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Albuquerque, NM: Day 2 Con’t: June 16, 2016

Louise Speaks:  Like with Winslow, we have been through Albuquerque many times before as it is the main artery in going East.  But today instead of seeing the main attractions of Albuquerque and following things from Patricia’s book “1000 Places to See Before You Die”, we decided to follow Roadside America and see what Quirky things we could find in Albuquerque.

100_9314Our first stop was the Library Bar and Grill.  This is a local downtown bar, but on the roof as part of it’s facade are the spines of “six giant books”.   The bar is located next door to the Kimo Theater.  Now keep in mind this is right in downtown Albuquerque, at 5:00 in the afternoon, and we are driving down the narrow streets just to get a picture.  Maybe now you understand why all of our journey’s are an adventure.

100_9317Continuing downtown we were headed to the Cottonwood Madonna–or the Virgin in the Tree.  In 1970 a parishioner of the 300 year old San Felipe de Neri, Albuquerque’s oldest Catholic parish, carved the image of the Virgin de Guadalupe into a cottonwood tree behind the church.  Some call it the Virgin of the Tree.  It is one of the hidden treasures of Old Town.  Because the carving sometimes appears to change, people wondered if it was haunted.  But the change in appearance simply reflects the condition of the tree.

100_9319On the outskirts of town is a very unique neighborhood.  One house in particular, is known as the “Bug House” and was designed by Bart Prince, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is in wonderful shape and when you see it 100_9325you can see the teachings of Frank Lloyd Wright.   Mr. Prince has placed huge dinosaurs out front to guard his home.  Similar to the Japanese who place lion statues in the front of their homes, Mr. Prince thought 100_9328dinosaurs were more fitting.  As if the front of the house isn’t unique enough, the side of the house has even more unique features.  There are stairways that lead to the chimney.  The stairway rails are actually vertical shafts. Mr. Prince still lives in this home.

As if the Bug House wasn’t enough, a new house was built next door.  I’m not sure if this was planned, but the new house 100_9321is referred to as the Spaceship House.  It is built with all different angles instead of curves.  It represents a very cantilevered style of architecture.  I don’t know anything else about this house, but these two houses sitting side by side definitely draw attention to the neighborhood.  And if you think that Thelma and I are the only two nut cases chasing around to find these quirky sights, you’re wrong.  While we were outside taking pictures, a car pulled up out front and with camera in hand began taking pictures.

100_9332The most unusual site seen today is the “400 ft. Rattlesnake”.  The snake is very artistic, but very creepy.  It sits in the medium on University Blvd.  The huge rock sculpture of a diamondback rattlesnake is 400 feet from it’s head to it’s rattle.  This is definitely worth going out of your way to see and is right off the I-25.  We drove along side the entire 400 ft and then turned around to see it from the opposite direction. Although crafted very well, the snake must be seen from the front.  So the next time you’re in Albuquerque, make sure you stop by.

100_9337Our final stop of the night was at the Isotopes Baseball Field.  The Isotopes are a minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This was a very nice baseball field for a minor league team, but our purpose for stopping was the group of “large baseball bats and a giant baseball” that sits on the corner in front of the park entrance.

100_9338We did have a few more things on the list but we had to check into the Enchanted Trails campground by 7:00 p.m. and it was already 6:30.  What a cute campground.  It is on Route 66 and they have vintage trailers that can be rented out.  The trailers are furnished with all the comforts of home…back in the 1950’s including black and white TV’s and peculators instead of coffee pots.  But they guarantee a clean trailer and clean sheets for every stay.  The campground is very nice, but the wifi is not blogging friendly.  Although I am blogging today, I am unable to upload pictures so I’m saving the blog and will post hopefully tomorrow if we have faster internet.

What a fun day two.  Long day though and with the time change even longer.  We drove 358 miles today for a total trip so far of 618 miles.


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Route 66—Day 16—Albuquerque, NM to Williams, AZ

100_7528Louise Speaks:  Day 16:  August 11, 2015.  So we’re thinking this is the last leg of our Route 66 trip before we get home.  From Albuquerque we arrive in the small town of Laguna, NM.  This is not a reservation, but the primary population are Native Americans.  The entrance to the town has a beautiful town circle before getting to the residential part of town.  Laguna is  home to a church from the 1600’s.  This church is still used every day here in Laguna.  It is old, and small, but you can feel the history just by walking in the doors.

100_7532New Mexico has many old churches.  We’ve seen so many on this trip and after leaving Laguna we found another old church in the town of San Fidel, NM.  We didn’t go inside the church, but it is very, very old.


Continuing West we go through the towns of Grants before arriving in Thoreau, NM.  This is actual the Continental Divide.  I’m not sure if every state has a Continental Divide, but through our travels, we sure have seen many of them.  This one actually had a trading post on site with plenty of souvenirs and other types of memorabilia.

100_4165The next major city is Gallup, NM.  Here is another town that we have gone through many times as it is a major city on the I-40 and Route 66.  Gallup has many stops in Patricia’s book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” that we have done before, so today it was just about the quirky things and things we may have missed on previous trips.  For example, previous attractions are the El Rancho Hotel, the Rex Museum, the Gallup Cultural Center and the Richardson’s Trading Post.  You can read about these places on a previous post from June 10, 2013 .  What we had left to see were some quirky things in Gallup, NM.

100_7537By quirky I mean we found the Muffler Man or Dude Man.  If you look at this statue it is very similar to the bunyon statue with the hot dog in Atlanta, IL or the lumber jack with the ax in Flagstaff, AZ but this one is just a big man holding nothing.  I mentioned in previous post that I have seen these statues many times…they are just dressed different or holding different items.

100_0689We also found the Pez Statue.  This is actually an Indian, but it looks like it’s made out of legos, or could be a Pez Candy dispenser, hence they call it the Pez Statue.








The last quirky thing was the Galoop.  It would remind you of a hot wheel track made out of steel.  It is on a main street.  The name came about by being a loop in Gallup…hence the name Galoop.  The structure is an art piece but looks substantial enough to be real.



100_7545Once again we are in a rush.  It does not look like we are going to make it home tonight but we are still heading West.  We crossed the state line and we are back in Arizona.  Our first stop was in Lupton, AZ.  Like in New Mexico there are many trading post along Route 66.  We came across the Tee Pee Trading Post in Lupton.  Not only was this a unique trading post, it came complete with “fake” animals on the mountains above.  They seemed so real we actually stared for quite some time to make sure they didn’t move before we realized they were not real.

100_2479Driving along Route 66 you must go through the Petrified Forest.  This has got to be one of the most amazing parts of Arizona I have ever seen.  This area is also connected to the Painted Desert which has colors like you will never see.  What’s unique is the colors change as the sun moves. So if you come in the evening or in the morning, you will get a different view of the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. What’s even more amazing is that neither of these Arizona wonders are not in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.  You can read more about the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert by going to our blog dated April 7, 2012.

100_6365The next major city, which is also on I-40 is Holbrook, AZ.  Holbrook has many Route 66 features as it is one of the cities that did not totally die when I-40 went through town.  It is not a busy city, but still a functional city.  One of the most unique business is the Wigwam Motel.  This motel is still in operation and you sleep inside the wigwam.  The owners have really tried to restore the motel to  the life of Route 66 .  They have old cars parked in front of each unit to make you feel like you are back in the 1950’s.

100_6359Because we are also doing the 15 counties of Arizona, Holbrook is a county seat so visiting the county courthouse was a must.  Inside the courthouse is a historic jail that was used back in the 1800’s.  You are able to go into the cell and see how the inmates must have been treated back in the day.


100_3707Moving West, we reach the town of Winslow, AZ.  This town has really tried to make you feel like you are still back in the 60’s.  Back to the famous song by the Eagles about “Standing on the Corner, in Winslow AZ” there is an intersection dedicated just to this song lyrics.  We have spent much time in Winslow on a previous visit, after all this is our home state, but a trip to Winslow is not complete without going by the famous corner.  You can read about Winslow if you go to our blog dated July 5, 2012.  Also in the previous blog is the La Pasada Resort...a true Winslow gem.

It is now getting late, and we don’t live that far from here…so we are going to end our Route 66 adventure here in Winslow.  We are going to get as far as Williams tonight but we are not going to stop at any Route 66 attractions so that we can make it to an RV park tonight.  We will come back here to Winslow in a few months and continue Route 66 to the end.  Schedules are just not allowing us to complete it all at this time.  Good thing we live just a few short miles off the original Route 66.  So thanks for traveling with us this far…and we will have the complete Route 66 completed in a very short time.  To keep our Route 66 mileage accurate, we are stopping our mileage in Winslow, AZ since that’s where we’ll be starting up again when we continue our Route 66 adventure.  So today up to Winslow was only 6 hours and only 265 miles.  We did stop for the night in Williams and are heading home in the morning.

UPDATE:  Route 66 Continues on Sept. 28, 2015.  Come join us!

Thelma Speaks:

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Route 66—Day 15–Tucumcari, NM to Albuquerque, NM

Louise Speaks:  Day 15:  August 10, 2015.  Well we are now one state away from home.  I think we are going to make it.  What’s good about the rest of the trip, at least until we get home, is that we have been on this road before…many times.  Maybe not the actual Route 66 but at least the towns that are on Route 66.  So this time we are going to stay off the I-40 as much as possible and stay on Route 66.  Who knows, there may actually be things we haven’t seen.

100_7512We drove around Tucumcari, NM looking at Route 66 stuff we hadn’t seen on previous trips.  Our first stop was the Tee Pee Curios.  This is a reminiscent of days gone by, when you would beg your dad to stop here to see the Cowboy and Indian stuff.  I know this is the town that my dad always stopped in, so I’m sure I was in this place at least once before in my life.  Heidi the new owner is very friendly and is more than willing to take family photos outside the shop.  This is not the only Tee Pee on Route 66, but this neat little building is cool as you walk through a concrete wigwam.  I’m not sure how much shopping is done here, but it is definitely a photo stop.

100_7515Tucumcari has it’s own Route 66 Monument.  We had a hard time finding it, as it says it is in front of the Convention Center.  Tucumcari is a pretty small, isolated town so we were surprised to find out they even had a convention center, but after asking several people we were directed to the monument.  Seeing how large it was, we were surprised we didn’t find it ourselves.  The shiny chrome sculpture is a tribute to all the tail fins of the 1950’s that traveled Route 66.

100_4453Now those were actually two things in Tucumcari we had never seen before.  But if this is your first stop in Tucumcari you have to go see the Historic Blue Swallow Motel.  This motel is still in operation and the way they have it decorated makes you fell like you are back in the 50’s.  The motel comes complete with cars from the 1950’s parked in the carports.  The colors are vivid and the neon sign definitely takes you back in time.  If you ever plan on staying in Tucumcari, this motel is a must.  Forget the big name chains, take a chance and stay here.

100_0674This part of the country is pretty boring…pretty at times….but boring.  It is mostly desert where you don’t see a building for miles.  Like before on the trip, Route 66 goes over and under the I-40 many many times.  However, we never in our wildest dreams thought we would come across this problem.  I am reading the itinerary directions and I’m telling Thelma, turn left, then turn right, then go over the freeway etc etc.  We are 100_0675driving along this somewhat gravel and beat up Route 66 and we see it coming to an end so we have to turn right, and YIKES….we come to a double tunnel that goes under the I-40.  The problem is, can we fit?  If we can’t our only option is to turn around and try to find a way to get on the I-40.  So I get out of the RV to size things up.  I’m not worried about the height, but I am thinking it could be snug.  I wonder if the mirrors are going to hit the sides.  So I’m in front of the RV guiding Thelma through not one but two tunnels.  The good news is we made it, did not touch the sides or the top and we continued on our way west on Route 66.

100_7518One of the small towns that we had missed by driving the I-40 is the town of Monarty, NM.  Here you will find the Sunset Motel.  Again right out of the 50’s and cute as a button.  These motels are old, no doubt, but those that are still in operation are probably cleaner than any motel you will find.  At least on this part of Route 66 we are finding more motels than gas stations.

The next big town, if you want to call it a big town, is Santa Rosa, NM.  Now there are things in this town that you have to hunt for, but when you find them, you’ll be glad you went on the search.  We have been in Santa Rosa before and had spent much time here.  Today, we are just going by the old stops to see if things have changed.

100_4444Our first stop is the Blue Hole.  Now you can read more about this spot in detail in our blog from before, but in short it is a diving hole…not just a dive in hole, but actual scuba diving.  When we were here before, there were a few people just playing in the water, but today it is like a tourist attraction.  They are charging to go in, charging just to look at the hole.  I’m surprised they didn’t charge us to park the RV and look around.  It was very impressive our first time here, but today, well I don’t think I would have even stopped, if I didn’t know what it was and wanted to see how it changed.

100_4437Also in Santa Rosa, is one of the neatest Route 66 Museum.  We didn’t stop today as we are in a bit of a hurry to get home, but check out the blog from June 17, 2013.  This is one of the best Route 66 museums I have ever been in and the story that goes along with it is heartwarming.  Make it a stop if you are ever in Santa Rosa, NM.

Today was mostly driving as we are trying to reach Albuquerque, NM by night fall.  That is our stop for the night.  It is probably the most boring part of our trip so far.  Like I said earlier, it is just desert and if we didn’t have a list of quirky things to see, we probably wouldn’t have stopped at all.  We were hoping to get to our camp site early enough to actually enjoy the park…maybe even take a dip in the pool.

We did arrive in Albuquerque early enough to see a few things before heading to the RV park.  Again most of the things in Albuquerque we have seen before…many times.  When ever we are on a trip heading East, Albuquerque is always our first over night  stop, so now we know it is our last stop before reaching home.  We have been on the road for 42 days, and it probably would have been longer, if I didn’t have to be in California in 3 days.

We are not going to blog about the previous things we have seen in Albuquerque here, but we would like you to go back and read about our Albuquerque adventures in the previous blog.  Look up Albuquerque June 16, 2013.  This really is a neat town with some of the best places to eat.  We still have the Balloon Festival to attend, and that is still on our bucket list for some year in October.

100_7520Usually when we have traveled through Albuquerque, we have seen the sites that are in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.  But today we did find a few quirky things to see in town.  The most unusual of things was the Shoe Tree.  It seems we have seen many shoes on this trip, but this one is actually just on the street outside someones home.  This is actually an artist’s variation of a shoe tree.  He has taken high heels and carefully nailed them up the sides of a telephone pole out front of his home.  I’m not sure that is legal, but obviously no one has made him take the shoes down.  The owner of the house also has a few cars that are usually parked out front.  One is painted to match a Hawaiian shirt he owns and the other is the cocktail car which is covered with wine bottle corks.  Unfortunately, neither car was parked out front today….but the shoe tree is still standing tall.

The Shoe Tree took care of all our stops in Albuquerque so it was off to the RV park for an early night.  Only a 7 hour day today and we actually drove 290 miles…we’re pushing it now.  Our plan is to sleep in our own beds tomorrow night.

Thelma Speaks: