Route 66: Santa Rosa, NM to Elk City, OK

September 10, 2015 Categories Road Trips, Travel, USA

Miles driven: 334.2

Today was focused on Texas. I enjoyed the sights in Texas, but I hated how they have the road set up with I-40. Route 66 is basically the frontage road that runs parallel with the Interstate, but the on/off ramps are directly connected to the service road (Route 66). So, while driving along on Route 66 you’ll suddenly see a yield sign when you approach Interstate exits. And you better pay attention, or else you might have a semi barreling down the road directly at you going 65mph. It wasn’t bad when Route 66 follows the service road on the North of I-40, as you can see the West bound traffic coming at you and making the exits, but I really didn’t like when 66 was on the South service road because it was much harder to see if cars were coming at me.

Anywho, my first real stop today was in Adrian, Texas at the MidPoint Cafe. Adrian was the exact halfway point between Chicago and Santa Monica, but I’m sure that it might not be anymore due to how much the route has changed over the years. I bet it’s still close, though. Either way, they have a cool sign letting you know you’re in the middle.

Just down the road from the MidPoint Cafe are the remnants of an old gas station that I thought looked interesting. It would be so incredibly awesome if that coke machine was a functioning one.

About 50 miles East of Adrian is Amarillo, where the famous Cadillac Ranch is located. Some things I learned today about Cadillac Ranch: 1) It’s not actually located on Route 66; it’s a few miles South of it. 2) It’s in the middle of a field (I always thought it was directly next to a road). And 3) There are only 10 cars that make up Cadillac Ranch; I always thought it was a lot more.

It was difficult getting pictures due to how many people were at this stop. Almost everyone there was spray painting the cars to leave their mark. Even as I was taking pictures, some old lady (not joking, she had to be in her 60’s) came up and started spray painting right next to where I was crouched down taking the photo below.

I continued on and stopped again in Groom, which is about 40 miles East of Amarillo. Just past the town area, on the opposite side of the freeway, was the well known “leaning” water tower. As simple as it is, this is one of the coolest looking things of the day.

After 20 more miles East, I stopped in Alanreed at this 1930’s Texaco “66 Super Service Station”. I actually drove by it and had to turn around to get pictures, as it just snuck up on me.

Shortly after that was the town of McLean. I thought this motel sign looked neat.

But this is what I drove around McLean looking for; a restored 1930’s Phillips 66 Station. The road is divided into one-way strips through the town and has a block in between them, sometimes with buildings in the way blocking the view and sometimes not. The Phillips Station was on the West bound side of the road and I couldn’t see it at first going East bound. I made a loop around the town, driving both sides of the road to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I stopped for the night in Elk City about 40 miles after crossing into Oklahoma. I’m hoping to be in Springfield, Missouri by tomorrow, but we’ll see how that goes.

Route 66: Flagstaff, AZ to Santa Rosa, NM

September 9, 2015 Categories Road Trips, Travel, USA

Miles driven: 438.3

I managed to drive almost twice as far today in the rental car as I normally did in the van. Being able to go more than 65 mph was a big help with that. I’m also loving how cheap it is to fill up the rental car, as it only has a 10 gallon tank and gets 350 miles per tank. By comparison, the van had a 31 gallon tank and maybe got about 240 miles per tank. It’s insane how different those numbers are.

Since I’m on a more limited timeline now, I’m trying to stop less and focus on the places I know I want to see. The first stop today was at the well known Jack Rabbit Trading Post near Joseph City, Arizona.

I pushed on to Holbrook to stop at the Wigwam Motel, which is probably the stop I looked forward to the most in Arizona. I think the rooms are insanely cool and they have an awesome display of old cars around the parking lot. There’s another one back in San Bernardino, California, and I think there is (or was) a third one somewhere else, but the one in Arizona is the one I wanted to see. The others are just imitations.

Most of New Mexico’s Route 66 is basically the “frontage” road that parallels I-40. Not a lot of excitement along the way. There were plenty of cool signs in some of the towns, but the only one I stopped and took a picture of was Grants Cafe in the town of Grants. It’s just a sign in a parking lot; there’s no building associated with it that I could tell.

I got slowed down by traffic going through Albuquerque and then hammered by a hail storm shortly after passing through Moriarty. I had to pull off the highway because it got to the point that it was impossible to even see the road anymore. It reminded me of the white-out rains during summer in Pensacola, except this was hail/rain mixed. Eventually it let up enough that I pushed on to end the day in Santa Rosa, staying at an old school Route 66 motel that has metal keys on plastic tags for the rooms. It’s, like, legit.

Hwy 82, New Mexico

May 15, 2009 Categories Road Trips, Travel, USA

Driving along on Highway 82 in New Mexico was one of my favorite days during my 2009 “Wild, Wild West” road trip. A storm was forming and the road was directly on the edge of it, giving us sunshine on one side of the car and rain drops on the other. It was so beautiful, I had to stop and take pictures. We ate lunch, resting against the car and staring out at the vast and barren beauty that is New Mexico.

White Sands, New Mexico

Categories Travel, USA

White Sands, New Mexico is probably one of the biggest sand boxes (cat toilets) you’ll ever play in. With 275 miles of gypsum sand, this is one of the coolest deserts there is – literally and figuratively. It’s cool to look at and cool to the touch because the gypsum sand doesn’t convert the sun’s energy into heat like quartz-based sand does. So that means you can not only walk on it barefoot, but if you’re an idiot like me, you can also make a sand angel (and yes, it’s as bad of an idea as it sounds).