As it was a desire to encourage folks to seek the road less traveled that spawned the writing of travel related books and feature articles, I always try to respond to requests for information or assistance in travel planning. With summer looming on the horizon the number of requests have been escalating and as a result it is often difficult for me to respond in a timely manner. For this I must apologize.
In recent days I have received numerous inquires pertaining to Route 66 related travel in Texas and New Mexico. To expedite a response to these requests, and to provide others with information, it seemed that a blog posting would be the best answer.
An adventure centered on this section of Route 66 must begin with the photographers paradise that is Texola that dates to 1901. There are a number of fascinating sites in this modern ghost towns but topping the list has to be the territorial era jail built in 1910.
The drive west on Route 66 is almost surreal. Enhancing the feeling are the empty streets in Texola, and a nearly empty modern highway flowing across a vast empty landscape often in sight of the modern, bustling super slab.
Shamrock is a bit large to be a ghost town but the slide from the boom times of the 1920s has left remnants that give that illusion. There are a number of excellent mom and pop businesses that are as time capsules from the era of the tail fin.
The crown jewel here is the recently refurbished U-Drop-In dating to the 1930s. This stunning art deco masterpiece is a must see stop for any fan of the double six.
The road to Amarillo is a string of forlorn dusty remnants interspersed with time capsules from the glory days of Route 66. If the schedule prohibits intimate exploration in Groom, Lela, McLean, Alanreed Conway, or the other forgotten communities along America’s most famous highway in the Texas Panhandle, don’t miss the recently restored circa 1930 Super 66 Service Station in Alanreed and the Devils Rope/Route 66 Museum in McLean.
Amarillo has a wide array of attractions but the Big Texan is the most famous to roadies. Other recommended sites would include the Sunset Gallery housed in a former mall.
From Aamarillo, I have to strongly suggest a slight detour to the south. The colorful spires and well watered canyons with weathered rock walls in Palo Duro Canyon State Park will surprise anyone who expects the Panhandle to be a vast empty plain.
West of Amarillo each little town has something to offer those in search of roadside remnants and unique photographic opportunities. Two stops of particular note are the Midpoint cafe with its delicious pies in Adrian and the ghost town of Glenrio.
I suggest following the old road, now a graded gravel track from Glenrio to San Jon in New Mexico past empty Endee. Inquire about road conditions is the first suggestion and the second is, if possible, drive it under a full moon.
For fans of Route 66, Tucumcari and the Blue Swallow Motel are inseparable. However, there are other less famous time capsules including the Safari Motel.
Again, inquire about road conditions and then consider following the broken remnant of the old road through the ghost towns of Montoya, Newkirk, and Cuervo west of Tucumcari. These are accessed via exit 311 on I40.
Santa Rosa is a delightful and overlooked treasure trove of vintage roadside Americana. Another often missed wonder is Blue Hole City Park, a water filled sink hole of stunning beauty.
If time allows, I suggest the pre 1937 alignment from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque with a slight detour to Las Vegas. Overall the drive, beginning with U.S. 84 north, is well signed.
The attractions are many.
Romeroville, now a ghost town, is the namesake of Don Trinidad Romero, a colorful frontier era personality. Among those who visited his palatial home and that partook in the gala parties was President Hayes, president Grant, and General Tecumseh Sherman.
Las Vegas can easily be a base for an entire vacation. More than 900 buildings are listed on the National Historic register, including the Plaza Hotel built in 1881, and the surronding countryside is littered with historic sites and stunning natural beauty accessed via old roads and miles of hiking trails.
The little towns that border old Route 66, just off I-25, are dusty, tattered links to more than two centuries of history. In the plaza at tecolota General Kearney announced the end of Mexican soverignty during the American-Mexican war. In San Jose the truncated steel truss bridge was built in 1921 and the church that casts its shadow across the old highway, also the Santa Fe Trail, dates to 1825.
The Pigeon Ranch with its adobe barn and well, and Glorieta Pass, are also historic and storied. The well has met the needs of travelers for at least four hundred years. The barn served as a hospital during the battle that raged below the pass during the Civil War.
Santa Fe can not be experienced in a visit of a day, a weekend or a week. The history and subsequent sites are just to numerous. If time constraints are an issue at least check out the plaza and the Palace of the Governors that served as the seat of government for more than three hundred years.
As Route 66 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is broken in many places by the interstate I suggest an alternate route that has all of the flavor of old Route 66, state highway 14 accessed at exit 278 on I-25 west of Santa Fe through Madrid. Ghost towns, small town America with a distinctly southwestern flair and stunning landscapes are just a few of the charms found on this drive.
In Albuquerque, I have a few stops that are sure to enhance a visit. Among these are Old Town, the Rio Grande Zoo, and the Sandia peak Tramway.
Albuquerque to the Arizona state line presents endless opportunity for back road adventures including Cubero, Acoma, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States, the Laguna Pueblo, the mining museum in Grants, ahttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrnd trading posts in Gallup. Again, if time allows, I have a detour to suggest.
From Grants continue west on state highway 53. The landscapes are truly awe inspiring and there are a wide array of unique and fascinating stops. These include the ice caves and Bandera Crater, the Zuni pueblo, a wolf sanctuary, and El Moro, a towering stone monolity where more than four centuries of travelers have inscribed their names.
This is a rather abbreviated tour guide to a region that features some of the best Route 66 has to offer as well as a wide array of awe inspiring natural wonder and centuries old historic sites. 
For more detailed direction and suggestions I suggest these two books. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

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