joined the Mother Road at the Texas-New Mexico line at the ghost town of Glenrio. But not before seeing this sign in Adrian.

The way the signs were counting down the mileage to Adrian I had visions of a fairly sizable town. It turns out it’s not that big, and I ended up eating lunch at a Quik-Stop type place where they charge for beverage refills from the fountain. I had some chicken nuggets. The ranch on the side was free.

I did find portions of the US Route 66 in Glenrio, a ghost town on the state line, and it was pretty much as one would expect.

I had to hop on Interstate 40 for a bit but then found old 66 again about 20 miles east of Tucumcari. There were hints of it once being a four-lane highway, but it’s two lane now and the scenery was fairly pleasant. I was delighted to see this billboard along I-40 with the classic Holiday Inn logo before the hotel chain went as bland as possible with their marketing.

Earl and I had spent the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico almost two decades ago and I found the restaurant where we enjoyed a meal. It was still open. I did not remember the rest of the buildings along old 66 being so dilapidated. When we’d travel old US 66 in Illinois the local towns made some effort to restore many of the buildings to a pleasant looking façade reminiscent of the glory days of the Mother Road, but Tucumcari is not as lucky apparently and there were a lot of abandoned buildings and skeletons of business signs. I did get a shot of a sign that looked mildly interesting. Notice the buildings in the background; they are quite sad.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry this week, many of the small towns of the Heartland seem forgotten, probably by those that see all this area as “flyover country”. This part of the United States deserves more attention from the rest of the country.

After becoming bored with old Route 66 I decided to turn south at Santa Rosa and instead go to Roswell, taking the “southern route” for the final leg of my journey. There’s a lot of open desert.

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