Our second long day of driving (585 miles in just under 10 hours) brought us to Tucumcari, New Mexico. It is the first town you reach when driving west out of Texas. It’s a classic old Route 66 town that has suffered somewhat when I40 bypassed it. We made reservations for the Safari Motel on the east end of town. It was very cheap but a great deal as our rooms were large and the beds very comfortable. The temperature was pushing 100 when we rolled into town a little after five o’clock.
We were hungry but the last thing we wanted was to climb back in the car after all those miles. No problem, the owner of the motel told us about a Pow Wow, Mexican restaurant in town that has a shuttle service. We were in! The van driver was a nice young man who has lived around the country. After the drive to the restaurant we were shown to our booths but came up short. Each of the booths had a mural painted featuring people eating at the tables. It took us by surprise more than once. T
Enjoying dinner next to a painted stranger
The paintings were done by a local man who has painted on many buildings in town. he food was okay, but the service was slow; maybe were were just in a hurry to get back and rest. On the way back to the hotel, our chauffeur drove us through the aging downtown to show us some of the other murals.
On the drive I noticed the corner of a depot and a stopped train; so much for resting at the motel. We piled back in the Subaru and headed downtown to capture some shots of the murals.
One of the many murals in Tucumcari, NM
Then we headed over to the depot to catch a glimpse of the train. While there, Jeanette struck up a conversation with a young mother who recently moved to town. She likes Tucumcari quite a bit but is worried about its future. Her husband works for a company that services the big wind mills we saw on our drive. It’s headquarters were soon to be moved out of town.
The train was still parked waiting for a meet. It didn’t take long before a higher priority westbound came by.
Train meet in Tucumcari, NM
Passing trains in El Paso, NM
After the train passed the conductor, Dave, came by to say hello. He is based out of El Paso, Texas but too an assignment here because his pay was doubled because of the lack of personnel. I was surprised that it was Union Pacific; I thought this was strictly BNSF territory; Dave said the BNSF was a little to the south of us.
After the westbound passed, Dave’s train proceeded on its route east and I got a shot of the sunset through the passing cars.
Sunset through passing container cars in Tucumcari, NM
The sunset was gorgeous.
Sunset from the depot in Tucumcari, NM
The neon signs on old Route 66 were starting to light up after sunset so I pulled out my tripod to try my hand at capturing the old Mother Road glory. The Blue Swallo hotel was just a bit east of us.
Blue Swallow motel in Tucumcari, NM
After capturing a shot of our hotel’s sign, I headed off to bed. I have now stayed in all four cities mentioned in Little Feat’s “Willin’
I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Motel Safari in Tucumcari, NM
We had breakfast the next morning at Kix on 66. It is a classic old coffee shop that we enjoyed very much. They even had a nice smoothy for Jeanette. We packed up and headed for a short drive to Santa Fe.