We left Santa Fe around noon trying to see all we could in that fabulous city before we had to head out. We also wanted to do a little shopping and most of the stores closed at 6:00 PM last night. We picked up a few souvenirs (something we have not done yet) and I went back to get a navajo inspired saddle blanket I fell in love with last night.
For some reason today was hard to navigate the road early on. Maybe we are getting tired? We got lost a couple of times and hit some dead end roads (more than usual).
We were trying to find the oldest "pre-1937" alignment and ended up circling in a residential neighborhood. I sure loved this car!
We haven't seen any roadrunners ... well except for this one!
Route 66 has gone through many changes, improvements and re-alllignments over the years and we are trying to stay true to the oldest. It can be quite a challenge at times and we are getting used to driving down roads that seem wrong but turn out to be correct, and then other times going down roads that seem to be right, only to hit a dead end. Most of the time we can't stop laughing when it happens. Sometimes, when we are tired, it can be frustrating.
This former gas station, garage and general store dates back to about 1935. I wonder if my mom would remember any of these places from her trip down this Route when she was a kid.
We stopped for lunch at a cute little restaurant in an historical house but we are both to tired to pay attention to the details. No surprises here that we are again eating Mexican food. It seems we have two options out here - hamburgers or Mexican food. I am craving a smoothie. After lunch we continued to head West through Albuquerque towards Grants. Our destination tonight is Gallup. We crossed over the Rio Grande. We took a side trip to the El Malpais National Monument where they have the largest contiguous lava flow in the United States. There are fabulous sandstone bluffs and La Ventana, one of the Southwest's largest freestanding natural arches. It felt great to get out of the car and walk around a bit.
It was nice to have a change of scenery but as usual ... there was no one out here and even the ranger station was closed!
Griffin was a bit more daring than I ... I thought one of us should stay behind with the keys to the car. It turns out they were in her pocket all along!
I think one of the funniest moments of the day was when we saw the moose signs. We wanted to see them so badly! Really? Moose in New Mexico? That is as weird as seeing Armadillo in Missouri.
We never saw any moose but once we had cell reception again we looked it up ... there have not been any moose since 1990. Sad.
The railroad run along a lot of Route 66 and the trains ran constantly. It became my mission to try to get a great photo while steering with one hand and hitting the iPhone camera button with the other all while the train was moving along.
I am driving Griffin crazy with my camera shots (constant stopping to get a great image) as it is but I think the train photos are putting her over the edge. And I am still obsessed with the old neon signs - thankfully they are not moving targets!
Our destination tonight was Gallup. This is our third stop in New Mexico. We are staying in The El Rancho Hotel and Motel which has quite a history.
I am sure this was an amazing place to stay in its day. Many stars have stayed in these rooms; John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Lucille Ball, and Jimmy Stewart to name a few. Presidents Reagan and Eisenhower did too.
Our room, the Jimmy Stewart room, was up these stairs. It probably looked the same back in "the day" ... I would have loved for them to "shine up" my Toms (boy were they dusty and dirty!).
You can be sure I got out the flashlight and checked between these mattresses!!!
We were grateful there was a restaurant in the hotel (I don't think there was much else in this town) and we were hungry and tired... but boy did it take me back. Griffin could not believe the canned corn, the peaches and cottage cheese and the butter floating on ice (how are you supposed to spread iced butter?). It was right out of my childhood and although it wasn't the best meal it made for a good laugh! Tomorrow - Arizona! We are getting so close to home which sounds great on one hand but one the other, I hate to see this end!