Day 5 - Vega, TX to Albuquerque
Our first stop this morning was to backtrack (ever so slightly) into Vega. There is a charming restored Magnolia gas station in the center of town that we wanted to see in daylight. The two-story station was built before Route 66 -- when Vega was a stop along the Ozark Trail road. So once Route 66 came through town using the same road, the station was already in place to welcome motorists. The second story of the building was used as an apartment for the owners. Is this blog (and trip?) becoming a tour of depression-era gas stations?
Not too far down the road is the midpoint of Route 66. At Adrian, Texas the road stretches 1139 miles in each direction -- to Chicago and to Santa Monica. So we've come half-way! There's a sweet little cafe at the midpoint, but it was too soon after breakfast to want to stop.
Just before the New Mexico border we passed through Glenrio, a ghost town at exit "0" on the Interstate. In the county of Deaf Smith, it paints a spooky picture of what happens when a road is decommissioned.
We passed into New Mexico, down a long stretch of gravel road, and on to Tucumcari (one of the best town names around!). The Blue Swallow Motel is located there -- a Route 66 landmark, known for its exceptional service. The motel is a wonderful combination of pink and aqua, with a snazzy car parked in front. One of the features of the motel is a garage for every room -- look closely -- they're in between each of the rooms.
Out of Tucumcari we encountered an interesting part of the road -- in order to cross the Interstate you must drive through a drainage tunnel. So larger vehicles just can't be on this part of Route 66...
Most of the last stretch of Route 66 before Albuquerque is actually right under the Interstate, so we spent about 60 or 70 miles on I-40. We stopped in Albuquerque for the evening.