After celebrating the New Year in Southern California, Mark and I decided to take the long way home, venturing off the main highway to see as much of Route 66 as we could. Actually, it wasn’t that spontaneous. Mark had plotted the trip and made numerous reservations weeks in advance. The weather in some locations could be unpredictable, but we were lucky to have very mild conditions. We were able to execute our plan flawlessly.
Our first photo-op was Needles, California in the Mojave Desert. Needles was a major stop on Route 66 from the 1920s to 1960s. It is also frequently cited as having the highest temperature in the US and sometimes the world. Needles is no longer a “major” stop, but it was a beautiful day and we captured this photo at one of its landmarks.
We drove on to see this historic Route 66 sign just outside of Needles. Such a wonderful location along the Colorado River, partially spoiled by a guy in a red pick-up truck having a “rendezvous” with his girlfriend – right in front of it. We got out and took photos all around them anyway. Their presence is why the entire sign was not captured. Annoyed, I told Mark that I should post their license plates on the internet. Of course, I did not, but the nerve of some people! The bridge in the background is the Old Trails Arch Bridge, seen in The Grapes of Wrath.
On the way to Seligman, AZ we saw many abandoned gas stations rendered obsolete by re-routing of the major highways. We didn’t think to stop and photograph the relics, and we wish we had. However, in Seligman we found several places still in business.
Our detour from Route 66 took us to Sedona, the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley (see my Art of Trees series for photos). We rejoined Route 66 in Santa Fe, NM where we spent a couple of days enjoying mild weather and no crowds. Santa Fe is so historic and beautiful, also the best example of a thriving city located on the historic Route 66. I was so impressed with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the history museum, both of which describe the contribution of women over time in Santa Fe and New Mexico.
In the town of Tucumcari we had an awesome lunch and tracked down the owner of this gas station turned museum/antique shop. We had a bit of a wait, because the same family owned this and two restaurants in the town. They were quite dedicated to its preservation. Needless to say, Mark was extra pleased with memories of Texaco.
On the way to Amarillo, we stopped at this monument, but passed on Cadillac Ranch. There are a lot of pictures of the old Cadillacs buried face down in the desert on the internet, but none of this interesting historic marker.
No longer on Route 66, I’m tossing in one last picture of the sun-rise as we left Amarillo to drive back home.