Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 6 Gallup (NM) to Tucumcari 23rd June

An early start... we thought until we realised we’d lost an hour coming into New Mexico! We’d hardly left Gallup and we found the old road was almost fully intact crossing under and over the I 40 alongside the Continental Divide. The Route 66 guide book mentioned the once popular Swap Meet location near Prewett which we eventually found. Sadly the proprietor Tom had died some years ago according to ‘Sunshine’ who seemed to have self appointed herself as caretaker. Possibly suffering from a bit too much time in the sun, she waxed lyrical about having visitors from down under and proudly showed off the remnants of the once spectacular collection of books, anything to do with cars... or in fact anything at all judging by the collection of junk around the property. She was more proud of her new vegie patch which was doing well in the 100+ morning temperature. Sunshine also warned us off the rattlesnakes and produced a recent rattling tail to show she was for real.


Abandoned Swap Meet - Once very popular


...and more stuff!

Sunshine at home - Swap Meet

Grants was full of abandoned buildings, restaurants, gas stations and more... back out in the open the landscape changed reflecting the volcanic region we were travelling through. Route 66 is hardly straight and smooth compared to the new highway but Deadman’s Curve was noted as a big caution doubling back on itself to nearly 300 degrees, a section of road hardly suitable for the long trucks that ran here once.

Tightening Haripin!

The Casino at Laguna is dedicated to Route 66 and themed accordingly inside and out. Nearby the old Rio Puerco bridge has been maintained for tourist purposes only.

Rio Puerco Bridge with another new bridge on the I 40
At Albuquerque we diverted in to an Auto Zone tool and spares shop when the central locking on the Mustang decided to stop working. Ah, use the key like the old days... but no! The only door lock had come loose and dropped down and there was now no way to lock it. An hour later after borrowing tools the door was stripped and the offending part re-installed and hopefully locked in place for the foreseeable future! Another hour later we had called by the Unser Racing Museum and had eventually made our way back to R66 from the sprawling city.Throughout the remainder of the afternoon we were on and off the mother road as she weaved her way in and around the main highway. We stopped at several small outposts, the first, well known, Clines Corner Diner was unavoidable... signs in both directions for ten miles ensured everyone stopped there. In Santa Rosa at the Auto Museum, they’d gone home early...

Unsers Racing Museum

The most over the top avertising ever!
So much of the afternoon was filled with emptiness... once prosperous business abandoned en mass.. one can only imagine what it was once like... and there’s plenty of imagination needed to see cars and trucks rolling over the old road all those years ago. Out on the highway cruising at 75mph plus another 10mph to keep up with the locals (140kph) it’s easy to see why Route 66 has been quickly forgotten by the masses.
Business abondoned everywhere

Running parallel to I 40
Tonight’s accommodation comes highly recommended by R66 enthusiasts, The Blue Swallow motel , where Bill has proudly installed us in a quant room in a motel that fills every night... and that in a town with 34 motels, most of which appear to have plenty of vacancies.

Home Tonight!

No comments:

Post a Comment