After picking up Route 66 out of Amarillo, we quickly came to our first stop of the day, the Cadillac Ranch. In typical Route 66 fashion someone had decided, for no particular reason, to half-bury 10 Cadillacs at a slight angle in a field by the side of the road. They actually make for quite an impressive view. The area surrounding the Cadillacs is littered with spray cans, and visitors are encouraged to graffiti the cars. We had fun leaving our names, and some other ‘choice’ comments on the cars.
Next we made our way away from Amarillo until we came to our next stop, The Mid Point Cafe in Adrian, Texas. This marks the mid-way point on Route 66, and is exactly half way between the start point in Chicago and the end point in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. It’s also the inspiration for Flo’s Diner in the Disney Pixar film Card. It’s nowhere near half way for us, as we have side trips planned to Monument Valley, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, but it was still a nice feeling having reached the middle of R66. We had our pics taken and breakfast, before continuing on our way, out of Texas and into the state of New Mexico.
We had a quick stop at Glenrio, a small ghost town that has now been abandoned since the interstate bypassed Route 66. It’s quite an eerie place. The only inhabitant we found was a small turtle in the grass.
We had a choice of routes, as R66 splits into two in New Mexico. We opted for the Santa Fe Loop, which is a bit of a detour but takes in the historic city of Santa Fe. The journey to Santa Fe was probably the most enjoyable stretch of R66 so far, and is typical of what we’d imagined it to be. Long, straight roads, with heat waves rippling across the road in the distance, and surrounded by vast plains with mountains off into the distance. As we approached Santa Fe, the landscape became more rocky an mountainous.
Santa Fe itself was definitely well worth the visit. It was originally a Native American settlement, and was then colonized by Mexicans. Due to this, Santa Fe had been heavily influenced by both cultures. It almost feels like you are in a remote town in Spain as opposed to the US. We had a late lunch on a rooftop terrace overlooking the town square, then set off for Albuquerque.
As we approached Albuquerque, where we scheduled to stop, we made a decision to push on further. We are due to visit and stay in Monument Valley the next day, which is quite a distance from Albuquerque. As we we were feeling relatively fresh, we decided to take a couple of hours out of the next days driving and continued on to Gallup.
When we arrived in Gallup and checked into a hotel, we saw on the local news that we’d been very lucky with the weather on our dive across New Mexico. The state has been hit with severe storms, and many roads are closed. There’s been some mudslides and a lot of flooding to. We had noticed large clouds off into the distance throughout the day and flashes of lightening, and almost everywhere we drove looked like we had just missed a downpour. But luckily for us, we only hit rain for a couple of minutes during the whole day.
From Gallup, we’ll be taking a detour north up to Monument Valley and spending the night there, before driving back south the next day and continuing on Route 66.
Next stop: Monument Valley