We have enjoyed traveling on I-40, most of which is the old Route 66. We drove by many of the iconic symbols associated with the old Route 66 but also saw many of those towns and areas that were thriving when the traffic drove through their towns, but are now sorry testament to how the Interstate drove them out of business.
We left the treed and hilly Oklahoma/Texas area and drove through what I called the wasteland of New Mexico. I thought west Texas was barren, but the middle of New Mexico is just like it if not worse. Fortunately we had blue skies and sunshine so that always makes things look better. New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment and I am sure it is enchanting somewhere in the State, but we saw very little of it.
We did like the Albuquerque area and stayed at Enchanted Trail RV Park for a few days while we explored. The RV Park used to be a motel on old Route 66 which featured large broken arrows protruding out the ground. I think I remember seeing photos of it when it was a motel. They have converted it into a nice RV Park with vintage trailers you can actually rent to stay in, complete with old cars parked alongside the trailers. Lots of 1950-1960s memorabilia in the clubhouse and gift shop. Almost museum-like. Fun seeing stuff that is now considered antiques but to me is just stuff I grew up with. There was a Camping World right next door and down the road was a huge Tempur-pedic Mattress plant. We were very intrigued by the building so drove by it and took photos. We’re weird that way.
We drove into Albuquerque one afternoon and visited Old Town, which had been recommended to us. It was fun walking around and seeing all the little shops and restaurants. It actually reminded us a bit of the Bourbon Street area in New Orleans. We had lunch at the Quesadilla Grille at an outdoor table and got to watch all the people stroll by. And we had the most delicious quesadillas we had ever had. Yummy.
We had planned to stay a few days more, but the threat of the Alaskan Polar storm heading our way made us rethink our plans and we decided to head further west sooner as we wanted to see the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon and were hoping we could beat the cold weather coming if we bumped it up a few days.
We left for Arizona in blue skies and mild temps and stayed at a Passport America Park near Holbrook, AZ. Passport America is a camping membership where you pay ½ the rack rate at a participating park. We haven’t used it much in the past as many of the parks won’t give you the discounted rate during prime times. But I looked in the book and there was a participating park called “Root 66 RV Park.” It wasn’t much of a park (should have figured that out by the spelling of the name) but it suited our purposes for a couple of nights stay so we could visit the National Parks in that area and was an easy on/off I-40. In fact, it was the only thing that was off of that exit. The road ended at the turn for the park.
More about the Petrified Tree National Park and Painted Desert National Park, and our visit to Winslow, AZ in my next trip journal. I’m sure you are tired of reading by now. Oh, I forgot from my last entry to mention one thing about our stay at the Amarillo Elks Lodge. We went into the bar at the Lodge to buy a drink and say hello and were approached by someone who asked if we would like to stay for dinner = A FUNERAL DINNER! We said “No, we didn’t know the deceased and would feel uncomfortable,” but they insisted we would be welcome and really tried to encourage us to stay for dinner. That was a first for us - being invited to a funeral dinner for someone we didn’t even know. You never know what you will run into on the road. I guess that is part of the adventure we enjoy. (FYI we did not attend the dinner.)
To be continued............................................