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Route 66 - Eastern New Mexico

Road Trip

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Mostly driving I-40, this Route 66 journey across the state's eastern half boasts several pockets of well-preserved Mother Road nostalgia—from the vintage neon signs of Albuquerque to the classic roadside kitsch of Tucumcari. History buffs, take note: Prior to a 1937 realignment, the original Route 66 traveled far north of I-40 through the state capital, Santa Fe.
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1
Albuquerque, NM to Santa Rosa, NM
Leaving the city, the highway travels through the pretty foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Pinion and juniper dot the landscape. Big-rig trucks barrel along I-40. On the banks of the Pecos River, the town of Santa Rosa retains several motels, eateries and buildings dating to the Mother Road's heyday. Want to do some fishing? Drop a line in one of the nearby lakes.
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2
Santa Rosa, NM to Tucumcari, NM
In the route's glory days, the drab ribbon of road between these two towns was lined with advertising signs enticing drivers to stay in “Tucumcari Tonight.” Today you'll find a wealth of Route 66 treasures—from a classic 1942 motel to the Tee Pee Curios shop, housed in a concrete wigwam. And if that's not vintage enough for you, check out the town's dinosaur museum.
Shutterstock.com/David P. Smith
3
Tucumcari, NM to Adrian, TX
According to a 1940s WPA guidebook, Route 66 across far eastern New Mexico traverses “land as flat as a cowboy's purse the morning after pay day.” Though the drive lacks eye candy, up ahead in Adrian, Texas, is a must-stop photo-op. The town's welcome sign announces you've reached the midpoint of Route 66. It's 1,139 miles to Chicago, and the same to L.A.