Route 66 Day 17 – Santa Fe to Amarillo

May 10, 2015

We’ve enjoyed the coast, the desert, then mountains, and today we dropped down into the plains. We double checked the weather to make sure we weren’t driving into the path of a tornado – everything looked fine. So we headed south to I40 then east on Route 66 to Texas.

I know that some of you think that there is nothing to look out in the middle of America; not so, not so. Even when we aren’t out visiting pueblos or historical museums there is plenty to see. Today’s post covers the “usual” stuff we see and might stop to take pictures of along the road.

Our first stop was the little town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. It is truly a town that time has mostly forgotten. On the west of town there is a row of closed businesses – no longer needed now that Route 66 has been bypassed by the super slab I40. But Fat Joseph’s found a way to stay in business. We dropped in for a bit of souvenir hunting (but found nothing we wanted). You can tell by the parking lot that the joint was jumping.

Shuttered and active businesses in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Shuttered and active businesses in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

One of the nicest aspects of traveling the old road is that you aren’t surrounded by traffic and can stop to grab a picture without fear of being run over. We saw this Union Pacific freight stopped in a siding about 30 minutes before so Carla stopped so I could get a pic. No sooner was I out of the car than an opposing high priority freight passed it going the other direction. I was just 3 seconds too late to grab the picture. But we did find a place to stop later and waited for it to pass

Union Pacific freight in eastern New Mexico

Union Pacific freight in eastern New Mexico

We also stopped when we passed over a very red river.

A red river flowing between Santa Rosa and Tucumcari, New Mexico

A red river flowing between Santa Rosa and Tucumcari, New Mexico

Before long we fetched up into Tucumcari, New Mexico – another small town still hanging by a thread after being bypassed by the interstate. On the west side of town on an abandoned part of the Mother Road is an old bolder that once carried an advertisement for Texaco gas. You can still barely make it out if you look closely.

d Texaco ad painted on the boulder just outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico

Texaco ad painted on the boulder just outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico

How do we find these? We are using the invaluable treasure map that is the EZ66 Guide for Travelers. written by Jerry McClanahan. I’ve mentioned him a few times in this series of posts. If you are traveling Route 66, this is a required item. He scrupulously details practically every mile of the road; the book includes turn-by-turn directions for both westbound and eastbound travelers. We do feel like we are going backwards since most folks go from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Further downtwon Tucumcari is this restaurant topped by a giant sombrero. We enjoy finding these “giants.””

Sombrero restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Sombrero restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Closer to the Texas border is San Jon, New Mexico. I’ve been photographing old gas pumps now and then and this is great because it shows the innards!

Old gas pump in San Jon, New Mexico

Old gas pump in San Jon, New Mexico

Then we passed into Texas. We’ll just be traveling across the pan handle; but we’ll get a flavor of the place. This is our fourth state on Route 66 (California, Arizona, New Mexico are the first three) and fifth overall (we started it Oregon).

Welcome to Texas !

Welcome to Texas !

The town of Adrian marks the geographic midpoint of Route 66. But not the midpoint of our travel since we took so many side trips in the west.

Route 66 midpoint  in Adrian, Texas

Route 66 midpoint in Adrian, Texas

We met two couples there who are driving the route west. How fun to meet our fellow travelers! They got hung up for a couple of days with the tornados in Oklahoma.

In nearby (in Texas terms) there was a great little place where we could mount our camera and grab a picture of us “driving” the Mother Road!

Carla and Howard getting their kicks on Route 66!

Carla and Howard getting their kicks on Route 66!

Just down the street was a beautifully restored gas pump

Beautifully restore old gas pump in Vega, Texas

Beautifully restore old gas pump in Vega, Texas

On the west side of Amarillo is the Cadillac Ranch. A spot in a field just south of the road where 10 Cadillacs are buried nose down and folks come to “decorate” them. This isn’t a true Route 66 find. It was moved back in the day to be closer to the road. (EZ66 Guide for Travelers. p TX-14)

Cadillac ranch outside Amarillo.

Cadillac ranch outside Amarillo.

Just down the road was another giant! This one was the Texas “Second Amendment Giant”. For those of you outside the USA, the second amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Texas takes it seriously.

Second amendment giant in Amarillo, Texas

Second amendment giant in Amarillo, Texas

That brought us just a mile or so for our hotel for the night. After checking in we went over to a local steakhouse to split a rib-eye; when in Texas… It was crowded for Mother’s Day but we got a small table in the bar.

Tomorrow morning we’ll check the weather report and conditions allowing we will head into Oklahoma.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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3 Responses to Route 66 Day 17 – Santa Fe to Amarillo

  1. Pingback: Route 66 Day 18 Amarillo to Edmund, OK | 2for66

  2. Pingback: 2015 Summer Road Trip – The Banner Photos | 2for66

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