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Route 66: Gallup to Holbrook

The Painted Desert

The Painted Desert


Today we went from movie stars (sort of) to the Painted Desert. We spent the night at the El Rancho Hotel and Motel in Gallup, which claims many movie stars have lodged there while filming in the nearby desert. We stayed in the less expensive motel, but enjoyed our stay. We stopped for much of the day in Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert and then continued on to Holbrook.

Route 66: Santa Rosa to Gallup

Along Route 66 in Laguna Pueblo Land.

Along Route 66 in Laguna Pueblo Land.

Departing Santa Rosa, Route 66 was mostly covered over by Interstate Highway 40 for the next 75 miles. This made for quick travel but not as interesting as yesterday’s smaller roads. Then we traveled through the sprawl of Albuquerque for quite some time. Finally, in the afternoon we made it to very scenic Laguna Pueblo Land and then on to Gallup.

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Route 66: Amarillo to Santa Rosa

We started our journey along historic Route 66 today heading west toward California. Route 66 roughly parallels Interstate Highway 40 and we seldom traveled more than a few miles from the Interstate. When the Interstate highway came through, towns and businesses not fortunate enough to have convenient highway access withered and died.

There were boo coo sights today, ranging from painted fiberglass ponies to scary motel signs to colorful wall murals to museum-quality iron works such as, well, irons heated with coals or with gasoline. We also talked with interesting locals running the museums and shops, in some cases they were newly retired and beginning new projects to revive and keep alive Route 66.

Cadillac Ranch

Deb at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas.

Deb at Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas.

Today we arrived in Amarillo, Texas late, just as the sun was setting and made a trip out to Cadillac Ranch, an unusual public art exhibit off historic Route 66 (now Interstate 40) west of Amarillo. Cadillac Ranch was commissioned by local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 (yes, that’s 3 not III) in the 70’s.

Tomorrow we begin driving historic Route 66 back to California.