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.
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.
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.
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.