We continued our adventure of Route 66 today, finishing the panhandle of Oklahoma, crossing through the Texas panhandle and ending up in New Mexico – a first-time state for both of us! The trees and green rolling hills of Oklahoma soon gave way to the absolute flat nothingness of Texas. And people say Kansas is boring! Don’t get me wrong, there was stuff to see, but the Route was like a straight line on a dot-to-dot page, connecting one small town grain elevator to another.
After a while, the tiny, mostly ghost towns of Texas became the tiny, mostly ghost towns of New Mexico, except in New Mexico the scenery changed to red mesas overlooking the scraggly brush along the road. Caleb and I both agreed that it was beautiful country.
We spent the day simply driving, jumping out to take pictures of “Route 66 stuff” and driving some more. You can’t take a trip along the road without getting some kitschy photos. So, just like travelers of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the ’50’s and the ’60’s, we took it slow and stopped often.
Some of the decades-old gas stations along the Route had been refurbished to their glory days…
But most had not (which is where we decided to have our second picnic lunch)…
Towns like Glenrio and Texola and Hext all had people who had once lived there and worked and shared their lives. Now, they are home to maybe one or two run-down trailer homes surrounded by buildings long abandoned. Towns like Allanreed and Groom still barely survive, with a gas station and a few homes and the ever present sign pointing towards the post office (sometimes one and the same as the gas station). Apparently, the post office is the most important place in these towns.
One of the best finds of today? The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM where we stayed the night. It was opened in the 1940’s and is completely refurbished and holding onto the ways of Route 66. The rooms still contain the original light fixtures and sinks and toilets and antique phones. (Yes, that IS important and cool to me…the little things.) They also had their personal garage, believe it or not, though ours was not usable as it was occupied by the owner’s Tin Lizzie.
The owners are not just in it for the business, they love the people. We went for a walk after checking in. Several blocks down the road, the owner drove by in his 1966 convertible and asked, “You want a ride?” I shouted out, “Sure!” We didn’t know where to have him take us; I had just wanted a ride in his cool car. Sooo, he took us to the Route 66 memorial in town. Just a light sprinkle came over and the most beautiful full rainbow. Small towns offer such big pleasure.
Thus ended our second day on Route 66. Every day is an adventure!