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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Route 66, Bates Motel, Ghost Towns and Donkeys with Swimming Pools!


"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."

       - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Today we left Amarillo early and got on the Old Route 66 through Bushland, Wilderado, Vega, Adrian and Glenrio. But first we had to stop at Cadillac Ranch and see all those old caddys buried nose first in the pasture. We have been there before on the motorcycle but we wanted to see them again and get a few pics with the snow left on the ground. It was 32 degrees and the winds were 35 MPH as we walked out into the field to get a few shots, then back to the car in a hurry! Then we passed through the dead and/or dying towns that have just seemed to dry up and blow away since the Interstate bypassed them when it was built in the 50's and 60's. Vacant run down motels, roadside diners and gas stations that have just enough peeling paint and broken glass left on them to give you a glimpse of what it must have been like to drive the Mother Road (as John Steinbeck called it in The Grapes of Wrath) back in the day! In Bushland we could hardly find a trace of any of the original buildings and there is still a small town there with some newer homes and a post office. It looks like it is mostly a residential area now with no gas stations, diners or motels left. When we got to Vega it was also a semi thriving small town with just a couple of small businesses and a RT66 mini museum that looks like it was run by a lady next door to her rundown house. It was called DOT'S and it would have been nice to have alook inside but being Sunday it was closed. Vega also had the Vega Motel that was built on the late 40's and has been in business ever since. It sure looked like it has seen better days and I am sure it was a nice place to spend the night back when the old Rt. 66 ran right by it. I still like those old style U shaped single story motels where everyone parks right outside their room and where there are only about 20 rooms! We were looking forward to Ardian because it was the official halfway point on 66 between Chicago and LA. There is a nice restored diner there call the Midway Diner and when we got there it was also closed. Then it was on to Glenrio right in the New Mexico/Texas border, which is a complete ghost town with all the old motels, gas stations, diner and the post office just deserted and left to the elements. They were still all recognizable and it was very strange to look into all those buildings and wonder what old stories they held. There was a couple of places that looked like people were still living or more accurately "squatting" in and trying to fix up again! The morning made me feel like someone in an old movie after the atom bomb had dropped and was the olny one left in the deserted and ruined town! Next we jumped back on I40 and headed to Tucumcari, New Mexico for lunch. After getting shut out in two previous towns, we were hungry. At Tucumcari we got back on old Rt. 66 and had lunch at a diner called Kix.....YES we got our "Kix on Rt. 66!!! Sounded corny to me also but they had THE best Huevo Ranchos I have ever eaten! The rest of the day was spent heading to Albuquerque and tryng to find a Rt. 66 bumper sticker for our rooftop box. I cannot believe it took 3 stops at souvenier shops just to find a bumper sticker!! I guess just like the original Rt. 66, bumper stickers have seen their day and now all the tourists want something newer, shinier and expensive! All in all a very good day!

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