Friday, June 24, 2011

Once Again...No Tepee Tonight!

Day 8: 327 Miles
Total: 2,487 Miles

So for the second time on this trip we made special plans to stay at one of the few remaining tepee motels in the United States, and for the second time they were booked solid and we had to make other arrangements. We found out that we weren't going to be able to stay there when we were about 90 miles away in Gallup, New Mexico. So Plan B was to go beyond Holbrook, Arizona to Winslow (of "Standin' on the Corner..." fame) to stay at the fabulous La Posada hotel. After checking her bookings the woman on the phone said that she was surprised to find that they were fully booked tonight, so...on to Plan C. Last trip I had stayed at another fabulous place, the El Rancho Hotel & Motel right here in Gallup. We pulled into the parking lot and walked up to the front desk, only to learn that they are booked solid for the next two weeks. On to Plan D...we drove by every single motel in Gallup, but not one measured up to what we were willing to stay in. Plan E became a nice Best Western, so for the third time so far this trip we are staying in a franchise hotel rather than one of the great Route 66 motels. Still, it's a nice place...

Maybe our standards are too high after staying at some of the best motels that Route 66 has to offer, including the iconic Blue Swallow last night. It is undergoing an ownership change right now, so I got to meet the new owners and say goodbye to the old ones all at the same time. I think the new owners, Kevin and Nancy Miller from Brighton, Michigan will do a great job keeping this incredible motel going. If they fall short they will hear the displeasure of Route 66 roadies from all over the world. This place is that important to all of us. It's hard to get an understanding of why that is without experiencing this whole Route 66 phenomenon yourself, but I tried to capture a little bit of the charm in the next few pictures.

The Blue Swallow is located in the city of Tucumcari, New Mexico, which has a charm all its own. Although the neon has dimmed a lot from its glory years, there are still a number of icons worth seeing there, both during the day and in the evening.

After leaving our motel, we spent most of the day driving through New Mexico. There aren't many side trips to take and most of the driving is right next to (and sometimes on) I-40, so other than the occasional photo op, we mostly stayed in the car soaking in the incredible scenery.

We also stopped here and there for a great motel sign, abandoned building and such.

A special note needs to mention the great Route 66 city of Albuquerque. Route 66 runs right down Central Avenue, and unlike most of the other big cities on the Mother Road, Albuquerque truly embraces it's heritage. There are also some incredible original motels spread throughout the city. If we had taken pictures of every great sign we had seen we'd still be there. We decided to just stop for the best of the best, and enjoy looking at all of the others as we slowly meandered through town. I posted a couple that I particularly like from the El Don Motel, and from my favorite place to stay while I'm there, the Monterey Non Smokers Motel.

So now we are adjusting our plans a bit for tomorrow. The drive will be a bit longer, but we are planning to spend the night in one of my favorite places in Arizona, the tiny town of Seligman. If we have time, we may try to take a side trip to Sedona along the way. Probably not, but we'll see. Tomorrow should be great!


1 comment:

Aunt Mona said...

Looks mighty modern compared to when I last went down 66 in 1951