Editor’s note: Patti and Brian Blumhorst of Mendota along with Dave and Conda McFee of Channahon have embarked on a 2,500-mile trip traveling on Route 66, starting from its origin in Chicago all the way to Los Angeles. The Blumhorsts are driving in their 2005 Mustang convertible and the McFees bought a 2004 Chrysler Seibring for the trip. Patti is chronicling their trip for Shaw Media.
Finally catching up from the past few days. We have seen so much, traveled many miles and have been enjoying all this beautiful country has to offer.
Day #7 - July 3. Leaving Amarillo under rainy skies and 66 degrees. It was warmer at home. Stopped to the the Cadillac Ranch, which features graffiti covered Cadillac’s plated nose deep into the ground all facing West. The ground was flooded around the cars so many people spray painted the ground. In Vega, stopped at Dot’s Mini Museum and Boot Tree where we met a family from Troy, Mich. and their adorable little girl, Olivia. We ended up seeing each other at most of our stops throughout the day. Vega also featured the Vega Motel in the late 40s.
Adrian, Texas is the Mid Point of Route 66 (1,224 miles). We enjoyed some amazing pie at this nostalgic cafe. Once into New Mexico we went through Tucumcari, which was memorialized in the TV show Rawhide. Back in the day, Tucumcari had over 2,000 motel rooms. Today, only a fraction of these rooms are still open. The Blue Swallow Motel opened on 1940 and is still one of the most iconic places today. Glenrio had a great display of Route 66 murals.
Enjoyed a short stop at the Pecos National Historical Park before the rain started again. Took a side trip on the Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe. We didn’t get to spend as much time there and explore. It was quite the busy place with the holiday weekend. This beautiful city features the Palace of the Governors, the beautiful LaFontaine Hotel, San Miguel Chapel and Georgia O’Keefe museum. Had a delicious dinner at Tomasito’s - a Triple D recommendation.
Arrived in Albuquerque after 10 p.m. and too tired to take in the Neon Strip. 366 miles for the day, a total of 1,742 miles.
Day #8 - Happy 4th of July to all our family and friends. We truly live in an amazing country, so much natural beauty, sights to see and interesting people. Honestly, if you are able to travel, please do.
Started the day on a downside with a flat tire on the McFee’s car. Thank goodness we weren’t out of the parking lot of the hotel and it gave us an opportunity to slow down and take in the sights of Albuquerque. Shout-out to Pep Boys on a Sunday and the 4th for their wonderful service.
Stopped by the Natural Museum of Nuclear Science and History near Kirtland AFB, then found the site where Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Saw the Madonna of the Trail Monument- a tribute to the pioneer women who traveled the old National Trail. Downtown, we saw the Kimo Theater that featured both film and live performances since the 1920′s. Unfortunately, it is no longer used.
We spent some time in Albuquerque’s Old Town Square which dates back to the 1700s. In the town square was a good old, 4th of July celebration with a band in the gazebo, an antique car show and a lot of patriotism.
After a quick meal at the Ponderosa Brewery we continued west, stopping by Budsville to see the gas station owned and operated by Bud and Flossie Rice since 1928. In 1967, the station was held up and Bud was murdered. Flossie continued to run it until the ’70s. McCarty featured an amazing 1933 Spanish Stone church on the hillside. In Grant’s, we drove through the Neon Rt 66 archway. Grants had the largest uranium reserve in the world.
We enjoyed a beautiful view of the Continental Divide before arriving at our destination for the night - the iconic El Rancho Motel in Gallup, Texas built in the 1930s and have welcomed hundreds of movie stars and celebrities over the years including John Wayne. Our room featured Forrest Tucker and the McFee’s room Claude Aikens. Unfortunately, we were unable to see any fireworks from our hotel. 169 miles for the day. Happy birthday America!
Day #9 - July 5: Spent 4 1/2 hours at the breathtaking Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Pictures do not do it justice. You have to see it in person to truly appreciate God’s handiwork and beauty. Very hot, but no humidity or bugs. In Gallup, saw statues honoring the USMC Navaho Code talkers.
Lunch at Roma’s I’m Holbrook. Unfortunately we were not able to get a reservation at the Wig Wam Motel. Stopped at the Jackrabbit Trading Post in Joseph City. Was hoping to see the Meteor Crater, but it was closed before we arrived.
You could find us “Standing on a Corner in Winslow AZ. Such a fine sight to see....(I’ll bet that song is now stuck in your head like it’s been in ours for days). Night in Flagstaff at Elev8 Hotel - very nice. Capped off the evening with laundry.