Day two: Route 66 road trip Texas to New Mexico

I  woke up early, watched the sun come up in a Texas town I’ve never spent the night in, and just enjoyed the morning with a cup of motel coffee in my hand.   Today I had a little time to just mozy a bit; It was 400 miles to Albuquerque, and that meant I could take some time to see a few things.   I took a ride down the small but historic downtown of Shamrock, and doubled back down route 66.

I gotta say, I fucking love Texas.   Texans are proud, independent and will talk straight to you no matter the subject.   Reminds me of family reunions.   I’m not a country music guy, but it seemed to make sense while I was crossing the panhandle, so I tuned in to the local radio stations.  Simple, straight-up music in an area and people that I could describe as the same exact way.   It somehow fit.

It was 22 miles to Mclean:   Lots of Route 66 history here.

Mclean Texas Rattlesnakes on Route66
Stuff like this is Evidence of a good old Route 66 roadside attraction.   Rattlesnakes.   The sign itself was moved from Lela Texas, where it originally stood.   There’s No rattlesnakes here, but it made me smile.   If I was a kid in the 50’s I’m fairly sure I’d have been pounding on the rear car window for Dad to stop.


McLean Texas Route 66 original Gas Station
First Phillips gas station in Texas —  Finished 2 years after route 66 even became an official road, it saw thousands of customers as they passed through  Mclean  and on down their way down the mother road.

From Mclean, I headed out of route 66 down interstate 40 to Groom Texas, taking as many side roads as I could.

Brittens Leaning tower of Groom Texas
In the 1980s, Ralph Britten originally bought this water tank from a nearby town for a water supply for his new venture.   After he found out it wasn’t up to code, he put it on a tilt to bring in customers to his truck stop in Groom Texas.    It became the leaning tower of Texas.  It worked.

The Texas Panhandle is long and flat.     In this part of the country, there’s only 1,000 feet of elevation difference between New Mexico and Oklahoma, so I made miles.   The weather was warming up  and the road was straight.   I gotta say, I  was enjoying every minute of it.    I took all the side roads I could, got caught behind some farm equipment doing 20 mph, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

Midpoint route 66 adrian texas
The very center of route 66 in Adrian Texas.   I wanted some of that ugly crust pie at the mid point cafe, but everything was closed for the season, so I moved on.

I headed on to Glenrio and the state line.

Glenrio Texas Route 66
On the state line of Texas and New Mexico, Glenrio is a perfect example of a route 66 town being bypassed.    Just a few hundred yards off the interstate,  Aside from a few residents,  its a ghost town now.
glenrio texas route 66
It didn’t used to be a ghost town…


Paradise Motel Tucumcari New Mexico Route 66
On the west end of Tucumcari sits the Paradise Motel.    Since the 1950’s this was the first Motel you hit when you came to Tucumcari heading east.  Tucumcari is an epic route 66 stop, if you love road history.

Some asshole burned the paradise motel down 3 days later.    The owner hauled the sign off last week.  I can’t say that I blame him.   I’m glad I got the pictures I did.

I headed west.

The Last Whiting brothers Gas Station Moriarty New Mexico route 66
The Last Whiting brothers Gas Station Moriarty New Mexico route 66.   Remains of the Whiting brothers gas station are all over the western part of route 66.   They started in 1926, and sold gas and even motel rooms up and down route 66.   This is the last one.

I headed down the frontage roads that used to be the old road and weaved my way down into Albuquerque.   Heading down the canyon is killer part of route 66.

I crashed at the Monterey Motel for the night, and looked forward to the next day.

The monterey motel route 66 Albuquerque
Central Avenue, Route 66 New Mexico. There’s new owners here; I met them and they have plans to preserve the place, and are contributors as well to the El Vado around the corner — They know what they have here; The spirit of route 66 is alive and well.


2 states, 1 day, 422 miles.

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